Necker Island – British Virgin Islands, Lesser Antilles (British West Indies)

A Visionary’s Version of Heaven

Guests have some pretty celebrated footprints to fill when booking this private island. Owner and creator Richard Branson—the British multi­millionaire founder of Virgin Airways—spared no expense when he designed and built his fantasy escape on this previously uninhabited, reef-surrounded, 74- acre island.

An airy, twenty-two-room Balinese villa commands a 360-degree seascape and reflects the rich architectural and crafts tradi­tions of Indonesia. The place is so romantic, it has inspired a number of impromptu wed­dings, including Branson’s. Guests readily don the colorful sarongs left for their use and never bother to unpack.

In fact, they wear little clothing at all, and shoes rarely make an appearance. When the Bransons aren’t in res­idence, Necker can be rented in its fabulous entirety, which includes a staff of thirty-one. The private holiday island is popular with Hollywood celebs and European aristos, but couples can book individually during “Cele­bration Weeks,” held four times yearly. It’s expensive, but duplicating heaven on earth often is.

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