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Villa Biru Bali

22 Best Luxury Villas in the World to Check Out Now

We long for magnificence, seeking it out in all we do and wherever we travel. Shared memories are among the greatest of these treasures– brushstrokes we cherish for a lifetime. What better backdrop for these moments than extraordinary villas? Sacred spaces we fill with experiences, moments we’ll undoubtedly weave into the fabric of our lives, at once legend and myth. Are you a king in search of a castle? Is a queen searching for her lair? Look no further. Find your sense of splendour here, be it an intimate celebration, family reunion or turning the page to a magnificent chapter in your story.

Fern Close Villa's extravagant appointments
Fern Close Villa’s extravagant appointments

1. FERN CLOSE

Breathe in the exotic, Cape Town
Ease into luxury with adoring staff Ephraim and Catherine, a couple who reflect the villa’s unique personality and charm. Their warm welcome provides a perfect place to begin your vacation in storied Cape Town. Located at the end of a cul-de-sac and equipped with an ADT security system, Ephraim will drive you anywhere you wish to go. A stunning mountain view, poolside terrace and barbeque sit steps away from a veranda with an outdoor fireplace. The space feels like a living room and will not only help you unwind upon arrival but will undoubtedly be a touchstone for charting Cape Town fun as well as your future hopes and dreams. Guests will find the luxury accommodations equally breathtaking. A touch of the colonial and tribal flavour the appointments and furnishings throughout the estate. Light and airy, the villa is an invitation to expand the senses and awareness. It invites you to breathe in the exotic. Extravagant appointments include exquisite chandeliers, china and luxurious bedding will make anyone feel like a king or queen. For booking sjvillas.co.uk

2. ADMIRAL’S VIEW

Hideaway with stunning views of False Bay
Admiral’s View villa will entice you back to the days of years-long voyages and widow walks. Welcome to your hideaway on False Bay, South Africa, in the shadow of Hottentots-Holland Mountain floating precariously close to the Cape of Good Hope. Romance and adventure await where two great oceans meet and within two acres of Italian-inspired gardens. Settle into the dreamy among exquisitely furnished rooms with many original 1920s architectural details, including a Venetian chandelier. A small library in the master bedroom beckons you to relax in the comfort of days gone by. Acres of terraces and a large pool invite you outdoors to explore grottos and lush landscapes. Curl up on a lounge, have lunch under the collonaded verandah, or simply throw a picnic blanket on the lawn. After a day spent in the charming coastal hamlet of Simonstown or surfing at Muizenberg, you’ll enjoy cooking up a storm in the kitchen or coming home to an in-house catered dinner. Guests will enjoy retiring to three luxurious bedrooms some of which include a fireplace, balcony and en suite bathrooms. For booking iconvillas.travel

3. VILLA 120

Panoramic Peace in Uruguay
Only a bike ride from the quaint town of José Ignacio, your oasis feels a world away on the shores of the Atlantic, appointed with all the luxury you’d expect from a getaway designed by Uruguayan architect Mario Connio. Light, bright construction of Villa 120 invites you to cast real word cares at the door and become a specialist at living. Views of the ocean and sounds of the sea ease your transition and beckon you to explore the hideaway your way. Utmost privacy assures you and your guests the freedom to play unfettered. An open floor plan with six bedrooms provides a breezy backdrop for fun and family. Kick back at the lunch pavilion where an outdoor kitchen and professional barbeque grill is sure to become a family favourite after an afternoon spent around the pool. Parklike grounds have plenty of space for running around and playing games with the kids. Afterwards, hit the roomy wooden deck to sloth out on one of the lounges, or take a swing in a hammock. You may never want to leave. For booking brazilianbeachhouse.com

4. VILLA BIRU

Barefoot Bali, let the outside in
Welcome to your perch at Jungut Batu Bay on the small, tropical island of Nusa Lembongan where cars do not exist and lavish oceanfront seats to jaw-dropping sunsets are required. Traditional Balinese architectural details like its pitched, thatched (Alang Alang) roof set the tone for relaxed elegance. Plenty of ceiling-to-floor sliding glass doors in four oceanview bedrooms guaranteeing an open-air lifestyle that calms your mind. The yoga hut provides a sanctuary to soothe the body. With two housekeepers, a cook, staff to take care of the grounds and all the modern conveniences of European appliances, you’ll be living in style on this out-of-the-way island adventure. World-class snorkelling is only a few steps away from Villa Biru with surf breaks and shipwrecks within paddling distance. Fishing charters find you sailing the bluest waters you have or will ever see. Enjoy the bounty of your catch in the villa prepared by staff ready to meet your every need, culinary or otherwise. A short ferry ride back to Sangur, Bali will find you longing for your time in tropical paradise. For booking contemporaryhotels.com.au

