Hot-Tub-Chalet-Le-Chardon-Val-d'Isere-Ultimate-Luxury-Chalets-UltraVilla

September is upon us! Autumn has arrived! Which means back to school, back to work… and on to the vital task of organising the annual Alpine ski trip. It can feel daunting when first faced with the job of finding a suitable chalet and resort to suit a large family or group of friends. It seems everyone has different needs and necessities, conflicting could-do-withs and can’t-live-with-outs. It’s crucial that there is enough room for everyone to relax in, easy ski access, and a lively town nearby with entertainment.

Our luxury chalet expert, Ultimate Luxury Chalets, has gathered together their recommendations for the ultra chalets best to accommodate large families, groups of friends, corporate groups, and for those who simply like to spread out! Read on for the ultimate selection of ultra chalets…

 

AUSTRIAN ALPS

Open-Fire-Arula-Chalet-Lech-Ultimate-Luxury-Chalets-UltraVilla

Arula Chalets, Lech

Next door neighbours, Arula Chalet 1 and Arula Chalet 2 sit in the mountain village of Oberlech, with incredible views of the valley beneath. Both seriously impressive, when they are rented together, they can sleep up to 29 fortunate guests. Ideal for a luxurious group ski holiday!

And this means twice as many facilities as a typical alpine chalet: two heated swimming pools, two saunas, two steam baths, and plenty of treatment rooms to go around.

Arula 2 has the added luxury of an outdoor ice rink, which will keep the kiddies entertained, and the grownups too! Separately or together, these chalets will undoubtedly offer a unique ski holiday experience.

 

Hot-Tubs-Chalet-N-Lech-Ultimate-Luxury-Chalets-UltraVilla

Chalet N, Lech

Chalet N is the ultimate luxury group accommodation and sets the benchmark for luxury ski chalets in Lech. It is, without a doubt, one of the most luxurious and impressive chalets on the rental market. Sleeping up to 22 guests, Chalet N is the ultimate post-ski pamper and relaxation haven. Discover a cosmetic area, double treatment room, fully equipped gym, private hair stylist, large swimming pool, steam showers, ice fountain, dual outdoor hot tubs… and more. And more!

Chalet N is a great choice for a grownup group who want to spoil themselves.

 

Pool-Eden-Rock-St-Anton-Ultimate-Luxury-Chalets-UltraVilla

Eden Rock, St Anton

If you’re looking for a large luxury chalet and a resort with world famous après ski, Eden Rock is the place to be. The chalet itself is situated in peaceful and tranquil Nasserein. But you are just a stone’s throw from St Anton, the lively après capital of Austria!

The chalet sleeps up to 20 guests and can be split into three separate apartments for privacy. Great for three families holidaying together, or families vacationing with older children.

 

SWISS ALPS

Exterior-No-14-Verbier-Ultimate-Luxury-Chalets-UltraVilla

No 14, Verbier

Not only is Chalet No 14 the epitome of modern alpine luxury, but it is also the largest catered chalet in Verbier. With a full range of wellness facilities, plentiful living space, a slouchy cinema room, and 13 bedrooms, this impressive chalet can comfortably sleep up to 26 guests.

No 14 could be the answer for corporate ski trips, as all the bedrooms can be turned into twins.

 

Exterior-The-Lodge-Verbier-Ultimate-Luxury-Chalets-UltraVilla

The Lodge, Verbier

If the Lodge is good enough for Sir Richard Branson, then it sure is good enough for us! His very own Swiss alpine chalet is simple stunning, and another great choice for large group ski holidays. The Lodge itself is a home away from home, while the staff ensure you don’t lift a finger from the moment you arrive, to the devastating time you leave. Sheer luxury.

This gorgeous group chalet can sleep up to 18 adults, and 6 more children in a kids’ bunk room.

 

Terrace-Chalet-Chouqui-Verbier-Ultimate-Luxury-Chalets-UltraVilla

Chalet Chouqui, Verbier

Conveniently located along the Chemin de la Bergerie, Chalet Chouqui is great for family ski trips. It can accommodate 16-20 guests in a master bedroom, 7 double bedrooms which can be turned into twins, and a quad bunk room (best for the children in the group).

The spacious terrace is sun-soaked by day, with comfortable seating to slouch on, and cosy fur throws to snuggle under then the temperature cools. The outdoor hot tub has some of the best views of the Alps, and the private swimming pool is one of the biggest in Verbier. We can’t think of any reason not to stay Chalet Chouqui!

 

FRENCH ALPS

Pool-Le-Chalet-Mont-Blanc-Chamonix-Ultimate-Luxury-Chalets-UltraVilla

Le Chalet Mont Blanc, Chamonix

Raising the bar for luxury chalets in Chamonix, Le Chalet Mont Blanc is vast, accommodating 26 guests over 1000m2.

This is a very practical chalet for corporate groups, as there are three separate lounges which also make good meeting rooms. The full wellness area with swimming pool, sauna, massage room and a gym are lovely treats. And the library, TV snug and extensive wine cellar, complete with a champagne station by Ruinart, are the icing on the cake!

If you are looking for the best group ski chalet in the French Alps, look no further than Le Chalet Mont Blanc.

 

Chalet-Sun-Arbois-Megeve-Ultimate-Luxury-Chalets-UltraVilla

Chalet Sun Arbois, Megève

Chalet Sun Arbois is without doubt one of the most exclusive ski chalets in Megève. Spread over four floors, it sleeps up to 26 guests in sheer luxury.

The ultimate party pad, the spa area includes an infinity pool Jacuzzi, sauna and hammam, massage room, hair salon… and a bar. So, you can go from pamper to party in a hop, skip and a jump! You can even see the indoor pool from your very own nightclub on the lower ground floor, making Chalet Sun Arbois the perfect venue to host a private party to celebrate a very special occasion!

 

Exterior-Chalet-Le-Chardon-Val-d'Isere-Ultimate-Luxury-Chalets-UltraVilla

Chalet Le Chardon, Val d’Isère

If you’ve settled on Val d’Isère for your group ski trip, but you’re still in search of the perfect accommodation, Chalet Le Chardon is undoubtedly one of the best luxury options. As it is in Legattaz, you have easy access to the piste, a short 50 metres from the chalet, which leads down to the Bellevarde and Solaise.

Chalet Le Chardon comes with an impressive 18ft outdoor swim spa, two indulgent hot tubs, and an array of other wellness facilities to treat yourself with. It sleeps up to 20 guests across ten spacious bedrooms in complete comfort.

 

Bedroom-White-Pearl-Val-d'Isere-Ultimate-Luxury-Chalets-UltraVilla

Chalets Black and White Pearl, Val d’Isère

Here is another perfect pair of combination-chalets that work brilliantly for a luxury group ski holiday. This format is fantastic for groups made up of individual families, families with older children who prefer more independence, or groups of friends who like to holiday together without being in each other’s pockets.

The Black and White Pearl are two pristine chalets positioned between Val d’Isère and La Daille. They are almost identical (with a few subtle differences in furnishings), which saves any disputes over size or amenities. The chalets can sleep up to 20 guests between them: all 10 bedrooms are ensuite, spacious, beautifully designed, and can be arranged as doubles or twins. Very practical indeed!

 

If you’ve been allocated with the seemingly impossible task of planning your next European group ski trip, our luxury ski chalet experts are on hand to help. Ultimate Luxury Chalets portfolio of ultra chalets are second-to-none. Reach out here.

 

Recommended Reading

Seven Snuggly Winter Hideaways

Family Homes for Christmas Holidays

Top Ten Chalets with Impressive Fireplaces 

It’s time! To mark your calendars, and gather your foodie friends, for the sixth annual Saint Barth Gourmet Festival.

St-Barth-Gourmet-Festival-UltraVilla-4

This year, the 2019 St Barth Gourmet Festival is happening on the 6th – 10th November across several carefully selected venues, where top French chefs will prepare delectable delicacies for you to feast on.

