Criteria :
  Top 10 Villas by Bedroom

  Top 10 Villas by Type of Holiday

  Top 10 Villas by Area

Picture postcard sunsets, panoramic ocean vistas, jungle-clad valleys– all these villas have views to die for whilst you are being pampered in privacy.


Ariara

Ariara

Philippines  »  Palawan  »  Calamian Islands

The magical Ariara Island is truly an exciting new frontier for luxury travel. It might sound clichéd, but Ariara really does have it all: an incredibly pristine hideaway location, superb craftsmanship, inventive design, fabulous cuisine and a team that is absolutely thrilled to serve and guide you every step of the way. Since we tend to be lulled into laziness in the tropics we were quite content, really, to simply curl up on a poolside sun lounger with a cold San Miguel brew in hand, but our hosts had other plans for us! In just one day we were given dive instruction by the PADI-certified dive master, then plunged into the sea just metres offshore at a colourful site full of exotic marine life. Later, we hiked up the island's inland trail to the hilltop and were treated to an amazing panoramic view. Then, after returning to the villa and cooling off, it was time to climb aboard the Karen Joy for an excursion to a nearby fishing village. Still, we made it back to Ariara in time for a sunset cocktail and a three-course dinner featuring fresh lapu lapu (red grouper). There's no need to do all this in one day, of course. One could easily spend weeks, even months here and have a new adventure each day – or simply do nothing but lie back and contemplate the changing colours of the jewel-toned sea.

And the food, oh the food! Among the rich and varied things we sampled were wonderful, exotic fruits – some picked off wild trees on the island, giant lobster, imported beef steak barbecued to absolute perfection, pastas and salads made with organic cheeses, herbs and vegetables, fabulous desserts including orange and basil sorbet and the local rice and coconut bico treat. Being a remote island, getting fresh food in (aside from seafood, which fishermen bring directly to shore daily) is a big undertaking, and coordinating it all is a chef on the island and a Swiss chef based in Manila who operates her own organic dairy farm and expertly sources the finest imported foods and wines. Ariara was six years in the making by a very resourceful, creative and passionate team. With its potent combination of ground-breaking standards of service and a wild, largely undiscovered marine wonderland, we believe that it won't be long before Ariara is the place that others in the super-villa business will be scrambling to imitate.

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Karang Kembar - Latitude

Karang Kembar - Latitude

Indonesia  »  Bali  »  The Bukit

What an amaaaaaaazing villa! The moment we walked into Latitude, we knew we’d found something really special – an absolutely stunning villa in the most breathtaking location that ticks more boxes than we could ever need. Great views, check. Beach in minutes, check. Fabulous food, check. Fantastic staff, check. Top-notch design, check.

We loved the apparent isolation and felt no compunction to break away from the spectacular views to play pool or watch a movie, let alone actually leave to explore the area! Exploring the grounds was fun, as there are architectural or design surprises at every corner. We loved the jacuzzi ‘grottoes’ in the guest bedrooms – bathing on a clear night with the stars twinkling in the circular open window overhead was divine. Listening to the surf breaking on the beach as the sun emerged on the horizon was pure magic. And dining on chef Wayan Trimayasa’s fabulous dishes was to taste heaven in every mouthful.

Latitude is such a cool chill-out place with loads of social spaces for parties and events, and yet plenty private corners to escape to for some peace and quiet even with a full house (10 adults plus 2 kids). Villa manager Nick Home goes out of his way to create magic for everyone, and nothing seems to be too much trouble for him and his staff. A wedding party had just checked out before our arrival and their enthusiasm was a common theme in the guest book, which made delightful reading (hmmmm, how soon before my daughter weds?). We also thought what a wonderful place it is for groups of friends united by a love of food, for instance, or surfing – or simply wanting to unwind in luxury.

There was for us only one major problem that was impossible to overcome: that we had to leave Latitude at the end of our stay. How is it possible to disengage gracefully from this slice of heaven on earth? Bet you’re planning your next visit before you’ve even left!

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Villa Sapi

Villa Sapi

Indonesia  »  Lombok  »  Tanjung

How relaxed is it possible for a human being to get? Our stay at Villa Sapi gave us some idea. It was so peaceful and quiet; the only constants being the sun, the breeze and the gentle splashing of the waves on the sand. Otherwise, it was a new experience at every turn, from the extraordinary architectural design to the random acts of artwork around the villa and gardens. The TV room – curvilinear, boxed-in with glass and filled with assorted beanbags – looks and feels like an annex of George Jetson’s cartoon space house.

The ebbing tide occupies a big part of your day because it takes up such a big part of your view. We sat on the beach one evening watching a brilliant sunset over a low, low tide with the dusk light reflecting off the rock pools and silhouetting the fishermen stalking the shallow waters. Yet, while nature’s sea views are pretty special, be sure to take the time to turn the sun loungers around so you can stare back at the equally impressive artistic achievements of man.

Come mid-afternoon, it’s fun to amble down to the Hotel Tugu for a glass of something cold and a journey into Indonesia’s diverse indigenous past before returning to Sapi for a sunset drink and the anticipation of what chef has in store for dinner. At the time of our visit, the daily charge for food per person was a mere US$40 (US$20 for children). Every meal was a three-course gourmet indulgence, and in our opinion this was some of the best food we have ever had in a villa; the chef is five-star-trained after all. If you’re worried about gaining a few kilos (and you probably will) you can opt for the chef’s low calorie fare. If you’re looking for in-house activities, the manager can arrange tennis with a professional coach, table tennis, volleyball, cooking classes and more.

All in all, this is a villa where you will want to bring your friends so they can see it for themselves. Photos and tall tales just won’t suffice.
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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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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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Jivana Beach Villas - Villa Ananda

Jivana Beach Villas - Villa Ananda

Thailand  »  Phuket  »  Natai Beach

Unique, luxurious, private and peaceful … Villa Jivana Ananda is a superb illustration of a private villa managed with such expertise that it exudes all of the convenience of a six star hotel. Beach holidays are at their best when, at the end of a long, sandy and salty day, you can shower, refresh and enjoy a long cool drink and a divine meal prepared by the chef.

At Villa Ananda, our days were filled with swims in the ocean, searching for shells in the rock pools, enjoying fabulous Thai cuisine and relaxing in style. It is the perfect choice for families or friends. The villa is safe and practical for children – ours had an absolute ball here - yet sufficiently private and certainly spacious enough to give everyone ample room to themselves. Ananda has to be one of the best villas we have seen in Asia. Note this villa does not permit weddings or large functions. If this is something you are interested in look at its sister, Villa Shanti.
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