Criteria :
  Top 10 Villas by Bedroom

  Top 10 Villas by Type of Holiday

  Top 10 Villas by Area

From a refreshing facial or perfect pedicure to a complete mud wrap, from a salt scrub to hot stone therapy, spa offerings are many and varied. These villas offer more than a simple massage on the sun lounger (see Body and Soul) – they include dedicated spa services with trained staff and special facilities for a sensational spa treatment.


Amilla – the Amilla villa estate

Amilla – the Amilla villa estate

Maldives  »  Maldives  »  Maldives

It’s official:  I’m in heaven.  This is the perfect island home, and I don’t ever want to leave!  Flying over coral islands strung like pearls on a necklace, and sandbanks that sparkle in the sunlight, I knew we were in for a treat long before we arrived.  By the time we stepped onto the jetty to a phalanx of staff welcoming us to our ‘island home’, I was head over heels in love.

The Amilla Beach Villa Residences really are very special – an ultra-luxe destination with a relaxing island vibe and a bountiful heart-and-soul spirit.  Of the eight villas within this elite gated community, the six-bedroom Amilla Villa Estate was my favourite.

There are simply no words or pictures to do The Amilla Villa Estate justice.  Absolutely everything was beyond-high-expectation perfect – the contemporary Asia-style architecture, the clean lines of the light-filled interiors, the oh-so-perfect pool, the amazing amount of privacy and space.

The moment we arrived we kicked off our shoes and slipped into the island groove: swaying in the hammock, sunbathing on the cool pool loungers, diving into the silken lagoon waters mask-and-snorkel at the ready.  Indoors, we indulged in the many treats that arrived as if by magic throughout the day. (Turns out the villa came with its own magician –Munaadh, our hugely engaging Katheeb (house manager) who enriched our stay immeasurably.)  Munaadh proved to be a mind reader, able to anticipate our every whim, and shared his unbridled passion for the island with us.  He also organised a fabulous seafood-and-champagne barbecue at home – one of many culinary highlights of our stay.

Sauntering along sandy paths through coconut groves, past ancient Banyan trees, we were amazed by the huge choice of activities available across this small island.  Sure, you can have the laziest, most relaxing vacation ever – I would gladly have spent my entire time at the sublime Javva Spa alone!  But the chance to go dolphin watching, sunrise fishing and swimming with mantas was too tempting.

A shout-out to the astonishing array of restaurants at the Amilla Fushi must be made – the amazing culinary experiences and mouthwatering menus were among the many highlights of our trip.  Sunset cocktails followed by a fresh-from-the-sea meal at the over-water Feeling Koi restaurant is an absolute must; I admit to piling on the pounds during my stay.

Celeb-friendly privacy, acres of entertaining space and the fair-share bedrooms make The Amilla Villa Estate perfect for a gathering of friends. There’s also lots to keep kids entertained beyond the beach and pool – including the resort’s extensive recreational facilities and kids club.

It’s easy to lose all sense of time in this paradise.  In fact, ‘island time’ really does exist here, as the Amilla visionaries set their clocks two hours ahead of Male so guests can enjoy extra hours of daylight; how’s that for superlative customer service?  A sign at the Empire Beach Club claims “Happiness is not a destination, it’s a way of life.”  What a perfect epithet for our stay!
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Kaba Kaba Estate

Kaba Kaba Estate

Indonesia  »  Bali  »  Tabanan

We’ve been lucky enough to visit a lot of beautiful villas in our time, but Kaba Kaba Estate exceeded all expectations of comfort, luxuriousness, good taste and space.  There’s so much to do on the estate itself that its out-of-town location is not an issue.  Everything has been thought of, from tennis, foosball, air hockey and all the major electronic game consoles, through to a library, gym and even a croquet lawn.  If only we’d had more time!  As it was, the pools, the spa and the spectacular home cinema were more than enough to relax and entertain us.
    
The staff were just the right mix of professional and friendly, and the chef is a consummate pro, delighting us with everything he presented.  Although there is a selection menu, we highly suggest that you just ‘go blind’ (like we did) and let the chef and his team surprise you with their magic.  Our simple, three-course Balinese dinner was off-the-charts delicious.