Competition-St-Barth-Gourmet-Festival-UltraVilla

St Bart is well-renowned for its superb dining scene. But, during this luxury gastronomic French festival, you can dine on the Caribbean island whilst feeling like you are indulging in haute cuisine on the continent. Some of the chefs participating in the leading culinary fete come from Michelin starred restaurants, the ultimate accolade. Michelin stars are the most prestigious awards a chef can achieve; although the accolades are attributed to the restaurants themselves, the credits go to the chefs in charge of the kitchens. Some of the other chefs that are involved in this major event on the international culinary landscape are Meilleurs Ouvriers de France (MOF), meaning ‘[some] of the best craftsmen in France’. French chefs consider this accolade to be one of, if not the uppermost, honour.

St-Barth-Gourmet-Festival-UltraVilla-1

The St Barthélemy Tourism Committee, which is sponsoring the event, states: “The St Barth Gourmet Festival is counted as one of the major events in the world of culinary excellence and one of the best gourmet festivals on an international scale. As in past years, each chef creates a special multiple-course menu for the four dinners during the Festival, allowing residents and guests on the island to discover various styles of cuisine and signature dishes.”

Chefs-St-Barth-Gourmet-Festival-UltraVilla

Here is the line-up of celebrity chefs who will be cooking up a storm for you in foodie paradise!

ARNAUD FAYE

Guest chef of Christopher St Barth

Arnaud Faye, Meilleur Ouvrier de France (MOF), and two-star chef at Château de la Chèvre d’Or in Eze, is the patron chef of this year’s St Barth Gourmet Festival. He will be accompanied by another seven chefs, all sparkling stars in the galaxy of French cuisine. Each will be working at joined by seven chefs, glittering stars in the galaxy of French cuisine, each of which will be working at an impressive island restaurant during the Festival.

PHILIPPE JOURDIN

MOF, one-star chef at Terre Blanche on the Cote d’Azur
Guest chef of L’Esprit Jean-Claude Dufour

ERIC BOUCHENOIRE

MOF, Chef at Joel Robuchon Ateliers
Guest chef of Tamarin

GUILLAUME GOUPIL

One-star chef of Le Baudelaire at Le Burgundy, Paris
Guest chef of Le Sereno Hotel

PATRICE VANDER

One-star chef of Les Fresques at Royal Evian à Evian
Guest chef of Le Toiny Hotel

STÉPHANE BURON

MOF, two-star chef at Le Chabichou, Courchevel
Guest chef of Hotel Manapany

JEAN DENIS RIEUBLAND

MOF, one-star chef of Le Royal at Royal Champagne à Champagne
Guest chef of Le Barthélemy Hotel & Spa

TAKU SEKINE

Chef at Dersou & Cheval d’Or, Paris
Guest chef of Nikki Beach

Villa-Dunes-St-Barth-Properties-UltraVilla

Diners will be able to select a four-course menu at €95 per person, or eight courses for €130 each. To make matters even more exciting, St. Barth Properties have announced that a selection of villas in their collection are including a complimentary eight-course menu for all guests staying for 7 nights! (All guests in the group must dine in the same restaurant on the same evening, and drinks are not included.)

Children-St-Barth-Gourmet-Festival-UltraVilla

Don’t miss out on this foodie fun! There will be culinary competitions and activities for all ages to enjoy.

Contact St. Barth Properties to find out which villas are participating in this year’s Gourmet Festival, and find out about other accommodation available.

 

Related Reading

A Guide to Saint Barthélemy

St. Barth Properties

Winter Vacation Villas

Exceptional Snorkelling

Aquaduct-Renaissance-Upper-Loire-Barge-Lady-Cruises-UltraVilla

Once upon a time, French kings frolicked in the pretty Upper Loire. Infatuated with the peace and serenity of the pastoral landscape, European royalty turned it into the most beautiful playground there ever was. More recently, the Upper Loire has evolved from private parklands into a quiet hideaway for a small number of luxury barge cruises. Here, the Barge Ladies recount a recent trip cruising the wine region’s waterways on the 5-star, 8-passenger Renaissance. Pour yourself a cold, crisp glass of Sancerre, while Barge Lady Kerri McConnel shares her Upper Loire highlights, and guides you through this charming area’s fruitful farmland, with supreme cycling, via lavish chateaux.

 

Private-Chateau-Upper-Loire-Barge-Lady-Cruises-UltraVilla

The Upper Loire can be pinpointed directly west of Paris, about a two-hour drive from the French capital, on the eastern tip of the Loiret department. The region came into being during the time of European royalty; a recreational refuge for the French nobility, ‘la noblesse’. Originally comprised of private hunting lodges and rambling country houses, these estates gradually evolved into the grand palaces we now know as “chateaux”. Some of the most esteemed architects of the era devised these ostentatious mansions, demonstrating the overwhelming affluence France withheld as a powerful European kingdom at that period. The dwellings offered the aristocratic upper classes all the contemporary comforts of city life, yet they were set against a breath-taking backdrop, and immersed in diverse natural beauty, magnificent mountains, and verdant forests. And it was surely no coincidence that, within the confines of this lavish royal lifestyle, the nutrient-rich soil and plentiful sunshine along the River Loire offer an abundance of fresh produce and fine wines to tantalise the taste buds of these privileged social classes.

 

Briare-Aaquaduct-Upper-Loire-Barge-Lady-Cruises-UltraVilla

At this time, the River Loire was initially adopted as an aquatic highway, transporting the Upper Loire’s bountiful grains, produce, and products to the Parisian people. (Incidentally, the rich region became known as “Le Gatinais”, or “the Garden of France”.) But the river was rendered an unreliable route of transport, as the Loire’s water levels were consistently affected by uncontrollable flooding in winter and summer-long droughts. And so, in 1604, the construction of the Canal du Briare began, and was completed in 1642. Along a similar vein, the Canal du Loing came into being in 1723, due to the poor navigability of the neighbouring River Loing and the success of the Canal du Briare’s commercial activity. The canals of the Upper Loire were abandoned in the aftermath of the Industrial Revolution. But today, the waterways have been perfectly preserved, comprised of gentle bends and easy-going locks, ideal for the leisurely pace of luxury barge cruising.

 

Vineyards-Upper-Loire-Barge-Lady-Cruises-UltraVilla

The Upper Loire always has been, and continues to be, exceptionally focused on its foodie produce. As a result, the locally created cuisine provides an indulgent insight into the region’s history, heritage, and modernity. The region is also France’s largest producer of vin blanc and is best known for its Sancerre; the crisp white wine is made from Sauvignon Blanc, the area’s signature grape. These white wines are best enjoyed relatively young, as their fruit-forward finish is bolstered by a refreshing zest and youthful acidity. Encapsulating summer sunshine, and bursting with juicy berries, these approachable white wines accompany many meals and menus, but our favourite pairing is with seafood. A drop of Pinot Noir is also grown in the Upper Loire, from which both red and rosé wines are produced.

 

Cheese-and-Wine-Tasting-Upper-Loire-Barge-Lady-Cruises-UltraVilla

It goes without saying that only the best cheese should be served with such delicious wine! And it will come as no surprise that the Upper Loire has many exceptional varieties to offer. The most famous is goat’s cheese Crottin de Chavignol, and with good reason. This little cylindrical variety has been gracing tables since the 16th century, and, under France’s strict production criteria, continues to be crafted using entirely traditional cheesemaking methods. Known and adored for its subtle nutty flavours, this cheese is a rare breed, as unusually it can be bought and eaten at all three stages of its maturity. The youthful cheese, Chavignol jeune, is solid and compact with a white rind. During the ripening phase, Chavignol bleuté, the scent becomes stronger and the rind harder. Finally, with full maturity, ‘Chavignol affiné, the cheese becomes crumbly and the rind turns blue. Crottin de Chavignol is most typically baked and served with a fresh green salad to compliment the cheese’s richness. It can also be found adorning a cheese board as a cold component. And is perfectly paired with Sancerre wines!

 

Bikes-Towpath-Upper-Loire-Barge-Lady-Cruises-UltraVilla

At first glance, the Upper Loire’s rural setting, bucolic scenery, and serene atmosphere seems to suggest that the area’s appeal is all rest and relaxation. However, there is plenty to keep more active holidaymakers moving, especially the Loire a Velo, an 800-kilometre network of pristine cycle paths. The intertwining trails offer cyclists of all abilities a way of exploring some of France’s most picturesque scenery, and some routes are a chance to challenge your physical fitness too. From fair-weather riders pedalling the canal’s adorable towpath, to long distance die-hards pushing through France’s deepest forests, cyclists of all levels can experience the exhilaration of exploration on two wheels.

