Finding the perfect luxury holiday home for the whole family or a group of friends can be mighty challenging, especially at the last minute. And even more so for the special festive season, when your time is short, villa demand is high, and holiday-makers’ expectation is higher. We’ve done some digging to uncover the super exclusive private rentals still available for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year, to alleviate some of the load. Whether you’re looking for an alpine retreat with ultra-indulgent spa facilities, a blissful beachfront villa in the Caribbean, a super swanky base for your city break escape, or lavish country pile (and perfect party pad), we have the best of the rest available for you here.
Best for Coupled-Up Culture Vultures: Lindengasse, Vienna
Available for Thanksgiving through The Luxury Travel Book
Lindengasse is a stunning and elegant two bedroom apartment situated on the first floor of a magnificent historical building in the centre of Vienna. At the heart of the Neubau creative district, Lindengasse is just behind the main shopping street of Mariahilfer Strasse. The Museum Quarter is just ten minutes’ walk away, with the impressive Leopold Museum, and its huge collection of paintings, including works by Klimt and Egon Schiele. The area also has an abundance of restaurants and cafes to choose from.
Susie Marquis, UltraVilla’s city apartment specialist and the founder of The Luxury Travel Book, believes the luxurious Lindengasse makes a great base for two couples, friends, or a grown-up family keen to make the most of staying in such a central part of Vienna, and immerse themselves in the rich history and culture of the city.
Best for Après Ski in Sheer Luxury: Chalet Sapphire Gem, Morzine
Available for Christmas, 20th – 27th December, through Ultimate Luxury Chalets
Chalet Sapphire Gem is setting a new standard of luxury in Morzine. The perfect blend of contemporary and alpine tradition creates a cosy and comfortable yet stylish setting, where you feel immediately at home. This chic chalet can accommodate 12 people across 6 ensuite bedrooms in absolute comfort. For larger families or groups of friends holidaying together, the neighbouring Chalet Little Gem can host an extra 4, making this chalet perfect set up for a special Christmas.
Nestled in the hillside, you can enjoy breath-taking and uninterrupted views of the surrounding peaks from the outdoor hot tub, fire pit and barrel sauna. The wellness facilities in Chalet Sapphire Gem are some of the best in the Alps, featuring an indoor swimming pool with massage jets, a hammam, an ice chamber, hydrotherapy showers, and a treatment room.
Brand new for December 2018, you’ll be one of the first to experience this truly indulgent Christmas winter wonderland!
Best for Luxury-Loving Grown-ups: I Putti, Florence
Available for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year, through excellence.villas (4-night minimum stay)
This sensational city apartment, rich in history, is perfectly positioned on the top floor of a Renaissance palazzo on the River Arno. An expansive floor plan – 3000 square feet to be precise – houses three luxurious bedrooms (each with en-suite and private terrace), living-dining room with splendid views over the river, and full kitchen.
You will begin each day truly spoilt with generous breakfasts of rich Italian coffee delicious homemade pastries before you set off on your sightseeing tours, and early evening Aperitivos will greet you upon your return home.
Not only is this private rental extra special, but Florence is simply enchanting over the holiday season. The picture-perfect city provides the ideal backdrop to Renaissance learning, Italian art appreciation, and Christmas traditions.
Best for an Extra Special Celebration: Thorpe Manor, Oxfordshire
Available for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year, through Luxury Cotswold Rentals
Thorpe Manor is a Grade II* listed Georgian country house, which has been totally, immaculately and lovingly renovated. The whole manor is brand new, meeting contemporary expectations, yet remaining authentic and true to its period heritage. All 14 bedrooms come complete with en-suite bathrooms, pretty special for an English manor house! These aspects combined make Thorpe Manor really quite rare.
The house is self-catered, but staffed with housekeeper, butler and bar, and Luxury Cotswold Rentals can arrange for Thorpe Manor to come partially or fully catered. And we highly recommend you do so, as the catering staff are committed to making use of the abundant produce from the surrounding countryside. The delicious food is fresh and vibrant, seasonal, home-grown and locally sourced, and dishes are delivered with a modern flair.
Thorpe Manor is the place to celebrate an exceptional occasion; whether it’s an extra special family Christmas, birthday milestone, or winter wedding. Or, if you feel like treating yourself, to simply enjoy quintessential England at its finest!
Best Inner-City Sanctuary: Palazzo Santa Croce, Florence
Available for Thanksgiving and Christmas, through Carpe Diem Luxury Travel
Marina Gratsos, the founder of Carpe Diem Luxury Travel, agrees with excellence.villas: If you and your little group of guests want to experience the glory of Florence without the hordes, then winter is a magical time to visit. Over Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year, the legendary city reveals its treasures to the discerning few.
And the Santa Croce is another perfect – and totally private – palazzo from which to marvel at its splendour. This enchanting three bedroom apartment has belonged to the same family of nobles for over 500 years, so they sure know how to make you feel at home! Santa Croce is just a few steps away from the Duomo, and the rooftop terrace has some of the most sensational views of the city. It comes with housekeeping and a butler; cook available upon request.
Stay for space and privacy in the heart of the city.
Best for Seeing 2018 Off in Style: La Rive Cape Town, South Africa
Available for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year through Alexis Gillis
An ultramodern masterpiece, La Rive Penthouse is now open for exclusive-use bookings on Cape Town’s platinum mile in Mouille Point. An exceptional private home where luxury and space defy all expectations, the deluxe penthouse with rooftop swimming pool accommodates up to eight guests and is designed for glamorous, seaside and city living at its best.
