Escaping to a gorgeous holiday paradise is the ultimate way to recharge and switch off from the stresses of work and life. If you really need a break to focus on your wellbeing, to practise yoga and to detox with healthy meals, then a perfectly private villa in a stunning natural setting might be just what the doctor ordered. Wake up to the sound of lapping waves and the call of tropical birds, a fresh juice awaits you after your yoga practice on these exceptional terraces with incredible views. Afterwards, continue to be tempted by the other villas in Part I of our best yoga terraces here.

Residence on the Rocks – Mahé, The Seychelles

Imagine doing your daily yoga facing one of the most beautiful beaches in the whole world. This coupled with serene surroundings and laidback elegance makes the Residence on the Rocks in the Seychelles, an amazing private yoga getaway destination.

Built in 2008, the Residence on the Rocks sits on a high ridge on the estate of the Banyan Tree Resort in the very south of Mahé, the main island of the Seychelles. Discretely nestled in virgin, indigenous forest, the beautiful four-bedroom villa has views on Intendance Beach, voted one of the best beaches in the world, as well as lovely Taka Maka Beach.

Designed in a colonial, Creole style and decorated with antiques and artwork personally collected by the villa’s owners, it features a large lounge, a sitting area and dining room which is next to a fully equipped kitchen. With two of the bedrooms in the main building and the others in two separate guest houses (and reached via a forest path), it’s ideal for a group of friends who would like to spend quality time together while having their own privacy.

A highlight of the villa is the numerous covered verandas, sunny poolside terraces and charming pavilion – all with exquisite views of the forest or sea and suitable, tranquil places to practice yoga depending on your mood and the time of day. Guests can enjoy all the benefits of the Banyan Tree Resort including having one of its yoga instructors give private lessons right at the Residence.

Enjoy the beach, forest and supreme peacefulness on a yoga inspired retreat in the spectacular Seychelles at the Residence on the Rocks at this link.


Villa Monalisa – Campania, Italy

The vast seven-bedroom Villa Monalisa lies in a very private position surrounded by nature; immersed in a maritime pine wood setting, steps from the Mediterranean sea. Available through Villas and Apartments Abroad, the estate lies in a protected area, part of the Cilento National Park in the southern Italian region of Campania. The terraces surrounding the villa are filled with scented jasmine, honeysuckle, and bougainvillea, the perfect surroundings for meditative yoga.

The charming living room with wooden ceilings and parquet floors; furnished with sofas, coaches, fireplace with a well-stocked library opens onto the master bedroom, kept in blue and white colors, which opens onto the terrace, inviting you out for stretching even from the earliest hours.

Afterwards, take a dip in the swimming pool (10 mt x 5 mt), located a short walk from the villa, sheltered by a Roman ruin. Then spend some time lounging on one of the  sunbeds found in the pool area or on the private sunbathing wooden deck overlooking the sea and the Licosa island lying just in front of the coast. If you would like to remain closer to the house, there are long comfortable cushioned inbuilt benches all along the front of it and a separate palm covered outdoor lounge area with sofas and couches with spectacular views overlooking the sea.

Fresh vegetable and fruits from the organic garden as well as delicious olive oil right from the property are used to whip up healthy meals. Guests can also stay fit by biking and hiking through the forest, towards the private island and lighthouse, along the seashore, or into the low hills to San Marco.

Enjoy a peaceful and healthy vacation in southern Italy with Villas and Apartments Abroad here.

The Dream – Barbados

Situated in the exclusive neighbourhood of ‘The Garden’ on Barbados’ platinum West Coast, this gorgeous five-bedroom beachfront villa, by Blue Sky Luxury, combines ultra modern design with Caribbean chic, providing a divine setting for magical yoga sessions by the sea.

The beautifully furnished interiors accentuate the modern architecture and focus on clean lines, neutral tones and tropical indulgence. The main floor houses three of the five en suite air-conditioned bedrooms. The plush first floor master suite opens onto a private balcony and gorgeous vistas of the sea and the relaxed covered terrace.

Designed to encourage outdoor living, The Dream has various open plan living spaces and covered terraces, a spacious sundeck around the sleek infinity edge swimming pool overlooking the turquoise Caribbean Sea and a comfortable outdoor lounge area, all surrounded by landscaped gardens, tropical fauna and a spectacular ocean view – deciding where to lay down your yoga mat will be difficult!

The Blue Sky Luxury team can arrange some exceptional teachers to come to the villa. They offer a variety of practices from the beginner to the very advanced and some are so popular that they travel annually to work with their top overseas clients when they are not vacationing in Barbados. There are also a number of yoga workshops hosted throughout the year by well known International practitioners, Blue Sky Luxury can advise you about these and help you plan your trip accordingly.

The Dream is ideal for sunset yoga overlooking the ocean or even yoga under the moonlight. To change up your routine, you could try paddleboard yoga, a fun new experience which tests balance and engages the core. This can be practised in the sea right in front of the villa. After a strenuous yoga session, treat yourself to a range of in-villa spa services that Blue Sky Luxury can organize.

The villa is set at the end of a private drive, offering complete privacy, while remaining within reach of the West Coast’s many five star restaurants, luxury boutiques, trendy bars and nightclubs and world class golf courses and other activities.

The Blue Sky Luxury team is ready to help you design your dream yoga retreat at the Dream Villa. Contact them here.


Marchons Sur l’Eau – St-Tropez, France

You’ll reach yoga nirvana on the phenomenal terrace of the aptly named “Walk on Water” villa, offering endless views of the sparkling French Mediterranean.

The newly built contemporary villa, available through Villas Prestige et Services, is perched on an entirely hidden location above the picturesque port of Ramatuelle. Outdoor living revolves around the sublime infinity pool, surrounded by two levels of terrace and a barbecue area. The spacious open living continues indoors with a comfortable living room and kitchen area, decorated with colorful modern furniture and artwork inspired by Miro.

Guests can keep a zen state of mind hiking the cliffs around the villa while soaking up the exquisite views. Alternatively, those looking to stay fit can descend to the “Cap Taillat” beach and club to take in some tennis and a variety of watersports from standup paddleboard to kayaking. A quiet amble can be made in the village around its charming shops and cafes or those seeking some buzz need only take a short drive to nearby St-Tropez.

Learn more about this superb Cote d’Azur villa through Villas Prestiges et Services at this link.

Amara Ocean Resort – Ngapali, Myanmar

Located on a three-kilometer stretch of powder white sand south of Ngapali, the Amara Ocean Resort provides a tranquil and luxurious retreat for Yogis seeking to practise in a perfectly peaceful and laidback beach setting in untouristy Myanmar.

The boutique resort has 26 rustic chic teak bungalows which are nestled in a palm grove and face the beautiful beach. Get your day started with an hour of yoga in one of the resort open-air bungalows that have an unobstructed view of the sea and direct access to the beach, however, which are partially hidden behind mangrove trees. Since the resort faces west, these pavilions also beckon sunset yoga.

The friendly staff, healthy local cuisine and the rich cultural heritage create the ideal environment for escaping the world and focusing on your well being. You can also pamper yourself at the resort’s newly opened outdoor spa.

Enjoy a wonderfully secluded yoga beach retreat with Amara Ocean Resort.

Quinta Quebrada – San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Quinta Quebrada is undoubtedly the most extraordinary house one of Mexico’s most beautiful hilltop cities, San Miguel de Allende. The one of a kind house is like a living museum, while at the same time, an overwhelming sense of well-being reigns. Pamela H. Murdock, who represents the house, tells us more about it and why it would be perfect for a private yoga and wellness retreat:

“Owned by the same lady since 1959, every design decision she made when she began the expansion of the original house was based on authenticity and history of this fascinating area. Hours of painstaking research and working with local artisans resulted in her deep understanding of the importance of the spirituality in every aspect of design.

“This imposing and yet charming 16th century casa has 13,864 sq. ft. of living space on three floors and beautifully landscaped grounds covering almost one acre. Throughout the property and on every floor are many lovely terraces and a big lawn, which is fun, so one can do yoga in different settings depending on one’s mood.

“There is also a wonderful masseuse/healer who will come to the house or for those feeling especially spiritual, there’s another masseur/healer who just happens to be a shaman as well, named Gray Wolf. In addition, there are several very good spas in town and outside including the very funky Hotel Hacienda Taboada, the home of “Aqua Magica”. Plus, just outside the property is El Santuario de Atotonilco, one of the most important 18th c. churches in Mexico and a UNESCO World Heritage Site with outstanding frescoes and wooden sculptures.”

With 11 bedrooms, Quinta Quebrada is the perfect house for a yoga retreat for a group of friends. Reach out to Pamela here to design your ideal holiday focusing on your mind at body at magical Quinta Quebrada.

Virunga Lodge – Rwanda

Set on a lush hilltop in an exceptional location, the award-winning Virunga Lodge by Volcanoes Safaris offers panoramic views of the Virunga volcanoes and the dazzling twin lakes, Ruhondo and Bulera. This is the premier luxury destination for Rwandan wildlife safaris to spot the endangered mountain gorillas.

Virunga lodge has been described as having ‘the best view in the world’ and as ‘one of the finest lodges in Africa’. The organic, ‘bush-chic’ design reflects local building traditions while offering luxurious comforts.

Every banda has an amazing outdoor space, overlooking either the twin lakes, Burera and Ruhondo or the three Volcanoes (Sabyinyo, Muhabura, Gahinga), where guests can do yoga facing breathtaking vistas. Volcanoes Safaris can also arrange a wide range of outdoor activities and gorilla safaris to carry on the peacefulness of your holiday and provide you with an unparalleled natural experience in the stunning forests and mountains of the area.

Discover Volcanoes Safaris unique approach to tourism and sustainability by vacationing with them.

