Combine five-star facilities with home-from-home freedom on a resort villa holiday.
The privacy and independence of a villa holiday can be really appealing, especially if you’re travelling with a family. Plenty of space, total seclusion, freedom to come and go as you please, to shop for and cook delicious local food, are definite benefits. However sometimes self-catering holidays can leave you with a feeling of following the same old routine, just in a different location (although hopefully with nicer weather).
Luxury hotels across the globe are adding private villas to their portfolio of rooms and suites, whilst a new breed of 5-star all-villa resorts is opening up to rave reviews. These places offer a wealth of facilities. If your children are craving entertainment they can join the kids’ club or find friends around the pool, allowing you to indulge at the spa or try out some sporting activities. When it comes to food, many resorts offer private chefs if you want intimate in-villa dining but without the work of preparing it yourself, as well as access to gorgeous restaurants. If you’re feeling sociable, enjoy a cocktail at the bar, and then retreat to your own private sanctuary for some heavenly quiet time.
Here’s our pick of holiday hideaways that combine space and privacy with super-smooth hotel service or discover our full range of resort villa holidays.
Elounda Gulf Villas, Crete, Greece
Take in the unforgettable views over beautiful Mirabello Bay over the lip of your own private infinity pool at this small, family-run boutique resort. Nothing is too much trouble here and the friendly, dedicated staff make guests feel really welcome with thoughtful touches such as delicious Cretan treats on arrival, baby equipment and toys in your villa if you’re travelling with tiny ones and arranging everything from spa treatments to sailing trips. The sleek, spacious villas all have their own kitchen so you can shop and cook for yourself or let the resort’s culinary team prepare a private meal for you. For a change of scenery, try the resort’s three exquisite restaurants – we love the taverna which offers traditional fish dishes. Ten minutes away by complimentary shuttle bus, the private beach club is perfect place to unwind with a cool drink under the hot Greek sun.
Jumeirah Zabeel Saray Royal Residences, Dubai
Clustered around a magnificent lagoon pool, amidst tropical gardens, the 38 exclusive Royal Residences are the epitome of luxury and combine the privacy and exclusivity of villa living with the myriad of facilities on offer at the impressive Jumeirah Zabeel Saray. With opulent Ottoman décor, one of the world’s best spas and six gourmet restaurants, this is certainly a resort with the x-factor - so much so that glamorous Nicole Scherzinger filmed her judges’ house episode of the TV talent show here in 2012. The huge 4 and 5 bedroom residences all come with their 24-hour butler service to ensure your stay runs seamlessly.
Gili Lankanfushi, Maldives
Most Maldives resorts are made up of beach and water villas, offering varying degrees of luxury and privacy, but the huge, rustic-chic Private Reserve at Gili Lankanfushi is worthy of special mention. The 1400-square-metre over-water villa, with its expansive sundecks, private wine-cellar and spa facility, is only accessible by boat and enjoys uninterrupted views over the azure Indian Ocean. Relaxation is taken very seriously here, aided phenomenally by your own “Mr Friday” – discreet, friendly personal butlers who are there to make your every wish a reality, sometimes before you’ve even realised that you needed it.
Parrot Cay, Turks & Caicos
Fringed by a cluster of pearl strung archipelagos and the emerald waters of the North Atlantic Ocean, Parrot Cay is an unspoilt private island that pairs unbridled natural beauty with upscale man-made luxuries. British designer Keith Hobbs has devised a cosmopolitan selection of stunning white-washed or wood slated villas that even stars like Bruce Willis and Keith Richards can call their home. Contrasted against the development of hotels on Providenciales, Parrot Cay is a sanctuary of verdant gardens and an uncrowded mile-long golden beach. Serenity is a gift here, not a luxury, aided by the indulgence of the Como Shambhala Retreat Spa and its specialised Ayurveda treatments designed to relax and reinvigorate your body and mind. Trips to neighbouring islands will reveal the abundance of wildlife, where playful pink flamingos come to frolic and iguanas make regular appearances.
Point Yamu By COMO, Phuket – 12 & 3 bed pool villas
Starting at a massive 170sqm, with pools of 25sqm, even the one bedroom villas at Point Yamu are sprawling. Snow-white walls and matching furniture, kissed with turquoise accents, pack a contemporary punch, extending outside through vast floor-to-ceiling windows. Take the family, all of them; your harmonious three bedroom villa is a huge 386sqm, replete with an incredible 55sqm private infinity pool. You will be drawn through the villa and onto your generous elevated terrace, which proudly shows-off a panorama of the island-sprinkled, azure Andaman Sea. With a ‘yes of course’ tone, Point Yamu has a welcome that lasts your whole stay, imbuing a real sense of wellbeing. With chic interiors by Italian designer Paola Navone offering a unique expression of contemporary Thai luxury, alongside a COMO Shambhala wellness retreat and two world-class restaurants for Thai (Nahmyaa, the island offshoot of the world-renowned Nahm in Bangkok) and Italian cuisine, you won’t want to leave this Thai treasure!
The Datai, Langkawi
A villa that flows; along a pathway in ancient rainforest to a majestic entrance, across rich, timber floors, through open plan living, to private gardens and ultimately onto a flawless, award winning beach and the Andaman Sea. Reconnect with nature, rekindle your spirit and reignite your soul in this serene natural haven. The Beach Villa at the Datai Langkawi is a graceful and elegant residence that has more than its fair share of lush! An interior of stature, scattered with joyous art and incorporating everything you could possibly need. Your butler will ensure that you have a seamless and pleasurable stay, leaving you free to concentrate on the most important aspect of your holiday – you!