Exclusive escapes which put you in charge of the holiday guest list, giving you the keys to your own front door
Having the place to yourself has perhaps never felt so important when booking a holiday. Travellers seem to have an understandable ‘get away from it all’ attitude after the last couple of years, to a place of refuge and relaxation. Whether you’re simply looking to escape the crowds, slow down, and stretch out in a stylish space, or celebrate special occasions which have been put on hold for what feels like forever, look no further than the SLH Private Collection. Beachfront, overwater, mountainside, or countrified – whatever villa you have in mind, these handpicked properties promise all the perks of a boutique hotel with the privacy of your own home-from-home.
1. Viesca Toscana, Tuscany – Italy
A tranquil Tuscan estate which was formerly the fashionable Ferragamo family’s summer home turned luxury retreat by shoe-making sensation Salvatore’s grandson, Viesca Toscana’s collection of elegant villas are set among lush grounds dotted with cypress trees. Take your pick from seven traditionally Tuscan villas, including the nine-bedroom Villa Viesca which was once the private residence of Salvatore and Wanda Ferragamo, and the hilltop Villa Merlo, where guests can soak up views of the surrounding soft hills, pine forests, and sweeping meadows where roe deer graze undisturbed, from the enclosed gardens and infinity pool.
2. La Maison du Nessay at Le Nessay, Saint-Briac-sur-Mer – France
Sitting in splendid isolation atop the rugged Nessay Peninsula, Le Nessay is a striking redbrick turreted château which is just steps from the sandy shoreline. Check-in to La Maison du Nessay, a standalone cottage available for private hire, which is the epitome of laidback Breton living. With its six gorgeous rooms, private swimming pool and garden, it’s ideal for fun family holidays or time with friends. Gather around the table in the spacious, country-style kitchen for relaxed meals – la patisserie du Nessay delivers right to your door – or cosy up by the fireplace for a film and games night in the living room which comes with a video projector, plus puzzles and board games.
3. Villa Oleander at Casa Delfino Hotel & Spa, Crete – Greece
Sitting high on a hilltop and wrapped in the Cretan countryside, Villa Oleander enjoys easy access to the pretty beaches on the Akrotiri Peninsula and the buzzing harbour town of Chania, where sister property and restored 17th-century Venetian mansion, Casa Delfino Hotel & Spa, takes up prime position in the historic Old Town. Sleeping up to 14 guests in the seven light-filled bedrooms, Villa Oleander makes the perfect holiday home for multi-generational families or those travelling with friends. The large salt-water swimming pool is wrapped up in fragrant gardens filled with olive trees and aromatic herbs, while the open-air barbeque area and pergola-shaded dining table are made for balmy summer evenings beneath the stars.
4. Tree Haus at the green o, Montana – USA
Nestled among the towering trees of a Montana ranch, the green o’s treetop houses are the ultimate hideaway. Elevated 23 feet above ground and with soaring floor-to-ceiling windows, you truly live among the trees and sleep alongside the clouds in this Big Sky Country retreat. While immersing guests in the natural beauty of the forest, the Tree Haus is not short on creature comforts – expect an outdoor hot tub, ultra-modern kitchen, large soaking tub, and a glass-encased spiral staircase leading up to your master bedroom suite. Nightly rates include breakfast, lunch, and dinner, plus round-trip airport transfers, a luxury Lexus SUV to use on property, and a $500 ‘Stay & Play’ credit for all-American activities ranging from horse-back treks to cross-country skiing.
5. The Estate at Amilla Maldives Resort and Residences, Baa Atoll – Maldives
Set among swaying frangipanis and cashmere-soft sand, Amilla Maldives Resort and Residences is a celebration of Maldivian life, culture and its pristine natural environment. Soothing, airy villas finished with sleek wood and marble each come with their own private pool and blur the boundaries between land, ocean, jungle and sky. Cool off in a wave-skimming hammock alongside your over-water sunset villa, wake to the chirrup of the jungle canopy in a magical treetop suite, or bury your feet in the satin sands of a breezy beach villa. Take things up a notch in the six-bedroom Amilla Estate which boasts a 20-metre pool, outdoor garden shower, spa room, and rooftop bar.
6. Villa Agave at Hotel Excelsior Dubrovnik, Dubrovnik – Croatia
Hotel Excelsior’s three-bedroom Villa Agave is perched on a private clifftop overlooking the postcard-perfect Lokrum Island, with 24-hour butler service, five charming stone terraces, and a spotlit pool area with Dubrovnik Old Town views. Surrounded by glorious gardens leading to a secluded beach and the sparkling waters of the Adriatic, historic Villa Agave rests on the remains of the 16th-century chapel of St. Lazarus (two of the original walls now form part of the meditation room), within walking distance of Dubrovnik’s medieval fortress walls. Originally the exclusive summer house of the 19th-century English archaeologist, Sir Arthur Evans – Villa Agave is named after a Mexican plant introduced to Dubrovnik by sailors in the 16th century.
7. The Beach House & Lookout Villa at The Plettenberg, Plettenberg Bay – South Africa
Poised above one of South Africa’s finest bays and as one of the few hotels in the area with direct beach access, The Plettenberg makes the ideal boutique base to explore the diverse 200km Garden Route, one of the country’s most popular experiences. Families of five can make themselves at home in the two-bedroom Beach House, while larger families of seven can stretch out in the three-bedroom Lookout Villa and spot pods of whales and dolphins from the sun terrace – both beautiful villas come with their own private pools lined with nautical-striped sun loungers.