 

Chateau-Upper-Loire-Barge-Lady-Cruises-UltraVilla

Adding to the allure of the area are the sensational chateaux, first built hundreds of years ago by the upper echelons of French society. The castles can be found sprinkling the Upper Loire’s sprawling landscapes where they were once hedonistic hideouts! Political unrest and frequent change meant that the chateaux were neglected and eventually abandoned by their original owners, but public funds and private ventures have beautifully preserved, and even fully resorted many to their former glory in more recent years. The Upper Loire boasts a collection of iconic castles, including Fountainebleu, Vaux-le-Victomte, and La Bussiere, and incredible unknown chateaux too. Each palace is testament to the extravagant lifestyles of the royals so vehemently rebuffed during the social and political upheavals of the French Revolution.

 

Chateau-Gardens-Upper-Loire-Barge-Lady-Cruises-UltraVilla

It is without doubt that that the Upper Loire offers a total sensory experience for those interested in the secrets of European history, sophisticated wines, active exploration, and rest and relaxation. The sweeping French countryside, timeless lure of architecture, and lovely stretches of vineyards throughout the Upper Loire effortlessly encapsulate its many enchanting eras.

 

Renaissance-Upper-Loire-Barge-Lady-Cruises-UltraVilla

 

Related Reading

French Barge Cruise Expert – Barge Lady Cruises

Pocket Guide to France

A-Z of Luxury Barge Cruising

A Day on a Barge Cruise

A Taste of France Aboard the Luciole

Find something for everyone on this Balearic Bohemia

Contrasting landscapes, crystal-clear coves, and the cosmopolitan capital of Palma are why many holidaymakers migrate to Majorca over the summer. But the Balearic island also has a lovely collection of picture-perfect towns and villages, which each comes with a wealth of events and activities to offer.  Our Majorca expert, The Luxury Travel Book, let’s us in on their recommendations for where to go and what to do.

Art-Music-History-Mallorca-The-Luxury-Travel-Book-UltraVilla

If history is your thing

Begin in the old town of Pollensa, originally founded in 1229 with the Catalan conquest of Majorca. The town has been conquered many times since, over the centuries, all of which has contributed to its rich history. Visitors can now explore its emblematic buildings, including the Calvari, the Parish Church and the Cloister of Sant Domingo. Don’t miss the Museum, located in the old cloister of the Dominicans, which dates back to 1588.

If you’re a creative type

In the early part of the last century, the beguiling beauty of the town and the area became an attraction for artists, writers and musicians. This artistic bunch were inspired by its allure, and Pollensa continues to draw many visitors for the very same reason year after year. The Festival de Pollenca takes place every August, and is a celebration of a wide range of music – including classical, contemporary and traditional from lesser-known places – along with film and literature.

Cycling-Mallorca-The-Luxury-Travel-Book-UltraVilla

If you like to get active

Pollensa offers some great outdoor pursuits for those who like to get their bodies moving,

The 9-hole Pollensa Golf Club is just 2km from the town and is spoilt with spectacular views of the Serra de Tramuntana and the bays of Pollensa and Alcúdia.

For hiking enthusiasts, take the 30-45 minute walk up to the Puig de Pollensa. The Puig de Maria is an ancient monastery which sits on top of a mountain next to the town, with wonderful views to the bay, Cap de Formentor and the Tramuntana mountains. There is a lovely little café at the top where you can treat yourself after your climb, as well as picnic tables if you’re organised enough to pack your own spread!

Cycling is a popular activity throughout Majorca, with an abundance of routes to suit single cyclists and groups of all levels. The abundant countryside and spectacular scenery around Pollensa make this an ideal area for cycling enthusiasts. One of the best-known cycling routes on the island can be found here: Port de Pollensa is at the foot of the windy 20km road, which finishes at the Cap de Formentor lighthouse.

If you’re craving relaxation

Just north of Pollensa, you will find some of the best beaches in Majorca, often less crowded than others. Puerta Pollensa is about 10 minute drive away, where you can rent boats, windsurfing equipment, small catamarans and water bikes. From Puerta Pollensa you can drive a little further or take a boat to Formentor beach, which is more secluded and even more beautiful.

Deia-Majorca-The-Luxury-Travel-Book-UltraVilla

On the north west of Majorca, on the coast between Soller and Valldemossa, is the breathtakingly beautiful, delightful village of Deia.

Robert Graves, the British poet and writer, spent his adult life in Deia, and the idyll is still home to numerous artists, writers, and musicians. You can see what inspired his writing and poetry while absorbing the atmosphere, taking in the vistas, and people watching with a coffee in one of many cafés and restaurants Deia has to offer. You are also welcomed to explore Graves’ home, which has been refurbished and opened to visitors in 2006.

Once you’ve had your fill of Deia’s bohemian streets and delectable cuisine, it’s well worth making the quick trip to Valldemossa. The charming village was home to composer Frédéric Chopin and his partner George Sand in 1838, while he recuperated from illness. Some of Chopin’s greatest compositions were created here, and his music has become part of the essence of the island.

Port-de-Soller-Mallorca-The-Luxury-Travel-Book-UltraVilla

Winding our way north, we find ourselves in picturesque Port de Soller. Another adorable village with intimate narrow street and ancient buildings, it was originally built as a seaport for the town of Soller.

The drive along the mountain road from Deia to Port de Soller is seriously scenic and comes highly recommended. However, a popular alternative way to travel is by the historic railway, which has connected Palma and Port de Soller since 1912.

During your visit, make sure you pop into Soller’s Museum Ca’n Prunera. The institution is dedicated to contemporary modernism, and features impressive works by Toulouse-Lautrec, Klee and Léger.

Alaro-Mallorca-The-Luxury-Travel-Book-UltraVilla

Making inroads inland, from Deia and Valldemossa, we discover Alaro. Charmingly traditional, the town makes a good base for those looking to explore the Serra de Tramuntana mountain range, both on foot and by bike.

Alaro is well known for its hiking trail, an old stone road which begins in the town and traverses up past the 15th century castle. The climb takes about two hours, with picturesque picnic spots and a restaurant along the way. Once you reach the top, you are treated to spectacular panoramic views of the countryside and the sea. The surrounding area is also great for cycling too, if you prefer to explore on two wheels.

Not far from Alaro is Binissalem, is also just a short drive, full to the brim with vineyards and rich wine-making tradition. There is a hugely popular wine festival, Festa des Vermar, held in September, which celebrates the annual grape harvest with parades, grape-crushing competitions and wine-tasting contests. We’re sold!

Port-d'Andratx-Mallorca-The-Luxury-Travel-Book-UltraVilla

We end our trip in picture-perfect Port d’Andratx. This quintessential fishing village is also one of Majorca’s most exclusive resorts.

 

For the rich and famous

It is clear to see why Port d’Andratx is such a popular haunt for celebrities and yachting enthusiasts; exceptional restaurants and bars are set around the happening harbour, making them ideal hang outs from which to watch the sun go down.

For the culture vultures

And there’s plenty on offer for the explores among you too. Remnants of the island’s rich and varied history are evident here, including the watch towers of Sant Carles and Sant Francesc, built to defend the area from pirate attacks. You’ll find the remains of a19th-century monastery – Monasterio de Santa Maria de la Trapa de Santa Susana to give its full name! – hidden in the nature reserve of La Trapa. From here, there are spectacular views out to sea and over to uninhabited Sa Dragonera islet. You can take a short boat trip over to Sa Dragonera, which has been a natural park since 1995, and explore the coves and hiking trails.

The Contemporary Arts Centre in Andratx hosts exhibitions featuring photography, sculptures and paintings by both local, national and international artists. The CCA also offers an artist-in-residence programme, which makes studios available for artists.

For the outdoorsy types

Interestingly, the Andratx Golf Club was designed by the famous Gleneagles, from Scotland! It is well-known that the 18-hole championship course is one of the most difficult and challenging in Majorca.

The lively Club de Vela marina has moorings for 500 boats and offers sailing lessons and canoeing during the year. The port is always full of life and oozing with character, as the fishermen bring in their daily catch. You can buy their fish fresh off the boats during the evenings.

