Richard Branson's home destroyed in Category 5 hurricane

Sir Richard Branson’s private island Necker was left partially destroyed by Hurricane Irma but the tycoon survived the storm holed up in his wine cellar.

The Virgin boss and his family – including his son Sam and several other house guests – bunkered down in the basement area of his home rather than flee from incoming winds of up to 185mph.

But since the worst of the devastating storm passed overnight it emerged that the billionaire and his clan remained unscathed – despite the physical damage it left in its wake.

His son Sam wrote on Instagram: “Glad to say that all humans on Necker are ok although a lot of buildings destroyed.

“Very concerned for our friends and everyone on the neighbouring islands and people in its path,” he added.

“Please don’t take this hurricane lightly if it is heading your way. If your building is not very solid, do find somewhere safe! Homes can be rebuilt but lives can’t.”

His father Richard hours before the storm revealed he and his family and guests had decided to hunker down in the wine cellar as the deadly storm whipped up.

“Experienced a night of howling wind and rain as #hurricaneirma edges closer. Expecting full force in about 4 hours, we’ll retreat into a concrete wine cellar under the house,” he wrote on Instagram, “Wonderful team calm and upbeat.”

The tycoon also appeared to be enjoying himself ahead of the hurricane – a Category 5, which is one of the strongest storms ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean.

“The atmosphere is eerie but beautiful”, he wrote in a blog post.

The billionaire later revealed how his family and house guests moved down to the wine cellar in his home as Irma raged closer to the remote Necker island.

“I suspect there will be little wine left in the cellar when we all emerge”, Mr Branson wrote.

About 100 people live and work on the billionaire’s private island. Private groups can pay up to $80,000 a night to stay on the outpost in the Caribbean.

Irma raged through the Atlantic Ocean on Wednesday and left a trail of devastation on the the islands of Barbuda, St Martin and Puerto Rico as it moved west with howling winds and rain.

While Hurricane Irma has sparked fears of unprecedented devastation from people in the storm’s path, billionaire Richard Branson does not seem worried.

In fact, he seems to be enjoying the opportunity to quaff some wine.

The eccentric Virgin founder is waiting out Irene, one of the strongest storms ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean, in the British Virgin Islands despite potentially sitting in the storm’s path.

“The atmosphere is eerie but beautiful”, Mr Branson wrote in a blog post.

Irma has already begun pummeling the archipelago, and the National Hurricane Center warned of water levels surging by as much as 11 feet.


Rather than anxiety, Mr Branson projected festiveness on the night before the storm was expected to hit. He seemed delighted to be sharing space with his guests, saying “I haven’t had a sleepover quite like it since I was a kid” and noting that he plans to wait out the storm in his wine cellar.

“I suspect there will be little wine left in the cellar when we all emerge”, Mr Branson wrote.

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