Last year Chris and I took the kids to Curacao for Thanksgiving and it was amazing–I did not miss turkey during our escape to the Caribbean! Although we will be stateside for Christmas, I do hope to take my extended family on a villa getaway in the near future. Nowadays, renting a villa or home instead of staying in a traditional hotel is nothing new–and more hotels are now offering villa accommodations to give travelers more options. I’ve found some of the best luxury options around the world, from Turks and Caicos to Spain. Happy wanderlusting!
The Dunes, Grace Bay Club, Turks and Caicos, gracebayresorts.com, $$$
Grace Bay Club is the first luxury all-suite resort in Turks and Caicos. The beachfront destination has four types of accommodations: the adults-only Hotel; the family-friendly Villas Suites; the resort within a resort, The Estate; and The Private Villa Collection of beachfront homes. There are four restaurants and three bars, including the new pop-up restaurant Kone, which serves savory main courses and sweet desserts in cones. Additional amenities include Kids Town, the Anani Spa, heated freshwater pools and two outdoor Jacuzzis.
The Private Villa Collection offers the comforts of a personal, multi-million dollar oceanside residence with the superlative amenities of the Grace Bay Resort. Two of the most extraordinary homes are the beachfront residences of The Dunes on Smith’s Reef, famous for snorkeling as it is teeming with sea life. There are three ocean view bedroom suites in the main villa (including two master suites) and two additional one-bedroom executive pool suites—each with outdoor shower—situated adjacent to the pool. An outdoor oasis, the pool includes a “floating” outdoor dining palapa with a unique fire feature. At 6,700 square feet, the property offers five-and-a-half baths, a kitchen, a dining room that seats eight, and an ocean view living room.
Additional amenities at The Dunes includes roundtrip airport transfer in an SUV, a personal concierge, daily American breakfast, start-up bar with spirits and mixers, pre-stocked kitchen staples, daily housekeeping, pool and beach setup daily and shuttles to Grace Bay Club or West Bay Club for lunch or dinner. Non-motorized water sport equipment like paddle boards and snorkeling gear are available. The Dunes 5-bedroom villas start at $3,300 per night.
Casa Laguna, Riviera Maya, Mexico, rosewoodhotels.com, $$$$
Rosewood Mayakoba is a 1,600-acre luxury resort located south of Cancun, Mexico and north of Playa del Carmen. It lies along a mile-long beach in the Riviera Maya, surrounded by a jungle. In addition to three restaurants, the “Sense of Taste” offers an gastronomic experience related to the Mayan’s rich culinary culture. The Mayan Bees Farm tour in the Akumal’s Jungle showcases the preservation of the Melipona bees during a tour of the beekeeping process in the forest, which in turn protects the ancient medicinal practices of the Mayan culture. Afterwards, guests take a dip in an underground Cenote and dine on a picnic with local products.
There are 130 suites at the resort in eleven different categories. Situated on its own private lagoon with views stretching to the brilliant Caribbean Sea, the serene and private Casa Laguna combines the private escape of a personal villa with the services and amenities of the Rosewood Mayakoba hotel. The modern oasis is set among the resort’s winding lagoons built of natural stone and wood indigenous to the region. Guests can access the accommodation by foot path, bike, private boat or golf cart. Upon arrival, they are greeted by a dedicated staff of five, including a culinary team, personal butler and housekeepers.
At 9,400 square feet of interior and exterior space, Casa Laguna has three bedrooms, a living and dining room overlooking the lagoon with floor to ceiling windows and a chef’s kitchen with top of the line Viking appliances. Additional amenities include roundtrip airport transfers, daily breakfast, private fitness classes, beach bag and golf hats, fresh fruit delivered daily, private boat tours with resort biologist, bicycles, laundry services, packing and unpacking service, and preferred seating times at any of the food and beverage outlets on the resort. Rates start at $12,500 per night.
Masia Cruilles, Cruilles, Spain, charmingvillas.net, $$$$
A grand estate 90 minutes away from Barcelona, Masia Cruilles is an eight-bedroom villa that stands out as one of the best rental properties in Catalonia. The owners are a British Lord and Lady that spared no expense in the restoration of the house, which sits on 12 acres of land on the Iberian Peninsula known for its diverse landscapes—from the Mediterranean Sea to the rocky coastlines. This villa is located within walking distance to the Cruilles village and a five-minute drive from La Bisbal, known for pottery, hiking, cycling, centuries-old castles and folk culture. The nearest beaches are 20 minutes away by car.
Masia Cruilles can accommodate up to 16 guests with eight bedrooms between three floors. Outside guests can play tennis on the private court or relax in the courtyard. The main kitchen leads out to a covered patio area perfect for alfresco dining with unhindered views of rolling farmland and the Gavarres mountains in the distance. Adjacent to the pool is a shaded area with casual seating, perfect for an evening cocktail. The professionally manicured landscaping contains a mix of olive, fig, orange and lemon trees, creating a Mediterranean ambiance. Between the pool area and the villa is an additional courtyard with a small fish pond and retractable awnings where one can sit for an alfresco breakfast.
The house comes fully equipped with a daily maid service and an in-house chef who will prepare six evening meals during the stay. Rates start at 15,000 euros per week ($16,340).
Anantara Uluwatu Bali Resort, Bali, bali-uluwatu.anantara.com, $$$
Set on the southern coast of Bali, Uluwati is a limestone, cliff-fringed peninsula that includes one of the island’s most iconic temples, Uluwatu Temple, which sits on a cliff surrounded by a forest. The coastline serves as a world-class surfing playground at six beaches and there is a new championship 18-hole Kuta Golf course that overlooks Balangan Beach.
Anantara Uluwatu Bali Resort is a sanctuary among rugged natural beauty. Luxurious suites, pool villas and duplex penthouses cascade down a cliff, offering guests views of the Indian Ocean. On-property experiences include the Anantara Spa, yoga, cliffside dining at Dewika Lounge, diving, cycling and an elevator that takes you to down to the private beach. Guests have easy access to river rafting elephant safari tours and the famous Kecak dance (or ‘fire dance’) with tall fire torches in Uluwatu’s seaside temple off property. Advanced surfers will enjoy riding the strong currents at Uluwatu and Padang-Padang beaches. The Spice Spoons is a cooking class that introduces the island’s traditional culinary scene through a vibrant market tour before learning how to make local dishes.
Guests can choose from 74 accommodations—seaview suites or private pool villas. The three-bedroom Ocean Front Pool Villa is one of the most impressive in the collection. It includes a 40-foot private pool, garden and dramatic position looking out to the Indian Ocean with 180-degree sunset views. The 3,500-square-foot villa features a living room, dining area, kitchen, and a master bedroom with a jacuzzi, adjacent to the pool. The two guest bedrooms each have their own en-suite bathrooms. Rates start at $1,071 per night.