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Richard Branson's Necker Island

Sir Richard Branson is arguably the most dynamic and exciting businessman alive today. Building Virgin into one of the world's biggest empires, he has managed to achieve an incredible level of wealth and fame, without losing his sense of humor or ability to have a good time! Considering this British billionaire's adventurous spirit and love of the outdoors, it is no surprise that Branson owns one of the most spectacular and exclusive islands resorts in all the world.

Necker Island, at the Northeastern rim of the British Virgin Islands, looks over the gorgeous turquoise waters of the Caribbean and is fanned by the West Indies trade winds. When the island is not being used by Branson and his family, it rents for an astounding US $31,000 per day, mostly as a private holiday island for family and friends, but also for high-level corporate incentive plans. High-powered guests looking for a tropical escape have included Princess Di, Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey, and Peter Gabriel.

Necker Island is a sparkling tropical oasis in the truest sense. The 74-acre resort features Balinese guest houses that are open on all sides to reveal breathtaking 360 degree ocean views. Many of the structures were actually constructed in Bali and transported to the island and feature Brazilian cedar roofs and floors. The custom d├ęcor consists of casual mahogany and overstuffed elephant bamboo furnishings, couches the size of king-size beds, hand-made tables, vibrant fabrics, and unique art pieces with Buddhist influences. The focus is on relaxation and comfort, rather than high brow luxury. The top of Devil's Mountain was blasted to create the site of the main 10 bedroom residence. It was constructed so that from afar, the building appears to follow the natural shape of the mountain. The master bedroom occupies the entire first floor. There is an impressive formal dining room with a 24-foot long table surrounded by dramatic chairs and a free form pool and spa overlooking a cliff into the Caribbean. There are also three separate guest houses, named Bah Hi, Bah Lo, and Bah Cliff, that offer equally spectacular amenities. The rest of the resort features fresh-water pools, Jacuzzis, tennis courts, as well as business facilities. The resort's eco-friendly design makes it home to ground and mountain doves, pelicans, and exotic humming birds.

The friendly attentive staff of 31 (who are ferried in each day from surrounding islands) makes it their business to cater to every wish of their guests. Whether it be an action-packed day of water skiing and tennis, or a lazy day of lounging around in the sun, the staff will make sure every need is fulfilled. Besides water skiing and tennis, other island activities include snorkeling, scuba diving, sailing, sailboarding, swimming, windsurfing, and hiking. Of course, the all-inclusive meals and imported champagne are world-class.

It is hard to believe that Branson purchased the entire island for a paltry US $300,000 back in 1982. Some have estimated the cost of the complete renovation of the island at upwards of US $10 million. For those who can afford it, Necker Island provides an idyllic, almost surreal, island getaway. With a popular new television show, a booming business and perfect paradise resort under his belt, Richard Branson is one man who can truly say he has is all.
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