British Virgin Islands
On Necker Island, our service style means always being professional and honest, and constantly searching for new ways to improve our guest experience. Taking care of the environment is also high on our agenda. Necker Island is committed to sustainable development and respecting the local community and environment in which we operate.
Some of Necker's ambitions and initiatives include:
- Recruiting, training and promoting local staff where possible
- Experimenting with wind power to meet some of the island's energy needs
- Encouraging the flamingo population on island to breed - something done in only a handful of places worldwide
- Continually supporting the local community through Virgin Unite, the Virgin Group's entrepreneurial arm
- Introducing health programmes such as Richard's 0% challenge, to fight the battle of HIV around the world
We know that some changes can be made immediately and others may take some time, however we believe these are some of the areas we can make our business both more sustainable and kinder to the environment.
Meet the team
With the gorgeous Caribbean setting as your office, you might think that working on Necker Island wouldn't feel like work at all! Don't be fooled though, as our friendly team are hard at work behind the scenes at all hours of the day and night.
Our General Managers: Kenton and Leesa Jones
Kenton and Leesa are back at Necker Island but this time heading up the team as joint General Managers. They started their careers with Virgin Limited Edition a number of years ago on Necker where Kenton was the Activities Director and Operations Manager while Leesa was Spa Director. From there they took their adventure to the Atlas Mountains and held the positions of General Managers at Kasbah Tamadot for two years.
Kenton's favourite past time is kite-surfing (ideal for Necker Island) while Leesa has a huge fear of heights, which makes her decision to work for Virgin Atlantic Airways for five years an interesting one!
Head Chef: Clement Baris
Head Chef Clement, originally from Bordeaux is quite the jetsetter and has previously worked in France, Morocco and the UK before making the BVIs his home.
Clement steers towards light cuisines, has a passion for cooking fish and loves nothing more than preparing dishes that use the finest and most seasonal ingredients available, perfect for the Caribbean! He lives by a motto of ‘Less is more’ and when cooking he prefers to focus on two or three great flavours unless of course when he is preparing a Sunday roast with all the trimmings for the Branson family.
Chief Engineer: Adam Simmonds
Adam’s role is key in making positive changes for Necker Island including reducing our environmental impact and setting a great example for other island communities worldwide. Adam is responsible for managing all of our environmental and sustainable projects to ensure we’re at the forefront of environmental change and setting a precedent for other islands to follow! When Adam’s not in the office, you’re most likely to find him sailing, kite surfing or laying low with a book. With Necker Island as your backyard it’s a pretty ideal setting!
House Manager: Kathryn White
Kat lives and breathes the Virgin spirit, having worked for the group for the past 11 years and at most of the Virgin Limited Edition properties at some point. There is no typical day on the island and you’ll often see Kat buzzing around the island ensuring everything is looking its best and fielding calls from just about every member of the team.
Guest Services Manager: Lisa-Anne Redfern
Lisa is one of the busiest people on island and when she’s not managing a team of 10, she’s busy ensuring the island is up to the true Necker standard. Her team are responsible for our guests’ experience which can be anything from organising a romantic dinner for two or a casino night for 30 guests. Lisa’s Necker adventure started 8 years ago and her previous roles have included Head of Spa but now she is busy ensuring the guests are having an experience of a lifetime! When she’s not working you’ll find her out and about enjoying the Caribbean trade winds kitesurfing!
Wildlife Conservation Manager: Vaman Ramlall
It’s no secret Richard has a passion for animals and conservation and Vaman’s role consists of looking after all of our Necker animals along with developing both a conservation and breeding strategy for the Island. Necker Island has always been a haven for some of the rarer species of plants and animals and Vaman and his team currently look after over 300 flamingos, 8 species of lemurs, iguanas, tortoises and that’s just for starters! Vaman’s passion for animal conservation spills over into his free time too where he loves nothing more than educating the local children about wildlife living in the BVIs.
Watersports/Activities Manager: Marco Bava
Marco is the king of watersports on Necker – from kite-surfing, sailing, windsurfing and water-skiing to kayaking, Marco and his team can get you kite-surfing in 3 days! When Marco’s not busy looking after our guests or having fun out on the water, he is usually planning the next day’s activities with Sumo, our resident dog by his side. Marco also has many hidden talents, including being fluent in both French and Italian, so if you want a lesson on the water I’m sure we can arrange it.
Billionaire’s paradise: Inside Necker Island
We recently opened the doors to a BBC camera crew. If you missed Billionaire’s Paradise: Inside Necker here's a quick round-up....
Find out more here
In the past it’s been called barefoot luxury, but the feeling we aim to create when you arrive on island, whether it’s your first time or your 15th, is one of coming home. Unless you feel completely at ease from the moment you step onto the island we haven’t done our jobs properly. This is your home, but one where you don’t have to lift a finger. You may well forget what ‘real life’ is like during your stay, but that’s ok with us.
Get to know some of our team that featured on the programme:
Making Necker Island shine: our Groundskeeping Team
The Groundskeeping Team on Necker Island is responsible for keeping the 74-acre island pristine, which is no small task in a tropical climate! The team is headed up by Brian, who has been on the team since 1983. Brian was involved in the construction of the original Great House in the early 1980s and is now in charge of a team of seven including Ornet and Junior, our Deputy Head Groundsman.
Joining us from a local landscaping company in the British Virgin Islands, Junior has now been working on Necker Island for seven years. On an average day you’ll find him busy maintaining and preparing beaches for guest lunches and dinners, cutting and tidying foliage, clearing paths, grading roads and looking after all of the plant life on the island. When he’s not on island Junior enjoys spending time with his family exploring the BVI.
The ladies of the house: our Housekeeping Team
Agatha is our Assistant Head Housekeeper and has worked on Necker Island for over six years having worked for 15 years at a neighbouring resort in the British Virgin Islands. We asked her about the challenges of working in such a remote location and her comments were, “the hardest thing about being on an island is the elements we are exposed to. It is a continuous battle to keep the windows free of sea blast, and the sand and dust gets everywhere.” As you can imagine, departure and arrival days, when the whole island needs to cleaned and prepared for a new set of guests, is the busiest time for Agatha and her team. When she’s not making beds and looking after our guests she enjoys spending time with her children and family. She is also a very good cook!
Get active: Watersports and Activities Team
Elias is proof that hard work and passion really can take you make your dreams come true. Originally from Valencia in Spain, Elias found himself working part time in a kitesurfing shop in the south of England when he saw an order for six kites for Necker Island. The shop normally only sold six kites a month and so he asked who owned Necker Island and was told Richard Branson. On asking 'who is Richard Branson?', it was suggested he look Richard up on the internet. In the box with the kite order Elias enclosed a letter pitching for a job on the island; three months late he was working as a member of our watersports team. With over 16 different watersport activities available for our guests to try, Elias, along with the rest of the team, is kept very busy. When he’s not at work he’s still out on the water and is also a keen photographer and cook.