Can passion for a subject run through your veins? This appears to be the case for Andrew Mallalieu, Chief Executive of the Terra Group, the parent company of Blue Sky Luxury, the premier luxury rental experts in beautiful Barbados. Discover the fascinating tale of “Blue Skies and Luxury” which sparked the birth of this exciting and exceptional company.

“One hundred. This is the combined years of experience, professionalism and luxury that has melded together to create the ultimate holiday rentals team, Blue Sky Luxury.

“Appropriately, Blue Sky Luxury’s story started in the Caribbean, home to many beautiful and unique island paradises where countless dreams come true. Based in Barbados, the five-year-old brand has become one of the most prolific luxury holiday authorities across the region. However, before its business of stunning villas and dream-like holiday estates was firmly established, for one man, it was but a dream.

“That man was Andrew Mallalieu, a man of many facets and the protagonist of our story. As the son of Bill Mallalieu, one of the early and most respected real estate agents in Barbados, Andrew came from a family of real estate stock. Bill Mallalieu’s business came from a foundation, built over six decades ago, which helped grow Barbados as a second home and holiday destination. This business would ultimately chart the history of the iconic Blue Sky Luxury. In 1997, with the same blood and passion for real estate coursing through his veins, the junior Mallalieu replaced his senior in the real estate business. By 2000, a fiery-red presence graced the real estate landscape – it was Terra Caribbean, the brainchild of Andrew himself. With this, the stage was set for a serendipitous merger.

“Running almost concurrently to Terra’s history was the story of another real estate venture that would contribute half the DNA of the Blue Sky Luxury brand. With a similar origin dating back to the 1960s, and also the result of a generational shift of power, the Mahon family created Bajan Services Limited in 1979. The company prospered for almost thirty years in luxury real estate and holiday rentals along the island’s famed West Coast.

“Fast forward to 2008 and the real estate landscape was dominated by the bold presence of Andrew’s Terra brand. It was a competitive market, but golden opportunities would not go unnoticed by the keen, business-savvy eye of the second generation Mallalieu. In April of the same year, he acquired Bajan Services from the Mahons. Four short years later the dye was cast and Blue Sky Luxury emerged.

“Today, Andrew W. Mallalieu, CPA MRICS, is the Chief Executive of the Terra Group, the parent company of Blue Sky Luxury. An avid motorsports enthusiast and Formula One steward, he embodies excellence in everything he does and has adeptly taken this luxurious brand to the pinnacle of holiday home luxury and expert concierge services. His team is a cadre of passionate Barbadians with the precise professional knowledge needed for catering to holiday dreams in a way that exceeds expectations. The team are a self-described “happy bunch”, and in their eyes, Andrew – as he is simply known – has created the perfect environment for achieving first-class delivery of all their clients’ wants and needs. With a portfolio of over 120 holiday homes in Barbados (some have been in the portfolio for over 30-years), this is no small feat.

“This winning combination of a profound history, robust leadership and a happy, dedicated team is a dream epitomized, and manifests itself in the many repeat guests who have returned to personalized holidays from the team year after year.  With some visiting the island up to 20 times building lifelong memories. With this success in mind, Andrew has his eyes set on the rest of the Caribbean, so stay tuned, the Blue Sky Luxury story has only just begun.

“From the reservation specialists to the concierge team, Blue Sky Luxury remains a revered presence across the regional landscape, catering soundly what its name suggests: it is nothing short of a holidaymaker’s dream…” – Blue Sky Luxury team

Preview a selection of Blue Sky Luxury’s exquisite line of villas here and start planning an unforgettable vacation in Barbados with their team.

In this edition of our How We Started series, we travel to the breath-taking plains of Kenya’s Maasai Mara to meet Calvin and Louise Cottar. Deep in family safari heritage and passionate about offering unique African travel experiences, Calvin tells us more about the history of their company, Cottar’s 1920’s Camp, and about their recently built exclusive Bush Villa.

