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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Baan Paa Talee Estate

Baan Paa Talee Estate

Thailand  »  Phuket  »  Kamala

We've seen some villas in our time, but Baan Paa Talee Estate took our breath away.  The quality and scale of the villa; the wild beauty of its surroundings; the vast ocean panoramas from almost every room; the warm welcome from the exceptional staff and the creativity of the villa's skilled chef are all in a class of their own.  We were particularly happy to learn all about the villa and the surrounding area from the villa’s knowledgeable, guest-relations manager, who made our stay even more special.

Although Baan Paa Talee is spread across four levels of accommodation, we found ourselves drawn to two special spots: the reception lounge on the 'top deck' - so beautiful at sunset – was the obvious choice for evening cocktails before moving into the glass-enshrined dining room for another memorable dinner; and the whole pool area, which worked brilliantly with its options for lazing, swimming, soaking in the jacuzzi, enjoying a game of pool in the bar area, or cooling off in the media room with a favourite movie.

The bedrooms are really well arranged, offering total privacy if you want it (especially in the Ocean Villa), or flexibility for families in adjoining suites.  All are beautifully fitted and furnished and very comfortable.  Our stay was perfect and we can only hope we get a chance to return.
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Baan Paa Talee Estate

Baan Paa Talee Estate

Thailand  »  Phuket  »  Kamala

We've seen some villas in our time, but Baan Paa Talee Estate took our breath away.  The quality and scale of the villa; the wild beauty of its surroundings; the vast ocean panoramas from almost every room; the warm welcome from the exceptional staff and the creativity of the villa's skilled chef are all in a class of their own.  We were particularly happy to learn all about the villa and the surrounding area from the villa’s knowledgeable, guest-relations manager, who made our stay even more special.

Although Baan Paa Talee is spread across four levels of accommodation, we found ourselves drawn to two special spots: the reception lounge on the 'top deck' - so beautiful at sunset – was the obvious choice for evening cocktails before moving into the glass-enshrined dining room for another memorable dinner; and the whole pool area, which worked brilliantly with its options for lazing, swimming, soaking in the jacuzzi, enjoying a game of pool in the bar area, or cooling off in the media room with a favourite movie.

The bedrooms are really well arranged, offering total privacy if you want it (especially in the Ocean Villa), or flexibility for families in adjoining suites.  All are beautifully fitted and furnished and very comfortable.  Our stay was perfect and we can only hope we get a chance to return.
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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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Ban Suriya

Ban Suriya

Thailand  »  Koh Samui  »  Lipa Noi

Ban Suriya is one of those villas where, as reviewers, you find yourself looking for something negative just to tick the ‘Surprises’ box. We failed.

Our time passed far too quickly at Ban Suriya.  In fact, a month would probably be needed to enjoy the villa to the full. It's not only the salubrious surroundings that stand out, it's the way everything seems to go that extra mile to please.  There's not just a computer, there's an iMac packed with tunes that you can play through Bose speakers in the lounge and poolside sala (gazebo).  The gym is not only well-equipped, it has a fridge, and a plunge pool bigger than some other villas' main pool.  Even the DVD collection includes films you wish you'd remembered to buy at the airport.

Ironically, even with so many options we found ourselves drawn to the simplest – the tree house by the beach. The staff is clearly proud to be part of the Ban Suriya experience and the live-in manager was knowledgeable and keen to help us appreciate the villa's pleasures. Although each bedroom is noticeably different, with no one losing out, the master is clearly the most extravagant with its terrazzo bath tub and ensuite lounge. Clever design touches in the guest rooms like direct pool and jacuzzi access, indulgent semi-outdoor bathrooms and hand-picked, stylish furnishings ensure everyone is content, while those staying the twin bedroom by the games room and gym or cosseted in the beachfront pavilion also enjoy complete privacy and independence.

Eight people is probably the minimum number you would need to fully appreciate this villa (there's an option to rent four bedrooms outside peak season), otherwise you might struggle to appreciate its exuberance.
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