Branson's private island 2.0 is worth the wait.

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Necker Island aerial view
Credit: Courtesy of Virgin Limited Edition

Following a two-year closure, Richard Branson's Necker Island is officially back and better than ever.

After Hurricane Irma devastated the island in 2017, Necker required rebuilding, and while the pandemic sealed the borders of the British Virgin Islands, Branson's team got to work on the restorations and final touches.

Now, upon the reopening of the BVI in December 2020, a refreshed Necker Island is ready to welcome guests with new ultra-luxe accommodation options.

The brand-new Bali Hi complex has an extended pool and outdoor lounges, plus private pools in the individual Bali villas that are ideal for indulging in unlimited pool time while maintaining complete privacy. The Great House, perched atop the highest point on the island to provide sweeping views of the Caribbean and Atlantic as well as neighboring islands, received two additional guest rooms.

Necker Island beach daybed and hammock
Credit: Courtesy of Virgin Limited Edition
Necker Island Bedroom with water view
Credit: Courtesy of Virgin Limited Edition

Beyond the fresh digs for guests, the island also made changes for the sake of the earth. Bolstering the presence of more than 1,200 solar panels, three new wind turbines were installed during the rebuild. The island now runs on 90 percent renewable energy.

You don't need to worry about crowds on a visit to 74-acre Necker Island: typically, travelers book the entire island for a private vacation experience, exclusive to just 22 guests. However, during selected weeks of the year, called Celebration Weeks, there's the option to book individual rooms as a couple, individual, or family. You'll share the island with others during these seven-night periods, but overall capacity remains minimal.

In fact, your main on-island companions during a visit to Necker Island come in the form of tropical wildlife: expect to spot tortoises, flamingos, iguanas, scarlet and white ibis, and various endangered species of Madagascan lemurs, which Branson has a passion for protecting.

Necker Island Great House dining for 2 at sunset
Credit: Courtesy of Virgin Limited Edition

Necker is welcoming guests again now, as long as you can get there: the most popular ways to arrive are by private jet, yacht, or helicopter, though you can also fly into nearby Tortola (Beef Island), since 35-minute launch transfers to and from Necker are included in your rate.