Typically, the impressive scenery around Port d’Andratx’s attracts curious hikers and cyclists. The dramatic coastal hill roads can be enjoyed on foot or on wheels, and cyclists can venture deeper into the countryside towards the Tramuntana mountains for more challenging rides.

For the beach babes

For those in search of sun, sea and sand, there is a sprinkling of small beaches at the port which give easy access to crystal clear waters. And if you have your own transport, neighbouring Camp de Mar and Sant Elm resorts have large sandy beaches you can spread out on.

 

To find out more about Majorca and the most luxurious apartments available to rent, contact The Luxury Travel Book

 

Related Reading

Pocket Guide to Majorca

Pocket Guide to Spain

Where to Sail the European Seas

What to Eat in Europe

Mauritius: the perfect place for a winter escape

The northern hemisphere is going to be cold for a while longer. In fact, the worst is yet to come. But Villanovo, UltraVilla’s Mauritius expert, tells of an island where you can take refuge from the wet and frosty weather. Where sunshine, heat, and sandy beaches await!

Mauritius is an ideal holiday destination for this time of year. This little corner of East African paradise is surrounded by twinkling turquoise waters and covered with pure white sand. Home to beautiful beaches and sumptuous landscapes, as well as lots of unusual activities to experience with friends and family, this little drop in the Indian Ocean has it all. One thing is for sure, you will need at least two weeks to explore the countless experiences of this incredible island.

With a carefully curated collection of the very best luxury villas on Mauritius, there’s a dream property in Villanovo’s portfolio ready to be made your island home-from-home, and base from which to explore all Mauritius has to offer.

Here, Villanovo invites you to discover why booking your early 2019 holiday in Mauritius is a must!

Indian-Ocean-Mauritius-Villanovo-UltraVilla

 

Diverse and wonderful landscapes to discover

Over the last few years, Mauritius has become an idyllic destination for travellers. It’s unsurprising considering its heavenly beaches and breathtaking mountains. Every inch of the island offers lush and paradisiacal landscapes.

In addition to the enchanting setting, its natural spaces form an astonishing diversity. Villanovo promises that you won’t get bored.

Swaying to the east, on Aigrette Island, you have sheltered and unusual vegetation surrounded by turquoise waters, or at Ile aux Cerfs, where you will find beautiful white sand beaches with sublime shades of blue.

On the south side, you will find the famous Chamarel, with its breathtaking rainbow colours and lush waterfalls. The Black River region offers deep canyons, perfect for an array of activities. Also on this side of the island lies Le Morne, home to fascinating remnants of the colonial period.

Finally, in the northern islands, the island of Amber hides wild landscapes; the Plate Island is home to large uninhabited spaces, and the Coin de Mire shelters huge rocks that are sure to impress you.

Mauritius offers so many opportunities of extraordinary discoveries, that really should not be missed.

Waterfall-Mauritius-Villanovo-UltraVilla

 

Unforgettable activities and unmissable experiences

This great diversity of natural spaces makes Mauritius home to many activities and experiences, which can be enjoyed with friends, family, or independently.

For those who like to be beside the seaside, you will find 1001 ways to explore the Indian Ocean’s turquoise waters. Those who like to keep active can kitesurf, and thrill seekers can ride the waves in a seakart. For more peaceful marine discovery, indulge in a catamaran cruise, or take a boat trip. If you prefer to be under the sea, exploring the seabed, then scuba diving, seabob, snorkelling and undersea walking are made for you! How about admiring this sumptuous monochrome of blues, in an unusual way, by indulging in parasailing? Mauritius really is a place where dreams come true; even those dreams of swimming with dolphins!

Up in the mountains, you will find the most incredible landscape before you, laden with forests, jungles and waterfalls. Venture on a hike through unusual terrain, dominate the mountains while you climb, fly over the island on a zip line, or ride a buggy for an adventure course. Indulge in canyoning, and feel your adrenaline rise as you explore the hearth of waterfalls. You really can make these preserved natural treasures your playground.

And if you travel with your family, what better than to see your little ones amazed by the beauty of the Mauritian fauna? There is lots of fun to be had in one of the many adventure parks of Mauritius, where young and old alike can witness incredible and unusual species such as lions, zebras, giraffes, living in a natural environment.

Not only can Villanovo find you a dream home-from-home on Mauritius, but they can help you organize your entire visit. Most of Villanovo’s recommended activities can be found on the website, but they encourage you to reach out with your requirements and preferences, so that they can make sure you realize these sublime experiences in Mauritius.

Sea-Kayaking-Mauritius-Villanovo-UltraVilla

 

Don’t miss out on the best villas!

Villanovo has a sumptuous selection of more than 80 luxury villas in every gorgeous corner of Mauritius, which means you have a wealth of choice, providing you book in advance.  Villanovo’s high-end properties are all perfectly positioned, surrounded by enchanting landscapes and never far from the countless activities that prove popular by travellers. Despite the considerable collection, demand is high, and some of the best villas can often get booked up more than a year in advance!

Villanovo promises you “feet in the water” holidays: Indeed, the majority of villas have their own pool, whether it’s heated, infinity or secure, as well as direct access to one of the many paradisiacal beaches of Mauritius. All villas offer exceptional sea views, often by way of a lush tropical garden.

In addition to this heavenly setting, unique facilities are available across Mauritius. For the ultimate in relaxation, enjoy the hammam, spa, and Jacuzzi. For active types, you can find tennis courts, golf courses, and fitness rooms. For families travelling with children, you will find Villanovo’s “children welcome” selection come in very handy, with equipment adapted for your little ones.

When you holiday with Villanovo, your experience is accompanied by an exclusive and personalized service. From your dream villa research with an expert adviser, to the smooth running of your stay on the island with a concierge service and house staff, Villanovo is committed to providing you an exclusive but authentically local experience. Finding your perfect villa in an ocean of so many possibilities can seem daunting, but with Villanovo on hand, you don’t need to worry. Don’t let this opportunity slip through your fingers; it is never too early to book your Mauritian vacation.

Luxury-Villa-Mauritius-Villanovo-UltraVilla

 

Recommended Reading

Villanovo UltraVilla Profile

A Guide to Luxury Travel & Accommodation is Mauritius

Best Snorkelling Around the World

This time of year often calls for copious large family gatherings and groups of friends getting together to celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year. But scheduling a little alone time with the special someone in your life is crucial. It can be great to get away for some quality time between the chaos of Christmas and New Year indulgence. Or to escape for some much-needed rest and relaxation following the festivities. Perhaps you’re thinking forward to Valentine’s Day. Or looking for ideas to mark a special occasion, anniversary, proposal or for a honeymoon.

From baroque castles to beach houses; cosy cottages to charming chalets; and sexy city apartments to private palazzos, our UltraVilla experts have a have a romantic retreat to suit all intimate occasions, at any time of year, anywhere in the world. Here are a few of our favourites:

 

Villa-Wachau-Exterior-Austria-Carpe-Diem-Luxury-Travel-UltraVilla

Villa Wachau – Wachua Valley, Austria

The Wachau Valley, one of the most beautiful regions of Austria, has a wealth of attractions for visitors. But until recently, it was missing an intimate hideaway for two; somewhere couples could stay whilst exploring the heart of Austria’s wine-growing region, indulging in delicious apricots, floating down the Danube, climbing mountains, and embracing the beautiful music which rings out from castles and villages.

In 2016, the restoration of Villa Wachua, a beautiful 1920s villa set in the heart of a little Baroque village, was completed. This small but perfectly formed private house combines elegance, style, privacy and very high standards of luxury.

The charming 2 bedroom villa is owned and managed by an enchanting 5* Baroque castle hotel, just 100m from the villa. Villa Wachau has been furnished in an authentic, classical style, yet its unique architecture gives the interior a fresh, current feel. The wine cellar, personal to guests, houses a great variety of delicious local wines, always available at the perfect temperature for your enjoyment. An indisputable highlight of the villa is the gorgeous landscaped garden. These seriously romantic surroundings and panoramic view are totally breath-taking.

Guests of the villa have access to all the five-star services and amenities of the truly spectacular castle hotel, yet the intimate setting and total privacy provide couples with the perfect romantic retreat.