Villa Selina – Serifos, Greece

Recharge with the rejuvenating energy of the Aegean Sea at this gorgeous five-bedroom villa, available through White Key Villas, set on a secluded estate dotted with fruit trees and vineyards overlooking the sandy bay of Kalo Ampeli.

Boasting a wide array of outdoor spaces, Yogis will have the choice between beside the pool, on the upper terrace with incredible sea views, under the vine-laden dining area or inside in the vast, cool yoga-fitness area.

The design and decor are a modern take on classical Cycladic ambiance with white walls, wooden furniture and vintage wooden floors. Guests can come together in various inviting living spaces while having the privacy of spaced out bedrooms consisting of a master suite, independent double bedroom, two-room family suite and a romantic guest house. The bedrooms are fresh and airy, with pastel tones and plenty of natural light.

The location is very hidden yet only a 10-minute drive to the port and nearest shopping area. Plus, the beach is short walk away. This is an excellent retreat for a group of friends with their children or a large family.

Learn more about this stunning villa by reaching out to White Key Villas here.

Sawtooth House – Queenstown, New Zealand

Envelop yourself in the beauty of Queenstown on a blissful yoga holiday at the sleek Sawtooth House by Majordomo. The uniquely designed five-bedroom villa sits over the beautiful Shotover River and has awe-inspiring views of the valley and the mountains behind.

This one of a kind villa blends modern design with a warm welcoming feel while also having a large outdoor space for entertaining. This is complemented by the owner’s impressive contemporary art collection. Ideal for girls’ retreats or family trips, it sleeps ten in one extravagant king en-suite and four plush king single bunk rooms. MajorDomo can arrange an in-house yoga instructor or masseuse for the perfect relaxation outside on the terrace overlooking the river.

At just 10 minutes from central Queenstown it’s also a great base for exploring the area, abundant in outdoor adventurous pursuits. At the end of the day enjoy pre-dinner cocktails as you look out over the Shotover River or watch the sun set behind the mountains as you sit poolside with a glass of Central Otago Pinot.

Start planning your Queenstown yoga getaway with MajorDomo at this link.

Treville Villa – Amalfi Coast, Italy

The sprawling, opulent 15-bedroom Treville, available through Homebase Abroad, is a private paradise offering a complete escape from the pressures of the outside world. The 2,500 square meters of indoor living space and two hectares of grounds are extensive enough to enable you and your guests unending vistas for relaxation and yoga practice.

Covering an entire hillside in Positano, it’s widely considered to be the most famous private estate on the Amalfi Coast, thanks to Italian designer, director and producer Franco Zeffirelli who welcomed illustrious guests like Liz Taylor, Leonard Bernstein and Elton John to his phenomenal abode on this exceptionally stunning stretch of the Amalfi coastline. A recent upgrade by new owners and a team of designers, has unveiled an unparalleled experience of Italian style, service and amenities in a captivating setting.

Its 15 expansive suites are spread among four villas and all feature enchanting view of sea, sky, coast and/or garden, plus most have private outdoor space and two have private pools. Over the estates nine levels are refined terraces, connected to impeccably kept manicured gardens and meandering pathways, offering a wide selection of venues for practicing yoga. You can surrounded yourself by 70-year-old tropical trees, fragrant jasmine or cascading wisteria vines and bougainvillea or breathe in the fresh sea air and absorb the exquisite views of the shimmering sea.

The villa’s private chef can match your healthy holiday with delicious meals using the estate’s home-grown succulent tomatoes, lush vegetables and aromatic herbs.

Pamper yourself in this Amalfitan paradise by contacting Homebase Abroad here.

Whether made by nature or man, many of the world’s most amazing sites are next to the water’s edge. Not surprisingly so, as the water has played such an important role in both history, the evolution of man and in recharging the spirit. Some of the most unique of these places are still off the radar to most tourists, but our readers are lucky to be able to discover a few of these best kept secrets thanks to these insider tips from our local experts across the globe.

The  Arethusa Pool on Mou Waho Island, Lake Wanaka  

Our experts at Touch of Spice fill us in on one of Lake Wanaka’s best kept secrets, accessible only via boat lays an island, known as Mou Waho or commonly referred to as the lake on the lake.

“The largest of Lake Wanaka’s islands, Mou Waho is a protected home to many native bird and plant life, but what makes it so popular is what’s hidden at the summit,” explains Kelcey Radford of Touch of Spice. The peak sits at just over 200m above lake level and offers stunning views of Lake Wanaka, mountain ranges – and its very own lake.

“A natural feed lake, The Arethusa Pool sits in a rock cradle some 150m above the main lake. Come summer the water here reaches slightly higher temperatures than Lake Wanaka, providing an opportunity to swim in a truly unique location.”

Touch of Spice has a wonderful range of luxury villas in the Wanaka area, like the Ridge Retreat, pictured above right. From here you can journey out to Mou Waho Island by private charter to visit Wanaka’s famous “island on a lake on an island on a lake on an island on a lake” Yes, three times over!). Contact Touch of Spice at this link for further information.

Katha and other sites along the Irrawaddy River, Myanmar

One of the most beautiful waterways in Southeast Asia is undoubtedly Myanmar’s Irrawaddy River. Snaking its way down the country from north to south, it passes by gilded temples, lovely villages and breathtaking landscape. The best way to experience all of this is certainly by boat and our experts at Amara River Cruise have a fleet of two beautiful handcrafted teak boats on which you can sail the river during their private cruises. Zenaida des Aubris of Amara takes us on a virtual journey past some of her favorite riverside sites:

“The itinerary of the Amara River Cruise on the Irrawaddy from Mandalay to Bhamo in the north (or vice versa) is a true opportunity to get to know the heart of Myanmar. Because this route is off the beaten path, the many stops along the way of the six-day cruise offer a glimpse into everyday life. One of the highlights is a visit to the small city of Katha, home to the author George Orwell for several years and where he wrote his novel “Burmese Days”. His house can still be visited, it has not been refurbished and is openly accessible. Another highlight is the beautiful scenery where the shores of the Irrawaddy form two gorges, with high cliffs holding the morning mist and opening up to picturesque vistas.

“The coastal landscape along the Irrawaddy offers a constantly changing panorama. White and gold-tipped pagodas are found next to practically every settlement. Every river-mile brings new impressions and new images. Enjoy being pampered by the attentive staff of the Amara while seeing this tropic landscape glide by!”

Enjoy this authentic experience of Myanmar with Amara River Cruises by reaching out to them.

The Marietas Islands, Punta Mita, Mexico

Situated off the coast of Punta Mita Mexico, these stunning uninhabited islands are home to 44 different species of plants and wildlife, a recommendation of local experts In Villa Veritas. A UNESCO MAB Biosphere Reserve, it’s the breeding ground of a number of species of seabirds including the blue-footed boobies and the red-billed tropicbirds. Due to its pristine coral reefs and abundance of sea life, it’s become a popular location for snorkeling and scuba diving, making it an excellent boating excursion from Punta Mita. On the hour-long journey you may even catch sight of some sea turtles, manta rays, octopus, wild dolphins, and humpback whales.

These unique islands can be seen on the horizon from the Estate Marietas by In Villa Veritas. This gorgeous, spacious oceanfront estate is an exquisite example of relaxed luxury. It sleeps twenty in six bedrooms, varying from master kings to large family rooms sleeping six. Located in the La Punta Estates area of the Punta Mita Resort, guests can benefit from its two Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Courses, the Four Seasons Resort, The St. Regis Resort, the St. Regis Memede Spa, and the Punta Mita Tennis and Fitness Center.

Take in a perfectly luxurious holiday surrounded by the spectacular natural setting of Punta Mita with In Villas Veritas at this link.

Northern Venetian Lagoon, Italy

With its tight streets, palazzi, churches and masses of tourists, Venice is as urban a city as they come. But the lagoon in which the famous island floats is one of the best kept secrets of the region.

“The Venetian lagoon is a veritable eco-paradise in the Mediterranean; with an average depth of two feet, it is home to marshy land masses that spawn a diverse fauna, from oysters, shrimp, and cuttlefish, to anchovy, eels, mullet, and sea bass,” reveals enthusiastically Allison Zurfluh of Isola Santa Cristina. “Vast species of birds make their home among the fishing valleys that are an organic part of Venetian life. Dotting the lagoon rise grassy barene, island marshlands that cannot be accessed by public transportation.”

Set in the very heart of this unique ecosystem, Isola Santa Cristina partners with Mauro Stoppa to provide exclusive forays into the northern wilds, where writers such as Ernest Hemingway found inspiration for lengthy works. Locally-sourced Venetian delicacies are prepared aboard an antique flat-bottomed fishing boat, or bragozzo, as it cruises expertly through narrow, otherwise inaccessible, canals. An experience of a lifetime, Venice will never seem the same again.

After a unique, adventurous and delicious day out on the lagoon, retreat to your private island getaway on Isola Santa Cristina. Hidden in the lagoon, a 30-minute boat ride from Venice, the island features one large, historic house which has been recently renovated to incorporate the best modern luxuries. The refined house is set within beautiful gardens which roll over into a maze of more wild paths, orchards and vineyards.

Escape to this Venetian island hideaway by contacting Isola Santa Cristina.


Vatuvara Island, Fiji

If you would like to reach the place where the sea meets the sky then journey to the lagoon of Kaibu Island, home to the luxurious ultra exclusive Vatuvara Private Islands resort. The namesake of this small group of Fiji’s some 300 plus islands, it is one of the remotest private islands in the world, offering a breathtaking destination filled with lush forest of green and fringed by spectacular beaches and azure waters. Vatuvara is preserved as an environmental sanctuary, where access is allowed only via the resort.

