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Richard Branson's piece of heaven

Looking from the pool to the Long Room on Richard Branson's Makepeace Island. Photo: Darryn Smith / Sunshine Coast Daily
Looking from the pool to the Long Room on Richard Branson's Makepeace Island. Photo: Darryn Smith / Sunshine Coast Daily Darryn Smith

"YOU step on the island and you feel like you are a million miles away and yet you are only a stone's throw from Noosa.''

Makepeace Island general manager Nick Jones knows he has one of the best jobs in the world.

And now he's keen to share Richard Branson's little slice of Bali with even more guests.

Nick took the Daily on a tour of the 10ha island along with VIP guests from Australian Tourism Export Council Symposium being hosted by Coolum Golf and Spa this week.

We were immediately struck by the peace and serenity of the heart-shaped retreat in the Noosa River as we navigated the wooden pathways under an open moonlit sky.

Dreams of 50th birthday functions, staff retreats, or parties with friends were discussed as we sipped on Moet and ate the most delightful delicacies from the kitchen.

More flexible pricing packages mean the island is no longer the domain of only the super rich.

After paying $2800 a night for exclusive use of the island, charges range from $575 per adult per night for seven to 22 guests or $890 per adult per night for one to six guests.

The package includes breakfast, lunch and dinner, beverages, airport and marina transfers, and exclusive use of the island and all its facilities.

Accommodation includes private bures and villas, a Bali House with four bedrooms and bathrooms and The Boat House, a small, self contained studio room which overlooks the river.

Gardens and indoor decor include giant sculptures, teak, granite and stone finishes, volcanic boulder bathtubs, ornamental lighting and original antiquities

The star centrepiece of the island is a 500,000 litre lagoon pool with lap lane, dive spots and 15-person spa.

You can quickly imagine yourself reading a book as you kick back in one of the chairs that dangle over the bright blue water.

A two-storey wantilan overlooks the pool and river and features Balinese style lounges complete with silk furnishings.

The island does not have a liquor licence so it's a BYO affair although staff can order in whatever you need before you arrive.

Nick landed his dream job after managing a resort in the British Virgin Islands where Richard Branson owned a neighbouring resort.

"His mecca would get booked out so often that the poor guy could not stay on his own island,'' Mr Jones told the Daily.

Sir Richard and Virgin Blue co-founder Brett Godfrey developed their private Noosa getaway over several years.

The buildings were designed and constructed in Bali and shipped here to be reassembled.

All the furnishings, sculptures, antiques and lighting are one-off pieces acquired in Bali, Java and elsewhere in Indonesia.

"They were looking to create a special place in a very special part of the world and they have certainly achieved that,'' Nick said.

While Sir Richard's busy schedule means he's only an occasional visitor, Mr Godfrey, who is based in Melbourne, often brings his family and friends up.

"You can step away from the rat race, look across the Noosa River, wake up in the morning and have a little fish,'' Nick says of the simple charms.

Sir Richard loves the view across the river.

Nick says the resort is hoping delicate negotiations may see it win council support to host small weddings but is mindful of not upsetting a couple of neighbours across the river. After all, they like the quiet life too.

ISLAND FACILITIES

Lagoon swimming pool and 15-person spa

Two-storey relaxation wantilan including day beds, lounge chairs, and pool table

Media room with video, DVD and satellite TV

Floodlit tennis court

Hobie cats for sailing

Outdoor cinema

A launch to host a lake dinner or cocktails

Topics:  noosa, richard branson, tourism, virgin


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