It's well-known that Richard Branson has a soft spot for tropical properties. After all, the billionaire businessman owns two stunning private islands in the British Virgin Islands, with the most famous — Necker Island — suffering a devastating fire last year


So while Branson made headlines this week with the announcement that actor Ashton Kutcher would become the latest high-profile celeb to take a ride into space on Virgin Galactic, other sources quietly reported an acquisition of another kind in Bali by the 61-year-old. 


"The Panchoran Retreat, set among the hills of Nyuh Kuning on the Indonesian island, was previously owned by Irish designer and environmentalist Linda Garland who has been renting it out as a holiday resort," writes the property site A Place in the Sun. "It comes with seven houses, a yoga pavilion, a bamboo bridge over a river, a group of 'hideaway huts' and a 26-meter swimming pool which is fed with water from a spring."


Sure, it's not as flashy as an entire 124-acre island, but Panchoran has nonetheless earned a reputation from media outlets around the world as a luxury eco-resort for those looking to "get away from it all." A 2011 brief from green site Inhabitat praised the spot as "a little piece of paradise." 


"You won’t find any cold metal or harsh fluorescent lighting here," the site reports. "Everything is warm, inviting and made of natural materials, most of which are either recycled or locally sourced. The five open-air guest villas are constructed from a combination of former Ironwood telephone poles that were purchased from the local government, and bamboo and native grasses taken right from the resort’s backyard."


The remote and serene locale appears to fit in perfectly with the ideals Branson has placed on his other properties. He reportedly told The Financial Times: “The most delightful thing about living on an island is that you’re completely in touch with nature. If you need space to think, there’s only the sound of the sea and local wildlife all around, and if you want to party, there are no neighbors nearby to complain.”


To read more about The Panchoran Retreat, visit the official site here

Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

Richard Branson scoops up eco-resort
Billionaire businessman reportedly purchases the luxury Panchoran Retreat in Bali.