5. LA MUSE DU BASSIN

Peace by the beach in France
Nestled into a dune in Basque country between the ocean and the forest, this charming cottage near Cap Ferret lulls you into a world of peace and restoration. The country French style villa comforts your soul and encourages family gatherings at the outdoor picnic table or around the heated pool. A central fireplace in the living room will be a family favourite at the end of a busy touring day. Explore the old oyster villages at the seaside. Enjoy the local markets by sampling France’s bountiful harvest including wine and seafood or take an excursion to the endless sand beaches of Arcachon Bay on the Côte d’Argent while admiring the architecture of the Arcachon villa, constructed in the style of many older homes built in France. Back at your cottage, the well-equipped kitchen will indulge your need to cook all your favourites from the market and maybe even cook a few new French recipes for your loved ones. Tranquillity is a hallmark of your time here. Find that space to be with your whole family or the one you love amongst the refined elegance of country living. For booking chicvillas.fr

6. PURE LUXE PROVENCE

Where history meets luxury in Provence
Be a part of history when you enter your chateau at Point du Gard where the legendary playwright Jean Racine stayed. Mr. Racine would be jealous of your luxurious features though which cater to your guests’ every whim including an outdoor theatre, steam room and a rooftop jacuzzi with sweeping panoramic views of the Gorges de l’Ardèche. With accommodations for up to twenty four people, you can have the best of both worlds, intimacy and celebration, with those closest to you. Your guests will enjoy lounging and be rejuvenated around the pool in this enchanting spot, among the vistas of what is known as the European Grand Canyon, home to some two thousand caves, some of them painted. Its most famous cave, Chauvet Cave, is sure to be a highlight of any visit. After exploring the natural wonders your luxury chateau provides wonders of its own, a perfect place for everyone to share their tales of Provence. Ten exquisite bedrooms, most with en-suite bathrooms provide privacy and a restful retreat from the business of the holiday. With golf, hiking, canyoning, museums, and potholing nearby everyone will have great memories to share. For booking chicvillas.com

Villa Elia Puglia
Villa Elia Puglia

7. VILLA ELIA

Paradise in the beautiful city

Recently restored and refurbished, Villa Elia’s gorgeous architectural details and stately stone staircase, contoured with the steps of countless people over the ages, invites you to enjoy her majestic garden spot. Old world elegance echoes in her massive arched ceilings. Up to seventeen guests can instantly transport to a place where anything’s possible among everyday luxury in eight unique rambling bedrooms. Eclectic, exotic furnishings include local and contemporary pieces from Brown’s Hotel, London. Sweeping vistas overlook Gallipoli, “Beautiful City” in Italian, and the Ionian Sea. Meander among olive and fruit trees and outdoor living areas before settling in by the pool, steps away from a shaded pergola and pool house with showers. The villa provides a perfect place to dream as a family or honour the beginning of one with the exchange of vows. A huge country kitchen with an open fire will most likely be the spot where you’ll plan your vacation adventures and simply provide an elegant place to land for a midnight snack. In-Villa cooking can include all your Italian favourites. For booking thethinkingtraveller.com

8. TRULLI ANDREA

Storybook trulli with two pools
There’s something primal about entering the Trulli at once elegant and prehistoric. One of the unique two-family luxury villas in the world, you’ll enjoy the feeling of ancient spaces that seem to unfold with your every step, including six bedrooms. High atop a hill on an olive orchard, gorgeous views of the countryside and expansive lawns will give your heart a lift. A wood-burning pizza oven sets the tone for fun, food and adventure. Select many options of luxury services from yoga instructor to boat tours to a shopping service to a masseuse. With added touches like underfloor heating, two separate infinity-edge pools with jacuzzis and complimentary continental breakfast preparation, you and your guests are guaranteed to feel pampered. An excellent kitchen with many comfortable seating areas inside and out ensure an experience rich in relaxation. Leave the cooking to the chef, or take centre stage yourself. When it’s time to take in the local colour be sure to tour Alberobello, a storybook town with many trulli, a signature of The Valle d’Itria. For booking thethinkingtraveller.com