“The Fijian archipelago encompasses one of the most extensive coral reef systems in the world perfect for the dive or marine enthusiast,” elaborates Jacqui Reyes of Vatuvara Private Islands. “The beaches within the northern group are significant nesting sites for endangered hawksbill and green sea turtles. The oceans team with an abundant variety of marine life.”

Guests at Vatuvara can discover the island’s diversity of bird and wildlife, including the unique and endangered Coconut crab on exclusions to secluded coves were you can enjoy a gourmet picnic on a private beach. For the more adventurous, there are ancient hidden caves to explore, scuba diving, game fishing, jet skiing and paddle boarding.

Vatuvara Private Islands offer luxurious accommodation with impeccable discreet service. Villa sizes range from 4000 sqft to 7000 sqft and each of our four villas sleeps two adults and house their own massage bure. They also enjoy a direct beach access. Accommodation is available as a whole island occupancy or as one of our four villas. The island’s entire operation is organic certified to USDA and ACO standards, including a 4-hole golf course.

Spend your days boating around this perfect island paradise by contacting Vatuvara here.

Poor Knight’s Island, Bay of Islands, New Zealand

Located 23 kilometres off New Zealand’s Tutukaka Coast and washed by warm currents swept from the Coral Sea, the Poor Knights Islands are an international icon, an insider tip from our local experts at Touch of Spice.

“A total Marine and Nature Reserve (World Heritage Site status currently pending) the 11-million-year-old Islands’ volcanic origins have created a dazzling array of spectacular drop offs, walls, caves, arches and tunnels,” describes Kelcey Radford of Touch of Spice.

“Above and below water, the Islands are abundantly populated with unique and incredibly varied plant, animal and fish life. Laying claim to an astounding Maori history and the world’s largest sea cave (and only living dinosaur and largest insect) the remarkable Poor Knights thoroughly deserve their protected status.”

The perfect place to stay in this exceptionally beautiful part of New Zealand is Touch of Spice’s  private beach retreat on Moturua Island, Kauri Cove. Accessible only by helicopter or boat, this sleek villa, designed by renowned New Zealand architect Pete Bossley, sleeps 14 in six bedrooms with five bathrooms. From this fabulous, luxurious base, Touch of Spice can arrange a private paddleboard tour to the remarkable Poor Knight’s Island, offering sight-seeing, kayaking, cave explorations, snorkeling, swimming, sea mammal-spotting, snippets of fascinating history and Island facts and great food.

Plan a luxurious rip to discover the many splendors of the Bay of Islands with Touch of Spice here.

There are few historic sites on the planet that marvel visitors more than Myanmar’s ancient city Bagan. From the ninth to thirteenth centuries it was the capital of the Kingdom of Pagan, the first to unify what would become Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) and develop itself as a strong rival of its Cambodian counterpart Angkor Wat. At its peak, there were over 10,000 Buddhist temples, monasteries, pagodas were erected in Bagan. Today around 2,200 of these remain, a sprawling yet extremely memorable site to visit. A somewhat overwhelming challenge which can be made much more rewarding thanks to these excellent insider tips provided by our Myanmar expert Zenaida des Aubris of Amara Group and vivid description of traveling in the country by Ileana von Hirsch of Five Star Greece.

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Bagan temples / Photo: Ileana von Hirsch


Situated in the Mandalay region, roughly in the centre of Myanmar, Bagan sits on the banks of the famous Irrawaddy (Ayeyarwady) River which snakes its way north to south through the country, emptying into the Andaman Sea.

There is a local airport next to Bagan, Nyaung U, with regular flights from Yangon. You can also reach the site by overnight trains from Yangon or daytime trains from Mandalay. A more picturesque option is to reach the site by boat, either on a public ferry from Mandalay or a private cruise such as aboard the wonderful hand crafted teak boats of Amara River Cruises, further on this experience below.

Upon arrival all foreigners must buy a Bagan Archaeological Zone pass costing 20 USD, 20 EUR or 25,000 Kyat upon arrival (prices of Jan 2017), therefore it’s recommended to have enough cash on you. Activities like transportation services, rentals and ballooning can be arranged at an additional price.

Bagan temple collage

Bagan temples / Photos: Ileana von Hirsch


Once onsite, you can have a accentuate your visit with Zenaida’s excellent tips:

  • Rent an E-Scooter: This is her number one tip to explore Bagan. According to Zenaida, they are very simple to operate and are powered by an electric battery. This will allow you to be able to explore the temples on your own. There are many smaller temples and stupas in the archeological zone which are only accessible either on foot, by bike, e-bike or horse-cart. Exploring these smaller temples and stupas is a lovely way to get to know Bagan. You can get really close to the intricate carvings and admire the ancient artistry. They are also so lovely to visit because they are off the beaten track. In fact, these tracks are often just that – dirt tracks across fields of peanut or sesame plants. Conditions are fine for walking or riding on these, nevertheless, don’t expect amenities such as handrails or road signs.
  • Wear Comfortable, Close-toed Shoes: Many of small temples are quite overgrown, so be sure to wear shoes that give some protection.
  • Bring Along a Flashlight: If you decide to explore the interior – most of them are accessible – be sure to also take a flashlight because there is no electricity. That said, by and large, the exterior is more interesting, artistically speaking, than the interior.  Though please remember that you explore at your own risk – there are no safety precautions anywhere.
  • Skip Sunset at Main Temples: Try to avoid seeing the sunset from atop one of the main temples – unless you like clambering up unsecured steps to the top and having to contend with many other visitors wanting to do the same thing.
  • Instead, Hire a Boat at Sunset: A much more pleasant alternative is to hire a small boat and have it take you to about the middle of the Irrawaddy River. Here you’ll be able to see the sun set over the mountain ridge on the one side and Bagan with its temples on the other.
  • Or Setting in on a Hotel Terrace for Sunset: Many of the hotels along the river’s edge, like the Bagan Thande Hotel, have lovely terraces or lawns where you can relax, exotic drink in hand, to enjoy the sunset, far away from the crowds.

Bagan temples at Sunset / Photo: Ileana von Hirsch


Combine all of Zenaida’s useful tips above by creating your own tour of Myanmar, including the Bagan Temples, on one of Amara’s private luxury cruise boats. Their small fleet consists of the Amara I and II, two spacious boats made of teak and carefully constructed by local craftsmen. Traditionally designed with modern luxury comforts, the boats have either five and seven double cabins which are air conditioned and have en-suite bathrooms.

The Amara team has various suggested itineraries, however, they can work with you to design the perfect cultural cruise. For one of UltraVilla’s Directors, Ileana von Hirsch of Five Star Greece, Myanmar is the country of her heart. She traveled there four years in a row and on one of these trips experienced firsthand the Amara River Cruise. Ileana tempts us with some of her highlights from a typical day:

Bagan cruise

Amara River Cruise / Photos: Ileana von Hirsch


“Lunch on board is the usual feast: delicate coriander-spiked curries, crisp little platters of beans dressed in chilli and peanut sauce and tiny fried bananas in syrup. We chug peacefully up the river in the afternoon, scenes of Burmese arcadia scrolling along in the golden light.

“At six, we pull into a sandbank on an island midstream, and go off with Ting Ting, our hostess, to buy peanuts from the local village. An ox cart squeaks by with a wickerwork carriage and huge wheels carved out of a single block of wood. A raft is being loaded with watermelons by graceful girls carrying huge loads on their heads with apparent ease. The setting sun behind the village turns it into a silhouette of tipsy-looking stilt houses, tangled palmtops and rose-lit hills, all reflected in a pale, glassy sheet of water.

Myanmar cruise scenes

Scenes of Myanmar on an Amara River Cruise / Photo: Ileana von Hirsch


“We wander back across the sand to the boat, where the boys have laid out a glowing path of candles hidden inside translucent bamboo segments, guiding us to a festively laid table under the stars.

“After dinner, the crew put on a show for us, our numbers swelled by a group of villagers attracted to the music. Ting Ting is the star dancer, graceful and accomplished, the musicians try to tire her out with ever faster music, till she collapses in a giggling heap. Then we all join in and there is singing and dancing till the fire burns down and the villagers wander off home under  an upside-down crescent moon.”

What a vivid and beautiful experience, many thanks to Ileana for sharing it! Enjoy these authentic connections with real Myanmar while taking in its historic and religious sites, natural beauty and cultural uniqueness on an Amara River Cruise.

There’s nothing like taking in the peacefulness of the mist over the mountains of Myanmar and Uganda, the quiet of the graceful plains of Kenya and New Zealand or the lapping of the waves on some of the world’s most stunning beaches. These are precious moments for travelers looking to escape the masses found at many popular destinations. If you would like to retreat from the buzz of your world, these exquisite luxury escapes are for you.

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Residence on the Rocks – Seychelles

The beautiful Residence on the Rocks is a private estate on the property of the Banyan Tree Resort, situated in the very south of Mahe on the main island of the Seychelles. This part of Mahe still has some virgin areas of indigenous forest and the Residence, is surrounded by this lush greenery and situated on a high ridge, offering absolute and total privacy facing one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

The luxurious four-bedroom complex has a refined yet relaxed colonial, Creole style. This elegance is evoked in a collection of antiques and art objects from around the world collected by the villa’s owners. Two bedrooms are found in two separate guest houses, giving great privacy and making it a good fit for multi-generational families or groups of friends. One of the guest cottages has a separate access path through the gardens that allows a party to come and go without having to interact with the guests in the main house.

There are several large covered verandas where guests meet and relax. The gorgeous infinity pool is a favorite and the nearby plunge pool with some water jet action is generally enjoyed by the children. The Banyan Tree resort hosts one of their famous spas and massage experts are available at the spa or are willing to come to the Residence when booked in advance.

Guests of the Residence can make use of all the resort’s facilities, including a range of restaurants including a Thai and a Creole restaurant. In addition, the caretakers are pleased to take guests food shopping to local markets for acquire fresh fruit, vegetables and a range of seafood items. They can also assist with casual meals at the Residence.