8. Villa Aqua & Villa Bleu at Le Barthélemy Hotel & Spa, St. Barts – Caribbean
Located just steps from the beach and adjacent to Le Barthélemy Hotel & Spa, Villa Aqua and Villa Bleu are magical mirror images of one another, both reflecting the barefoot luxury of St. Barts. Both six-bedroom villas with direct beach access are fully air-conditioned, and feature 55-foot swimming pools, a luxury kitchen with wine cellar and ice-maker, Sonos and surround sound systems, and Hermès amenities, and can be rented together as one unit to create a single residence of 12 bedrooms for the ultimate party pad.
9. Baan Yu Yen at Cape Kudu Hotel, Koh Yao Noi – Thailand
Set on Phang Nga Bay encircled by the Andaman Sea, Cape Kudu is an idyllic island retreat made for modern-day castaways. Baan Yu Yen is a luxuriously liveable two-bedroom pool villa, designed to feel like a home-from-home with all the familiar comforts, including holiday reading, mismatched crockery for beachfront meals, and toys for your little ones. Two annexes, each with their own double bedrooms and private pools, are linked by an open terrace, while a 25-square metre kitchen and generously sized living room can be found in the main villa. Guests staying at Baan Yu Yen enjoy special privileges, including daily exotic buffet breakfast and complimentary selected minibar access.
10. The Panoptis Villa at Panoptis Escape, Mykonos – Greece
This extraordinary ensemble of boutique villas overlooks the turquoise Aegean Sea and tranquil expanse of Elia Beach below. From its exclusive, hilltop position, surrounded by the wild, natural sun-caressed beauty of Mykonos, Panoptis Escape promises absolute serenity in every sense. Ranging from one to three bedroom villas with private pools, this island sanctuary also features an expansive Honeymoon Retreat complete with an 80-square metre outdoor area to fully soak up the sunshine. For the ultimate exclusive escape, take over all 21 bedrooms in the Panoptis estate which grants you access to all 12 private pools.
11. Three Bedroom Ocean View Villa at Smiths Beach Resort, Yallingup – Australia
Perfectly positioned within a national park on the gleaming white sands of Smiths Beach and within easy access of many wonderful wineries and restaurants the Margaret River region is popular for, Smiths Beach Resort is a restful sanctuary providing the ultimate Australian beachside experience. The resort’s beautifully furnished One Bedroom Apartments, Two and Three Bedroom Garden and Three and Four Bedroom Beach Houses have large picture windows that frame views of the stunning natural surrounds, stretches of ocean and colourful sunsets. For open-plan living like no other, panoramic ocean views and an entertainer’s balcony, book the two-storey Three Bedroom Ocean View Villa.
12. Sailrock Resort, South Caicos – Turks & Caicos Islands
A beautifully remote island retreat in South Caicos, Sailrock Resort is awash with activities for water lovers. Surrounded by untouched landscape and a boat-ride away from a coral reef teeming with life, you’re never far from adventure. Go whale watching, kite boarding, kayaking, conch diving or spend a day fishing for native mahi mahi and bone fish. For the best sea-to-swimming-pool experience, stay in any one of the Beachfront, Oceanfront, or Peninsula Skyridge Villas – all complete with private pools and spacious outdoor terraces.
13. Madiba Villa at The Cellars-Hohenort, Cape Town – South Africa
Named after former South African president Nelson Mandela, the Madiba Villa is a great option for families or friends travelling together and offers the perfect hideaway for guests seeking complete privacy. Hidden away in the beautiful rose-filled gardens of The Cellars-Hohenort, this two-storey villa is self-contained, including a private driveway leading up to a discreet entrance. A large open-plan lounge and dining room welcome guests upon entering, with three double en-suite bedrooms leading off the central area. Outdoors, guests can unwind in the private courtyard and beside the heated pool, with a team of private staff ensuring your stay runs smoothly.
14. Villa El Murmullo & Villa El Ensueño at La Casa Que Canta, Zihuatanejo – Mexico
An intimate retreat set on a series of terracotta terraces that spill down to Zihuatanejo Bay, ocean-wrapped La Casa Que Canta blends seamlessly into its natural landscape, with a freshwater pool pavilion carved from the rocks above the water. Both Villa El Murumullo and Villa El Ensueño are made up of four plunge pool suites overlooking La Ropa beach, with access to the palapa lounge and personalised meal plans which showcase local ingredients prepared by your very own chef.
15. Paradise Beach Nevis, Saint Kitts & Nevis – Caribbean
An exclusive collection of secluded, private villas on the Caribbean island of Nevis, Paradise Beach is as heavenly as its name suggests. Take your pick from the Two-Bedroom Beach House, Three-Bedroom Villa, and Four-Bedroom Garden and Ocean Villas for your very own exotic island retreat – hammocks, plush loungers and palm parasols will be waiting for you each day on the beach. That’s if you can leave your private residence with its own plunge pool and shady cabana, plus an outdoor shower for a tropical wake-up call.