9. MELITINI

Sweet like honey, Greece
You’ll never tire of the views at Melitini and fully understand how it got its name sweet like honey in Greece. Gorgeous and expansive, the Aegean envelops you as it once had ancient explorers. The villa caters to an intimate experience for up to six people boasting three bedrooms featuring en-suite showers, balconies, an elegant family bathroom including a Jacuzzi. Its expansive ocean view outdoor terraces framed by French windows will give you the feeling of sailing rather than staying there. Overlooking Skopelos Town, on the island of Skopelos, the villa provides the perfect setting for a low-tempo holiday. The first-floor terrace provides an enchanting setting for many al fresco feasts or sunset cocktails. Explore the harbour, tavernas and shops of the village or take an excursion around the island to find your favourite of some seventy kilometres of beaches. Enjoy the adventure of hiking down to the sea or opting for the easily accessible. Hike to the summits of the local mountains, like Mount Delphi, and explore the many monasteries that dot the trails along the way. After touring, nourish your soul with a swim in the pool overlooking the ocean. For booking thethinkingtraveller.com

10. I FARAGLIONI

Sea Stacks of Capri
Coffee in one hand, Capri’s sea stacks in view, there’s no better way to wake up–– on your own private terrace overlooking the Mediterranean. The villa sleeps eight and features a main house and annexe. Both are only steps away from the pool. Surprises abound inside the main house where natural rock has been allowed to enter into living spaces, becoming part of the villa’s architecture. The main house’s two bedrooms have en-suite bathrooms, one boasts an ocean view balcony. The annexe incorporates two separate bedrooms and a small kitchen. The vibe is comfortable and contemporary with a focus on the al fresco experience. Take your pick of adventures around the island. Sites to explore include the Grotto Azzurra, the infamous Blue Grotto, and beautiful botanic gardens of Giardini de Augusto. After experiencing enchantment that is uniquely Capri, enjoy relaxation around the pool on the outdoor terrace where there is plenty of shaded spaces for party-goers. The staff is happy to help you host an elegant oceanside dinner on the terrace or streamline cocktails at a pool party. For booking dolcevitavillas.com

11. CAMPS BAY HOUSE

Twelve Apostles at Cape Town
A short walk from Campus Bay and steps away from private, secluded Bakoven beach, your modern luxurious getaway greets you with unmatched views of the Twelve Apostles and Table Mountain. One of the best locations to take advantage of all that Cape Town has to offer, live large in seven bedrooms which can welcome up to fourteen guests. Take part in discovering the local Wine Route, golf courses and Robben Island. Adventurers might seek a tandem paraglide at Lion’s Head, take in a surfing lesson, or perhaps a Table Mountain hike that leads to your first abseil. Then again opting for a relaxed day at the cafes and shops of fashionable Campus Bay beach might be just what you need. Hard-won harmony has brought about a renaissance of culture and art that will inspire long after your last bag has been unpacked. When touring turns to partying you have it covered with an expansive kitchen and open floor plan that lets everyone in on the action. A tour guide, party planner––whatever you need will be organised for you, from cooks to bicycles. For booking sjvillas.co.uk

12. THE OBSERVATORY

Get in the game, South Africa
The Observatory, a secluded reserve in the northern mountains of South Africa is a funky call to the decadent. It sits on massive Leobo Private Reserve, a 20,000-acre estate that evokes a unique type of excitement. Accommodations for six include a children’s triple bunk room. An infinity pool wraps around The Observatory and its distinctive rooftop deck and jacuzzi provides endless views of the Savannah. You will only now discover the true meaning of star gazing and perhaps learn to wish on them as never before. On staff, safari guides answer your call to the wild and help you discover Africa’s mysteries. Excursions include hippo camping, kayaking, fishing, skydiving, target shooting, heli-picnics, and fishing. No matter what you’ve come to master, the hunt of a perfect game photo, an ultimate quad bike safari, or the ability to be still, The Observatory– designed and built by award-winning architects Silvio Rech and Lesley Carstens––is your place to get in the game. Should you need it, the reserve’s eight other villas accommodate larger groups. You’ll talk about for Leobo Private Reserve for a lifetime. For booking sjvillas.co.uk

13. THE LODGE

African hotspot, Mozambique
This ticket to paradise takes you to four separate luxury lodges with private plunge pools on the remote San Sebastian Peninsula, an ultimate escape only the massive Vilanculos Costal Wildlife Sanctuary can provide. An infinity pool and palapas frame the main lodge’s panoramic view of the Indian Ocean. The romance of porch swings and oversized everything, including furniture and living spaces, signal you’ve arrived. Everything becomes super-sized, including your desires. A full staff enjoys turning your whims into reality. With enough room for a posse, you have plenty to entertain including horseback riding, scuba diving and big game fishing to snorkelling, bird watching and island-hopping picnics. Private terraces equipped with rope-hung daybeds invite you to lounge in luxury and entertain in some of the unique spaces, including a dhow bar and open fire lounge areas. The owners enjoy showing guests around their area of Mozambique and are passionate about passing on their love for conservation and preservation. Not to worry, the resort comes complete with modern conveniences like air conditioning, wifi and satellite tv. For booking sjvillas.co.uk