The surrounding area has many lovely beaches, local Creole restaurants and other facilities in the South of Mahe or sailing, fishing or boating excursions to outer islands of the Seychelles can be arranged. Superb snorkeling and diving can be enjoyed on many of the beaches and occasionally killer whales and dolphins can be seen from The Residence’s pool deck.

The owners of Residence on the Rocks work closely with guests to plan the perfect trip to this unique, secluded part of the Seychelles, they can be reached here.

Amara Mountain terrasse 2

Amara Mountain Resort – Myanmar

Lost in the mountains of Myanmar, the former British guest house Amara Mountain Resort is the ideal setting for getting away from the world. Located near Kalaw at an altitude of 1250 meters, some guest start switching off by arriving via a two-day hike from Lake Inle, though fear not, it can also accessed by bus, car or train or plane into Heho airport, a 45-minute drive away.

Built in 1909, the lodge has been restored and converted into a luxury hotel with a sophisticated colonial ambiance. The various lounges and separate dining room are decorated lovely turn-of-the-century antiques. With just ten rooms, each with an open fireplace, it is a comfortable and tranquil oasis.

You will absorb the peace and privacy while meandering the graceful English gardens, relaxing in the sauna or admiring the spectacular views from the terrace of the Kalaw and Shan Mountains.

Guests can partake in trekking through the Kalaw National Park, teeing off at the nearby 9-hole golf course, touring the colorful Kalaw market or the traditional villages of the Palaung, Danu and Pao people, where you can learn about the local customs and cultures.

Meals at the resort are all healthy, with a variety of traditional Myanmar and Western dishes made with organic fruit and vegetables from the estate’s garden.

Revel in the tranquility of Myanmar by staying with Amara Mountain Resort. 

Oualidia2ndEdits_-18 Villa SirineOualidia, Morocco

This stunning villa by Kensington Luxury Properties is in an elevated position above a winding tidal estuary, with panoramic views towards the sea and pastoral farmland. Designed to blend with the landscape, it sits in 2.5 hectares of grounds with lawns, a swimming pool, an extensive kitchen garden, an olive grove and natural farmland.

The villa is a wonderfully peaceful and relaxing place to bask in Oualidia’s ethereal light and space, whilst the sea breezes keep the temperature bearable even on the hottest days (there is air conditioning in the summer and heating in the winter). With no neighbors for miles, all you’ll hear is the wind in the trees, birdsong by day, the frog chorus at night and the occasional hee-haw of a donkey. Its friendly, welcoming staff are there to take care of your every need, so all you have to do is relax, unwind and enjoy the view.

Built into the side of a gentle slope, the house is on two levels. On the ground floor, built around a large courtyard lush with palm, olive and orange trees, there are 4 double bedrooms all with en suite bathrooms, a TV room, a large sitting room, a dining room and a kitchen. Two fold-out single beds are available on request. A large roof terrace with extraordinary 360 degree views is reached via a staircase from the inner courtyard.

The sitting room opens onto an 80 ft veranda (25 m) with a wonderful view over the estuary to the sea, and plenty of comfortable seating from which to enjoy it. Try sitting here and watching the sun set over the Atlantic whilst sipping a delicately chilled Moroccan wine accompanied by olives from our own trees, flavoured with fresh rosemary from our herb garden. Bliss.

The dining room leads out onto a charming pergola with a large, green mosaic-tiled communal table and cushioned seating, wonderful for outdoor meals. Under the veranda on the lower level are two further double bedrooms with en suite bathrooms and a ping pong room. All the rooms on this level overlook the estuary, fragrant eucalyptus trees and the swimming pool beyond.

The bedrooms are all spacious, with double beds, attractive rugs and original artworks. All beds have electric blankets in case evenings are chilly. All bathrooms have two sinks and a shower.

As water is very scarce in Morocco there are no bathtubs at Lagoon Lodge. Water comes from our own well, and we’re sure you’ll understand how valuable this resource is. We run an eco-friendly lodge. We heat all the water in the house using solar panels and recycle all our grey water through various filtration tanks. It is then used to water the garden.

Surround yourself in the beauty, tranquility, and luxury of Morocco with Kensington Luxury Properties.

majordomo_mahuwhenua_landscape47hero4-lake-wanaka-2Mahu Whenua – New Zealand

As a Mahu Whenua guest you will enjoy a full hosted, exclusive experience in total privacy on over 55,000 hectares (550sq km or 200sq miles) of majestic beauty – towering mountains, lush green valleys, native bush, forests and meandering rivers. In fact, this land is so private it was completely closed off until now, except for an annual endurance event that runs through this iconic piece of New Zealand landscape.

Located in New Zealand’s South Island just 20 minutes’ drive from central Wanaka, or a 15-minute helicopter flight from Queenstown airport, the Ridgeline Homestead & Eco Sanctuary at Mahu Whenua, available through MajorDomo, is easily accessible while giving you the feeling of seclusion and privacy on what is virtually your own private national park.

Mahu Whenua consists of four adjoining high country sheep stations – Motatapu, Mt Soho, Glencoe and Coronet Peak – which combined, stretch from Glendhu Bay in Wanaka all the way through to Arrowtown in Queenstown.

More than 90% of the land has been protected by covenants to ensure that sustainable farming practices and a plant regeneration and native bird breeding programme continue in perpetuity, making it the largest conservation undertaking on private land in New Zealand’s history.

You can discover more about this unique property here and can start planning your supremely secluded getaway with Majordomo at this link.


Ranawara – Sri Lanka

Hidden behind the palms on a practically uninhabited stretch of coastline of southern Sri Lanka, Ranawara is exquisitely private. The stylish villa sits on 23 acres of tropical gardens next to a small coastal fishing village, 15 kilometres south of city of Tangalle.

The main villa extends over 46,000 sq.ft. of open plan living and five suites within. Two single-suite cottages are located on the grounds. The air-conditioned bedrooms have four-poster king size beds, Indonesian rugs and spacious en-suite bathrooms. The property also has a library, TV room, bar area, open plan kitchen and dining room, al-fresco dining pavilion, a spa and a 100 ft long swimming pool. The professional and discrete resident staff take care of all the needs of guests during their stay.

Your peaceful days can be spent relaxing by the pool, walking or lounging on the virtually abandoned beach or ambling through the estate’s gardens amidst the hundreds of coconut trees and tropical fruit trees including dragon fruit, green oranges, papaya, bananas, mango and wood apple.

If you choose to leave the haven of the villa, various excursions can be organized to nearby villages, turtles sanctuaries, the UNESCO World Heritage Galle Fort or boating excursions to go whale and dolphin watching.

Enjoy the secret beach paradise at Ranawara by contacting them here.

Ixfalia 2

Villa Ixfalia – Saint Barthlémey

The location of the Villa Ixfalia provides the “best of both worlds” as it combines extreme privacy with proximity to St. Jean Village’s vibrant scene of restaurants and shops as well as one of the island’s most popular beaches. Plus, the four bedroom villa, available through Saint Barth Properties, has stellar panoramic views of the sea and the surrounding lush green hills.

The open plan interior of the contemporary villa includes a living room, dining area and a sleek well-equipped kitchen that opens to a covered terrace, perfect for relaxing on the comfortable furnishings or savoring a delicious meal alfresco. The lovely beachy-rustic décor blends crisp whites with warm wood and accent pieces. The stunning vista can be enjoyed from almost every vantage point. All the four equally sized en-suite bedrooms have king beds (one has a king/twin option) and glass sliding doors to showcase the phenomenal ocean views.

An L-shaped heated infinity pool surrounded by plush day beds is the focal point of a vast deck. There is also an intimate lower deck for a quiet moment away from your group. Guests can workout in the air-conditioned mini-gym located in a separate bungalow and a challenge each other to a game or two on the bocce court.

Enjoy a quiet oasis with the benefits bustling St Jean by contacting Saint Barth Properties at this link.


Cottar’s Bush Villa – Kenya

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.

Cottar’s Bush Villa has a breathtaking view onto the savannah plains that carry the great annual wildebeest migration, and is set amidst a backdrop of the Olderikesi Hills. Guests can enjoy privately guided game drives, night game drives, bush walks, swimming in the Villas exclusive 25m pool to name but a few activities. Cottar’s Bush Villa is rented only on an exclusive basis, so privacy is guaranteed.

For the discerning client, Cottar’s Bush Villa offers complete privacy and is perfect for those who want to immerse themselves in nature.

The Villa has its own 6,000 acre private conservancy and is situated one kilometre from the Masai Mara game reserve. This location provides easy access for day and night game drives to the Masai Mara game reserve and the conservancy, meaning you will rarely come across other vehicles. It’s the Masai Mara minus the crowds!

Envelop yourself in the calm and spectacular nature of the Masai Mara at Cottar’s Bush Villa by reaching out to them at this link. You can discover more about their excellent community engagement work here.


L’Ilot Villa – Mauritius

Have your own private island getaway in Mauritius at the exquisite L’Ilot Villa by Villanovo. Located on a rock platform of 3100 m² approximately 100 m from the coastline in the lagoon of Roches Noires, the rustic chic villa offers complete privacy and comfort.

Accessed via a bridged causeway, the 300 m² villa is on a sand bed and surrounded by filaos trees. It faces northwest, offering  its lovely breezes, spectacular sunsets and awe-inspiring views of the turquoise lagoon, seen from any room of the house.

The villa sleeps six adults and two children in four bedrooms. The building and its interiors blend contemporary style with natural building materials such as stone, white or weathered wood, raw concrete along with natural fabrics, linen, comfortable and adaptable furniture.

