Branson Talks


Entrepreneur, hotelier and author Vanessa Branson shares her favourite home and away haunts

The Place That Keeps Drawing Me Back

Eilean Shona, a private island off Scotland’s west coast that we bought over 20 years ago. It’s defined by what isn’t there: there are no signposts telling you where the beaches are, no hot tubs, no lights. From rocky shores to sandy beaches, and a 1,000 foot climb with spectacular views of the Hebridean islands and the brooding ruins of Tioram Castle, Eilean Shona is Scotland in miniature and, perhaps not surprisingly, was the inspiration for J  Barrie’s fictional island of Neverland.

Perfect Soundtrack When I’m On the Move

A good memoir on Audible always keeps me amused. Before writing my own family memoir (One Hundred Summers, published in the spring by Mensch Publishing) I did a lot of research, and read a huge number of memoirs. I love the unpredictability of a memoir and how much you learn from it.

Luxury Villa or Swanky Boutique Hotel

Swanky Boutique Hotel: After a very good lunch with a great friend, while on holiday in Marrakech, we decided it would be fun to buy a small house in the city’s Medina. When the agent took us to El Fenn, then a crumbling majestic ruin, we instantly fell in love with it. It has since become the perfect retreat from which to enjoy this incredible city, and, having grown over the years, its 34 rooms, 3 swimming pools, spa and shop offer a calm sanctuary. Plus, we have the best roof top in town with spectacular views of the Atlas Mountains.

When I Travel, I’m Never Without

A swimming cap and goggles. I’m a passionate wild swimmer and tend to start every day with a bracing dip, even when on Eilean Shona. The island’s pristine waters is one of the glories of the world. At first paddle, the water feels very cold, but I wear a swimming cap and if your head is warm, you have nothing to fear.

The Best Souvenirs I’ve Brought Home

When I go to Marrakech, I still love to watch the metal workers skilfully crafting their products into shape with huge precision. Possibly the best souvenir I’ve bought, is a particular kind of decorative coat rack which are available in the souk. Apart from being very pleasing aesthetically, the rack uses little wall space by coming out, rather than lying flat along the wall. In El Fenn’s shop, we sell the best work by young, local designers who use age-old artisanal techniques to create fresh and modern pieces.


Abode Affiliates

  • Alleyne Real Estate
  • Blevins Franks
  • Coldwell Banker
  • Crane Resorts
  • The Hideaways Club
  • Monaco Real Estates
  • RDO
  • Rosemont Consulting
  • St Francis Links
  • Unique Home Stays
  • Yoo
  • Worldwide Dream Villas
  • Cyan International Properties
  • Enigma Yachts Limited
  • Cornerstone Tax Advisors
  • Lida Cucina
  • Pedini London
  • Alexander James
  • Wings
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  • Ibiza Transit Express
  • Oyster Yachts
  • Jumeirah
  • Wall Street Luxury
  • Heron Real Estate
  • Edenhurst
  • MG&AG
  • Gama Property
  • Touch Design Group
  • St Edward
  • Ultra Villa
  • Luxury Italian Living
  • Habitat First Group
  • BDO
  • 7Storeys
  • Smart Currency Exchange
  • Prestige Architects
  • Worldwide Property
  • Panorama
  • Dimora
  • Dominic McKenzie Architects
  • The Coastal House
  • Chamonix Ski Chalet
  • Luxe Caribbean Properties
  • Harry Manning
  • Smart Living
  • Isle Blue
  • MAS Marbella
  • London Fractions
  • Page Architects
  • Millgate
  • Jersey Finance
  • guernsey-relocations-logo
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  • b-williams-management
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  • author-interiors
  • Wilkinson Beven
  • BoConcept
  • Ante Vrban
  • Experience Invest
  • Move 2 Gozo
  • Deborah Garth
  • Extex
  • You home
  • Ra Shaw Designs
  • Caudwell Collection
  • eastwood private client
  • accanto-interiors
  • Fritz Hansen
  • capital-rise
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  • Tina Shone Group
  • Taplow riverside
  • Aimo
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  • Rusk
  • Consilium Expert Group
  • Ben Krupinski Builder
  • Swoffers
  • Guernsey Relocation Services
  • Douglas Graneto
  • Strutt & Parker
  • wilsons
  • MJC Associates
  • plainspace
  • Fine & Country
  • Bramble Ski
  • Page Architects
  • Penthouse queen
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  • taylor wimpey
  • cooper-gardner
  • M Design Architects
  • codan
  • Lovells
  • London DE
  • Prime Lands Group
  • Bellegarde Estates
  • Sinclair
  • Pippa Paton
  • Ecole d'Humanite
  • Benedek Lewin
  • Inspired Villages
  • Huelin Homes
  • Gaudin
  • Lovells Property
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  • Paseo
  • Lemay + Escobar
  • Octagon
  • Locate Isle of Man
  • Newlands of Stow
  • Hawksford
  • Holdun
  • St George's International School
  • Schule Schloss Salem
  • AR Architecture
  • lazaro
  • Sella Concept
  • Blakstad
  • miller interior

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