A tiny Florida beach town is rebuilding after a hurricane. Is it becoming a preserve of the rich?
When Richard Branson, the founder of the Virgin Group, announced that he would be moving to the Dominican Republic where he would spend his retirement, it was not only a sign that he was going to live there forever, but also that he had a long-term plan to turn his Caribbean retreat into a theme park for the rich.
The Virgin Group has some of the world’s most exclusive real estate: $3.6bn of property in 14 private islands, hotels, resorts and a private golf club.
But since the devastating Hurricane Irma struck the Caribbean island of St Andres during November, the group has invested millions of dollars, creating 12,000sqm of new space for its properties.
The resort town of St Andrés, which has been rebuilding since Hurricane Irma, has changed its name to the Virgin Islands after Richard Branson moved there
The island has become a destination for the rich and famous.
Here is a look at the new, multimillion-dollar development plans of a couple of the world’s richest people.
The most recent luxury development is the $1bn-a-year Virgin Hotels & Resorts in St Thomas and St John, US Virgin Islands, which will open its doors to the middle rungs of the hotel industry.
The Virgin Island chain is expected to open 25 hotels over the next three years, including five new ultra-luxury properties.
Branson owns the Virgin Group, which also owns the Royal Caribbean Cruiseships company.
He has been building his wealth for 30 years and one day he hopes his island retreat will be an “international destination for people around the world”.
The Virgin Hotels empire is expected to include 35 hotels over the next three years, including five new ultra-luxury properties
A Virgin hotel is set to open in 2018 in the Caribbean as part of the £1.35bn redevelopment of St Thomas and St John’s Virgin islands
Branson’s hotel will be the world’s largest: The St John’s-based Virgin Hotel will eventually have rooms to hold 80 people and a swimming pool that can hold 2,000 people. It is due to open