The large open veranda with a view of the lagoon brings guests together, there is also a dining table under the trees and a 35m² deck overlooking the aquamarine sea, the perfect place for your evening sundowners or lunch with a view lunch with a view. An outdoor shower allows guests to cool down after swimming and a standby generator to start automatically ensures a continuous supply of electricity.

Savor the tranquility and superb sunsets at L’Ilot with Villanovo by reaching out to them here.

6 Gahinga Grounds

Gahinga Lodge – Uganda

Located in the foothills of the majestic Virunga Volcanoes and bordering a lush and beautiful forest, Gahinga Lodge is the perfect place to unwind and experience a real away-from-the-crowds stay.

This exclusive Uganda adventure lodge, by Volcanoes Safaris, was built using local techniques, material, and design features. The main building has a rustic and inviting living room with a central fire, the ideal setting for relaxing after a long day exploring the surrounding forests. Guests can also spend some quiet time on the terrace and spacious sunroom adjoining the living area.

There six private, traditional bandas which have been renovated to offer unrivaled luxury in the region. Each one has a fireplace and an en-suite bathroom with showers and flush toilets. The bandas are accessed by traversing the lodge’s large, lush gardens.

Gahinga Lodge works very closely with the local Batwa Tribe. One of Africa’s oldest tribes, interactive tours through the community, dance performances and other cultural connections with the Batwa can be arranged as well as a range of other activities like Rwanda gorilla safaris.

Learn more about the history and mission of Volcanoes Safaris or contact them to enquire about booking.


Villa Nektaria – Greece

With its ideal position at the tip of a peninsula in Amvrakikos bay, where three rivers merge into the Ionian Sea, the Villa Nektaria by White Key Villas is the ultimate luxury hideaway. The best of the mainland and the best of the sea unite at this unique villa which is a paradise for nature enthusiasts and families,

Well situated off the picturesque town of Vonitsa, home to a historic Venetian castle perched above one of Greece’s hidden gems, amazing Amvrakikos bay with its lagoons, reeds and endemic wildlife. The villa boasts its very own grove in addition to a citrus orchard and a small pond. Guests can enjoy these lovely grounds on long strolls and they provide children with hours of hide and seek or treasure hunts. The property’s in complete isolation allowing guests to enjoy moments of tranquility by the water on one of its three private or in the the large swimming pool.

The estate consists of a main eight-bedroom residence decorated in a classic yet homely feel and a newly-built guest house that has two additional rooms. The main residence has a well-equipped professional kitchen, where your professional chef and host serve delicious meals made with produce from the estate’s vegetable garden and fresh eggs right out of the chicken coup.

Have a well-rounded and tranquil experience of Greece with White Key Villas here.


Schloss Kogl – Austria

With some of the most beautiful forests and mountains of Europe, Austria is an ideal place to retreat to nature. You can have an elegant escape at Schloss Kogl, an exceptional baroque castle in the heart of the the Salzkammergut lake district.

This gorgeous region, north of charming Salzburg was formerly the posh playground of Austria’s aristocracy, including the Emperor and the country’s intellectual and artistic elite. The area boasts pristine lakes, pre-alpine mountains covered in forests, quaint villages and elegant lakeside villas.

Built in 1750, Schloss Kogl has been in the family of the Barons of Mayr-Melnhof since 1872 (more on its history in this article). Extensive renovations where undertaken in the early 2000s to carefully restore the castle to its previous splendor. It is decorated and furnished in a refined fin-du-siècle style. In winter guests enjoy reading by the fireplace in the library and in summer the pool in the garden is a favorite gathering point. Anytime of year you can explore the bucolic grounds or test out their historic bowling lane. The grounds are also idyllic and are encircled by Austria’s largest privately owned forest, owned by the Mayr-Melnhofs.

It’s an excellent base for discovering the many natural and cultural sites of the area from boat trips around the lake to trekking in the national parks.

Experience the elegance of Austria’s heritage in the tranquil setting Schloss Kogl here.




Colourful local culture, awe-inspiring temples, lush mountains and secluded beaches are what draw many to magical Myanmar. But, more than anything, it’s the incredibly genuine, warm and welcoming people that make visiting the country such a special, once-in-a-lifetime experience. Our experts at Amara Group offer visitors an intimate connection with the Burmese via their resorts, cruises and charitable foundation. We caught up with Zenaida des Aubris of Amara to discover their unique travel options and humanitarian efforts.

Amara Mountain resort

Amara Mountain Resort


As autumn begins to set in over the Northern Hemisphere, its residents might need a spirit-lifting boost from the chilly air and grey skies, especially reaching the middle of the season in November. This can be achieved on sunny escapes to the Caribbean, taking in vibrant festivals in Mexico or Myanmar, art and gastronomic getaways to European cultural capitals, family reunions for Thanksgiving or retreating to gorgeous locations in Morocco or Scotland. No matter what your travel cravings are for the month, we’ve got the best match and the hottest deals for November.


St. Barthélemy

Come September, St. Barth takes une sieste, waking up in mid-October to prepare for the season. This makes it the perfect time to visit, according to our local expert Peg Walsh of St. Barth Properties, whose absolute favorite month on the island is November.

“Villas are being refreshed, chefs are updating menus and boutique owners are stocking their shelves with the latest designer duds,” says Peg. “In November the island ‘raises the curtain.’ Everything is fresh and new, except our sugar-sand beaches – they remain pristine and gorgeous year round.”

Peg recommends their luxurious six bedroom Villa Galaxie with its stunning seascape and sunset views, plus it’s also currently available for Thanksgiving. Located on the quieter side of Gustavia, it’s walking distance to restaurants, shops and Shell Beach.

Architecturally designed to leverage the magnificent view, the main pavilion opens to a sunny terrace with a fantastic infinity pool and is configured to include spacious living and dining areas. The interior features ultra-modern chic décor, an expansive sleek bar and a futuristic kitchen equipped with high-end appliances.

There is a beautiful master suite, housed in a private pavilion whereas the other five comfortable bedrooms, all with baths en-suite, are located in an adjacent, separate pavilion. Outdoor living takes place on the large terraces furnished with a dining table and many poolside lounge chairs. This is an amazing vacation home and ideal for a holiday with your extended family or venue for a group celebration.

Make the most of this perfect time on St. Barth by reaching out to St Barth Properties at this link.


Saint Martin

Squeeze the last out of summer in the Caribbean by scooping up this fantastic special on the L’Oasis Villa in Saint Martin, available through our experts at Villas and Apartments Abroad. November is the perfect time to go before prices double, triple and quadruple starting mid-December, plus the weather is usually extremely pleasant at this time of year, with temperatures from the mid 70s to low 80s on average. Local ambiance is also at a high in November with St. Martin’s Day taking place on the 11th featuring lively festivities, music, parades and sporting events.

“The Moroccan inspired beachfront estate is one of their premier villas on the island,” explains Sylvia Delvaille Jones, director of Villas and Apartments Abroad. “It is among the highest ranking villas in the Caribbean that seem to offer just about everything one could desire on a holiday, like a top class boutique resort within itself. It has hosted big names in the entertainment, top name producers and actors, Wall Street bankers and hedge fund managers.

“From its cliff high position, you can enjoy wide open vistas of the turquoise Caribbean Sea under blue skies, the beautiful Creole rocky coastline, distant specks of islands and verdant mountains. Elegant palm trees stand tall over green grassy lawns, blazing bougainvilleas and the heavily fruited sea grape trees that bow its branches over the sand.”

L’Oasis is that ideal setting for a group of busy friends to be together, families on that special holiday or celebrating a birthday or anniversary with friends. Sylvia and her team can arrange anything from a fireworks display, a beach party with a live band, a fabulous lunch cruise on a yacht or picnic on a tiny uninhabited island. She can also organize excursions further afield like golf on Anguilla or a private plane to go to St. Barth for the day to visit friends for cocktails and a swim.

If you book L’Oasis for a week in low season, you’ll receive one to two nights free (excluding Thanksgiving, conditions apply). Contact Villa and Apartments Abroad here for more details.

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Over in the hills of central Mexico, regional expert Pamela Murdock tempts travelers to the charming colonial city of San Miguel de Allende, where the enchanting Quinta Quebrada historic home she represents is located.

“November in San Miguel is a wonderful and really fun time of year to be in this beautiful UNESCO World Heritage town,” describes Pamela. “The weather is lovely (with temperatures ranging from about 80° down to 50°), plus there are fewer tourists and less traffic. In addition to great restaurants, shops and places to see, there are also several holidays taking place in November.”

“The highlight of these takes place across the country on November 1st and 2nd, two days dedicated to remembering deceased family members. The 1st is Todos los Santos (All Saints Day) and the 2nd is the famous Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) when many spend the entire night in the cemetery eating, drinking and welcoming the dead back from their resting place. It’s a fascinating event to experience firsthand, however, if you’re not ready for possibly long lines to get through the cemetery gates, the celebrations take place around the whole town is part which is cast in masses of marigolds. They say the bright flowers help the souls find their way home. Fiesta flags are strung across the Jardín, the main plaza, and adorn most of the shrines.

“Instead of just welcoming the dead at midnight November 1st in the cemetery, San Miguel throws the weeklong Calaca (skull) Festival which features several parades, all-night celebrations and fireworks, among other things. Everywhere you look are people with elaborate face make-up dressed up as ‘muertes’ (dead brides and grooms, banditos, etc.). Think of it as a much much smaller version of the marvelous opening scene in the James Bond movie, Spectre, which was filmed in Mexico City’s grand Zócalo Plaza.”

Live this experience to the fullest by staying at Quinta Quebrada, the most exceptional and intriguing house in San Miguel de Allende. The magical 16th-century house, is hidden from the town by tall walls which enclose almost one acre of gorgeous grounds where you’ll find courtyards, follies, gardens full of climbing roses and cascading bougainvillea, multiple terraces, loggias, a pool and a hot tub.