Do go for an early morning wander through the rice fields.  The locals are very friendly and the experience will be something the regular tour guides can’t give you.  The wide-open spaces are awe inspiring.
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Kaba Kaba Estate

Kaba Kaba Estate

Indonesia  »  Bali  »  Tabanan

We’ve been lucky enough to visit a lot of beautiful villas in our time, but Kaba Kaba Estate exceeded all expectations of comfort, luxuriousness, good taste and space.  There’s so much to do on the estate itself that its out-of-town location is not an issue.  Everything has been thought of, from tennis, foosball, air hockey and all the major electronic game consoles, through to a library, gym and even a croquet lawn.  If only we’d had more time!  As it was, the pools, the spa and the spectacular home cinema were more than enough to relax and entertain us.
    
The staff were just the right mix of professional and friendly, and the chef is a consummate pro, delighting us with everything he presented.  Although there is a selection menu, we highly suggest that you just ‘go blind’ (like we did) and let the chef and his team surprise you with their magic.  Our simple, three-course Balinese dinner was off-the-charts delicious.

Do go for an early morning wander through the rice fields.  The locals are very friendly and the experience will be something the regular tour guides can’t give you.  The wide-open spaces are awe inspiring.
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Kaba Kaba Estate

Kaba Kaba Estate

Indonesia  »  Bali  »  Tabanan

We’ve been lucky enough to visit a lot of beautiful villas in our time, but Kaba Kaba Estate exceeded all expectations of comfort, luxuriousness, good taste and space.  There’s so much to do on the estate itself that its out-of-town location is not an issue.  Everything has been thought of, from tennis, foosball, air hockey and all the major electronic game consoles, through to a library, gym and even a croquet lawn.  If only we’d had more time!  As it was, the pools, the spa and the spectacular home cinema were more than enough to relax and entertain us.
    
The staff were just the right mix of professional and friendly, and the chef is a consummate pro, delighting us with everything he presented.  Although there is a selection menu, we highly suggest that you just ‘go blind’ (like we did) and let the chef and his team surprise you with their magic.  Our simple, three-course Balinese dinner was off-the-charts delicious.

Do go for an early morning wander through the rice fields.  The locals are very friendly and the experience will be something the regular tour guides can’t give you.  The wide-open spaces are awe inspiring.
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Kaba Kaba Estate

Kaba Kaba Estate

Indonesia  »  Bali  »  Tabanan

We’ve been lucky enough to visit a lot of beautiful villas in our time, but Kaba Kaba Estate exceeded all expectations of comfort, luxuriousness, good taste and space.  There’s so much to do on the estate itself that its out-of-town location is not an issue.  Everything has been thought of, from tennis, foosball, air hockey and all the major electronic game consoles, through to a library, gym and even a croquet lawn.  If only we’d had more time!  As it was, the pools, the spa and the spectacular home cinema were more than enough to relax and entertain us.
    
The staff were just the right mix of professional and friendly, and the chef is a consummate pro, delighting us with everything he presented.  Although there is a selection menu, we highly suggest that you just ‘go blind’ (like we did) and let the chef and his team surprise you with their magic.  Our simple, three-course Balinese dinner was off-the-charts delicious.

Do go for an early morning wander through the rice fields.  The locals are very friendly and the experience will be something the regular tour guides can’t give you.  The wide-open spaces are awe inspiring.
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The Edge

The Edge

Indonesia  »  Bali  »  The Bukit

Oh, yeah baby, this is what we’re talking about. The edge is all that and more as far as we are concerned, and we were a very happy couple to be able to experience it: massive, versatile and staffed to the hilt. Guests can remain as horizontal as the horizon – lazing on sunbeds with to-die-for views by day and hunkering down in one of the eight leather lay-z-boy chairs in the home cinema with rolling surround-sound and a stack of your favourite blockbusters by night.

Facilities? We’ll give you facilities. Apart from the home cinema, there’s a cigar smoking area in the wine cellar, a huge dedicated spa, a flat-screen TV in every room and, just quietly, a bowling alley is in the planning. It doesn’t stop there though; the three and five-bedroom villas have two pools each in addition to the communal pool. Kids will be in heaven with their dedicated playroom, which has slides, murals, games, books and not one but two games systems with a TV for each – could this concept of ‘no sharing’ perhaps be the secret to successful parenting?

