The Great Outdoors Villas

Lazing by the pool all day not your idea of fun? Try one of these villas which are perfectly placed for discovering the great outdoors – be it hiking or biking, bird-spotting or white-water-rafting – there will be something nearby to suit those who prefer a more active holiday.

Search Results: 225 Villa(s) in 23 page(s)
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Baan Sairee

Baan Sairee

Thailand » Koh Samui » Laem Sor

It's wasn't until we drove from the airport and saw how developed Samui is becoming that we realised just how special Baan Sairee is both in terms of its design and the secluded location. Authentic wooden buildings and unspoilt surroundings make the villa feel very established – something built by a trader perhaps, or a member of the Thai aristocracy – and more akin to the traditional accommodation available in the north of Thailand, but with added bonus of a beach and superb facilities for the kids.     

For families there is more than enough space and although the villa is a fair distance from the main tourist centres, there’s plenty to keep you occupied onsite. A combination of swimming, volleyball, badminton, tennis, a trampoline with safety net and frisbee sessions on the lawn, plus the added treat of kayaking (there are two provided with the villa) when the tide comes up, will keep the kids smiling all day and sleeping well at night. Unless you feel the urge to venture out often, perhaps to visit a waterfall or ride on an elephant, it’s hardly worth hiring a rental car (and the staff can organise transport if needed).    

The villa manageress couldn't do enough for us and the chef carefully caters for all tastes. The staff are also used to coping with kids’ food requests (although the manageress told us she often manages to get them to try new things – apparently chicken satay is now on quite a few ex-guest's weekly menu). For special occasions such as birthday parties the staff will set the table on the lawn and organise fireworks on the beach.    

Baan Sairee offers the chance to experience an authentic but luxurious Thai home and enjoy it as your own. It's not a place for those looking to dine out and party all night. That would be a waste of the villa's special charm.  
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Baan Sairee

Baan Sairee

Thailand » Koh Samui » Laem Sor

It's wasn't until we drove from the airport and saw how developed Samui is becoming that we realised just how special Baan Sairee is both in terms of its design and the secluded location. Authentic wooden buildings and unspoilt surroundings make the villa feel very established – something built by a trader perhaps, or a member of the Thai aristocracy – and more akin to the traditional accommodation available in the north of Thailand, but with added bonus of a beach and superb facilities for the kids.     

For families there is more than enough space and although the villa is a fair distance from the main tourist centres, there’s plenty to keep you occupied onsite. A combination of swimming, volleyball, badminton, tennis, a trampoline with safety net and frisbee sessions on the lawn, plus the added treat of kayaking (there are two provided with the villa) when the tide comes up, will keep the kids smiling all day and sleeping well at night. Unless you feel the urge to venture out often, perhaps to visit a waterfall or ride on an elephant, it’s hardly worth hiring a rental car (and the staff can organise transport if needed).    

The villa manageress couldn't do enough for us and the chef carefully caters for all tastes. The staff are also used to coping with kids’ food requests (although the manageress told us she often manages to get them to try new things – apparently chicken satay is now on quite a few ex-guest's weekly menu). For special occasions such as birthday parties the staff will set the table on the lawn and organise fireworks on the beach.    

Baan Sairee offers the chance to experience an authentic but luxurious Thai home and enjoy it as your own. It's not a place for those looking to dine out and party all night. That would be a waste of the villa's special charm.  
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Baan Tawan Chai

Baan Tawan Chai

Thailand » Koh Samui » Laem Set

We particularly enjoyed the natural surroundings of Baan Tawan Chai; its well-maintained garden, beach in front and coconut groves to the sides. Watching sea birds explore the shore at low tide, and the myna birds taking a bath in the pool was entertainment in itself, as was watching the resident dog, Tawan, take his regular walks down to the beach. This elderly dog belongs to the staff and lazes in their quarters throughout the day, only heading to the beach for a dip in the sea or to half-heartedly chase a crab every now and then.

This part of Koh Samui’s coast enjoys a regular breeze off the sea, so is a little cooler than other beaches on the island. It’s this breeze that has drawn one of the kite-surfing schools to Laem Set. The beach, although not the most pristine, is good for beachcombing, and exploring with the kayak shows a different perspective of this coast.

Khun Sompit, the bubbly villa manageress, is very knowledgeable about the surrounding area and offers good advice on where to go and what to do. We spent nearly all our time outside, moving between the shady sala and the poolside loungers, taking cooling dips, relaxing over a drink and enjoying the birdlife while doing very little.  

