Business Insiderby Katie Warren
April 1, 2021
Richard Branson, billionaire business magnate and Virgin Group founder, is opening up his private estate on his second Caribbean island to the public for the first time.
Moskito Island is not to be confused with Branson's other private Caribbean island, Necker Island, which Branson bought in 1978 and which serves as a luxury retreat that's typically booked exclusively to private groups.
Moskito Island is a 125-acre island in the British Virgin Islands that's about 2.5 miles away from Necker Island.
An aerial view of Moskito Island.Virgin Limited Edition
In 2011, four years after Branson purchased Moskito Island, he started developing roads and other infrastructure on the island, according to a spokesperson for Virgin Limited Edition, Branson's luxury hotel and retreat company.
By 2015, he had installed basic infrastructure and completed construction of his private estate, a Virgin spokesperson told Insider at the time. Branson also sold nine other private lots on the island to unidentified buyers to be developed into villas.
The Branson Estate is the first estate to open to the public for rentals, but some of the other estates will open later in 2021, the Virgin Limited Edition spokesperson said.
The price to book the Branson Estate in its entirety starts at $25,000 per night in the low season, between June 1 and September 30.
Virgin Limited Edition
In the high season — January 6 through May 31; October 1 through November 20; and November 29 through December 21 — exclusive use of the estate starts at $33,000 per night.
The estate is even pricier during the holidays. Over Thanksgiving (November 21 through November 28) the price goes up to $34,650 per night. And from December 22 through January 6, a night's rental will cost you a whopping $36,600 — putting a week's stay at more than a quarter of a million dollars.
If a potential renter doesn't want to book the entire estate, it's possible to rent four guest rooms starting at $12,000 per night, with the option to book an additional room for $2,000 and an additional master suite for $3,000.
The nightly rate includes all meals and drinks (including alcoholic beverages), in-villa chef services, and access to Moskito Island's shared recreation facilities.
Guests at the Branson Estate have access to all of Moskito Island's shared recreation facilities, including Beach House, which has its own infinity pool, bar, and dining pavilions.
At Beach House, guests can lounge by the infinity pool overlooking the sea while sipping a cocktail from the bar.The name derives from the first printed reference to the island, "Musketa," which was likely an old anglicized spelling of the word musket, according to Virgin Limited Edition.
Guests then take a private shuttle boat to Moskito Island, which is provided by Virgin Limited Edition and included in the rental package.
Before booking the Branson Estate, guests should of course familiarize themselves with the British Virgin Islands' strict COVID-19 travel restrictions, which include taking a COVID-19 test within five days of arrival, another upon arrival at the airport, and another on day four of your trip.
On arrival to Moskito Island, guest are required to take a rapid COVID-19 test and quarantine in their dedicated estate for the first 24 hours before being allowed to access the communal areas. After four days of quarantine at their accommodations on Moskito Island, guests are allowed to travel elsewhere in the British Virgin Islands.
The British Virgin Islands has reported only 154 COVID-19 cases and one death.
Island brokers have been fielding floods of inquiries from wealthy clients who want a safe haven from the coronavirus, The New York Times reported in October.
Others have been seeking to rent private island properties. Dylan Eckardt, an agent at Nest Seekers International, told the Times he keeps hearing from clients: "Money is no object, put me wherever my family can't get sick."
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