You can use miles to book a stay on Sir Richard Branson’s private island
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Necker Island, Sir Richard Branson’s private escape in the British Virgin Islands that last year was offered as collateral to save Virgin Group, is back open and ready for guests.
(Keep in mind that until the end of the U.K.’s third lockdown, all non-essential travel is not possible at this time.)
The 74-acre private island oasis north of Virgin Gorda and east of Puerto Rico recently reopened following the reopening of the BVI’s borders as well as a renovation project that included the restoration and expansion of the resort’s Great House and the addition of another Balinese-style house on the island called Leha Lo.
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The resort now sleeps 40 people across 15 total rooms: 11 in the Great House and four standalone villas. Each of the bedrooms in the Great House features a balcony, king-size beds and en-suite bathrooms. The master suite located on the upper level comes with a private outdoor Jacuzzi and sun deck, and there’s even a bunk room that sleeps up to six children.
Across the island, you’ll find stunning infinity pools, serene relaxation spaces, bars galore, numerous elegant dining spaces, lawn games, tennis courts, a hot tub directly on the beach with space for 30 people and so much more.
The island’s team is more than happy to arrange an endless list of activities for guests, including kitesurfing, sailing, paddleboarding, kayaking, snorkelling, scuba diving, yoga, tennis, spa treatments, daytime excursions to nearby islands and, of course, epic parties by night.
A Greener Island
During its closure, Necker also took the opportunity to go all-in on sustainability. The island installed three wind turbines that work together with an existing solar farm to allow the complex to run on 90% renewable energy every day. And, the island staff now have uniforms made from recycled plastic from the ocean.
The island has a seafood-sourcing policy that guarantees all fish served on the island are sourced sustainably, and chefs work directly with food suppliers to make sure that all animal products served come from humane and antibiotic-free sources.
Booking Necker Island
Typically, you have to rent the entire island, but from time to time Virgin Limited Edition makes certain “Celebration Weeks” available, during which you can book an individual room (you can view the available 2021 weeks here). And, these are the ones you can book with miles — a whole lot of them.
Each Celebration Week all-inclusive package includes the following for two adults over a seven-night stay:
- All meals and drinks (including all alcoholic beverages) — served in a variety of locations
- Return launch transfer from Virgin Gorda or Beef Island airports
- Dedicated waitstaff team
- Two freshwater infinity pools and a hot tub on the beach
- Two tennis courts
- Water sports equipment for windsurfing, kite-surfing, water-skiing, sailing, snorkelling, scuba diving and more
- DJ for one night
- Wireless internet throughout the island
- BVI accommodation tax
If you want to book a Celebration Week with miles, you’ll need to commit to a seven-night stay, and it will cost you 1.5 million Virgin Points for a room in the Great House. At current TPG valuations of 1.2p per Virgin Point, that’s worth £18,000. Considering you could pay up to $£5,800 per night for a room, you’ll get a tremendous value for your miles.
Miles bookings are currently restricted to those who have Virgin Atlantic Silver or Gold status; however, you may be able to status match to Virgin Atlantic from another airline or hotel program. And, thankfully, you can instantaneously transfer American Express Membership Rewards to Virgin Atlantic at a 1-to-1 ratio. Booking with miles is only available by calling an agent directly.
After being offered as collateral in a bid to save Virgin Group from collapse, closure due to hurricane damage and being cut off from most travellers thanks to coronavirus-related border closures, Necker Island is back and better than ever.
While there aren’t many people who could afford to rent out the entire island, the ability to use miles for a weeklong stay makes this over-the-top private-island escape an ideal — and relatively more accessible — place to get away from everyone and everything.
Featured photo courtesy of Virgin Limited Edition
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