Return to Necker Island

September 2016 brought devastation to the British Virgin Islands like many had never seen. Hurricanes Irma and Maria left a path of destruction and no island was spared. Tens of thousands of people lost everything, and it’s isolated location left the BVI in critical need of help. Necker Island’s owner, Sir Richard Branson, stayed on the island to weather the worst of the Category 5 storm Hurricane Irma with his team, and they all survived the incredible event by taking shelter in the concrete wine cellar of the Great House.

Necker and Moskito Islands are also known for their animal conservation efforts, with more than 140 species claiming a home there. Critically endangered species of lemur as well bird species that have been reintroduced to the BVI are all cared for under world-class supervision, including extra care during the 2017 hurricanes. An incredible number of the animals survived, considering the incredible circumstances and due to the work of the dedicated team. Many of the lemurs, tortoises and rare birds were housed in the Great House on Necker Island during the hurricanes, and then it became an “animal hospital” after the storms to help injured animals recuperate. As of June 2018, much of the flamingo population has returned, and new baby lemurs are being born on Necker.

After the storms, Branson and the Necker Island team worked with the BVI government to mobilise relief efforts and contributed incredible amounts of time and effort to help their neighbouring islands get back on their feet. From distributing food, water, medical and sanitary supplies to coordinating relief flights with Virgin Atlantic, the heart of the BVI was never more evident than in the days, weeks and months following the strongest Atlantic hurricane ever recorded.

The Virgin Limited Edition Group supported the BVI communities with foundation support for long-term construction projects as well as participated in advising the BVI government on a long-term marshall plan and clean energy and job creation measures. Sam Branson also flew into Barbados to escort a boat full of relief supplies back to the BVI.

Inspired by the enduring spirit of the people of the BVI, Virgin Unite and Unite BVI had three major focuses for creating impact and supported community education, the environment and local entrepreneurship. By spearheading construction projects, funding youth empowerment nonprofits and working with the government to create a more sustainable energy grid and foster recycling programs, the Necker Island team is more than invested in the BVI community as a resort island.

“The original Necker evolved over the years, whereas this time it’s a revolution!” said Sam Boddington, a member of the Necker Island construction team.

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The revolution of Necker Island has returned it to much more than its former glory. From updated buildings to totally new guest offerings, Necker has been reborn into an even more stunning place to experience.

Great House

Nestled at the top of the island’s highest point, the Great House is the heart of the Necker Island resort. The wraparound terrace is full of hammocks and sofas for guests to relax, and the Caribbean sunset is never more perfect than in the rooftop jacuzzi. Whether dining while taking in the incredible view or just gathering to enjoy a cocktail, the Great House is where everyone comes together.

The elegant accommodations at the Great House have been expanded to include 11 total bedrooms. Each guest room features king size beds and private en suite baths. On the upper level, an exclusive master suite is perfect for anyone wanting to experience true luxury and offers guests a private sundeck complete with jacuzzi and unparalleled views of the Caribbean.

For families traveling with children, the Great House is equipped with fun for kids of all ages. The bunk room is fully stocked with video games, books and baby items. Babysitting services are available upon request.

“It is wonderful to see Necker Island’s beauty restored and to have welcomed back our first guests. It has been a busy year and it’s not over yet as we look forward to 2019 and the reopening of further accommodations,” said Jon Brown, Managing Director for Virgin Limited Edition.

The private Bali Houses have also been restored and now each include a private plunge pool. A new Bali House, Leha Lo is now available and offers panoramic views of the sea. A new Bali High complex is being completed and will feature an extended pool and outdoor lounge.

Beach Pavilion

The beach is an obvious attraction and the newly-renovated Beach Pavilion is ready to help guest make the most of the Caribbean sun and sea. An extended communal area allows guests to dine out under the stars, with the gentle sound of the waves creating an unforgettable soundtrack to any meal.

Break out the rackets and hone your skills on the tennis courts – home of the Necker Cup where the world’s best tennis players have gone head to head!

Just next to the Beach Pavilion is the expansive infinity pool, complete with swim-up bar. Feeling a little peckish? The Necker Island chefs send a decorated kayak filled with ice down the pool and offer sushi rolls and sashimi from their floating sushi “bar”. Plus, don’t miss the incredible Caribbean view from the 30-person jacuzzi that faces the beach.f

Turtle Beach is refreshed and as relaxing as ever with casual lunch options or for bouncing off some energy on the sunken trampoline. Hammocks are ready for sipping sunset cocktails.

A new Watersports Pavilion is waiting to provide guests with the best of the best experiences on or under the sea. Put on some fins and enjoy the incredible wildlife while snorkelling in the calm ocean, or pick up a paddle and explore the waters via kayak or paddleboard. Want to go big? Try kitesurfing, windsurfing or even SCUBA diving.

If you’re ready to see what’s new and enjoy some “Necker water” (champagne), the island is ready and waiting. From ultra-luxurious accommodations, world-class watersports and tennis and exceptional dining, there has never been a better time to visit this incredible resort in one of the most beautiful places on earth: the British Virgin Islands.

Sara Sherman
Sara Sherman is a former St. Thomas resident and the editor of Virgin Islands Property & Yacht.
Sara Sherman

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