Run away with your loved one, to Austria’s rolling hills, vineyards, and fortresses with Carpe Diem Luxury Travel

 

Chic-On-The-Beach-Pool-St-Tropez-Villas-Prestige-&-Services-UltraVilla

Chic on the Beach – Saint Tropez, France

This renovated “Mas”, a traditional farmhouse found in the South of France, is completely and utterly enchanting. Chic on the Beach is perfectly positioned on the ultra-romantic French Riviera; close to the centre of Saint Tropez, and just a few minutes’ walk from iconic Pampelonne Beach.  The villa is immersed in gorgeous green parkland; with immaculately manicured gardens and majestic trees lining the walkways for romantic strolls. This outstanding setting makes Chic on the Beach a dreamy love nest for lovebirds.

The Mas has been impeccably renovated, and original features have been restored with tender loving care. The interior is fresh and clean with contemporary furnishings and whitewashed walls. The master bedroom has its own fireplace, a cosy addition that makes the farmhouse a romantic retreat at any time of year.

Impress your loved one with a stay at this beautiful abode. Chic on the Beach is ultra-exclusive, so enquiries must be made through Villas Prestige & Services.

 

La-Petite-Ferme-Bedroom-Morzine-Ultimate-Luxury-Chalets-UltraVilla

La Petite Ferme – Morzine, French Alps

A ski trip for two in the Alps is always steeped in romance; waking to see snow fall through your chalet window, mornings spent skiing in tandem, Glühwein at lunch time, before skiing down to your picture-postcard alpine village to spend evenings massaging each other’s aching bodies by an open fire. And La Petite Ferme chalet, located in a picturesque hamlet of Montriond on the outskirts of Morzine, is the ultimate romantic retreat in the mountains. Just a five-minute drive from the bubble at Ardent, you can access the slopes with ease.

La Petite Ferme has been perfectly restored by its owners and tastefully decorated in alpine luxury, with furs, cowhides, antiques, and rich dark wood in abundance. The double height ceiling of the lounge area gives a fantastic spaciousness to the chalet, which is amplified by the floor-to-ceiling windows and views over the Morzine and the French Alps in the distance. Adjacent is an open plan kitchen with a dreamy traditional wood burner.

When you’re not curled up on the comfortable living room sofa watching movies, you’re bound to be relaxing in the private outdoor hot tub, champagne in hand, star gazing.

Savour the mountain air with a special someone at this picture-perfect chalet through Ultimate Luxury Chalets

 

Hotel-de-Ville-Apartment-Open-Plan-Paris-Haven-In-UltraVilla

Hôtel de Ville Apartment – Paris, France

Paris is the City of Love, so it goes without saying that it makes the ultimate romantic getaway at any time of year. During the winter months, when the crowds of tourists thin, you can enjoy more the city to yourselves. During the weeks leading up to Christmas and through to New Year, Paris is decked out with decorations and twinkling lights, which makes an extra time to whisk your amour away. And you can base yourself at Hôtel de Ville, a lovely little apartment right in the heart of the city.

The ultra-contemporary, atelier-style apartment was renovated in 2016, and designed with convenience, comfort, and style in mind. The bright living area is chic but charming; designer furniture offset with natural materials.

The cute and cosy apartment is on a lively pedestrian street just a few steps from the Pompidou Centre, the Hôtel de Ville, and the hip Marais district. The area has wonderful shops and restaurants in abundance, charming streets to stroll through, and cultural sites aplenty. Plus, Notre Dame, Sainte-Chapelle, Ile St Louis and the Louvre are all within a five to ten-minute walk. You can easily reach other places of interest on the métro, with a station located just a block from the doorstep.

Savour some quality time with your sweetheart in the city of love via Haven In here.

 

Villa-Boudoir-Bathroom-St-Barth-Properties-UltraVilla

Villa Boudoir – Saint Barthélemy, Caribbean

Indulge that special someone – and yourself, while you’re at it – in an uber-glamorous getaway in the Caribbean. The super sleek and seriously sexy Villa Boudoir on St Barth has been designed with style-conscious couples in mind. This love nest, perched above Gouverneur Beach, is the perfect size for two. Featuring a plush bedroom and gold claw-foot bathtub, the studio looks out onto sensational views of the Caribbean coastline and sparkling sea.

The sensual accommodation has bold black, white and gold décor and shimmering chandelier, creating an air of mid-20th-century Hollywood glam. The opulent 4-poster king size bed sits unapologetically in the centre of the studio, from which you can enjoy lazy mornings enjoying breakfast in bed while you take in the views, or spend cosy evenings watching movies on the state-of-the-art pop-up TV.

The en-suite bathroom is pure indulgence and simply divine. Discover sumptuous treats to be enjoyed alone or accompanied, like the gold claw-foot soaking tub, two onyx-black sinks, and a rain shower. The steam room and gold tiled circular pool provide further opportunities for total relaxation together.

If you can bear to tear yourself away from the studio’s luxuries, the sun terrace has beautiful vistas of the Caribbean sea, which is framed by swaying palm trees. A covered dining area sits adjacent to a compact, open-air kitchenette complete with a bar, perfect for preparing canapés to accompany something sparkling at sunset.

Fly away to a perfectly romantic Caribbean getaway with St Barth Properties here.

 

Leamington-Pavilion-Cottage-Front-Exterior-Bahamas-Blue-Sky-Luxury-UltraVilla

Leamington Cottage – Barbados, Caribbean

This adorable one-bedroom villa is a self-contained cottage nestled among the lush tropical gardens of the Leamington Estate, just outside Speightstown, Barbados. With its own private entrance and driveway separate from the estate, guests have total privacy during their stay. This charming beachfront cottage makes the perfect little place for lovebirds seeking sunshine and serenity in a beautiful, relaxing setting.

Situated just outside the vibrant city of Speightstown, on the Platinum Coast of Barbados, Leamington Cottage makes an ideal base from which to explore this gorgeous region, rich in history and ringed with powdery white sandy beach. Yet the cottage is also the perfect little island hideaway, with all you need at your fingertips so you can enjoy peace, quiet and seclusion. The spacious sitting room and dining area open out on both sides, to a large terrace, so there’s no danger of catching cabin fever. On the deck, you’ll find a plunge pool, sun loungers, and intimate dining area, creating a romantic setting for your time together. A little gate grants direct access to the gorgeous sandy beach, so you’re never far from the sea.

An incredible reef sits right in front of the cottage, where you can swim and enjoy amazing snorkelling. Just five minutes’ walk along the beach will lead you to Cobblers Cove Beach and Hotel, for great food, drinks, and bundles of atmosphere. Leamington Cottage comes fully staffed with daily housekeeping and chef services, so you can truly relax with your loved one. Chef Andrea’s local delicacies will not disappoint!

Contact Blue Sky Luxury here to plan your escape to this romantic Barbadian bolthole.

 

Borsato-Palazzo-Ca'nova-Exterior-Venice-excellence.villas-UltraVilla

Villa Borsato – Venice, Italy

As Italy expert, Katharina Alles-Trauttmansdorff, says, Venice is one of the greatest places on earth to explore as lovers. Pastel shade palazzi line peaceful canals, couples canoodle down cobblestoned streets, and lagoon vistas provide the perfect backdrop to your romantic retreat.

And Villa Borsato, an apartment on the third floor of a privately owned palazzo, makes a great Venetian love nest. The Palazzo is exceptionally well located at the mouth of Venice’s Grand Canal with great views over both the canal and the legendary Venetian Lagoon, and is just a stone’s throw of the glorious Piazza San Marco. Wake up to the meditative sounds of the lapping waters as the gondoliers move along the canal, the melodic ringing of San Giorgio Maggiore’s holy bells, and the whispering breeze.

The apartment has recently been redecorated in a classic style with a contemporary twist, with luxurious comfort at the heart of the layout and design. Some pieces of furniture were originally designed in 1826 for the Palazzo as it was then, by painter and designer Borsato, who also left his mark on the Teatro La Fenice. From the living room, master bedroom, and convivial shared terrace, incomparable views over Venice’s Grand Canal, the Santa Maria della Salute basilica, and the Punta della Dogana museum abound. You may well find yourselves getting lost in the vistas as you gaze out over Veneto.

Immersed in the lap of luxury and surrounded by sheer beauty, you and your sweetheart will undoubtedly feel very spoilt. Speak to excellence.villas about how you can arrange a romantic Venetian stay with your amore.