Calvin Cottar, Louise Cottar, The Maasai Mara experienced on a Cottar’s Bush Walk


“Cottar’s 1920’s Camp and Bush Villa are just the latest iteration of safaris that my family has run. It all started in 1909 when my great grandfather Chas Cottar read Teddy Roosevelt’s book ‘Game Trails in Africa’, which recounted his exploits while hunting in British East Africa. Chas sailed back to his home in Lipscum on the Texas / Oklahoma border, sold everything and hefted his family of three sons and six daughters and his wife back to Africa to settle.

“Over the years, Chas and his three sons shook up the safari world, and Mike’s son Glen, my father, joined the trade in 1957. Glen started the first dedicated tourist tented camp in Tsavo East National Park, the first of its kind in Africa. Eventually the elephants died off and insecurity forced he and Pat, his wife and my mother, to make a new camp in the Maasai Mara area of Kenya in 1979. Eventually the area became less wild and more congested with camps and tourism, therefore, he started a camp called Bushtops, also in the Mara area. This in turn became congested which led Louise and I to start the Nineteen Twenties camp in the Olderkesi area to the South East of Maasai Mara National Reserve, where we do everything we can to keep the crowds away and maintain our reputation for wilderness and privacy.

“We started building the Villa six years ago, it took three years to build, and was built to accommodate the needs of a non-tourist clientele who wish to stay longer in one place. Designed by Louise and I, the villa was built by hand using indigenous and eco-friendly materials. It is managed within the same area as Cottar’s 1920s Safari Camp, and guests can enjoy the same levels of service and standard for which the camp is known. For those that want absolute privacy in the Maasai Mara, combined with dedicated and discrete staff, award-winning guides, and an abundance of wildlife, Cottar’s Bush Villa offers the only real private luxury home in the Maasai Mara.

“Working together our Cottar’s team continues to provide some of the best safaris and experiences in Africa. Extending an era of luxury and quality, we return to the original spirit and essence of ‘safari’, reminiscent of a golden era, an era of romance, professional guiding, adventure and elegance.” – Calvin Cottar

Learn more about Cottar’s Bush Villas and the safari experiences they provide by reaching out to them here. You can also read about their efforts for conservation and community engagement in this recent feature on our Journal.

Very few global villa experts have the experience, the exceptional repertoire and the acute and creative attention to detail as Sylvia Delvaille Jones. Her immense professionalism and flare do not go unnoticed, leading her to be named once again a Condé Nast Top Villa Specialist for 2016. Sylvia takes us back forty years to tell us how she ended up in the luxury villa rental business and some of the special secrets to the success of her company Villas and Apartments Abroad.

Sylvia hws

“Greetings from a restored farmhouse in Umbria, a sprawling beach house on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, a luxury golf estate in the Grenadines… I have been lucky and privileged to be able to enjoy all the holidays of my clients over many years, costing me nary a penny.

“I enjoy each holiday because I work with my clients to come up with the best experience that speaks to all the senses, sparking curiosity and educating as we navigate. I am on the vacation with them even before the holiday starts by carefully selecting the villa, climbing waterfalls or crawling through beautiful underground caves with the kids, deciding where to go dancing and finding the little shack on the beach that served the best jerk chicken, tacos or pasta.

Front View of Villa, 95

“Yes, I have lived each of my clients’ journeys very personally, right down to checking with the cooks in the Caribbean which nonperishable food items and snacks for the children that might be scarce or not available on the shelves and way families could save on food cost by packing a suitcase. I’ve also told those meat and potato golfers to freeze their favorite cuts of steaks and pack them in their golf bags so they would enjoy fantastic BBQ steaks and lobsters. Customs agents did not search the golf bag of a golfer going on a holiday. For a group of 12 that was a big chunk of change saved! For a wine and spirits distributor and a gourmet food supplier, I preordered delicacies like smoked salmon, pate and cornichons. Depending on the occasion sourcing that  leg of lamb or the turkey for Thanksgiving, selection of wines and spirits and have them delivered to the villa prior to their arrival.

“I recall a particularly fun experience when I knew the local family were going to host the visiting family for tea one afternoon, I made sure there were some commonalities between the two families so they would have some topics of conversation. One of the experiences I love arranging is for people with common interests – like stamp collectors, bridge players, cigar connoisseurs or antique cars buffs – to meet and share their knowledge of their shared interests.

