The whole reason for me to the British Virgin Islands was to get a tour of ‘s by the man himself. made all the back in August when the on the 74-acre burned down and Titanic star Kate Winslet carried Branson’s 90-year-old mother out of the flaming house in the middle of the night. it or not, I was the first travel writer brought to the since the fire, and couldn’t have been any nicer. I learned the island is for since there are multiple structures, and because of the fire has now opened up his private home for until the great house is rebuilt in late 2012. How cool is that?
Other Cool Necker Island Facts
-Sir Richard Branson bought in 1978 for 180,000 pounds, or about $320,000 dollars.
-Sir Richard spends about six months a year on .
-It costs $53,000 a night to rent out the whole island. I know $53,000 is a crazy amount, but according to Richard you can bring 35 and all the , , and are , which is actually very for those with deep pockets.
-Necker Island is seriously like being in a or Jurassic Park without the dangerous animals. It’s surreal, especially because of the lush grounds, , , , and his extensive exotic animal collection, which includes over 100 , 9 giant from the Galapagos, a of from Madagascar, and a whole slew of including colorful talking . FYI: Sir Richard is a huge animal activist and he has acquired these animals in attempts to save them.
-The paradise was built in 1981, and since then it has played host to A-list celebrities–from Princess Diana to Robert DeNiro to Eddie Murphy to Oprah to you it. Actually Sir Richard told me stories about how he hosts Nelson Mandela and Bishop Tutu frequently and he even taught the latter to swim in one of the pools.
-It was the that is connected to the , but the wasn’t destroyed.
-I tried to get some inside information about which alliance Virgin Atlantic would be joining and he wouldn’t give me a definite answer but he did say something that is making me put my money on the SkyTeam.
-You can follow Sir Richard on Twitter; his handle is and he does his own tweeting.
-I had an incredible stay on Necker and I can’t wait to go back.
-Here’s a link to The Travel Channel’s clip of our segment.
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