Richard Branson's unimaginably beautiful Necker Island "Great House" has been reborn.
The stunning property, built after Branson purchased the 74-acre Caribbean island back in 1978 for only $288K, was destroyed in August 2011 after a lightning bolt strike combined with 90mph tropical storm winds burned it to the ground. The event was made even more famous after it was revealed that actress Kate Winslet, one of twenty guests on the island at the time, played a role in saving Branson's mother.
"My mother's 90 years old and, in order -- although she can walk -- in order to speed the process up, (Winslet) picked my mother up and carried her, carried her out of the house, and so Kate helped rescue my mother," Branson said.
Necker is our home," he added, "and it will be a beautiful island again. We've just got to rebuild the Great House. Fortunately the rest of the island survived, and we'll make sure it was as beautiful as it was before."
True to his word, the billionaire this week announced that the island and Great House were once again open for business.
“Necker Island has been my home for more than 30 years and for me it is the most beautiful place in the world. The brand new Great House is the heart of the island and I’m thrilled with the results. This signals a new dawn for Necker, which I’m very excited about.”
According to the site, the new home is modeled after the old - with a few improvements worthy of sharing.
"Inspired by the beautiful features and Balinese style of the original structure, the new Great House offers breath-taking panoramic views of the Caribbean, the Atlantic and neighbouring islands. Each of the eight guest rooms has a balcony, and all come with king-size beds and spacious en-suite bathrooms. On the upper level you’ll find the Master Suite, which is a whopping 1,500 square feet and has been designed for panoramic views from virtually every angle and includes a two-person Jacuzzi, a stand-alone outdoor bath and a kitchenette area with a fully-stocked fridge."
One new feature that reflects the playful personality of its owner is a zip-line - that "quickly transports you from the Great House terrace all the way down to the sandy white beach." Yes, please.
Unfortunately, paradise of this kind comes with a very steep price. If you're interested in booking Necker Island (which has accomodations for 30 adults and five children) the nightly rate currently stands at $60,000.
Check out a time-lapse of the construction below.