“I am very sensitive about making sure that a client is the right match for the villa and the owner and vice versa. It is very important to me that my client feels welcome and the owner greets them warmly, happy to meet each other. I give careful thought if the client is high profile, the average age of the group, overall makeup of the party and any celebratory celebration that will be hosted at the villa. Race and nationality also are truths that I keep in mind. Yes, psychology, instincts and picking up on the unsaid but what speaks loudly are important guides when I match villa and client.


“I was introduced to villas when I worked for the tourism department developing the concept of villa rental for families as an alternative to hotels. An attractive proposition as it was less expensive to stay in a beach cottage than a hotel, while enjoying privacy, space, your own pool or beach and a fantastic cook. From those days, I remember three simple cottages owned by three nuns – sisters from an affluent family. Those cottages turned out to be extremely popular with families with small children. On a grander scale were three Georgian style beachfront villas  sitting side by side and also owned by three sisters, a wedding gift to each girl from their very affluent parents, heiresses to the Red Stripe Beer and Appleton Rum family.

“It was from this first experience 40 years ago that I developed a close bond with clients, still searching for those unique and different flavors they would not have found on their own, whether they are spending 5,000 dollars for a family of six or 500,000 dollars for a private island or a historic chateau surrounded by vineyards in Bordeaux, Chianti, Chile or Argentina. Tailoring each person’s experience to match their profile while adding in a splash of local spice and flavour capped with breathtaking surprises are the things I personally love doing for my clients.


“As one of the pioneers in this field of travel, I have encouraged others who were starting up their own companies. Some would call me up, asking if they could come by to have a chat. I made many friends with colleagues this way. Some have become leaders and extremely successful in the industry.

“Keeping up with advancing technology and the requirements of speed and efficiency, the evolution of amazing architectural styles, interior design and decorating – true artforms – and the rapid changes and standards of luxury travel are exciting and jaw dropping. The children of clients, the picky millennials, are now my clients and working with owners to help them rebrand by restyling in order to stay in the game is a thrilling challenge, one which I’ll continue to take on with gusto!”

Thank you very much for the vivid story, Sylvia!

Have Sylvia assist you in designing the most incredible holiday virtually anywhere on the globe by contacting her at this link.

What does it take to have a prosperous and renowned luxury villa rental company? Passion, dedication and the highest levels of customer service are proving to be the winning equation for our New Zealand experts Lisa Hayden and Fiona Stevens of MajorDomo. Their success has recently earned them a prestigious 2016 Deloitte Fast 50 award, impressive recognition of their achievements after only three years in business. Fiona Stevens tells us more about the company’s incarnation and its notable evolution.

Photo: Chris Sullivan

Fiona Stevens (left) and Lisa Hayden (right) at the Deloitte Fast 50 Awards Ceremony Photo: Chris Sullivan


“Lisa and I met four years ago and quickly discovered that we shared a passion for not only a glass of Central Otago Pinot Noir, but for the luxury accommodation industry.

“When we met I had been involved in tourism in New Zealand since 1987, and had extensive knowledge of what luxury visitors want and how to deliver superior service. Lisa’s background was as a sharebroker, financial advisor and successful ‘start-up’ business entrepreneur. We were both looking for the next project and soon formed an impressive team combining our experience in tourism and business.

“We saw an opportunity to create a niche in the luxury market after being approached by several Queenstown home owners to manage their villas as accommodation.


“A portfolio of villas then began forming after word of mouth got around Queenstown. The long-term goal was then to become a trusted accommodation provider in the luxury tourism market, offering not only villa stays but boutique hotels, luxury lodges and apartments to create an accessible range of accommodation options for different guests. MajorDomo was then born in 2013.

“It didn’t take long for Lisa and I to add concierge services and inspirational experiences to the MajorDomo product. We understand what it’s like for guests organising travel, accommodation, activities and all the finer details in between – especially when the whole family or a bunch of friends are coming along! We felt that we could take some of the pressure off for our guests by offering them these services and specifically tailoring holidays to their needs. That way visitors could come away from a truly unique experience feeling relaxed, having spent more time with friends and family and with all their expectations and requirements exceeded.