The interior is like a living museum, decorated with period Mexican furniture and art with 17th and 18th-century furnishings and decorations from faraway destinations like India, Italy, and Spain. It has with 11 bedrooms and a total of 13,864 square feet of living space over three floors. The property offers the utmost privacy, yet it is only a short walk from El Jardín, the main plaza of the picturesque old city.

If you miss the celebrations of All Saints Day and the Day of the Dead, you could also plan your trip around one of these other November events:

  • November 16-20: The International Jazz and Blues Festival
  • Last two weeks of November: Feria Nacional de la Lana y Latón (National Wool & Brass Fair)
  • November 20-21: The celebration of the anniversary of the 1910 Revolution
  • November 21: The Feast Day of Santa Cecilia. Since she’s the patron saint of musicians, people gather at midnight in front of the Oratorio church for an all-night serenade to the Virgin.
  • Thanksgiving: Though it’s obviously not celebrated in Mexico, some restaurants serve a “traditional” meal or go more local and have turkey with mole sauce!

Just some of the local insight you can have by booking your trip to San Miguel de Allende and staying at Quinta Quebrada with Pamela Murdock Inc. Contact her here.


Peninsula Papagayo, Costa Rica

Further down from Mexico, November is also a fabulous month to visit Costa Rica’s Peninsula Papagayo. Our local expert Jane Moore of Papagayo Luxury entices us to this gorgeous area on the country’s Pacific coast:

“The rains have left, and the tropical dry forest is lush and green,” details Jane. “It is a ‘fringe’ season, so there are fewer crowds all the way up until the festive period starts in mid-December. Plus, the rates are low during November. In fact, Papagayo Luxury is offering the 7th night free at any of their condos, from now through Dec 14 (including Thanksgiving!).”

A perfect multi-generational family holiday can be had at their Villa Belvedere which is mostly located on one level (it has two steps down to living room, and the second master is on the second floor). This home has two identically sized master suites (stacked), so it also works well for two families traveling together. It also has two private pools and a hot tub. The smaller pool has large shallow area, ideal for small children. It features a double queen room, so a group of for children can sleep together in one room. In addition, there is a separate entertainment room with Apple TV, which can be closed off for movie night.

Just minutes away is the Prieta Beach Club and Nacascolo Beach, a long beach with flat water (bay side). It has a long shallow entry so no sudden drop offs. This is great for early beach mornings when kids are up before the beach club is open. Further family fun can be had at a nearby putt putt course at the driving range.

Arrange your November getaway to Costa Rica and take up this great special offer at Papagayo Luxury by reaching out to Jane and her team at this link.


Marrakech, Morocco

If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, November usually means cold, grey, rainy short days that depress even the best of us, the only ray of light in the dark winter can be Christmas. However, this is not the case for Morocco and Fiona Guerra of Kensington Luxury Properties reveals why November is the best time to go to the country’s vibrant city of Marrakech.

“After the summer heat and before the winter’s chilly nights, November is one of the best times of the year to visit Marrakech,” elaborates Fiona. “The month features dry, sunny days with perfect clarity and it’s still hot enough to enjoy a refreshing dip in some of the most beautiful swimming pools of the world with the snowcapped Atlas Mountains as a background or to simply stroll around the Medina’s alleys without the high season crowd. It’s also a paradise for golf players who can reign at one of the 15 courses around Marrakech or for those who may like to do some climbing in the Atlas Mountains.”

Enjoy a relaxing and luxurious stay within your Marrakech at Kensington’s Villa Bazina. Designed by one of leading architects in Morocco, the villa offers an oasis of calm and serenity, only 20 minutes away from the busy Marrakech. Blending contemporary style with Arab-Andalusian flare it is spread over 1,700 m² of living areas surrounded by 17,000 m² of grounds showcasing a stunning landscaped garden and the largest private swimming pool in town.

There are six en-suite bedrooms of 100 m² each with their own fireplace, as well as spacious and bright living rooms, a large dining hall, a library, a private cinema room, an English pool, a sky bar, a wonderful hammam with its massage room and a pool house with fully equipped gym room. This property is a perfect balance ensemble, offering one of the most extraordinary settings in Marrakech.

Make your dreams of a relaxing and exotic getaway to Marrakech a reality with Kensington Luxury Properties.


Venice, Italy

According to our Italy expert Katharina Allès Trauttmansdorff, director of by Trust&TravelNovember is one of the best times to go to Venice. Katharina tells us more:

“The city is even more magical in November,” says Katharina. “At this time of the year, Venice is less crowded so you may have the opportunity to discover venetian’s residents daily life. Plus, it’s a great time to go world famous Venice Biennale art exhibition which ends November 27th.”

The ideal place to stay in the center of Venice is at Ca’nova, featuring three recently renovated apartments in a private palazzo located right on Venice’s Grand Canal and within a stone’s throw of the glorious Piazza San Marco. The apartments have been redecorated in a pure, classic style with a contemporary twist. Surrounded by comfort and beauty, you will feel spoilt and privileged.

The apartments include access to a welcoming terrace shared by all guests of the Palazzo. There is also daily maid service in the mornings and a private secretary is available to give you pointers and assistance, as well as open doors for you if need be.

There are plenty of excellent restaurants and shops in the vicinity, among which the well-known Harry’s Bar, declared a national landmark in 2001 by the Italian Ministry for Cultural Affairs.

Enjoy la dolce vita in Venice without the crowds by reaching out to Trust & Travel / at this link.

republique-haven-in-parisParis, France

Like Venice, November is a time when you can skip the crowds in Paris as well as catch some of the city’s best art exhibits and cultural events such as the annual Paris Photo from the 10th to the 13th or the much anticipated Rembrandt in Confidence at the Jacquemart André Museum (on through January 23rd). Paris is also a favorite destination for American Thanksgiving. To make the month even sweeter, our expert at Haven In are offering a special discount for November bookings.

Couples can enjoy the delights of November by staying in their Odeon apartment. Situated just above the famed Boulevard Saint-Germain and decorated with a fantastic selection of designer furniture and artwork, it is the ultimate stylish base for experiencing Paris as a true insider. The apartment is a short walk from La Grande Epicerie at Le Bon Marché and the bi-weekly organic market on boulevard Raspail, so finding quality local fare for an autumn meal is a breeze. Plus the area is teeming with phenomenal dining options.

If you’re planning a Thanksgiving trip for the whole family than their sprawling, 200m2 Republique apartment is the ideal choice (depicted above). Located on the top floor of a majestic Haussmanian building, the apartment has a fully equipped kitchen and dining area, almost made for preparing and enjoying a Thanksgiving feast in Paris.

Learn more about these beautiful apartments and their November special offer by contacting Haven In here.


Scotland, the United Kingdom

Take in the last of the fall colors on leisurely country strolls while holidaying in November in Scotland. The best place to enjoy the season or enjoy an exceptional family holiday around American Thanksgiving is at the spectacular The Glenapp Castle by our UK experts Loyd & Townsend Rose

“The night skies in November are amazing,” reports Andrew Loyd, co-director of Loyd & Townsend Rose, who’s been spending quite a lot of time at Glenapp already this autumn. “There’s no light pollution and meteor showers galore. It’s a great time of year for windswept walks, roaring log fires and a wee dram.”

Situated not far from the coast in the southwest of the country, this vast 19th-century castle was built for the Earl of Inchcape and has been opened to guests since 2000. As you approach, you’ll immediately be struck by its stunning exterior and once inside, you’ll marvel at the Victorian splendour exuded through the beautifully decorated interiors.

Each of the castles 17 guest rooms has been individually and luxuriously styled with a unique combination of fabrics, furnishings, antiques and art and include open fires, which will be just being lit in November. There are a variety of suites with magnificent views over woodland and the surrounding sea, a perfect retreat after outdoor adventures or a gourmet dinner at their award-winning restaurant.

The 36-acre grounds are completely secluded and private, for the exclusive use of the castle guests. They encompass an Italian Garden designed by 19th-century world famous garden architect Gertrude Jekyll. You can spend hours meandering their laneways and savoring the changing leaves and crisp autumn air.

Make the most of the last days of fall in Scotland at the gorgeous Glenapp through experts Loyd & Townsend Rose at this link.


It can be very challenging to travel to Myanmar when it’s too hot or during rainy season, however, from October the rains begin to subside, making the month of November an excellent time to visit. In November visitors can also beat some of the crowds around Christmas time and the New Year. This month you you can also experience the Shwezigon Pagoda festival in Bagan, held from the 13th to the 18th. Over these five days the compound converts into a vibrant marketplace when pilgrims and villagers from near and far come to pay homage to Buddha whose relics are enshrined in the Pagoda.

An amazing way to experience this festival as well as the various facets of Myanmar is on a private cruise with Amara River. They have a small fleet of beautiful traditional teak river boats which can hold up to 10 or 14 passengers and are available for private charter. These traditional wooden boats were custom built for Amara and feature modern luxury amenities in their bedroom cabins as well as on their relaxing upper deck from where you can observe the gorgeous sites you float by on the Irrawaddy River.

Since the cruises are private you can design your desired route with the help of their local expertise. A six-day cruise could start in the centuries-old city of Mandalay, journey past the amazing heritage sites of Bagan, past typical Burmese villages, stop in at the capital city of Yangon before ending at the Indian Ocean in the Gulf of Martaban.

Find out more on the special cultural cruises by Amara River.

Many take a holiday to unplug from the world, their busy schedules and accumulating work stress. If you’re seeking a real getaway, travel to one of these ultimate escapes around Asia and Australasia where you can challenge your mind and body in the most phenomenal ways and places. Leave your worries at home and be prepared to be transformed.



