Moskito Island, near Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands, was purchased by Sir Richard Branson in 2007. It neighbors his Necker Island. The history of the name isn’t clear, but is said to originate with the Miskito Indians who traveled from Central and South America through the Caribbean. President Barack Obama learned to kiteboard there shortly after leaving office in 2017.
Stays on the island are now bookable through Virgin Limited Edition and the destination has been getting incredible press as an over-the-top gorgeous (and expensive) retreat.
I’m recently back from a stay at the Oasis Estate, one of four bookable properties on the island, which runs $19,000 per night in low season and $28,000 per night in high season. That price is inclusive of meals and most activities as well as boat transfers from Beef Island airport and up to 18 people can stay on property.
Here’s their new promotional video for the Oasis Estate, and I’d note that staff in the video are actually staff on property.
Visiting The British Virgin Islands
The resort is primarily accessible via Beef Island airport off Tortola, though I’m told that B.V.I. is working on providing for direct transfers from St. Thomas (where you’d clear British Virgin Islands immigration in prior to departure, so no hassles on arrival).
In the meantime I flew into Saint Thomas on American Airlines. From there it’s a quick 29 mile flight. I had to register in advance on the Island’s visitor portal, uploading a negative test taken within 5 days of travel, and show my QR code when I landed.
Once on Beef Island I had to show proof of full vaccination and take another Covid-19 antigen test (US$50) prior to entering the country. Then it was a quick van ride to the boat dock for transfer to Moskito Island.
On the return I took a Cape Air flight from Beef Island to San Juan (~ $300 one-way, and just under 45 minutes in the air). Since I was in B.V.I. for only three days, my negative Covid-19 test on arrival was still valid for departure to the U.S., but another antigen test was provided for the day before departure. More paperwork for bureaucratic processes is always better, I say.
How Did I Wind Up On Moskito Island?
Long-time readers know that I don’t do junkets. If there’s an event I want to attend, where I can’t just pay for it, I’ll make a charitable donation to cover what it would have cost. I don’t want to accept ‘freebies’ – though I’ll accept lunch ordered into a conference room as part of a media briefing for instance.
I pay for my own flights for events I do attend, too. For instance I paid my own way to Singapore for the unveiling of their new business and first class products in 2017. I do some consulting, though mostly for investment firms and if I’ve ever consulted on a product I disclose it any time I write about it.
So, how did I find myself on Moskito Island in the British Virgin Islands? Moskito is one of two neighboring islands owned by Sir Richard Branson – the other is Necker Island.
Necker Island As Seen From Moskito Island
There are no current redemption options for Moskito. There are a half dozen estates on Moskito, and the one I’d be staying on, now known as the Oasis Estate, was just added to Virgin Holidays. It was previously known as the Jain Estate.
New loyalty program Bilt, which is aimed at renters (and whose new credit card gives one point per dollar on rent payments, which is handles with no fee), was founded by Ankur Jain. And he invited out a bunch of folks (including Frequent Miler) to the island to talk about the program and give him feedback.
I wouldn’t have gone, since I’d been traveling for work the previous week, but Richard Kerr (formerly of Award Travel 101 and The Points Guy) was the one asking, and Richard’s a great guy. And a couple of friends were part of the trip as well. So after vacillating for a bit I bought my flights. I still didn’t know quite what to expect, but an executive for one of Bilt’s points transfer partners who was on the island the week before me texted proof of life. So I went.
The Best Spot On Moskito Island?
The Branson Estate is right on the water, which is incredible. That means it’s steps from water sports, which makes sense from everything I’ve seen of Richard Branson.
Branson Estate On Moskito Island
But I actually think the location of the Oasis (Jain) Estate at the top of the island may be the best, which 360 views from almost everywhere.
The home itself is just beautiful, with glass and outdoor spaces everywhere.
It really is the outdoors that’s the highlight, of course.
Recreational activities like sport courts are shared on the island. Golf carts are easy to arrange. Staff, provided by Virgin Holidays Limited Edition, are friendly as can be. And there’s a resident chef on the property. His food is excellent as well, and service across the board is friendly and responsive. Olivia Callaghan, the head of guest services on the island, is a particular treasure, proactively organizing my departure that was earlier than the rest of the group, and seeking me out with details without my having to ask after them.
Coffee, cocktails and snacks always available, whether indoors or at the swim up bar. Fresh juices, pastry, and order off of a menu at breakfast, and the chef prepares some great dishes for lunch and dinner. Everything is taken care of.
Moskito Island Is A Great Experience, But More Than I’ll Spend To Return
I had my own room, but a shared bathroom. The room’s door lock didn’t work, but there was no one on the island to be afraid of. The shower in the bathroom didn’t get very warm, though the outdoor shower off of that shower certainly did.
My Room At The Oasis Estate
I wouldn’t ever rent this out myself at over $20,000 a night – even amortizing it over the maximum number of guests (‘sleeps 18’ though I understand they’re building another bungalow with bunk beds for kids) it’s still more than $1000 a night per person. But it was an incredible spot for sure. And ultimately as beautiful as the setting is, it was the people I was with rather than the place that made the trip special.
[…] I join the Miles To Go podcast. I actually recorded this at the swimup bar of the Oasis Estate on Richard Branson’s Moskito Island. […]