 

Saku-Villa-Sunset-Fiji-Vatuvara-Private-Islands-UltraVilla

Vatuvara Private Islands – Fiji

Is there anything more romantic than getting lost on your own private island in the South Pacific? Vatuvara Private Islands, immersed in the Northern Lau Group of Fiji, has been described by Forbes as “one of the world’s most beautiful places”, and they aren’t wrong. You really can revel in true romance, in this gorgeous vacation paradise, found on the island of Kaibu.

The hidden resort’s three expansive villas sit on volcanic limestone cliffs above turquoise waters and white powdery beaches, offering incredible views of the fringing coral reef and the dramatic neighbouring islands.

The exquisite all-inclusive resort has added a fourth villa to its private collection this year, Nuku Villa, which is the ultimate in intimacy and seclusion. It features an open plan layout and its own infinity pool, with the added luxury of its very own private beach, making it the perfect couple’s escape or honeymoon destination. Like the other sublime villas in the resort, Nuku features Pacific materials complimented by natural textures and is surrounded by colourful aromatic flowers within lush tropical landscaping.

In this supremely private and stunning setting, you can fully switch off from the world and focus on quality time with your loved one. Relax by your private pool, indulge in the divine spa treatments on offer, using Fiji’s fabulous pure coconut oil and fragrant flower extracts, or arrange a private Champagne picnic on a neighbouring deserted palm-shaded island beach.

Guests can explore the island strolling through the verdant landscaping, playing golf, hiking to an ancient Fijian village, kayaking or paddle boarding through pristine lagoons, snorkeling or diving among coral and marine life, fishing, surfing or boating to neighboring islands.

Create memories to last a lifetime with your partner at Vatuvara Private Islands here.

 

Villa-Estrela-do-Mar-Barbecue-Algarve-Vila-Vita-Collection-UltraVilla

 

Townhouse Estrela do Mar – Algarve, Portugal

The Algarve is known for its almost 300 days of sunshine per year, so it’s always a good time to escape to the Portuguese coastline. And the lovely Townhouse “Estrela do Mar,” is a beautiful base from which to explore the whitewashed fishing villages, dramatic cliffs and sandy coves. The quaint fisherman’s townhouse is located in the historic village of Salema, right on the gorgeous beach. The living room fireplace gives it a cosy feel in the cooler months, whilst the sundeck, with sensational views over the Atlantic Ocean, mean those many sunny days can be enjoyed year-round. These sea views can also be absorbed from the master bedroom, a real treat fon a romantic retreat.

When you tear yourself away from ultimate relaxation on the terrace and the beach, you will discover the delights of Salema, such a pretty little town.  And a short 2.5 kilometers away is the Santo António Resort, where you can enjoy golf and tennis, then make use of the Health Club & Spa.

Enjoy a balmy trip to the beautiful Algarve with the Vila Vita Collection here.

It’s hard to believe, but December has arrived, which means winter in the northern hemisphere is well and truly here. Last month we shared some of our top destinations and accommodation for warm weather getaways at this time of year; but if you prefer to spend your winter holidays skiing the slopes or rambling through the crisp countryside, we have a great selection of winter hideaways for you to consider. Find seven of the cosiest castles, chalets, Schloss and chateaux to get snuggled up in after a winter day’s activity in the great outdoors. From the Scottish Borders to Salzburg via the Swiss Alps, here’s where – and how – to keep warm and cosy this winter.

 

Chalet-Nyumba-Bedroom-Verbier-Ultimate-Luxury-Chalets-UltraVilla

Chalet Nyumba – Verbier

Chalet Nyumba couldn’t be more inviting, and it’s no wonder it’s one of our ski chalet experts’ flagship properties. Due to its prime positioning in the Swiss Alps, it comes complete with stunning views over the alpine village of Verbier, visible from its many terraces and balconies. We can’t think of anywhere better to wake up in the morning; with an open fire warming our tootsies while we watch the sunrise over the Alps, all from the comfort of this gorgeous master bedroom.

Nyumba’s interior has been impeccably designed for groups holidaying together, with an extensive open plan living and dining area to spread out over, and double height windows from which to enjoy breath-taking views that surround. But this spaciousness doesn’t take away from Nyumba’s cosy and cuddly nature: worn leather sofas are perfect for sinking into after a hard day skiing, an open fire warms the cockles, and snuggly throws and soft furnishings are in abundance.

For extra special treatment, the chalet boasts one of Verbier`s most luxurious private spa facilities, with Italian marble finishes, and more incredible views over the valley and mountains beyond. Next to this lavish spa (where you will find a pool with adjustable floor depth and swimming current, hammam, sauna and bar) is a massage room, where one of Nyuma’s in-house therapists will ease your aches and pains after a day on the slopes.

The plush cinema room is great for entertaining children while the grown-ups rest and relax in the spa or by the fire. Or cosy up and enjoy a film all together – with a bottle of wine or Champagne from the downstairs wine cave!

Contact Ultimate Luxury Chalets to discover more ultimate winter hideaways.

 

Borthwich-Castle-Christmas-Scottish-Borders-Loyd-&-Townsend-Rose-UltraVilla

Borthwick Castle – Scottish Borders

Visiting Scotland during the winter months is truly magical – trust us on this one! The days may be short, but twinkly lights cast an ethereal glow over the Scottish Borders’ beautiful cities, vibrant Christmas markets exude festive excitement, and roaring pub fires lure in ramblers. And Borthwick Castle, just thirty minutes’ from Edinburgh, is a haven in which to shelter after a day braving – we mean, embracing! – the elements.

This magnificent, majestic 15th-century Scottish castle has recently undergone a grand renovation. So whilst the property sure is vast, steeped in history and oozing medieval grandeur, it now offers all the modern comforts of an ultra-luxurious home-from-home, swathed in warmth and cosiness, with an air of peace and serenity. This makes Borthwick Castle the perfect place from which to base yourselves when exploring all the Scottish Borders have to offer.

Twelve beautifully unique bedrooms, all with their own lavish bathrooms, accommodate up to 24 guests with plenty of space. But the living and dining areas provide intimate areas for everyone to gather together, around a gorgeous roaring fire.

Let Loyd & Townsend Rose tell you more about the magic of Scotland Borders and beautiful Borthwick Caste.

 

Schloss-Kogl-Living-Room-Salzburg-UltraVilla

Schloss Kogl – Salzkammergut, Austria

As the snow starts to settle on Austria’s mystical mountaintops, retreat to the gorgeously elegant but super cosy Schloss Kogl. This beautiful baroque castle is nestled within the country’s largest private forest in the Salzkammergut Lake District. The enchanting region east of Salzburg, dotted with pristine lakes, pre-alpine mountains, evergreen forests, and charming villages, was once the countryside playground of Austria’s aristocracy, a favourite holiday spot of the Emperor and the country’s intellectual and artistic elite.

Built from the mid-18th century, the castle has been in the family of the Barons of Mayr-Melnhof since 1872. In the early 2000s, the family began to carefully restore the castle to its previous glory. Guests will find a refined and comfortable series of rooms decorated in a fin-du-siècle style with elegant furnishings, antiques, paintings and intricate woodwork. Among these is the lovely living room, which houses a grand piano and a gorgeous fireplace from the époque.

You can revel in the many pleasures of the region right on the castle’s doorstep, by strolling through its spectacular grounds, gardens and private forest. And nearby are breathtaking national parks, picture-perfect villages and magical Salzburg. You can also do your Christmas shopping at the area’s fabulous holiday markets.

Relax in ultimate Austrian refinement at Shloss Kogl

 

Chalet-Mon-Izba-Living-Room-Verbier-Ultimate-Luxury-Chalet-UltraVilla

Chalet Mon Izba – Verbier, Switzerland

At Chalet Mon Izba, the combination of expansive accommodation and panoramic views over the alpine village below, curate the perfect environment for skiers to spread out in comfort. And to add to the ambiance, the lovely living room exudes warmth; big enough to seat all 12 guests, but cosy enough for holidaymakers to gather together around the gorgeous open fire.

This chic chalet is located in the Sonalon area of Verbier, enveloped by majestic mountains and immersed in the natural landscape, whilst remaining close to the exceptional restaurants, bars, and shopping in the vibrant city centre.

