The ring-tailed lemurs have arrived — seven of the fluffy little things. They ought to be joined soon by flocks of flaming pink flamingos.
Meanwhile, the large tortoise population is prone to increase once they make the short trip over from neighbouring Necker Island. But an important recent arrivals on Moskito are the homeowners, of whom there are currently eight (with another to enroll), who paid Sir Richard Branson some £22 million for his or her two-acre plots after which lavished — or will do over the subsequent couple of years — around £45 million on constructing their dream holiday hideaways. Their identities are supposed to remain a secret. I do know who some are but have promised to not spill the golden beans. Suffice it to say that is essentially the most exclusive home owners’ association on the planet.
No other private island comes near it — although its genesis chimes with one other Caribbean honeypot, Mustique, which Colin Tennant (Lord Glenconner) bought on a whim in 1958, before inviting the nice and notorious (including Princess Margaret and Mick Jagger) to construct houses.
Grand design: Mark Palmer and his wife spend three nights on the Oasis Estate, which occupies the very best point on Moskito Island – Richard Branson’s latest private island paradise
‘No other private island comes near it,’ Mark says of Moskito Island, pictured
Moskito, 125 acres in total and lower than a 10-minute speed boat ride from Virgin Gorda within the British Virgin Islands, had been in Branson’s sights — literally — for the reason that day he first set foot on Necker.
There are lower than two miles between the 2 islands, separated by a spectacular coral reef teeming with tropical fish. The irrepressible Virgin boss, now 72, recurrently kitesurfs from Necker to Moskito.
In 2006, he heard that a hotel was to be built on Moskito — and didn’t just like the sound of it. If anyone was going to construct a hotel — or construct anything on Moskito — it could be him.
So Sir Richard approached the owner, who lived in a corner of the island where he ran a dive centre called Drake’s Anchorage, and acquired the entire shebang.
‘On our first day, I start counting the white sofas in the home but hand over at 24,’ says Mark. Above is the Oasis Estate’s Great Room
To rent the Oasis Estate (pictured above) in high season, it costs £200,000 every week
The deal was concluded a yr later — and so began certainly one of his more outlandish projects.
Apparently, his wife, Joan, questioned why he needed one other island, but by then he had drawn up plans for his own house on Moskito, the Branson Estate, which he thought might change into his everlasting home reasonably than the one on Necker.
The excellent news for the remainder of us is that we will now rent several of the homes — including Branson’s — on Moskito under the Virgin Limited Edition banner, on an all-inclusive basis, complete with a full complement of staff, use of the island’s private beach, an array of water sports, tennis and transport via buggies (no cars allowed) to whisk you hither and thither.
The bad news is that few of us could afford to accomplish that.
Moskito, 125 acres in total and lower than a 10-minute speed boat ride from Virgin Gorda within the British Virgin Islands, had been in Branson’s sights — literally — for the reason that day he first set foot on neighbouring Necker Island
A chef rustles up a pizza on the island. Each estate has its own staff, Mark reveals
Mark spies seven fluffy ring-tailed lemurs on the isle (file photo)
My wife and I actually have been invited to remain three nights on the nine-bedroom Oasis Estate, which occupies the very best point on the island.
We are usually not paying the £200,000 every week — which it normally costs in high season — but would give anything to be able to accomplish that, inviting family and friends to pack their bags and are available on over (‘we’ll pay for the home; you simply maintain your flights’).
The Oasis Estate looks like an enormous gleaming yacht, with 4 decks, complete with handrails on the upper floors and, appropriately, water wrapped across the constructing on three sides, ankle deep in parts, which from a distance gives the look of individuals walking on water.
There may be also a swimming area, with a swim-up bar, lit at night by fairy lights.
The ground to ceiling doors and windows one way or the other disappear throughout the day, giving uninterrupted views of assorted other islands in what’s called North Sound — including Eustatia, owned by Google co-founder Larry Page, and Saba Rock, which belonged to the Czech billionaire (who started off as a photocopier salesman) Petr Kellner until his fatal helicopter accident 18 months ago in Alaska.
The Oasis Estate is owned by Seattle software tycoon Naveen Jain. Mark spots his book, Moonshots: Creating A World Of Abundance, ‘lurking in certainly one of the bedside tables’
On our first day, I start counting the white sofas in the home but hand over at 24. There are 4 in the main bedroom alone, itself the scale of a tennis court in case you count the skin terrace.
