Sir Richard Branson's Caribbean island paradise reopens

PHOTO: Sir Richard Branson's Caribbean island paradise reopens

After burning to the ground in a spectacular fire two years ago, Sir Richard Branson's luxury Caribbean Necker Island hideaway has reopened for business.

It was a headline-grabbing event in 2011, when the main house was set ablaze by a suspected lightning strike forcing guests, including actress Kate Winslet, to flee. The actress was also lauded as a hero for hauling Branson's 90-year-old mother Eve to safety.

Richard Branson rebuilds fire-ravaged home

But the main Great House resort on Necker Island, Branson's private island hideaway in the British Virgin Islands, has been restored after a two-year renovation. Inspired by Balinese designs, each of the eight guest rooms features a balcony, king-size beds and en-suite bathrooms.

The Master Suite, meanwhile, clocks in at 1,500 square feet (140 square meters) and offers panoramic views of the tropical island, a two-person Jacuzzi and a kitchenette.

Necker Island -- its Great House and six individual Bali cabins -- can accommodate up to 30 guests plus six children. The price tag for renting out the island paradise? A round US$60,000 (S$75,000) a night.

The 74-acre island has hosted a bevy of celebrities and powerful elites including Diana, the Princess of Wales, Princes William and Harry, and former British prime minister Tony Blair.

A statement on the Necker Island official website reads:

After a two year absence we are pleased to say that Necker Island's Great House is once again open and welcoming guests. At times it's felt like quite a long wait, but as you arrive on island by boat, the view up to the top of the building takes your breath away. For the team and guests alike it feels like the island is whole again.

First impressions are that it's just like the original, but scratch the surface and you'll be amazed. From the new southern terrace to the hot tub on the crow's nest to the even larger skylights which flood with the room with that unique Caribbean light, this is a home like no other.