14. THANDA ISLAND

Beach house romance, Tanzania
A light and airy Thanda Island beach getaway is just the cure for the winter blues. Elegant touches give you a feeling of peace throughout the villa. A Steinway grand piano and indoor aquarium are some of the unique features that delight upon arrival. This is the place to get your water on. Sailboats are ready to take you on a sunset cruise. Gear up with on staff diving and snorkelling instructors. Or, hire the boatman on staff to help you land an exotic catch for dinner. You name the toy, the beach house has it––kayaks, stand up paddleboards, water skis, tubes, wakeboards, jet skis. And if you have to get out of the water for a while, consider playing a few games of tennis. The estate comes complete with a helicopter pad in case you long to make an aerial tour of Tanzania. When its time to rest for the day, guests will find their en suite luxurious king-sized bedrooms of their dreams. The villa includes two incredible traditional Tanzanian bandas that add a touch of the exotic to your adventure. For booking sjvillas.co.uk

15. THE PALM HOUSE

Frangipani and fun, Koh Samui
Complimentary flowers and fruit are part of the grand welcome for your friends and family at The Palm House, set to host twenty of your besties. The scent of frangipani over twelve acres of landscaped gardens heightens your sense of the exotic. It’s all about fun at The Palm House with twenty-five staff members ready to tailor make a vacation of a lifetime, including two Thai chefs and one European chef, with 24-hour concierge services. Your vacation might begin with an invitation to join your friends on a Chinese junk for a sunset cruise. Or, surprise them with an elephant trekking tour. If playing around is your thing, there’s plenty of games to bond over like volleyball, badminton, and takaw. When your champions have won, take time to explore the lavish grounds and virtually private beachfront. If strolling leads to partying, relax at the beachfront black swimming pool and kick back at the pool house and order up a drink at the cocktail bar. An unreal blue sea provide the perfect selfie backdrop or destination wedding setting. For booking sjvillas.co.uk

16. TREE TOP MANOR

Colorado Treehouse
Come for adventure, stay for relaxation. Your tree house mountain retreat welcomes you home from the slopes with plenty of places to store your gear including a mud room. Large south facing windows let in plenty of sun to warm your spirits while a large stone fireplace will warm your bones. You’ll enjoy the chef’s kitchen and plenty of seating for the family in the dining room with stunning views of the Santa Sophia Mountains from nearly every room. With rustic wrap-around decks, your tree house makes for impressive entertaining inside and out. An elevator makes the multi-level home easily accessible for everyone in the family. When the weather outside is frightful enjoy your Theatre Room or just let the kids take it over. The master suite has every amenity including a drop down projector screen, stone fireplace and a private outdoor patio with breathtaking views of the mountains. Six luxuriously appointed bedrooms will make a group of fourteen feel like they’ve found a home away from home. Cosy and comfortable, the villa exudes mountain chic. For booking telluride-rentals.com

17. CASA LA PLAYA

Private La Playa, Mexico
Tucked into a dune, your private villa on your secluded beach along the Cuixmala coastline defines luxury. A tiled beachside pool becomes an oasis unlike any you’ve known before. Ease into unsurpassed relaxation under the shade of a palapa and watch for whales on the horizon. Don’t forget your binoculars. If it isn’t enough to spot birds and wildlife from the shore, there are plenty of lagoon and coastal boat tours to get you on the water. Or maybe you’d prefer to paddle from shore into the waves on an ocean kayak or stand up paddleboard. Snorkel, sail and fish at will. Conservationists will enjoy participating in the turtle protection program. End your day back at La Playa where a lavish oceanfront master bedroom and private terrace allows the most intimate viewing of dramatic sunsets. Two additional bedrooms accommodate guests in style. Exquisite beachfront dining on the outdoor terrace calls you to acknowledge this moment – the moment you’ve dreamed about – sharing deep gratitude for all that you have, on a private beach with the people you love. For booking jacadatravel.com

18. VILLA CORTEZ

Oceanfront beauty, Cortez
Enter your oceanfront Mexican hacienda through an arched stone gateway. Walk under a lanai and across an expansive outdoor terrace, which reveals a remarkable, ocean view infinity pool. Let the surf call you to enjoy a respite from life as you know it. Your inner beach bum invites you to accomplish absolutely nothing in the serenity of the hideaway. Mexican fountains dotting the lavish landscape call you to explore and admire the natural beauty of your surroundings. A secluded outdoor living room complete with large stone fireplace, close to a whirlpool, provides the perfect meeting place for family and friends and will no doubt spark conversations long into the night. Staff can help create magical dinners and fiestas on the oceanfront terrace that are certain to be among the most cherished of memories. A living room wall retracts letting the outside terrace into Villa Cortez. Stone patterned floors, fire urns, sconce lights, and wood-beamed ceilings add a romantic flair and an element of the dramatic to the villa. At the end of a busy day, the in-villa cinema provides a unique respite, seating twelve. For booking oneandonlyresorts.com/one-and-only-palmilla-los-cabos

