At $150,000 for six days and five nights, you pretty much know you have made it if you are attending the Necker Cup on Necker Island, set in the idyllic British Virgin Islands.
And even if you have the money, you pretty much need to know someone who knows someone.
Owned by billionaire everywhere man Sir Richard Branson, the tournament (more of that later) is truly the playground of the rich and famous. If tennis is not your thing you don’t have to play.
Non-playing packages are just shy of $120,000 and off-island packages are $52,000.
None of the packages include air fares. Places are very limited. The 72-acre island only has 16 rooms.
Past guests are given first dibs in about April each year to reserve a spot for the tournament which is held in November.
If the spots aren’t taken, they are then offered to the general public.
Of course when you are on the island you will be rubbing shoulders with maybe John McEnroe, Bjorn Borg or Rafael Nadal.
Or it may be Jewel, Jimmy Buffett or Mike Tyson – all of whom are past guests or providers of the nightly entertainment.
From his home base in Atlanta, Georgia, Trevor Short, the President and Co-Founder of Premier Live, which manages the event, says the Necker Cup is like “nothing else on Earth”.
Of course he is circumspect about a lot of the detail to protect the integrity of the event and also the privacy of the clientele – which includes about 12 billionaires who have attended the event over the past five years.
Naturally, the parties on Necker Island are ones to remember. The mantra “what happens on the island stays on the island” certainly holds true. “People are free to take snaps of what’s happening on the island and share on social media – but a certain mutual discretion is upheld among guests and staff,” Short says.
Asked about an anecdote, he recalls the story of Bjorn Borg who stayed awake for four days “but only because I know he has already been quoted in the media saying this”.
The Necker Cup – the tournament itself – gives 16 teams the chance to not only see the tennis greats play, but play alongside and against them.
“Richard (as in Branson) is a fanatical tennis player and will play two or three times every day.
Individuals get to play virtually all the celebrities during the tournament. It is definitely something people can tick off their bucket list!” A recent expansion of the tournament has seen the introduction of golf – The Necker Open which in 2015 was hosted by Aussie great Greg Norman.
The tournament starts in Puerto Rico and finishes on the island. The tournament climaxes with the aptly named ‘End of the World’ party held at Sir Branson’s on-island retreat on the last night. Just 200 people attend. Auctions for one-of-a-kind items and experiences have raised over $4 million towards charitable causes.