The first time I heard about Necker Island was through the I Love Marketing podcast. The hosts of the show are quite influential in the business and marketing space and Joe Polish talks about his relationship with everything mogul Richard Branson all the time.
As part of that, Joe talks about the lavish get togethers they have on this little known island in the British Virgin Islands called Necker Island. Everything about the island is like something out of a fairytale. I started doing a little bit more research and then I realized, holy smokes, a ton of A-list celebrities including Kate Winslet, Mariah Carey and Rod Stewart have spent quite some time on Necker Island as a hideaway.
An island Richard originally bought to impress a girl
The story of the island goes way back but gets interesting when Sir Richard Branson purchased the 74-acre island for $180,000 back in 1978. The Virgin boss bought it when he was merely 27 years old when he spotted the island from the helicopter during a Caribbean trip he devised to woo his wife-t0-be.
“I had no intentions of buying an island but pretended I was interested so I could impress Joan” Branson said.
Originally no paradise
In the beginning, the island was just an uninhabited lush tiny island with a hill. There was only one palm tree and the island was overrun by snakes, scorpions and tarantulas. Branson bought it on the condition that within 5 years he could develop a resort and $10 million later, he was able to turn the island into a secret private retreat which he envisioned to lure rock stars to his label.
Love at first sight
Let's set the stage here then. Imagine booking out the entire island consisting of the Great House and 6 individual villas. Each villa created by the brains of some of the most elite designers in the world, crafted after Balinese style as per Sir Branson's request. The 9 room main villa crowns the hill right above Turtle Beach below where each room has its own panoramic views of the water that surrounds the island. Each room is then furnished to the tee with Balinese art, bamboo furniture and colonial antiques.
You can imagine just how epic somewhere like this is. Sit by the infinity pool and watch a flock of flamingos take flight or take to the open water and learn how to kite surf with sail instructor George. With the island all to yourself, doors are left open, laptops flipped open haphazardly and wallets by the night table, the island is your oyster. Whatever it is you do, it's the kind of place that evokes serenity, harmony and freedom from the stresses of the real world.
Billionaire enclave could be yours for the week
Now let's get to the fun part. Upon hearing all of that, you're probably thinking, wow that's something I'd never be able to see. Well you're wrong! I recently found out that it IS actually possible to make a booking on this super exclusive island even if you're not a friend of the likes of Kate Moss, Oprah Winfrey or Larry Page of Google.
There's a site called Le Collectionist out of Paris from the brain-trust of Olivier Cahané, Max Aniort, Eliott Cohen-Skalli. Branded as a luxury rental booking site for high-end villas and hotels, it tailors to folks looking for unique experiences.
Le Collectionist is all about curating the most exceptional properties in the world. For them, it's almost like a treasure hunt, searching for those golden nuggets in far off places. The criteria for properties is stringent and is based on things like design, architecture, location, history and rapport with the owner.
I did a sample booking of Necker Island and as you would expect, the price tag doesn't come cheap. For one full week on the island in January 2015, the estimated cost is €403,426.80 which translates to $505,000 USD (roughly $72,000 a night).
If you're looking to live it up like a billionaire, this is a once in a lifetime chance to do it.