Amara Mountain Resort – Kalaw, Myanmar


Having recently opened to international tourism, Myanmar is an excellent Asian destination for those seeking a cultural retreat, especially by venturing up into the country’s majestic mountains to the Amara Mountain Resort. Located near Kalaw at an altitude of 1250 meters, you can’t help but switch off at this former British guest house.

The best way to begin your retreat would be by arriving via a two-day hike from Lake Inle, however, you can also reach the resort by bus, car or train or plane into Heho airport, a 45-minute drive away. Once there, you’ll be engulfed by the enchanting mountain mist and the charm of the historic property.

Originally built in 1909, it has been carefully converted into an exclusive hotel with a refined colonial ambiance. It has just ten rooms, each with its own open fireplace. The lounges and the separate dining room feature lovely turn-of-the-century antiques.

Your worries will evaporate with morning fog as you relax in the resort’s manicured English gardens, decompress in the sauna or simply gaze over Kalaw and the Shan Mountains from the terrace, absorbing this exceptional peace, privacy and tranquility.

There are a variety of other activities available to the guests such as golf at the nearby 9-hole golf course, trekking to the Kalaw National Park, excursions to the vibrant market of Kalaw or to the villages of the Palaung, Danu and Pao people, where you can discover the local customs and cultures.

Meals at the resort are healthy, traditional Myanmar and Western dishes and include organic fruit and vegetables from the onsite garden.

Learn more about this cultural escape for the mind and body at Amara Mountain Resort.

Samujana – Koh Samui, Thailand


With magnificent architecture, stunning views and fantastic fitness facilities, the spectacular Samujana resort on the gorgeous Thai island of Koh Samui offers guests the perfect place to reconnect with a healthier and more balanced mind, body and soul. Samujana has suggested this proposed itinerary to help guests plan their healthy, healing days at their private luxury villa.

“The perfect way to start one’s day at Samujana is with an early morning private yoga class. Whether at the edge of an expansive infinity pool or on a quiet secluded beach, yoga sessions at Samujana push the boundaries of luxury and privacy.

“A healthy breakfast prepared in-villa with the freshest ingredients by personal chefs gives guests an extra kick-start to their mornings. Alternatively, visitors looking to detox can enjoy the Easy Detox Deluxe programme – designed exclusively for Samujana by leading spa experts, Amrita.

“Guests can enjoy workouts from personal training sessions to high intensity Tabata interval training, crossfit coaching classes, personalised strength training sessions and – for the truly dedicated –boot camp sessions. Alternatively, train in the art of Muay Thai, Thailand’s national sport, with AJ – a passionate and talented personal trainer. The in-villa gyms and expansive swimming pools offer the ideal place to enjoy exercise at one’s own pace too.

“Enjoy a post-workout afternoon refreshment from Juice Queen; an expert in holistic practices who combines the freshest organic products to create cold-pressed daily juices, which in turn promote beauty, wellness, and longevity.

“As the sun sets on Koh Samui guests can treat themselves to an indulgent massage and nourishing beauty treatment from the island’s top therapists. From stimulating foot scrubs to traditional Thai massages and exfoliating facial treatments, guests will wind-down to dinner feeling refreshed, relaxed and rejuvenated!

“Top Thai chefs will prepare a healthy feast using the freshest, local ingredients including green papaya salad, Andaman tiger prawns and local fish baked in banana leaf. The dinner setting can be a Thai pop-up restaurant, pool-side BBQ or candlelit beach dining. After just one day at Samujana guests will be well on their way to a more relaxed, rejuvenated and healthier self.”

Begin planning your healthy holiday in Thailand by contacting Samujana.


Aro Hā – Southern Alps, New Zealand


New Zealand is one of the best countries to get away from it all, however, not all retreats were created equal. Our experts at MajorDomo take us high up into the ethereal Southern Alps to the multi-award winning Aro Hā. This unique retreat fuses advanced eco-accommodation, permaculture based self-sufficiency, and world-class results-oriented programming.

Located just a 40-minute drive from Queenstown Airport, Aro Hā is a next-level wellness experience offering life shifting, body morphing, spirit lifting retreats and condensing optimal living practices into signature ‘Wellness Adventures.’

“The sensational scenery itself is enough to give you the first mind shift, however, you will soon realize that this is not your normal spa retreat, says Lisa Hayden, co-founder of MajorDomo. “Aro Hā is the first wellness centre of its kind.

“Their ‘Wellness Adventures’ are based on a template for optimal wellness and have been refined to provide guests with a life-altering glow. The programme is comprised of yoga, sub-alpine hiking, dynamic strength training, therapeutic massage and vegetarian cuisine.”

The retreats are all inclusive so there is no need for credit cards after arrival and no decisions to make. Guests arrive, unplug and are seamlessly guided toward health. Retreats are personalised and intimate, you will be challenged during your stay and rewarded with a sense of achievement and glow by the end of the retreat. Most abilities are catered for and all activities can be taken at your own pace.

“The food is incredible – when on retreat you really look forward to what the talented chefs have prepared for your snacks and meals,” Lisa tempts us further. “The guiding and instructing team are caring, funny and experts in their fields. Hiking in the hills and mountains around Queenstown and Glenorchy is the best spirit lifting exercise. You leave the retreat but it doesn’t leave you. I want to book my next one straight away!

“A friend, Jenny described the Aro Hā experience perfectly: “It is the best thing I have ever done for me in my whole life.”

Take the first step in changing your life at the incredible Aro Hā by contacting MajorDomo here.


Vatuvara Private Islands, Fiji


You can have the ultimate escape from the world on the distant Fijian paradise of Vatuvara Private Islands. With only three one-bedroom villas, you will virtually have this gorgeous island to yourself. Remote and secluded from the rest of the world, it is the perfect place to press the reset button.

“We work carefully with all guests in advance to design the perfect wellness itinerary,” explains Krystel Gough of Vatuvara Private Islands. “We provide yoga on request and each villa has a yoga deck or courtyard which lends to a relaxing practise.

“In addition, our menus blend fresh organic produce with a priority on wellness and attention to individual requirements. We are also equipped to host preferred wellness & fitness experts. Their spa treatments will allow you to surrender the senses and rejuvenate the spirit with Fiji’s pure coconut oil and fragrant flower extracts to nurture the body – all in the privacy of the dedicated villa spa bure.

“Nature walks, hikes to ancient village sites, paddle boarding in crystal clear lagoons, surfing and numerous other activities are available for those looking for strenuous activity.

“Holidaying at Vatuvara Private Islands you’ll be hidden away from the rest of the world, and privy to one of the richest cultures, the ideal place to soothe the soul with authentic, enriching cultural experiences.”

Start designing your wellness vacation at Vatuvara Private Islands at this link.


Kauri Bay – Bay of Islands, New Zealand


If you’re after some rest and relaxation with the family combined with some active pursuits or water sports, then dock at this gorgeous eight-bedroom beach house by Touch of Spice, located on a privately island in Kauri Bay in New Zealand’s famous subtropical microclimate the Bay of Islands.

“This stunning beachside house, designed by famous New Zealand architect Pete Bossley, has been skilfully built to take advantage of the soothing water and island views as well as to fit into its native surroundings of the idyllic Moturua Island,” details Jacqui Spice, founder of Touch of Spice.

“Access to the island is restricted to boat or helicopter so your holiday will be a real private getaway. You can choose to keep the helicopter and pilot onsite with you throughout your stay with the help of the property’s heli-pad and hanger.

“The property’s underground boat shed is home to a wide range of ‘big boy toys’, including a collection of jet skis, fishing gear, sea kayaks and up to the minute diving gear. There is also an ocean trampoline perfect for cooling off with the kids on hot summer days. On request, a Skipper can be arranged to oversee the operation all of the equipment available, including the recreational boats moored at the island’s private wharf.

“Spend your days hiking the island exceptional walking tracks with views and native bush that you thought only existed in Lord of the Rings movies, or venture off the island for a helicopter trip to Kauri Cliffs, where you can play on their world-class golf course and use their day spa. In addition, there are awe-inspiring island cruises for the leisure seekers and deep sea fishing for the adrenaline seekers.

“You will also find a chef on-site to create fine dining meals using the freshest local produce (perhaps even one of the fish you caught from the day) and a maid on hand to keep the house neat and tidy during your stay.”

Organize your perfect family retreat to New Zealand with Touch of Spice at this link.

There’s nothing like the feeling of walking barefoot on powdering white sand, the sight of an endless horizon of aquamarine waters and the sound of crashing waves to make you feel like you’re truly on holiday. You can have these sensations all to yourself, or almost, at these sublime secret beach destinations across of Asia and Australasia.


Vatuvara Private Islands, Fiji

Many of hundreds of islands that make up the Fijian archipelago are rimmed with beautiful beaches, however, it’s hard to beat those found on unique Vatuvara Island, situated in the Lau group. According to our Fiji expert Krystel Gough of Vatuvara Private Islandsthe island offers more than “legends of gold” hidden amongst the razor sharp outcrops of the intriguing hat shaped island.

“It has one of the most stunning beaches in Fiji having been uninhabited since the early 1900’s,” explains Krystel. “Currently maintained by Vatuvara Private Islands as a Marine and Nature reserve, the island is home to several rare and endemic species of sea and shore birds. It has a pristine, well-preserved reef system, where dive enthusiasts can view a thriving aquatic environment.”

With only three one-bedroom villas, Vatuvara Private Islands provides ultimate privacy. Each spacious villa is outfitted with luxurious appointments and has its own private infinity pool. Guests are able to reach the island’s secret beach on a well-timed wave over the reef, easier during a high tide, as there is no open passage in the fringing reef.

Walk the gorgeous sands of Vatuvara by contacting Krystel at this link.