“It’s incredibly important to us that, in everything we do, we intertwine an exemplary level of personal service and professionalism, as well as a dash of fun and friendliness – guests are on holiday, after all! Being approachable enables us to truly listen to our guests and better tailor their accommodation and experiences to them. It’s also more fun for us!

“Lisa and I are so proud that three years into operation, MajorDomo is an award-winning company with repeat guests and an impressive portfolio of select properties in the heart of New Zealand’s stunning landscapes, including historic high country stations, contemporary urban retreats, small and quirky, and grand and architectural.


“From the first point of contact, a complimentary concierge from our small team takes care of our visitors’ every need, streamlining all accommodation and experience bookings before and during their stay. From a backcountry helicopter trip to exclusive wine tasting tour, in-house yoga or personal chef – it’s all possible.

“We believe that our passion and flare remains evident throughout every facet of the business and is helping to drive our continual growth.”

Preview the exceptional quality of MajorDomo’s properties in this feature of their recently added Mahu Whenua, a vast retreat which brings luxury eco-tourism to a whole new level. Let Fiona, Lisa and their team of passionate specialists assist you with planning your perfect holiday to New Zealand by contacting them here.

Sometimes travel can come from a surprising twist of fate. That’s exactly what happened to Pamela Murdock, an UltraVilla expert for Harbour Island in the Bahamas and San Miguel de Allende in Mexico. Read on to discover how an unexpected envelope in the mail allowed her to start traveling and eventually led her to create her bespoke villa rental company.


“When I was 20, “my” bank in New York made the innocent mistake of sending me a credit card. It was a miserably hot summer, I was dying to escape and, as usual, was short of funds. And then the MasterCard arrived. I’d barely opened the envelope when I realized I was holding the solution. Not only could I charge the airfare, I could also rent a small house so that my Labrador could come too. Because Lulu and I loved the beach, I started renting on Caribbean islands that allowed dogs to visit as well. When she became too old to travel, I branched out to other locations including the Bahamas and Mexico.

“After years of various jobs, 18 of them as a publicist in New York City, I decided to turn something I loved doing for myself into a business: finding vacation house rentals. I was sure if I liked the property friends would too and happily they always did. Those friends referred their friends and my business continued to grow. My goal has never been to have as many listings as possible. I prefer to keep my company small and customized. It also doesn’t matter to me whether someone would like a simple beach shack or a grand villa with staff, the effort put into finding the right place remains the same. And once on holiday, the only thing I want my clients to have to think about is what fun thing to do next.

“Now 16 years later, I still look at each prospective house as though I was taking it for myself. I still want to know what surrounds the property, what the views really are, whether the bathroom has a tub or shower and what size beds are in each room (reading “double bedroom” on a website doesn’t work for me.)

“In destinations like Harbour Island, Bahamas (pictured above), I’ve developed an extensive list of contacts and am happy to be able to offer clients the following services: arranging golf cart rental, advance grocery shopping, extra maid service, a cook (managing all details), in-house massage, personal training, restaurant reservations, special events and boat charters for diving, snorkeling, picnics and fishing (deep sea and bone) as well as organizing a taxi from/to the airport and round trip water taxi service. Very detailed information about any location is also provided.

“By the way, over 40 years later, I’m still renting vacation houses for myself and yes, still using that MasterCard to pay for them (albeit making much larger monthly payments for which the bank is happy)!” – Pamela H. Murdock

Discover more about Pamela’s repertoire on Harbour Island here as well as a special property she represents in the charming Mexican colonial city of San Miguel de Allende, Quinta Quebrada, the enchanting historic home pictured above. You can also get an idea of the fabulous local insight Pamela can provide by perusing her tips in this article on San Miguel in November and on Best Watersports in the Caribbean.

In this latest edition of How We Started, we met Katharina Allès Trauttmansdorff of Trust&Travel and, who shares the enchanting and lively story of how working for a vineyard created the roots for an entirely different Italian venture: the creation of one of Italy’s top collections of luxury villa rentals.


Last night, I managed to break into a cocktail party where I met a slightly eccentric English aristocrat:

– Catharina! Posh name! With a C or with a K?

– With a K. Or with a C, I don’t mind, have your pick!

– Well… I’ll take the K. And, if I may, what is your curriculum vitae, Katharina with a K?

