How We Got From Rainy New York To Richard Branson's Gorgeous Island

necker island trip, getting there, beach and red dock

Photo: Kamelia Angelova / Business Insider

Necker Island is the famous home of Sir Richard Branson, and a getaway spot for many celebrities and CEOs.

Click here to see how we got to Necker Island >>

Google’s Larry Page got married on the island in 2007,┬áMariah Carey has been a frequent visitor, and Prince Harry has been rumoured to have vacationed there before partying in Las Vegas.

Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands is part of Virgin Limited Edition, a collection of Branson’s luxury vacation properties around the world, and is available to rent year-round.

When we interviewed Sir Richard back in April, he talked at length about kite-surfing and partying on the island and about the rebuild of one of the villas, The Great House, which burned down a year ago after being struck by lightning. (Actress Kate Winslet, who was staying at the house at the time, saved Branson’s elderly mother by carrying her out of the house.)

He also invited Business Insider to come and see that everything on the island is very much back to normal despite the loss of the Great House, so our videographer Robert Libetti and I were flown along with other journalists by Virgin Limited Edition last week.

We are sharing here our experience of getting to Necker Island, and we will be publishing posts about our trip in the upcoming days. You’ll be able to find them all here.

While many of the VIP guests opt for a direct private jet ride to the nearby Tortola Island or a helicopter ride to Necker, our journey was much more eventful.

Disclosure: We were flown out to Necker Island, BVI by Virgin Limited Edition, which covered our travel and lodging expenses.

It's 4:30 a.m. and I am all packed and ready to go, but not before having my morning coffee.

It's drizzling and a bit cold as I leave my house in Harlem, New York. Garbage is piled up for pickup.

The A Train is here, and it will take me straight to JFK.

Boarding passes in hand, Robert and I proceed to the gate.

We are flying with Jet Blue to San Juan, Puerto Rico first.

Killing time at the Air Margaritaville Bar at the airport in San Juan.

On our way to the next flight with Cape Air.

The 9-seater Cessna should be cozy for the 45-minute flight to Tortola in the British Virgin Islands.

Ready for takeoff.

You can see everything the pilot does to adjust for turbulence and navigation.

The A/C is not working but...

..the views are pretty cool.

Prepare for landing in Tortola.

Charlotte Tidball, a PR manager for Virgin Limited Edition, and Marco Bava, a watersports instructor on Necker Island, greet us at the airport. Sumo, a 7-year-old mix-breed that Richard Branson brought to the island has an awesome mohawk, and he always follows Marco around.

The luggage is loaded up into a taxi van that will take us to the dock, where we will take a boat to Necker. Marco says that it takes the same time to walk as it takes to drive to the pier.

So we decide to stroll down.

Luggage is loaded onto the speedboat.

In the meantime, we are offered a glass of Necker Island champagne. It's made and bottled in France and shipped to Necker on a regular basis as it never stops flowing on the island.


Everything is loaded, so we pack the champagne as the boat speeds up for the 30-minute ride to Necker.

The speed, wind and slashing water don't bother Sumo at all.

Marco and Lisa Redfern (a spa manager) are at the front, and travel journalist Scott Goetz chats with Charlotte at the back.

We pass by some big islands.

And here is Necker.

As we approach, we see the rebuild of the Great House under way and a barge carrying the supplies for the construction.

This is the Beach Pavilion, which was built after the fire and functions as an entertainment centre. It has a huge bar, a movie screen area, a pool table, two tennis courts, and a stunning dining room, but more about that later.

Tristin Swales, Group Operations Director for Virgin Limited Edition, and Necker Island staff meet us at Red Dock.

Everyone is super friendly and welcoming.

Not a bad spot to relax and enjoy the views on the dock.

Our luggage will be brought directly to the villas...

... so we head to the Beach House for snacks and more champagne.

We are offered refreshingly cold towels...

... and appetizers.

Now that we are here, we have two days to explore and enjoy Richard Branson's home. Here is a sneak peek of Turtle Beach and one of the many breathtaking views from the guest villas.

Want to see more awesome travel photos? Check out...

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