Tahapuke – Bay of Islands, New Zealand

For some of the best secret beaches in New Zealand we travel to the beautiful Bay of Islands in Northland. Our first stop is to the three-bedroom Tahapuke villa by Touch of Spice, a hidden treasure located in the heart of the township of Russell. Guests benefit from a private bay and beach, as well as their very own private island with a complimentary dingy to get there.

“Decorated with contemporary decor and furnishings, with doors opening onto picture perfect sea views,” explains Jacqui Spice, founder of Touch of Spice. “This property allows you to relax in complete privacy promoting a balance between luxury and nature.”

“A five-acre backdrop of native bush cascades down to the beach and two tracks lead upwards from the lodge arriving at two peaceful Maori Pa sites elevated at each end of this property. Boasting total privacy with no neighbours in sight, it’s just a gentle five-minute walk from the lodge to Russell’s wharf, waterfront, restaurants and services. There are also fishing and sailing charters are also available nearby.”

Wake up to the stunning and serene views of the Bay of Islands by staying with Touch of Spice here.


Oke Bay Beach House – Bay of Islands, New Zealand

We continue our tour of the best beaches of New Zealand’s Bay of Islands with the Oke Bay Beach House, by MajorDomoBoasting two private beaches and spectacular views of Hauai bay and Oke Bay, it’s the perfect secret beach holiday retreat.

“The two fabulous beaches below the house are on sheltered bays which are perfect for kayaking, sunbathing, swimming, fishing and rock-hopping,” says Lisa Hayden, co-founder of MajorDomo. “There are moorings for your charter fishing or sightseeing launch to pick you up and drop you home from.

“The house is spread over two levels. The top level has four oversized bedrooms, all with beautiful en-suite bathrooms and spacious wardrobes. The lower level has its own living area and large deck plus two generous bunk rooms, each with one double and five single beds. There is a full bathroom with shower, bath, heated towel rails and toilet, plus an additional powder room.

“The house offers expansive indoor and outdoor living with fireplaces and a fabulous kitchen for cooking that freshly caught fish! If you can bear to leave the villa for a great coffee fix or provisions, the township of Russell is only a 25-minute scenic drive away.

“This is a fabulous place to base yourself to enjoy all that the Bay of Islands has to offer such as scuba diving, fishing, hiking, visiting important New Zealand historical sites and experiencing fabulous Maori cultural activities.

“Guest Mary and her family recently stayed at Oke Bay Beach House and we at MajorDomo asked what she thought of her stay:

“I think this is a 6-star villa with the real feeling of being in the back and beyond yet an easy 30-minute drive to town if you wish. We drove from Auckland in a convertible car which was a great start to our adventure! It you don’t want to see anyone you don’t have to. The fabulous private beaches are great for swimming, collecting shells and long evening walks.”

Spend your holiday in breath-taking Oke Bay with MajorDomo by reaching out to their team here.


Otaha Beachfront Lodge -Bay of Islands, New Zealand

Enjoy your own private piece of the Bay of Islands with undisturbed views across the ocean at Touch of Spice’s Otaha Beachfront Lodge. Perched in the centre of New Zealand’s most historically rich environment, it combines exceptionally well curated and presented contemporary New Zealand design with the calming views of the ocean.

“Built from the timber of local trees, Otaha Beachfront Lodge is a piece of New Zealand history both physically and geographically,” reveals Jacqui Spice. “The indoor feel of Otaha Beachfront is clean, spacious and encourages refined relaxation. With internal furnishings from Simon James and other internationally renowned designers, the villa’s design has been considered from the front door to the back.

“Five bedrooms, five ensuites and an additional room for a nanny or caregiver ensures you have optimal space for a family or group of travelling friends. From the inside of the house with its floor to ceiling windows, there is no mistaking that you are in the middle of the Bay of Islands. The main living space has an internal facing outdoor decking area perfect for curling up and reading a book or for those summer evenings where you are looking to entertain outside. There is also an external beach facing deck for those mornings and evenings of contemplation with a coffee or glass of wine.

“The house is only a two-minute walk to the beach where you can enjoy surfing, floundering, walking tracks and a private area for friends and family. Enjoy total privacy and immersion into your natural surroundings whilst still only being 15 minutes from the heart of Keri Keri.”

Learn more about this private beach paradise through Touch of Spice at this link.

amara-oceanAmara Ocean Resort – Ngapali, Myanmar

You’ll practically have the whole beach to yourself at Amara Ocean Resort, situated on three-kilometers of pristine beach near Ngapali, Myanmar. Since tourism is still rather new to the country, you can truly achieve a secluded beach experience without the crowds found on some of its Southeast Asian neighbors.

The small resort has 26 comfortable and elegant teak bungalows, surrounded by palm trees and facing the beach. The friendliness of the staff, the tasty local cuisine and the country’s rich cultural heritage all complement your stay in this unique part of the world.

They have also recently opened an outdoor spa with several stations where massages and other beauty treatments are offered. The generously spaced open bungalows are slightly hidden behind some mangrove trees, have an unobstructed view and direct access to the beach. Therefore your beachtime can be extended by a heavenly massage followed by a refreshing freshly pressed fruit drink – it doesn’t get more relaxing than that!

Reserve your beautiful beachside bungalow at Amara Ocean Resort.


Amilla Fushi – Baa Atoll, The Maldives

The Maldives are famous the world over for their phenomenal beaches and there’s no better place to enjoy the country’s pristine sands and crystal waters than at Amilla Fushi. The luxurious resort is set on its own private island in Baa Atoll, one of the 26 natural atolls in the Indian Ocean and a UNESCO declared World Biosphere Reserve.

Accessible by a short 30-minute seaplane ride from Malé International Airport, the resort features eight sleek and spacious Beach Residences of four, six or eight bedrooms. Located directly on the beach, they each have individual pools, fully equipped kitchens, expansive living spaces and a private sanctuary that either hovers over shimmering waters, cling to the treetops, or hug the island’s shores. The resort also features 59 one and two bedroom houses along the lagoon, beach or ocean reef.

In addition to its contemporary accommodation designed to make the most of the awe-inspiring natural environment, Amilla Fushi has several original “destination dining” options which can be held on the beach. Choose from their carefully crafted set menus or tailor a special experience with the help of a private chef. Imagine a picnic lunch for two on a secluded sandbank or a gastronomic sunset dinner feasting on a selection of the resort’s chef Luke Mangan’s signature dishes. A delicious and divine way of savoring their secret beaches.

Design the menu of your heavenly beach holiday with Amilla Fushi.


Ranawara – Sri Lanka

Admire the amazing turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean while strolling along the virtually uninhabited stretch of coastline in front of the gorgeous Ranawara villa in southern Sri Lanka. The relaxed yet sophisticated villa is nestled within 23 acres of tropical gardens next to a small coastal fishing village, 15 kilometres south of Tangalle and only two hours from Galle.

There are five elegant suites within the main villa, which comprises a total of 46,000 sq.ft. of open plan living, and a further two single-suite chalets located on the estate grounds. Each of the air-conditioned bedrooms feature four-poster king size beds, Indonesian rugs and have spacious ensuite bathrooms. The property also features a library, TV room, bar area, open plan kitchen & dining room, al-fresco dining pavilion, a spa as well as a 100 ft long swimming pool. There is a dedicated resident team of staff who cater to guests needs during their stay.

Besides taking incredible walks or lounging on the beach, you can spend hours meandering through the grounds dotted with hundreds of coconut trees as well as an abundance of tropical fruit trees including dragon fruit, green oranges, papaya, bananas, mango and wood apple.

Leaving the villa, various excursions can be arranged to visit nearby villages, observe turtles laying their eggs in Rekawa, take whale and dolphin watching boat trips or to tour the historic Galle Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage site built in 1588.

Add some cultural explorations and sightseeing to your beach holiday at Ranawara. More information here.


Whitsunday Estate – Australia


Australia’s Great Barrier Reef features some of the region’s most stunning beaches and our global expert Sylvia Delvaille Jones of Villas and Apartments Abroad has the perfect place to stay to make the most of this fabulous coastline.

“This “Thatched Palace” boasts six South-Sea style thatched luxury cottages in full view of the aqua marine Pacific Ocean and a necklace of white sandy beaches and reefs to explore – exclusively yours,” details Sylvia. “Each of the six cottages or a total of seven suites, has its own style and feel and include artwork from around the world; an antique Russian chest, tiles from palaces in India, cool limestone floors, uniquely handcrafted African, Balinese and Mexican art including wall hangings/lighting and carvings.

“The main Pavilion with its gabled roof, is the focal point of this magical place where guests can gather, especially in the evenings to recap the day’s events. It boasts broad verandahs with day beds and lounges, a living room with special lighting effects, a siesta bedroom, the chef’s kitchen, indoor and outdoor dining areas and entertainment facilities.

“The main house takes in the impressive views of the lake, the sea, the pool and gardens. Enjoy activities like water skiing, fishing or bathing in your own private lake or just laze around your own oversized pool, pamper yourself with a massage on the wooden candle lit deck overlooking the purple lily pond, or practise some yoga with a private instructor in the meditation tower. Explore on your mountain bikes or quad bikes through the miles and miles of bushland trails.

“Escape on a river safari or discover a rock pool where you could spread your picnic lunch of cold “catch of the day” seafood salad and some crisp Aussie wine. Take a bushwalk deep into the rainforest to discover a hidden waterfall and a remote beach. Or arrange for a day of Game fishing, a seaplane launch reef trip, jet skiing, paragliding and scuba diving, tandem parachuting and windsurfing.

“For a special evening, enjoy some live entertainment at a beachside barbecue. If you are traveling with children, arrange for the circus to “come to town” to entertain them. But for sure, the friendly kanga will make her house-call each morning to say G’day.”

Enjoy all the delights of this spectacular private beach estate by contacting Sylvia at Villas and Apartments Abroad here.