19. COCCOLOBA

Extravagance and solace in Mustique
Remote and regal, this villa’s wrap-around terrace enjoys 360-degree views of four bays––L’Ansecoy, Rutland, Lime Kiln and Endeavor. The library, screening and fitness rooms are among many surprises at Coccoloba. The staff includes a chef and butler who will see to your stay and help you do like you’ve never done before. The outside stone dining pavilion, only illuminated by candlelight, is a showstopping stunner against the deep blue Caribbean. On the eastern edge of the island, Coccoloba is only a short drive away from the towns of Sunrise and Simplicity, the same inspiring notions that have left indelible impressions on all who visit. French windows of the exquisitely appointed dining room open onto an incredible vista of the Caribbean. In the bedrooms, vaulted wooden ceilings and colonial touches add to a feeling of extravagance and solace. Let the sound of the sea bring you closer to your own natural rhythms. Spend your time on the beach, golfing, in the luxurious and pampering wellness centre, or seek out adventure in the world of water sports. For booking mustique-island.com

20. PLANTATION HOUSE

Sophisticated & Elegant, Mustique Island
The six bedroom Plantation House delights with incredible honours and features that’ll have you searching for ways to extend your stay. Most of the en-suite bedrooms offer king-sized beds. An expansive great room is the heart of the villa that boasts 270-degree views of the Caribbean. Dining wishes can be discussed before your trip or upon arrival. A staff of six is proud to help facilitate arrangements for any service you require, including custom menus for your dining pleasure. Perhaps you’d like to arrange a visit to idyllic Britannia Bay or the Bamboo Church. Whatever you plans and whatever excursions take your breath away you can be sure your guests will enjoy their romantic bedrooms with a white and cream colonial colour scheme and sophisticated furnishings. Outdoor sitting areas enhance the villa’s easy, breezy feel. Two outdoor terraces including a dining terrace provide gorgeous settings for intimate dinners or large celebrations. Nestled in the tropical forest of the island you will feel a world away from the cares of the everyday. For booking mustique-island.com

21. THE BEACH HOUSE

Anguilla’s modern marvel
Designed to enhance Anguilla’s storied sunset and ocean views, this eight master bedroom and ten master bath villa is the definition of opulence. The white structure of the villa peeks out over the foliage of the island. Each bathroom opens up to its own private garden. Every guest will enjoy participating in celebratory events and large parties at The Beach House, but if need be the enormous villa provides plenty of spaces to seek solitude. Plenty of parking makes holding large parties easier. Let the outside in as you lounge by the infinity pool and seek to understand yourself and your place in the world. Amazing views of Mead Bay awaken your sensibilities. Walking the grounds finds you discovering various water features and exquisite gardens. Outdoor decks and lounge areas feel like a natural extension of the surrounding natural beauty. Anguilla is home to some of the world’s most beautiful white sandy beaches. On a catamaran ride around the island, your imagination is captivated when you learn of her four-thousand-year-old history. For booking anguillabeachhouse.com

22. GEEJAM HOTEL

Feel like a rock star’ Caribbean
Just outside of Port Antonio on the island paradise of Jamaica, you’ll discover the mystical spirit of the Geejam Hotel, tucked away in the foothills of the John Crow and the Blue Mountains. Feel like a rock star in the hotel’s residential recording studio, nestled among the lush surroundings and sprawling vistas of the shimmering Caribbean. Three deluxe cabins and one junior suite are yours for the taking. Utmost privacy is found on its six-acre San San Estate which features a private beach. Rooms with incredible private balconies include hot tubs and intimate spaces that reflect the culture of Jamaica. You’ll find a new normal among the eclectic and exciting that is Geejam. Just minutes from the hotel you’ll discover Errol Flynn marina, where you can get a sense of the hot spots, nightlife and local culture, featuring Ska and Reggae sounds. Check off a few items from your bucket list when you visit Frenchman’s Cove, voted one of the world’s top beaches, and The Blue Lagoon. Some of the hotel’s famous visitors include Gwen Stefani and Grace Jones. For booking geejamcollection.com

© This article was first published in April/May 2017 edition of World Travel magazine.

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