Sir Richard Branson from a set of photos, exclusive to the Bulletin, that was taken in 2002. | Humphrey Carter


Sir Richard Branson is said to be "delighted" this Christmas by the fact that he has been able to buy back the iconic Son Bunyola estate in Banyabulfar he sold 13 years ago after being refused permission to build a luxury hotel.

The property has been repurchased for £11.2 million.

In a statement, Virgin Limited Edition said that "Branson’s privately owned collection of award-winning luxury hotels and retreats, Virgin Limited Edition, is excited" by the prospect of relaunching the project to develop what he had told the Bulletin during an exclusive tour of the estate shortly before he was forced to pull out would be "the best eco-friendly five-star hotel in Europe".

Jon Brown, Managing Director of Virgin Limited Edition, said: "It is well known that both Virgin Limited Edition and Sir Richard Branson have historic ties and a great fondness for Majorca and we are delighted that Son Bunyola will be joining the collection." Son Bunyola is a large private, historic estate which is made up of one main finca building dating back to the 1800s surrounded by vines, citrus fruit trees, almond and olive trees.

There are also three individual villas - Sa Punta, Sa Terra Rotja (which the Virgin Group never actually sold) and Son Balagueret, each of which has its own private grounds. Virgin Limited Edition intends to renovate the three villas in time for the summer season of 2016.

The estate is approximately 4,000 acres and includes 5 kms. of stunning coastline. It also includes a 200-year-old mansion with a circular turret one end and a square one at the other.

The Bulletin has learned that, as a company, Virgin Limited Edition’s recruiting policy is to source people as locally as possible, integrating and giving back to surrounding communities by offering training and employment. It looks forward to implementing this with its exciting new venture in Majorca.

His other Virgin Limited retreats include: Ulusaba Private Game Reserve next to Kruger National Park in South Africa; Kasbah Tamadot in Morocco; The Lodge in Verbier, Switzerland; Mahali Mzuri, a tented safari camp in the Maasai Mara National Reserve in south-western Kenya; and Mont Rochelle Hotel and Mountain Vineyard near Cape Town in South Africa.