My curriculum vitae ?! Well…  I don’t remember how I worked my way out of it, but this gentleman’s question gave me an idea. So here you are : this is my curriculum vitae. Or, I should say, my curriculum Italiae!

In my twenties, I used to work in a wine-growing estate in Tuscany. One day, its proud owner came up to me and said: “As you know, Katharina, part of my estate is now vacant, and sadly dormant. I would like to bring it back to life; open its doors to nice people – travellers, vacationers, friends – and share with them the life we have the privilege to enjoy here. Do you think you could help me, pretty young lady, to carry through this wild venture?”

We stared at each other for a few seconds and… “It’s a deal! Let’s get down to work!”

After helping this spirited Tuscan to refurbish and decorate his vacant estate – which in itself was an outstanding piece of the Italian historical heritage, – I went out and found his first clients. Instantaneous success and word of mouth did the rest. Many other estate owners in the area called on me to restore and convert – with the “wise traveller”  in mind and without altering their quintessence – the houses, villas, castles, farms and fortresses situated on their lands.

That’s how Trust&Travel  was born, an agency I founded more than 20 years ago and which I have been managing since then. Today, it serves as link between 120 exceptional properties and the wayfaring souls seeking to be at one with Italy.

With Excellence Villas, I took up a brand-new challenge. This latest venture will enable us to cater for an affluent clientele interested in world-class luxury residences in Italy.

Italy at its very best. Hand-picked, thoroughly inspected world-class villas or city apartments. Outstanding locations. Impeccable service. Personalized attention. State-of-the-art amenities. Guaranteed privacy. Warmth, hospitality and authenticity. Reliability and trust.

My team and I have intimate knowledge of each listing which we visit regularly, and we work closely with the owners to maintain quality control.

The first time I set foot on Italian soil, I was 15, and the passion has not in the least withered since. I have created Trust&Travel and to share with you what I know and what I treasure about this unique country.

Buon viaggio, Katharina

Have your own magical experience in Italy with Katharina’s help by contacting Trust&Travel and here.





Can a holiday change one’s destiny? It certainly can. We find out firsthand how a fateful trip to Maui inspired Yale graduate Anne Pawsat to give up her high-flying career in London to launch her successful company Hawaii Hideaways and in the process revolutionalize both her own life and the vacation rental business on the archipelago.

Hawaii Hideaways 3

I was living in London in 2003 when my sister asked me to visit Maui. I pictured Hawaii like parts of Florida – highrise condos, overcrowded, and more kitsch than charm. My sister convinced me to come and visit nonetheless. Everything was the opposite. Leaving the dreary weather and poor diet of the UK, I arrived in Maui to find a true paradise of healthy people, spectacular surroundings and business opportunities.

Hawaii is so physically beautiful. Every island is different and each offers a remarkable landscape and sense of place. The culture is inviting – the aloha spirit truly gives a warm embrace. The people are very physically active, healthy and happy! Maui was a total counterpoint to my life in London. So, I returned to the UK to pack my bags and move out to Maui for good. My move was whimsical, but it did not take long before business opportunities revealed themselves.

The vacation rental business was just getting underway. Vacationers were already coming to Hawaii and spending $100K to rent a luxury home for one week. The service, however, was not of the same caliber. No one had yet fully embraced the high-end hospitality aspect of the vacation rental business and that was my opportunity. I created Hawaii Hideaways to not only offer luxury vacation rental homes throughout the islands of Hawaii, but to also offer a comparable service.

Very quickly our customers appreciated what we had to offer: the basic concierge services that were oftentimes lacking with the other services with the added advantage of meeting the personal and complicated requests that come with this business. For instance, importing a client’s bed from Hong Kong, custom making screens to fit a wraparound lanai, arranging a home to placate family squabbles and of course the 24-hour service and availability that this business requires.

When I started Hawaii Hideaways, other companies were waiting days to fix air conditioning, if it ever got fixed at all. I introduced a model that said we will get everything right and if there is a hiccup, every avenue will be exhausted to rectify the situation. Soon, everyone on the island wanted to work with us. Hawaii Hideaways became a well-oiled machine and synonymous with the best service on the islands.