It was lovely to wake up to views of the ocean from the comfortable bed in the master suite, and have tea set out and waiting to enjoy in the sala while deciding what to do – or not to do – for the day. Our inclusive continental breakfast was well presented, with a good selection of fruit, cereal, toast and muffins as well as juices and tea or coffee.
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Baan Tawan Chai

Baan Tawan Chai

Thailand » Koh Samui » Laem Set

We particularly enjoyed the natural surroundings of Baan Tawan Chai; its well-maintained garden, beach in front and coconut groves to the sides. Watching sea birds explore the shore at low tide, and the myna birds taking a bath in the pool was entertainment in itself, as was watching the resident dog, Tawan, take his regular walks down to the beach. This elderly dog belongs to the staff and lazes in their quarters throughout the day, only heading to the beach for a dip in the sea or to half-heartedly chase a crab every now and then.

This part of Koh Samui’s coast enjoys a regular breeze off the sea, so is a little cooler than other beaches on the island. It’s this breeze that has drawn one of the kite-surfing schools to Laem Set. The beach, although not the most pristine, is good for beachcombing, and exploring with the kayak shows a different perspective of this coast.

Khun Sompit, the bubbly villa manageress, is very knowledgeable about the surrounding area and offers good advice on where to go and what to do. We spent nearly all our time outside, moving between the shady sala and the poolside loungers, taking cooling dips, relaxing over a drink and enjoying the birdlife while doing very little.  

It was lovely to wake up to views of the ocean from the comfortable bed in the master suite, and have tea set out and waiting to enjoy in the sala while deciding what to do – or not to do – for the day. Our inclusive continental breakfast was well presented, with a good selection of fruit, cereal, toast and muffins as well as juices and tea or coffee.
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Villa Babar

Villa Babar

Indonesia » Bali » Tabanan

We thought that Villa Babar was one of the most dramatic and beautiful properties we have seen in Bali. Far, far away from the crowds of the south, this place is splendid, stylish, larger than life and fit for royalty.

Due to the remote location, the complementary airport pick up is not only welcome, but essential. The alternative is to take a helicopter from the airport as the property has its own helipad. This (rather expensive) option can be arranged in advance with the villa manager.

When we arrived we were blown away by the villa’s grand positioning on the hill and the views it commanded. Thanks to the open-plan design, we were able to take in a sweeping 360-degree arc of the mountains to the east and the north, (including the mountains of Java), the ocean to the south and the west and, in between, the endless emerald rice fields and jungle-clad river valleys that complete the picture. The beaches are completely devoid of tourists - populated only by fishermen and locals walking or playing football on the sand. We witnessed an amazing sunset over the ocean, and got up at the crack of dawn to watch the sun come up over Mt Agung.

Some small grocery shops nearby provide a few snacks and drinks but being so, so far out of town it is imperative that you are well provisioned in advance. The villa acknowledges this and invites you to pre-order your meals as well as any specialty goods that you want, so that the staff can do the shopping before you arrive. The chef specialises in the use of the fresh and organic produce and there is an extensive menu.

Wireless Internet is available throughout the villa free of charge. If you fancy a massage, a local therapist will visit. A massage bed is situated in a private corner in the open air on the upper floor with great views.

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Ban Laem Sor

Ban Laem Sor

Thailand » Koh Samui » Laem Sor

Ban Laem Sor is one of the more modest villas we've seen on Koh Samui, but what it lacks in extravagant amenities it makes up for with privacy and tropical ambiance. After all, not everyone needs a flat-screen TV in their bedroom or a private jacuzzi tub in the ensuite. In fact, removing such distractions meant we spent more time exploring and appreciating the beach and natural surroundings. Walks from this villa are very therapeutic, either along the sand or through the coastal lanes (best undertaken in the cooler parts of the day).

If you choose to self-cater it's a good idea to stock up at one of the island's larger supermarkets (Tesco Lotus or Big C) in Chaweng (20km from the villa) at the beginning of your stay. There's not much available locally in terms of provisioning, but having a handful of local restaurants nearby does mean you can take the easy dining option if you feel like a night off.

Adventurous types can plan their stay around some interesting trips: it's a short drive to waterfalls, elephant rides or a little local village culture. You can even rent a long-tail boat from Tong Krut (3km) to explore the offshore islands. This is not really a base for night owls though: Lamai is a little too far away for late-night driving and once you leave the main ring road there's not much in the way of street lighting. Relaxed, home-based entertainment was our preference, with some soothing music on the stereo (bring your favourite CDs) and a nice bottle of wine selected from the in-villa wine list with dinner.