An all-inclusive on an epic scale if you’ve gotten £200,000 to spend on every week’s holiday
I’m allowed to report that the Oasis Estate is owned by Seattle software tycoon Naveen Jain (a touch is his book, Moonshots: Creating A World Of Abundance, lurking in certainly one of the bedside tables).
Definitely, there’s no questioning the abundance to be present in his holiday lair. That is an off-the-scale Grand Designs project using tons of stone harvested from the excavations, white marble from Greece and toughened glass just in case any cousins of Hurricane Irma come to call.
We’ve got 4 bars to select from, including one on the roof where star-gazing is inspired. Speaking of which, Paris Hilton and her husband, Carter Reum, spent every week of their never-ending, round-the-world honeymoon here.
‘There’s no questioning the abundance to be present in his holiday lair,’ Mark says of the Oasis Estate
The Oasis Estate is an ‘off-the-scale Grand Designs project using tons of stone harvested from the excavations, white marble from Greece and toughened glass’
But Moskito doesn’t appear to be an It Girl kind of place, despite the inexhaustible Instagram opportunities. It’s far too discreet, self-contained.
What’s more, Sir Richard has been keen to draw homeowners whom, as he puts it to us once we pop over to Necker, ‘wish to make a difference and have the means to make a difference’.
There’ll only ever be ten plots.
During our visit, the ending touches are being put to an astonishing ‘estate’ called The Village, perched high on a cliff on the north end of the island, which has now joined the rental pool.
Above is certainly one of the beaches on Moskito island. Branson, now 72, recurrently kitesurfs from Necker to Moskito
Guests here — sleeping 18 — will stay mainly in individual Bali-style houses and I get the impression that the British owner likes a celebration.
How could they not when on the press of a button a twin-deck DJ station rises from the ground in certainly one of the bars, with strobe lighting and speakers the scale of oversized suitcases? Or when you may take the slide from the upper pool to the lower pool? Or visit a watery grotto under the essential house?
Or if you construct a no-vertigo-sufferers-please hot tub jutting out at right angles from certainly one of the cliffs, with a glass bottom so you may see the jagged rocks below?
The Oasis Estate’s master bedroom (pictured) is the scale of a tennis court in case you count the skin terrace, Mark reveals
Above is a bathtub within the Oasis Estate’s expansive master bedroom. Mark describes the island as ‘discreet’ and ‘self-contained’
There are 4 bars to select from on the Oasis Estate, including one on the roof where star-gazing is inspired
During Mark’s visit, the ending touches are being put to an astonishing ‘estate’ called The Village (above), perched high on a cliff on the north end of the island
Elegant Resorts (elegantresorts.co.uk, 01244 897294) offers seven nights at The Oasis Estate from £184,330 or £10,240 per person based on 18 guests in nine double rooms. The value includes international and domestic flights with British Airways via Antigua and Intercaribbean, all meals and drinks, private boat transfers, UK lounge access and all recreational facilities on Moskito Island. Valid for stays between June 1, 2023 and September 30, 2023. For more information on Moskito Island visit moskitoisland.virgin.com or call 0800 716919.
The Branson Estate comprises three separate houses linked by picket walkways and has a more traditional Caribbean vibe. As much as 22 people can sleep here and it has its own private beach.
Headland Home is the most important on the Branson Estate; the 2 other buildings belong to Sir Richard’s children, Holly and Sam, who spend quite a lot of time here with their respective families. Moskito has its communal areas, reminiscent of the Beach Club with its own bar and restaurant, tennis courts and watersports. On pristine Manchioneel Beach, there’s yet one more bar and restaurant and above this beach sits the Point Estate, which is occupied during our visit.
We will’t go in but we will leaf through the front door and admire the infinity pool that wraps around the essential living space.
Each estate has its own staff. Olivia, who grew up in Shrewsbury, is answerable for Oasis.
Before arriving, all guests are contacted by their house manager and asked about food and drinks preferences; spa treatments (therapists are brought over from Virgin Gorda) and the rest that is likely to be vital.
‘I actually have a thing about negronis,’ I had told Olivia on a WhatsApp call before leaving soggy Britain.
‘I get very upset if I see a bottle of Martini Rosso posing as a correct Vermouth.’ Sure enough, on arrival at Oasis, Olivia hands me a bottle of Antica Formula and has hidden any trace of Martini Rosso. I’m impressed.
But, then, our whole three days are an eye-opener, the type of which we’re unlikely ever to experience again.
There was just one hiccup: it rained almost solidly for 2 days.
A salutary lesson, perhaps, that there are some things money just can’t buy.