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The Shanti Residence

The Shanti Residence

Indonesia  »  Bali  »  Nusa Dua

We’d heard some pretty tasty things about The Shanti Residence, so we arrived with great expectations. And this is what we found: the beds were soft, the sky was blue, the sun warm and the hospitality generous. After a delicious night’s sleep in a regal bed, followed by a sumptuous breakfast, the pool and its sun loungers were about as far as we managed to get for the lion’s share of the day. The staff were professional and, more importantly, readily on hand to bring us cold drinks, lunch and complimentary afternoon tea as we lay there soaking up the sounds of birdlife and views of the distant horizon. That night the kitchen produced a particularly tasty meal for us, which left us fit to bursting. Yes, cloaked in privacy and surrounded by greenery, this stunning villa nigh on forces total relaxation from its guests. Overlooking the sea, far, far away from the crowds, with three pools, a home cinema, superb staff and a tantalising menu of foods and wines, The Shanti Residence requires no leaving. So, bring your favourite books, toys, sunscreen and lover, and get ready for the stay of stays.
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The View at The edge

The View at The edge

Indonesia  »  Bali  »  The Bukit

Oh, how we loved this villa! There is something magical about lying on a sun lounger, on a cliff so high above the pounding waves that oxygen might become necessary, with a cold drink in your hand, a liberal coating of sunscreen on your skin and, best of all, nothing whatsoever on your agenda. This is the kind of view that inspires much of the world’s most beautiful poetry: so mesmerising that magazines may well remain unread.

When you do come down to earth, take the time to have a spa treatment in the jaw-dropping facility – the floor is covered in three inches of water and the treatment beds seem to float between the sea and the sky behind the billowing white curtains that surround it.

The service was impeccable and the food amazing, just what you might expect from highly trained professionals. Our Magnum-trained butlers were quick to spot an empty glass and could always sense a hungry tummy. Breakfasting on the shady terrace was a wonderful way to start the day: inspiring us to take on all the great things we’ve always wanted to do. Rather a shame, perhaps, that in the end we opted just to lie on the sun loungers gaze at the ocean and work on the suntan.

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Panacea Retreat - Praana Residence

Panacea Retreat - Praana Residence

Thailand  »  Koh Samui  »  Bophut

From the moment we arrived at Panacea Retreat and were greeted by warm smiles, awelcome drink, cool towel and garland of flowers, we began to unwind. We particularly enjoyed our daily yoga session with an experienced teacher, who knew our individual strengths and limits right away – a great perk! Although we were feeling pretty relaxed by this time, we were still pleased to take advantage the in-villa massage. Add the private muay Thai instructor and tennis coach into the mix, and it was hard not to feel a little indulgent.

As much as the lovely island of Samui has to offer, the extraordinary entertainment and leisure facilities at Praana Residence were too good to leave. After a morning of sport, an afternoon of relaxation by the pool and a fun evening of music, dance and karaoke in the club, we stretched out in the home cinema for a midnight movie and then retired to our luxurious bedroom suites. A perfect day!

The kitchen team really know their stuff too. There’s an emphasis on quality ingredients and a good selection of dishes, and we thoroughly enjoyed all the meals we ordered from the a la carte menu. Meals other than breakfast are prepared in the estate’s professional kitchen, and special orders such as barbecues can be discussed with your villa host. Breakfast (which is included in the rate) is no simple affair. Try the freshly made yoghurt pots, with granola and fresh fruit puree, and some avocado, smoked salmon, cold cuts or cheese to accompany your toast … or perhaps a full cooked breakfast if you have room?  Throughout the day, freshly brewed coffee and pots of tea were on offer, with the chef’s biscotti and cookies to keep us sustained until our next delicious meal.

The villa’s layout made it easy to socialise as a group or enjoy quiet ‘me’ time when it suited. We found the staff to be attentive yet unobtrusive, allowing us to enjoy the luxuries and surroundings of the villa undisturbed.
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Pandawa Cliff Estate - The Pala

Pandawa Cliff Estate - The Pala

Indonesia  »  Bali  »  The Bukit

The jaw-dropping ocean views and sheer amount of space make The Pala a party villa par excellence; hands down, it’s going to be am amazing wedding venue. We loved the choice of living spaces spilling out onto terraces and balconies on both levels – all with sublime sea views. And the master bedroom was quite astonishing – with what has to be one of the best views in Bali; ocean, beach, cliffs and the island of Nusa Penida looming on the horizon.

Six couples could holiday together in complete harmony (and sublime comfort) here, as there are lots of different spaces to get together as well as quiet corners to escape from the crowd. And while there might be some initial discussion over who gets the magnificent master bedroom, the five guestrooms are so spacious and comfortable that no one’s going to complain!  (Parents take note – the bursting-at-the-seams-with-toys playroom, media games room, and large shallow pool adjoining the main one make The Pala an excellent venue for multiple-family vacations too).

Pala is the Indonesian word for nutmeg – a spice once so coveted that countries crossed oceans and went to war for it. What an apposite name for a delicious villa that will surely spice up any vacation.

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