Laem Sor was being spruced up when we returned for a follow-up visit in June 2013. The villa was looking good, with a new lick of paint and varnish, and more garden lighting being installed.
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Villa Bangkuang

Villa Bangkuang

Indonesia » Bali » Canggu area » Canggu

We were impressed by the vast green space that Villa Bangkuang put at our disposal. As we entered through the gates from the driveway, the walls evaporated, offering us an unobstructed view over the rice fields to the ocean several hundred metres away. This is definitely a place to relax, far away from the sounds of the modern world. There is nothing pretentious about Villa Bangkuang, it has elegance, charm, a warm ambience and a gentle energy. It was built as a family home, designed by its owners and furnished with love. Bali is acknowledged throughout the villa with a number of fascinating antique artefacts, and everything blends together beautifully from the rusticity of the rice barn, balé bengong and kitchen to the elegance of the living pavilion and the contemporary stylishness of the guest pavilion. Seseh and Sogsogan are very traditional villages with a close-knit society that warmly welcomes tourists into the fold. All the staff at Villa Bangkuang hail from these villages and are more than willing to place their sweet natures and charm at your service. Check with them to see if there are any special ceremonies taking place during your visit and you may be able to experience true Balinese culture first hand. It was Galungan when we visited (a bit like our Christmas): the streets were lined with giant decorated bamboo penjor poles and we were able to see the men-folk out on the street preparing lawar from freshly-killed pigs, a Balinese delicacy and a traditional male undertaking; much like any Western BBQ!
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Bayad Villa

Bayad Villa

Indonesia » Bali » Ubud

Bayad Villa’s garden is amazing and it felt so tropical. It was like a woodland overflowing with plants which, although carefully landscaped, were growing abundantly as if untamed. The villa felt spacious as such, and is perfectly set up for two families since each pair of suites is connected across the garden but self-contained, having their own entrances, swimming pools, kitchens and dining space. The main pool with its gorgeous curved infinity ledge creeping around the valley was a real focus of the property, however there really were lots of other options for relaxing and dining, including the verandas of each suite. That said, most were not fan-cooled and the main living pavilion, especially, got a little hot during the day.

The staff were efficient and because the property is so large we hardly saw them apart from at mealtimes when they tended to gather around the main kitchen to chat, which was a little off-putting. We were informed by the management company, however, that they have plans to change the kitchen design which would resolve this problem. As if to compensate for any disturbance, the house manager really went out of his way to make sure we had everything we needed at all times.

There’s quite an extensive priced menu at the villa – the cook’s excellent Balinese dishes come highly recommended and you receive a complimentary Balinese meal if staying more than seven nights. Self-catering is also an option but only for stays of seven days or more; in this instance, a 30% charge is added onto the total cost of your grocery bill if the staff do your shopping for you.

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Blue Heights

Blue Heights

Sri Lanka » South Coast » Dickwella

For a lazy, languid holiday where you come armed with a stack of books and great company, Blue Heights is the business.  The simple design and minimal interiors are unfussy and free of distractions so that you focus on the job at hand – relaxing, catching up with friends and family and absorbing the restful environment.  The ocean views and hilltop locale create a feeling of space and the convivial pool area, with sunset-worthy jacuzzi, soon became one of our favourite spots.  The open-sided dining area made the most of the views and even from the glass-walled lounge you can spy the sea whilst watching TV.  Those staying in the master bedroom do get a lot more value as the room is huge and is attached to a little private lounge with pergola roof, although the bathroom is rather narrow.  The bedroom in the main house works well for elderly relations or independent couples.

The staff, a husband and wife team, plus houseboy, were very welcoming – as was Timmy, the house’s loveable dog!  Service is casual and their English was limited so communicating was a bit of a struggle at times.  However, the villa is looked after by a management team whose area manager is always at the end of the phone.  The kitchen is basic and uninspiring, however there is a little pantry with sink and fridge for making drinks.  In any case, a cook prepares all of your meals (Sri Lankan cuisine mainly, plus a few fried rice and noodle dishes).

Note that the beach is not at the end of the garden – you need to go through the gate, turn right along the road and then wander for five minutes to the beach.  Swimming is best in the middle of the bay.
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Blue Samui

Blue Samui

Thailand » Koh Samui » Bang Por-Nathon

There's something refreshingly independent about Blue Samui. The secluded setting is quite unusual for a fast developing island because there are no other properties surrounding the villa (bar one, a little further down the hill, which barely enters the view). This means you quickly relax into your own, private world – shoes and watch off, beachwear on. Once you've stocked the fridge at one of the island's big supermarkets, the urge to venture out fades, at least during the day. The homely atmosphere, combined with abundant on-hand facilities lets you set your own schedule and this generally involves little more than eating, lounging, reading and drifting into the view. Of course, unless you're someone that sees cooking as a leisure activity, the lack of a chef means dining out becomes part of the routine, but with a hire car there are plenty of options close by. The two on-site staff are very keen to please and will happily serve snacks and drinks so you don't have to leave you sun lounger too often. A poolside barbecue is also a must at least once during your stay. The evening light makes those breathtaking views almost surreal. Although the guest bedrooms share a bathroom, the rooms themselves are nicely furnished, spacious and the wide verandah is almost an extra lounge. The views from the nicely hidden bath tub in the master suite make bathing a special pleasure that adds to the indulgence in what, for us, was a pleasingly private and relaxing island retreat.
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* Additional charges may apply for maximum occupancy
Search Results: 225 Villa(s) in 23 page(s)
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