Necker Island bounces back from 2017 hurricane season

Necker Island Great House
View of Necker Island’s Great House before the 2017 hurricane season

Luxury vacationers to the Caribbean can breathe easier again, as the Necker Island resort – effectively Richard Branson’s house – is back in business.

An official announcement from Virgin Limited Edition shared that Great House, its main venue for visitor stays, is slated to reopen in time for its annual ‘Celebration Weeks,’ set on late October of this year. The company indicated that rates would be subject to group size and numbers, so we recommend agents email or call the reservations team to confirm booking prices.

The Caribbean region was hit by a succession of hurricanes in Q3 last year, 17 in total. Particularly notable was Hurricane Irma, a Category 5 hurricane that followed the already destructive Category 4 hurricane Harvey and also swept through most of the eastern coast of the United States.

Virgin Limited Edition, through which maverick businessman Branson controls ownership and operations of Necker Island, shared that the private paradise will reopen as rebuilding progresses in stages. He and other principals were present to witness and then catalogue the damage Irma caused.

Readers can check out the progress of the rehabilitation efforts – many of them led by Branson himself and his employees – at his personal blog hosted on Virgin.com. One of the entries relays the concerted effort between all Virgin brands, BVI Community Support Appeal.

“I’ve seen the deep pain that [these] people have experienced, losing everything, their homes, their livelihoods, but certainly not their spirit.”
– Richard Branson

Also, as we earlier reported, Branson recently put out a ‘Help wanted’ post on LinkedIn for a personal assistant in an administrative capacity to live with him on the island. We can only presume that whoever earns the coveted position – yet to be announced – will be tasked to assist the ongoing rehabilitation efforts, among other responsibilities.

Great House is a 10-bedroom mansion perched on Necker Island’s highest point. It was originally rebuilt and reopened in 2013 when the original structure caught fire after Hurricane Irene hit the Caribbean region in 2011.

British entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson

Reservations at Necker Island are mostly for the exclusive use of the entire island all year long. However, guests may reserve individual rooms on Great House during the ‘Celebration Week’ period. Each seven-night stay is all-inclusive of round-trip airfare, lounge access and private transfers.

While vacation-goers can book directly through Virgin Limited Edition, tour operators such as Caribtours have also made arrangements easier. The firm, which has crafted and run bespoke tours bound to holiday destinations like the Caribbean region for almost 40 years, has opened up new ‘Celebration Week’ packages to the tune of GBP16,249.00 or $22,961.34 per person.

Caribtours marketing director Paul Cleary expressed a cautiously optimistic view over this year’s summer holiday season. Through a call with us, he explained: “Last year was a bad year because it was a busy season for hurricanes. It was tragic for everyone, but most especially the people who live on Necker Island.

“That said, people have been really supportive of the ongoing rebuilding efforts. Vacationers have helped our company’s fundraiser and also share our confidence that the island will be back in business soon because they’ve been booking the tour slots for travel in October. But we can only truly heave a sigh of relief come November this year, once hurricane season is over.”

Caribtours marketing director Paul Cleary
Caribtours marketing director Paul Cleary

Necker Island is a resort destination that caters to couples, families, and friends all seeking to get away from the city. The 30-hectare (74-acre) British Virgin Island territory has made its mark by offering a three-man aero submarine for diving, as well as a Floating Sushi Bar among other fresh and fine dining options prepared by Michelin-starred chefs.

Those seeking adventure and activity will find that the resort provides a zip-line, hiking trails, wildlife-spotting, as well as arranged games like treasure hunts and beach Olympics besides the prerequisite island-hopping. Equipment for water sports such as windsurfing, kite-surfing, water-skiing, sailing, snorkelling, scuba diving and power boating are also available.

We are definitely looking forward to seeing Necker Island and other island resorts in the Caribbean get back on their feet!

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