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Sir Richard Branson's Newest Empire Is a Haven For the Ultra-Rich

The Motley Fool logo The Motley Fool 28-07-2015 Travis Hoium
Necker Island© Provided by Fool Necker Island

Necker Island is Sir Richard Branson's personal haven but it's now open to the public for the right price. Image: NRG Energy.

Sir Richard Branson may be known for his successes in music and airlines with Virgin Records and Virgin Airlines respectively. But one of his biggest focuses today is on building out his collection of ultra-luxury properties known as Virgin Limited Edition.

The properties started with Necker Island, the island he bought in 1978 for a measly $180,000. The uninhabited island would become something of a home base for the billionaire and would launch an empire of properties that now spans across the globe. 

A haven for the rich and famous

To give you an idea of how expensive Branson's luxury resort empire is, renting Necker Island for a night -- which can hold  30 guests -- will usually run $65,000 per night, but a few weeks a year a couple can spend the week there for $28,805. But even for that price you'll have to share the island with 28 new friends.  

The resort in South Africa, known as Ulusaba, is a little more reasonable starting at around $475 per night, but no matter where you go in the Virgin Limited Edition chain of resorts the tab won't be cheap.  

In total, Sir Richard Branson has seven resorts and a 32-meter catamaran in some of the most picturesque locations around the world. But you shouldn't think a stay with Branson is just any adventure. He looks at the world and the resorts he owns just a little differently than your average resort.

Looking at the high life a little differently

The term "sustainability" isn't front and center in Virgin Limited Edition's sales brochures, but it's at the heart of what the company does. And it stems from Branson's desire to care for the world around him.

Necker Island has been built to enjoy the ecosystem  and it's working with local conservation agencies to restore reefs and shark populations. The island also has a microgrid powered primarily by solar energy and when completed the 1.0 MW in on-site generation will offset at least 75% of previous diesel usage.

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Incorporating nature and sustainability into the resort business is central to Branson's vision. Ulusaba is built on a large game reserve , which customers visit on daily treks to see wildlife. Mahali Mzuri in Kenya is in the Masai Mara National Park with highlights of the resort being the great migration that takes place each year in Africa.

This is just another example of how sustainability, protecting the environment, and making money can all coincide peacefully. It's not a choice between one or the other.

Sir Richard Branson's newest empire

The resort business has quietly been building in the Virgin empire for nearly four decades but it's now making its way mainstream now that it's ballooned to seven full service resorts. It's also another feather in the cap for Sir Richard Branson, who took a big between he bought Necker Island 37 years ago.

Virgin Limited Edition is also one of the ways Branson has endeared himself to the rich and famous around the world. The company is exclusive and expensive, but for the right price you could get a piece of paradise just like celebrities do.

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