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!



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.



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.



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.



Recommended Reading

Villanovo UltraVilla Profile

A Guide to Luxury Travel & Accommodation is Mauritius

Best Snorkelling Around the World

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 – 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.



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 – 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 – 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 – 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 – 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 – 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

The latest acquisition of Papagayo Luxury is Viste de Oro, a three-bedroom, 2,800-square-foot condo within the gated community of Peninsula Papagayo in northwestern Costa Rica. Vista de Oro has three and a half baths and 750 square feet of private terraces, and it comes with access to the private Prieta Beach Club and the Four Seasons Arnold Palmer Signature Gold Course. Jane Moore, of Papagayo Luxury, says the property is ideal for three couples (children must be at least 12 years old). A concierge service handles such arrangements as stockage, transport, restaurant reservations, and golf tee times. To inquire, contact Jane at Papagayo Luxury.

Vista de Oro great room
The villa is equipped throughout with WiFi and satellite TV, a more reliable option in this part of Costa Rica than cable. The great room (above) has a vaulted ceiling, and every room has been fully refurbished, with lots of reflective surfaces and a completely renovated kitchen (below). Peninsula Papagayo is on the Pacific coast near Santa Rosa National Park in Guanacaste, a province known for its beaches, coral reefs, rare tropical dry forest, and biodiversity, as well as such activities as snorkeling, surfing, and sport fishing. Vista de Oro is newly available, so now is the time to book it for a Costa Rican holiday.