Segregation, sunshine and bikini-clad staff - what we learned from Richard Branson's Necker Island documentary

Celebrity guests, eyewatering bills and controversy about staff "segregation" are all part of Branson's luxury BVI home

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The Independent Online

Richard Branson showed the world his private Caribbean holiday island (and business HQ) last night, leaving millions of viewers reeling.

Almost three million people watched as the super-rich Virgin founder revealed his A-list holiday destination, which he bought for £120,000 in 1979 and is now work £60million, on BBC2's fly-on-the-wall documentary Billionaire's Paradise: Necker Island.

Branson said that he tried to ban relations between guests and staff but that lasted for a week at the £40k-a-night holiday resort, which is a favourite among household names, including Harry Styles. "That is not the way the island would run very well," Branson said.

Richard Branson bought the island in 1979 for £120,000

The documentary showed a picture of Branson kitesurfing with a naked woman wrapped around him, hinting at his holiday destination's carefree atmosphere and relaxed dresscode.

Branson, who is worth an estimated £3billion, works in flop-flops and T-shirts with his two blonde assistants by a turquoise pool, doesn't believe in office attire.

Necker Island is in the British Virgin Islands

Staff wear board shorts or bikinis to work, and accountant Millie spoke of her delight at being a naked "hot girl" for guests to eat sushi off at a recent party.


On Twitter, however, many questioned Branson's policy of keeping Western employees on luxurious Necker itself, while Caribbean staff stayed in neighbouring island Virgin Gorda.

Former BBC presenter Shaheera Asante tweeted:

In the programme, Branson repeatedly said he liked to keep the identities of A-list guests a secret, but did show off pictures of Princess Diana and sons William and Harry frolicking in the sea.

The resort was struck by a fire in 2011, and guest Kate Winslet rescued Branson's 90-year-old mother from the disaster.