Our clients are happy. This makes working with Hawaii Hideaways a pleasure for everyone. For us, nothing is more enjoyable than showing our clients the natural beauty of Hawaii. The fun part is cultivating the various different vacations – active, sporty, relaxing, spa, golf, – whatever is requested, we create it. The common denominator is always luxury accommodations and first-class service. We were the first to introduce full-service vacations on all the islands of Hawaii and we have been delivering that service for over 10 years, with the spirit of Aloha.

Hawaii Hideaways includes over 60 top-echelon, exclusive rental properties, furnished to Architectural Digest-level standards. To learn more about their fabulous repertoire of Hawaii luxury rentals or request a booking, visit their profile here.

We’re taking off to the beautiful island of Bali in Indonesia to meet Melanie Hall, founder and designer of the galactical Luna2. She reveals the fascinating story behind this one of a kind “private hotel” and how it helped bring design and style to the Balinese beach.

Melanie Hall Founder & Designer Luna2

My husband Stewart and I purchased this prime beachfront site some 14 years ago. At that time, we recognised a gap in the market for a niche market of world-travelling hot-spotters, design junkies and discerning gastronauts: celebrities, socialites, business leaders and entrepreneurs, from key cities around the globe. We believed the time was right to satisfy the ever-growing demand in hospitality for those wanting more privacy and intimacy, with all the services of an exclusive 5-star hotel.

As such, we created Luna2 private hotel back in 2007, a “Cosmic launch pad for shoot-the-mooners!” According to the UK’s Wallpaper* magazine it “Breaks new ground here on earth”, and it was named one of Hong Kong’s Asia Tatler’s “World’s Top 10 Hottest Hotels”.

With my previous experience in Creative for international fashion brands, and my passion for design and hospitality, together with my husband’s Business & Finance expertise, and our combined extensive world travel, and knowledge of Indonesia, we both found that venturing into the hotel industry in Bali was a fairly seamless transition.

Why ‘Luna2’?

Luna2 was named after the first spacecraft to successfully land on the moon in the late 50’s. I wanted a brand name that reflected the late 50’s/early 60s, yet seemed futuristic, and appeared playful. In other words, that the name ‘personified’ the Luna2 ethos, which is…

We respect the past, welcome the future and like to have fun in the process! With this in mind, we blend nostalgia (great modernism works of the past, some 60’s pop etc), with futurism (innovation, gadgets, high-tech stuff) and touches of fun…life is not to be taken too seriously after all! This ethos continues to be infused throughout every aspect of Luna2 as a company, from architectural design to interior design, from Lunafood to music, right through to the superstar service we offer. Hence, Luna2 employees are encouraged to have a sound understanding of great tradition, keep abreast of global innovation, and retain a sense of humour in the process.

Why do we call it a ‘private hotel’?

Luna2 private hotel offers superstar services of an exclusive hotel with the intimacy of a private home. This exclusive-use, five-bedroomed ‘private hotel’ sleeps approximately 10 people and is the ultimate holiday destination for groups of singles or couples, with or without children. Luna2 aims to deliver a cosmic guest experience, every time.

A complement of no less than 20 internationally-trained staff cater to the guests’ every whim. Luna2 offers an out-of-this-world Lunafood & bar service, led by Executive Chef Errol Defoe from London, complete with in-house event-planning services; there is a comprehensive range of activities and spa treatments on offer, both in- and out-of-house.

Luna2 private hotel has raised the benchmark in Bali, by way of its prime location, visionary design and stellar levels of wining & dining, lounging & sleeping. The ultra-modern, minimalist design is a vastly different approach to the ubiquitous ‘modern Bali’ style. It is located beachfront in the heart of fashionable Seminyak, the “Chelsea” of Bali to those in the know! Seminyak has more recently emerged as Bali’s hub for style, with world-renowned hotels, restaurants, bars, galleries and boutiques.

Luna2 is renowned for creating experiences which are seen as a level above the norm. The true definition of cosmic! Only those who have stayed at Luna2 private hotel really understand Luna2 point of difference, and as a result many come back for more. Guests who have been “Lunarised” have said, “Luna2 is on another planet – a great one!” “The service is on another level!” and “It doesn’t get any better than this!”