After an energetic day of skiing and exploration, relax in the living room next to the toasty fireplace and continue to savour the chalet’s exceptional views. After dark, settle into the plush cinema to watch the latest films while your kids occupy themselves with games in the entertainment room. And once the children are sleeping soundly, disappear into the wine cellar to peruse the impressive wine collection. The cave provides an intimate environment in which to enjoy grown-up time and a glass of wine.

For further rest and relaxation, indulge in Mon Izba’s private spa, one of the best in the Alps. With panoramic views of the mountains, the indoor pool and outdoor hot tub bring the stunning landscape to you. And the floor to ceiling glass sinks below the terrace, allowing guests the choice to either breathe in the crisp mountain air or keep cosy indoors. The adjoining massage room is separated from the pool by one-way glass allowing for privacy, while the sauna and hammam provide the perfect way to unwind after an active day on the slopes. Moreover, the state-of-the-art gym looks out over the outdoor hot tub across to the impressive mountains in the distance. Maximum motivation!.

And when the day is done, retreat to your super snuggly bedroom, complete with extra-cuddly eiderdown and your very own roaring fire.

Reach Ultimate Luxury Chalets here and start planning your perfect ski trip to Verbier.

 

Chateau-Mireille-Living-Room-Provence-Haven-In-UltraVilla

Chateau Mireille – Provence, France

If you prefer to spend your winter holidays somewhere a little warmer, Provence could be the perfect place for you. Enjoy milder December days in this picture-perfect French region, followed by cosy nights in Chateau Mireille, a seven-bedroom 18th-century manor, or bastide, found near the charming St-Rémy-de-Provence.

Chateau de Mireille exudes classic French style with its elegant antiques, original artwork, and classic architectural features such as terracotta tiles, and high, wood beam ceilings. With two polished living rooms, a fully equipped kitchen with state-of-the-art appliances, and a formal dining room ideal for entertaining, a  study, master bedroom, and three additional bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms, Chateau de Mireille makes for a luxurious stay with family or friends.

The phenomenal grounds feature a manicured garden with picture-perfect topiary, a wonderful pool with a terrace overlooking the gardens, a tennis court, and a variety of outdoor seating and dining areas. From alluring lavender fields to rolling vineyards, and from vibrant villages to the breathtaking Parc Naturel Régional des Alpilles, some of the region’s best features are at your fingertips.

During your stay, your housekeeper will prepare you a delicious French breakfast, as well as taking care of any housework. So you can sit back, relax, and enjoy your peaceful time in Provence.

Discover more about this exceptional villa from Haven In

 

Villa-F-Opale-bedroom-Venice-UltraVilla

Villa F – Venice, Italy

Seriously exclusive and ultra-luxurious, the 16th-century Villa F offers eleven opulent suites in what has served as a residence to a number of historical noble Venetian families. Following attentive restoration, this incredible villa has come to embody a new concept in Venetian hospitality, catering to discerning travellers who wish to experience Venice with sophisticated but contemporary flair.

Villa F is located on Giudecca Island, known as “the Soho of the Lagoon”. (And remains a well-kept secret – for now!) A welcome escape from the swarms of tourists in the city centre, Villa F offers guests a serene sanctuary, whilst being just a stone’s throw from the abundance of exceptional shops, restaurants, and museums. Thanks to Villa F’s private shuttle boat service, available daily and around the clock for guests departing from its dock to all sister Bauer Hotels at San Marco, transportation to and from Giudecca has never been more accessible. The Villa’s Conciergerie can also organise tours to other islands in the lagoon, as well as custom water transfers to and from the airport.

Villa F’s charm lies in its history. The historic property itself was extremely popular in the early 20th century when it was an upscale pensione. During the era, Villa F catered to an eclectic clientele of painters, writers, and actors such as Gabriele D’Annunzio, Eleonora Duse, and Mabel Holland. After many years of meticulous restoration, the Villa F reopened to fortunate guests who can now revel in its original wall frescoes, and Italian and Venetian ‘Terrazzo’ floors, without sacrificing in modern luxuries.

Each of Villa F’s 11 residences is unique in size and aesthetic. Many have many have beautiful working fireplaces, which create gorgeously cosy environments to relax in after a day treading Venice’s cobbled streets. The Residenza Opale, pictured above, is a spacious one-bedroom studio with an open fire and wet bar cabinet. Residenza Turchese is a smaller yet perfectly formed one bedroom residence, with an en-suite bathroom and a living room, dry bar cabinet and garden views. If you feel like spreading out a little more, the Residenza F includes two master bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms, large closets, a powder room, and a living room with eight north-facing windows, opening out to sensational views of San Marco.

All guests can enjoy Villa F’s extensive three-acre gardens and beautiful meditation pool, as well as full access to the facilities of the nearby Palladio Hotel & Spa and the De Pisis Restaurant at the Bauer Palazzo Hotel. With stunning views of San Marco’s renowned square and the Santa Maria della Salute church, Villa F makes for a memorable stay in the floating city.

 

Glenapp-Castle-Christmas-Scotland-Loyd-&-Townsend-Rose-UltraVilla

Glenapp Castle – Scotland

Wrap yourself up in the warmth of each of Glenapp Castle’s beautiful rooms and lit fireplaces. This sprawling 19th century castle hotel can be found in the Ayrshire Countryside, not far from Scotland’s stunning southwest coastline. Built for the Earl of Inchcape, the regal residence has been open to guests since 2000. The impressive construct has a formidable stone exterior, and, once inside, you are greeted with sublime Victorian splendour which continues throughout the interior.

The spectacular castle is set within 36 acres of private grounds that are completely secluded, and for guests’ exclusive use. Incorporated is an Italian Garden, designed by the renowned 19th-century garden architect Gertrude Jekyll. Spend atmospheric winter days meandering through the laneways, taking in the changing colours and breathing the fresh Scottish air. Once you have a taste for the landscape, discover more great hiking and exploration trails further afield, in this arresting part of Scotland.

The castle’s 17 guest rooms have been individually and luxuriously styled with a unique blend of fabrics, furnishings, antiques, artwork and open fires. Several of the suites feature magnificent views over the surrounding woodland and the sea. Each evening, indulge in delicious dinners at Glenapp’s award-winning restaurant.

Speak to Loyd & Townsend Rose to find out more about their gorgeous Scottish winter hideaways.

 

Recommended Reading

If you are looking for alternative ways to spend the winter holidays, have a browse of some of our other Journal entries:

Homes for the Holidays

Warm Weather Getaways & Winter Sun Escapes

Best Family Villas for Christmas

Romantic Winter Getaways

Sunny Winter Vacation Villas

Fabulous Fireplaces

When the cold air blows and grey clouds roll over the Northern Hemisphere, there’s nothing more revitalising than a warm weather injection and a dose of winter sun. Let us transport you to warmer climes, where you can bask in beautiful rays on a terrace overlooking the sparkling Caribbean sea; laze on a sun lounger or bake on the beach in Barbados; or wind down in your divine infinity pool in Saint Tropez. Vitamin D is guaranteed when you stay in one of these sensational villas. Just what the doctor ordered!

 

Nelson Gay – Barbados

Nelson-Gay-Living-Room-Barbados-Blue-Sky-Luxury-UltraVilla

Constructed in the 1950s, Nelson Gay is made entirely of coral stone and designed in the grand Palladian manner. This beautiful six-bedroom villa can be found just steps from the beach, though steeped in privacy, as it is hidden within two-acres of lush tropical gardens. Perfectly positioned on the fringe of Speightstown, on a lovely stretch of beach with a great reef for snorkelling, Nelson Gay is the ideal villa for those seeking the convenience of a beachfront location, yet set within its own exclusive paradise.

The unique home was originally commissioned as the residence of a United States Ambassador, and this elegance is apparent in its Palladian grandeur and 14-foot living room ceiling. And the fabulous 50 foot swimming pool, which lays between the house and beach, is most definitely one of the villa’s best features!

The fresh white walls are complemented by lush green accents that mimic the nature surrounding the house, and classic furniture, traditional antiques, and unique artwork add more intrigue. The bright and airy bedrooms feature super comfortable beds, top quality cotton sheets, and indulgent hypoallergenic pillows. There are a number of relaxing seating areas scattered throughout, including al fresco dining areas, two covered terraces and a gazebo with a wet bar overlooking the beach. Pretty dreamy!

