I remember being rather sad when I heard that Sir Richard Branson was pulling out of Majorca after his plans to develop the Son Bunyola estate in Banyalbufar into a luxury hotel were halted by the local authorities. That was two decades ago.
Branson had big plans for Majorca. At the time he was talking about opening one of his Virgin music stores in Palma and even producing his own brand of oil at Son Bunyola, Virgin olive oil. He was due to invest in excess of 30 million dollars on the island. But unfortunately it all came to nothing. Initially, it was said locally that Branson had been forced out by short-sighted local officials and this did appear to be the case.
The tycoon had sold his beautiful La Residencia hotel in Deya to the Orient Express Group and it appeared that his connection with the island had ended. But even though he no longer had any business interests on the island he continued to be regular visitor staying at La Residencia. The bond between Majorca and Branson had not been completely cut.
Fast track to three years ago and Branson buys Son Bunyola again and the hotel project idea is revived.This week the Council of Majorca gave him the nod to start building work on the main manor house. This is certainly good news and hopefully Branson will soon be able to say that he owns one of the most luxurious hotels in the Mediterranean. His project will further add to Majorca's international appeal and give the island an extra lift.