The La Rive penthouse provides the utmost security and exclusivity. Ideally located in the buzz of Cape Town, with easy access to the city’s world-famous beaches, the V&A Waterfront, top class restaurants and other attractions, La Rive Penthouse boasts spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean and Robben Island, and the greenery of the Metropolitan Golf Course and the Green Point Urban Park on the other side. It’s a secure, private and glamorous home set in an ideal, central location from where one may enjoy the Cape Town lifestyle to its fullest.
Best Relaxing Beach Retreat: Camp David, St. Barth
Available for Christmas and New Year, through St.Barth Properties (14-night minimum stay during holiday period)
The very special Camp David is a sprawling 9 bedroom estate that sits directly on the quieter side of beautiful St. Jean Beach. Two acres of tropical landscaped gardens and a coconut grove of palm trees surround the villa compound, making it a super exclusive retreat.
Camp David can accommodate up to 18 guests, which makes it perfect for extended families or larger groups of friends gathering over the festive season. The gorgeous heated swimming pool, which sits in the midst of a lush green lawn, and tennis court keep all members of the party actively entertained. And two private points of access from the villa to beach ensure guests can plunge into in those warm cerulean Caribbean waters in a St. Barth minute.
A truly special and ultra-exclusive spot, Camp David offers the St. Barth villa lifestyle at its finest.
Best Luxurious Grown-up Getaway: Roaring Pavilion, Jamaica
Available for Christmas and New Year, through Villa Concierge
Set directly beachfront at St. Anns Bay, this stunningly unique property is one of the Caribbean’s most celebrated estate homes. Roaring Pavilion is the ultimate luxury hideaway, with sophisticated private spa, dedicated therapist and indulgent wellness facilities. Combined with impeccable decor and landscaping, world-class entertainment and water toys, and exceptional staff and service, the villa offers an experience that touches the body, mind, and soul in new and magical ways.
With more than 8,000 square feet of living space, Roaring Pavilion can accommodate up to ten guests very comfortably, in four king bedrooms and one additional bedroom with a twin bunk. Although the estate is ultra-elegant, it is totally unpretentious, and the exceptional staff make you feel at home from the get-go.
Holiday like movie stars who have stayed before you!
Best for Multigenerational Festive Fun: Ca di Pesa, Chianti
Available for Christmas and New Year, through Homebase Abroad
A private estate in the heart of Chianti, Ca di Pesa features breath-taking views over the owner’s award-winning vineyards and olive groves. The pool is situated atop one of the gently tumbling Tuscan hills, offering panoramic views of the surrounding landscape as you and your special group of friends or family sip house-made red wine.
An expansive property with 12 bedrooms and room for up to 20 guests, Ca di Pesa makes the perfect multigenerational retreat for the festive season. The plethora of activities and accommodations will appeal to all ages; from a private cinema to an on-site bocce court.
Best for Holiday Hosting: Eden in Sugar Hill, Barbados
Available for Christmas and New Year, through Blue Sky Luxury
Immersed within an acre of lush tropical gardens in the exclusive Sugar Hill community, this luxurious colonial-style five bedroom vacation rental is a true Barbados paradise.
The grand entrance, accessed from Eden’s own private driveway, features a sweeping marble staircase to the open plan living area. Doors open out onto a magnificent covered terrace, with stunning views of the gardens and the sparkling Caribbean Sea beyond. The interior is furnished with a conscious blend of modern and plantation-inspired styles, creating a chic yet authentic environment.
Eden is the ideal vacation villa to host families and entertain during the holidays; with a fully equipped kitchen for cooking in, large terrace to dine on, and charming pool-side gazebo for al fresco lunches and sunset cocktails. The pool terrace is surrounded by beautiful and extensive landscaped gardens, spacious enough for a small destination wedding, family milestones, or parties and celebrations of most sizes.
Eden has a core team of well-trained and friendly staff including a butler, cook and housekeeper and gardener. A dedicated villa manager will take care of your every need while you enjoy everything Eden has to offer.
Best for Fabulous Family Facilities: Villa Trevo, Algarve
Available for New Year through Vila Cita Collection
For families looking to enjoy the facilities of a fully-staffed five-star resort and a festive holiday ambience, all within the privacy of your own exclusive, free-standing property, Villa Trevo is an excellent option. Located in the VILA VITA Parc Resort & Spa on Portugal’s Algarve coast, the stunning clifftop villa boasts the finest luxury amenities, incredible views of the Atlantic and can accommodate up to 12 guests.
Dramatic views of the coastline and the shimmering blue Atlantic can be admired from all of its five bedrooms, as well as from the main lounge, gardens, terraces and the pool. The villa has been tastefully decorated in a classic Mediterranean style of subdued tones, unique furnishings, artwork, and decorative pieces. Guests will savour the villa’s spacious suites, and enjoy cooking in the two well-equipped kitchens, both kitted out with top of the range appliances.
Outside, you can relax on the poolside patio, barbecue for al fresco entertaining, plunge into the fabulous infinity pool, and soak up panoramic views of the mesmerising sea and surroundings from the Jacuzzi and rooftop sun terrace.
Guests have full use of the amenities of the hotel, including the beach and various restaurants, and those visiting over the holiday season can make the most of the resort’s VVP Christmas & New Year Programme which includes delicious Portuguese Christmas specialities, the arrival of Santa with a bag full of presents, a daytime New Year’s Eve party for the kids and a chic ball in the evening, capped off with fireworks at midnight.