Episode 36 Travel Legends: Sir Richard Branson
Just about 30 years before he was knighted at Buckingham Palace, Sir Richard Branson co-founded Virgin Records, the independent record label, in 1970. He later expanded the brand into a multitude of business ventures, and today its reach spans not only records and radio, but also airlines, luxury hotels, cruises and even space travel. As for Branson today, he is considered by many as one of the most interesting entrepreneurs- and adventurers in the world. From breaking the record for a Transatlantic crossing in a powerboat in 1986 to circumnavigating the globe in a hot air balloon, he has turned adventure into his way of life. He lives with an extraordinary passion and an unbridled belief in limitless possibilities, and he’s become a global symbol of innovation, inspiration and hospitality.
In today’s episode, Melissa and Branson discuss his evolution into hospitality, covering his first flight to space, the idea behind Virgin Voyages luxury cruises, and how he creates boutique hotels that positively impact locals. Branson reveals what inspired him to enter the hotel industry and why environmental and community impact is a key tenant for him. From the fascinating origin story of Kasbah Tamadot, his first hotel, located in the Atlas Mountains of Marrakech to the Masai-run hotel in Kenya, Mahali Mzuri, built to protect the Great Migration, Branson gives a detailed perspective on what makes Virgin hotels stand apart the rest. Plus, get a sneak preview of his new hotel, Son Bunyola, opening in Mallorca on June 16. Thirty years in-the-making, Branson’s team converted an 1300-acre estate laden with ancient ruins into a 26-room-boutique property surrounded by vineyards, olive groves and some of the best cycling trails in the world. You can learn more about the hotel by clicking, here.
And this week on travel hacks and with the opening of Richard’s new hotel, Melissa shares recommendations for traveling in Mallorca, including villages to visit, places to eat and some of her favorite artisan shops.
Lightning Round with Richard:
- Something you always travel with that isn’t your phone or iPad? Notebook
- You are deeply passionate about ocean preservation. Tell us one of your favorite ways to experience the ocean—a view, a place to dive, a boat trip—where and why? I can’t think of a better way of experiencing the ocean than kitesurfing, and you’ll regularly find me kitesurfing between Necker Island and Moskito Island.
- What are you reading now? The Power of Geography by Tim Marshall
- What is next on your travel wishlist? I’m very happy to be heading back to Son Bunyola in Mallorca to stay in one of our beautiful villas and to see how the development of our new hotel is coming on, before it opens in June.
- What would your last meal be? Joan’s shepherd’s pie
Tune in live: May 25, 2023 at 12:00 p.m. ET
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