Buried within the gardens is the charming chattel house cottage. This means the accommodation can sleep up to 18 guests on request, which makes Nelson Gay an excellent villa for a multigenerational family holiday.

Beat the winter blues and disappear to Barbados, with Blue Sky Luxury

 

Villa Utopic – Saint Barthlémey

Villa-Utopic-Pool-Saint-Barthelemy-St-Barth-Properties-UltraVilla

Fortunately, the beautiful Caribbean island of St. Barth is making a strong recovery, following the devastating Hurricane Irma that swept through in September 2017.  And Villa Utopic, a gorgeous three-bedroom villa, is the perfect place to celebrate both the island’s progress and your special winter escape. Aptly named, this luxurious villa really is perfect, with dreamlike views of the Caribbean Sea, Corossol Beach, and Gustavia’s iconic harbour.

The villa has been designed for easy-breezy indoor-outdoor living, aided by glass walls between the large living room and spacious palm-tree studded terrace. You will inevitably find yourself spending most of your time outside, relaxing on the deck next to the long, heated infinity pool and soaking up the glorious Caribbean sunshine. There are a number of other sun-drenched sitting areas on the terrace, as well as plenty of shade when you need a little shelter in the heat of the day.

When you do feel like entertaining or cosying up indoors, the clean grey palette is calming, and touches of brighter colors accentuate the peaceful spaces. Gorgeous artwork adorns the walls by prominent Dutch photographer Désirée Dolron. Whip up fresh lunches or casual dinners in the well-equipped kitchen, best enjoyed alfresco. All of the bedrooms are impeccably decorated, with king beds, and sea views to die for.

Enjoy the revived St Barth, and let the Caribbean Sea wash your stresses away, with St Barth Properties

 

Grace Bay Villa – Turks & Caicos

Grace-Bay-Collage-Turks-and-Caicos-Villas-&-Apartments-Abroad-UltraVilla

At this super sleek villa on fashionable Grace Bay, an exceptionally stylish and sun-drenched Caribbean vacation awaits you. The uber-contemporary, five bedroom villa has floor to ceiling windows which allows light to flood the house. And the fabulous pool terrace, also a great sun trap, is just steps from the pristine sands of the gorgeous beach.

The bright and airy interiors feature locally crafted stonework, woodwork, and cabinetry as well as custom ceramics and marble elements; and unique wallpaper injects an additional modern flare. The open plan living and dining area lead onto the decking, pool, and aquamarine sea. The outside spaces take outdoor living to the next level; with sunken seating by the fireside, peaceful shaded areas on the terrace, and designer furniture to sink into. You will also find a hot tub, in-pool loungers, and a separate beachside deck with hammocks, all bordered by beautiful palm trees. For indoor entertainment, the villa has a great selection of board games, along with a well-endowed media room.

Three bedrooms are located on the upper level and feature ocean views, terraces, walk-in wardrobes, and ensuite bathrooms, and all come fully-equipped with cutting-edge amenities, including air conditioning, Apple TV and blackout blinds. The bunk bed room on the ground floor makes the perfect hideaway for kids. And the gorgeous master bedroom has a king-sized bed, pop up TV, walk-in wardrobe, blackout blinds, an ensuite with double vanities, indoor and outdoor shower, and a terrace and spectacular sea views.

There’s no greater place for the winter sun fix than Turks and Caicos, with Villas & Apartments Abroad

 

Villa Glamour – Saint Tropez

Villa-Glamour-Pool-St-Tropez-Villas-Prestige-&-Services-UltraVilla

Experience the South of France at its most serene when you visit this time of year. The crowds have long gone by late autumn, yet those sunny daytime rays and balmy evenings remain. And where better to enjoy this warmth, peace, and tranquility than from the gorgeous Villa Glamour in Saint Tropez. One of the most luxurious villas on the Cote d-Azur, with two heated swimming pools outside, inviting living room fireplace inside, and exceptional views of the Mediterranean Sea surrounding, it’s the perfect place for a winter dose of Vitamin D.

The light and bright interiors echo the vast expanse of clear blue sea and sky outside. The spacious, sun-drenched terrace is extravagantly adorned with two pools and various chill out areas. The terrace makes a charming setting for a winter’s evening meal, bathed in candlelight, before retreating indoors and cosying up next to the open fire.

On occasional cooler days, you can keep Villa Glamour guests occupied with a snooker tournament, up the endorphins with a gym workout, or settle into a movie or box set. And those guests who like to stroll or hike can do so whilst breathing in the fresh sea air along one of the area’s comprehensive network of trails. Alternatively, spend a day cycling around to the region’s charming villages. Or venture into St. Tropez to sip coffee on a café patio facing the picturesque port and peruse its fashionable boutiques, empty of the summertime crowds.

Have the South of France to yourself this winter. Villa Glamour is available through Villas Prestige & Services

 

Boca Overwater Villa, Panama

Boca-Overwater-Villa-Floating-Panama-Villas-&-Apartments-Abroad-UltraVilla

This seriously luxurious villa is constructed entirely out of Panamanian teak, built atop 135 cement stilts, and connected to a 15-acre private island by a 130 meter. The villa spans 20,000 square feet and has 7 beautiful bedrooms over three stories, from which guests can enjoy indoor and outdoor lounge areas and relax in utmost privacy and comfort. The spacious rooms have views of the ocean, and more incredible vistas of Bocas del Toro and the Caribbean Sea can be soaked up from the decks and the pool.

Guests of the Overwater Villa can experience exclusive access to the adjoining island, which boasts the regions second largest freshwater lake, gorgeous gardens, and unique art installations. Board the estate’s 30-foot yacht and set sail around the archipelago, exploring local villages, visiting exotic lands, swimming in the sea and soaking up that winter sun. Two glamping suites, made from bamboo and furnished to the same luxurious standards as the villa, allowing you to further connect with nature and sleep under the stars. There is something for everyone on the island, from activity and adventure to wellness and relaxation, and social impact and exploration.

The perfect time to enjoy the Overwater Villa and private island is during the dry ‘summer’ season, which runs from mid-December to mid-April. Bocas del Toro has been recognised by UNESCO as one of the most beautiful archipelagos in the world, and we have to agree.

Dive into the pristine waters of this Panama province with Villas and Apartments Abroad at this link.

 

Villa Amanzi – Phuket, Thailand

Villa-Amanzi-Exterior-Phuket-Villanovo-UltraVilla

Experience the best of sunny Thailand within the privacy of this sublime six bedroom villa. Perched on Kata Noi hill the gorgeous villa overlooks Kata Noi beach and out to the sparkling Andaman Sea, which can be savoured from the spectacular pool terrace.

Comprised of two master suites, three guest bedrooms and a contained guest suite, this spacious villa makes an excellent option for large families or groups of friends chasing that warm weather getaway or dose of winter sun. Modern and luxurious, Villa Amanzi has fabulous lounge and dining areas featuring amazing vistas of the pool and bay, comfortable seating for up to 12, a professional bar for a lot of fun, and a stone waterfall for total relaxation. The picture-perfect pool terrace, indulgent infinity pool, seriously comfortable sun loungers, and Swedish sauna equate to a really special place. For a quiet moment, retreat to the intimate reading terrace, or soak up some rays on the peaceful upper-level sun deck.

Watch the most incredible sunsets from the terrace nightly, and follow with delicious Thai dinners in the sala surrounded by sea views. More formal meals can be prepared by the villa’s private chef upon request and served in the elegant indoor dining area with seating for 10 and more breathtaking views.

It won’t surprise you to hear that the bedrooms are all luxuriously appointed too. The main master bedroom is especially sumptuous, featuring a king bed, air conditioning, large wardrobe, and dressing area, flat screen TV, ensuite bathroom with hydro tub, double vanities, separate shower, its own private outdoor patio as well as panoramic sea views both indoors and out.

The villa comes fully staffed, and in-house beauty and wellness therapy treatments can be arranged. You will find it hard to tear yourself away from such a beautiful villa, but the beach is just a short distance away if you fancy a stroll, as are other outdoor active pursuits,  great restaurants and shopping too.

Jump on a private jet plane to Thailand this winter, with Villanovo