Power players: George Clooney and Stacy Keibler
The escape: El Dorado
The island: Necker Island (British Virgin Islands)
The celebrity: Sir Richard Branson
British bling: When the fourth-richest Brit and founder of the Virgin Group decides to buy an island, naturally he starts shopping in the British Virgin Islands. Self-made billionaire Richard Branson purchased Necker Island in 1978, where he built a private luxury retreat. He then capitalized on it in 1984, by opening up Necker to VIPs for exclusive hire. Dig deep into your pockets or cash in your bonds to take 28 of your closest friends – that’s the max – to this tiny oasis for $53K/night stay. What you’ll get is a staff of 60, a personal chef, unreal beaches, a jacuzzi, gym, and tennis courts and pools (yes, that’s plural). Plus, get wet with water sports like an aero submarine, powerboats, sailboats, and a floating trampoline. Branson’s chunk of land in the Caribbean draws plenty of celebs, from Harrison Ford and Mel Gibson to Steven Spielberg and Oprah. One reason is that Richard knows how to throw a lavish party. Another reason is that essentially your wish is his command, whether it’s a luxury honeymoon or a rock ‘n’ roll orgy. But probably the biggest draw? What happens on Necker, stays on Necker. Most of the time.
Cocktail-party trivia: Kate Winslet heroically saved Branson’s mum from his burning house, when it was struck by lightening during Hurricane Irene in 2011. History 101: the island was named after Johannes de Neckere, a 17th-century Dutch squadron commander, but was inhabited by killer mosquitoes, snakes, tarantulas, and scorpions until the late 20th century.
Getting here: Fly into San Juan, Antigua, St. Thomas, Virgin Gorda, or Tortola, and then transfer by boat, helicopter, or yacht to Necker.
(Photos courtesy of Necker Island)