Spa Sensation Villas

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.

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Villa 1880

Villa 1880

Indonesia » Bali » Greater Seminyak » Seminyak

Wow. Wow. WOWWWWWWW. Villa 1880 took my breath away the moment I arrived — no mean feat for a seasoned and perhaps super-critical reviewer of luxury villas. What exquisite taste the owners must possess, to have created such an appealing vacation home … and filled it with such covetable furniture and curios.  This is surely a dream villa for anyone who appreciates inspiring design.

We loved the unique blend of old and new — how the 138-year old plantation house sat so comfortably (and seamlessly) between the contemporary buildings. And I admit swooning over the uber-photogenic interiors filled with achingly chic designer furniture sitting on extraordinary brass inlaid flooring. The media room was fabulously flamboyant with sprawl-inducive sofas covered in pink velvet, a cocktail cabinet …and whatever prompted them to think of a stuffed peacock?  Magic was in every detail — for example, our welcome drink was served in a hollowed-out pineapple, complete with bamboo straw, and breakfast included home-made strawberry jam, marmalade, and passion fruit preserve. And how sweet that half of the vanity in the kids’ bunkroom bathroom was set lower so little ones could reach the basin! (Though we were kid-free on our visit, we could imagine them cavorting around in the bunk room with glee).

But what made our experience truly special was the staff. On a tropical island awash with villas boasting well-trained staff, Villa 1880’s raises the bar. Gede the manager was so charming and helpful – and the same went for the butlers we met… even the gardener was chatty. And we cannot enthuse enough about Chef Adi — a rare find, passionate about food and with an inventive mind. The meals we had at Villa 1880 were absolutely superb — oh for another of his home-made panacottas! Ria the spa therapist was also excellent, with a decade working at Shiva Som in the Maldives….whatever you do, don’t leave without having at least one massage with her in the villa’s beautiful spa room.

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From $797 Special 4br Rate

Bedrooms 5

Sleeps 8

Our
Rating 8.8

Real-time Availability

Villa 1880

Villa 1880

Indonesia » Bali » Greater Seminyak » Seminyak

Wow. Wow. WOWWWWWWW. Villa 1880 took my breath away the moment I arrived — no mean feat for a seasoned and perhaps super-critical reviewer of luxury villas. What exquisite taste the owners must possess, to have created such an appealing vacation home … and filled it with such covetable furniture and curios.  This is surely a dream villa for anyone who appreciates inspiring design.

We loved the unique blend of old and new — how the 138-year old plantation house sat so comfortably (and seamlessly) between the contemporary buildings. And I admit swooning over the uber-photogenic interiors filled with achingly chic designer furniture sitting on extraordinary brass inlaid flooring. The media room was fabulously flamboyant with sprawl-inducive sofas covered in pink velvet, a cocktail cabinet …and whatever prompted them to think of a stuffed peacock?  Magic was in every detail — for example, our welcome drink was served in a hollowed-out pineapple, complete with bamboo straw, and breakfast included home-made strawberry jam, marmalade, and passion fruit preserve. And how sweet that half of the vanity in the kids’ bunkroom bathroom was set lower so little ones could reach the basin! (Though we were kid-free on our visit, we could imagine them cavorting around in the bunk room with glee).

But what made our experience truly special was the staff. On a tropical island awash with villas boasting well-trained staff, Villa 1880’s raises the bar. Gede the manager was so charming and helpful – and the same went for the butlers we met… even the gardener was chatty. And we cannot enthuse enough about Chef Adi — a rare find, passionate about food and with an inventive mind. The meals we had at Villa 1880 were absolutely superb — oh for another of his home-made panacottas! Ria the spa therapist was also excellent, with a decade working at Shiva Som in the Maldives….whatever you do, don’t leave without having at least one massage with her in the villa’s beautiful spa room.

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From $912

Bedrooms 5

Sleeps 8-16*

Our
Rating 8.8

Real-time Availability

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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From $22,053

Bedrooms 6

Sleeps 12

Our
Rating 9.3

The Anandita

The Anandita

Indonesia » Lombok » Northwest Lombok » Tanjung

Anandita is exactly what a ‘destination villa’ should be.  It was lovely to be surrounded by calm seas, very comfortable lodgings and a team of staff who really know what they are doing.  Everything is laid on and we really had no desire go out, feeling so relaxed and content that all we did was swim, eat and sleep in the sun, with a little bit of volleyball and billiards thrown in for good measure.  The beach is ultra safe making it a great place for children to paddle and play; we felt that families would love this place given the choice of activities, and the room layout and bed configuration.  That said, the rooms would work equally well for four couples.

Something that really impressed us was the way the staff stopped what they were doing when we invited them to make up the numbers for a game of volleyball. It is rare to find a villa where the owner has encouraged his staff to go the extra mile to please guests in this way.  To quote from the visitors’ book, “The staff are truly the heart of Anandita”.  The kitchen produces some fine meals, with the emphasis on fresh fish and local produce - but remember that (if you wish to order from the suggestion menu) you need to give a bit of notice when ordering your meals or making your grocery list as the villa is a long way from the nearest shops.  An easy alternative is to opt for the all inclusive meal package offered at the villa which includes breakfast, lunch, dinner and afternoon tea.

Nothing changes very much in Lombok, so when we returned to Villa Anandita for our three-year-update we were delighted to find that everything was very much as it had been, including most of the staff who remembered us from our first visit.  Gusti the manager/activities manager delighted us with his energy and enthusiasm, taking us out for a long bicycle ride across the golf course and along rough tracks through the fields to the traditional market at Tanjung.  Since our last visit, the complement of bicycles has gone up to 13 and the owners have added a spa pavilion with two massage beds (professional therapists will come to the villa to deliver soothing treatments).  We were also pleased to find that the villa now has a WiFi internet connection, so it doesn’t feel quite so detached from the world.  The property has been well maintained but the beach bordering the garden has suffered from a bit of erosion so it has got narrower, but it is still beautiful to look at and you only have to walk a short distance to reach a wider section of sand.  Oh yes, there’s a new international airport in Lombok now, which is further away from the villa, so the journey is longer but you’ll see some gorgeous rural countryside en route.

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From $820 Special 3br Rate

Bedrooms 4

Sleeps 6

Our
Rating 8.6
Guest Rating 8.8

Real-time Availability

The Anandita

The Anandita

Indonesia » Lombok » Northwest Lombok » Tanjung

Anandita is exactly what a ‘destination villa’ should be.  It was lovely to be surrounded by calm seas, very comfortable lodgings and a team of staff who really know what they are doing.  Everything is laid on and we really had no desire go out, feeling so relaxed and content that all we did was swim, eat and sleep in the sun, with a little bit of volleyball and billiards thrown in for good measure.  The beach is ultra safe making it a great place for children to paddle and play; we felt that families would love this place given the choice of activities, and the room layout and bed configuration.  That said, the rooms would work equally well for four couples.

Something that really impressed us was the way the staff stopped what they were doing when we invited them to make up the numbers for a game of volleyball. It is rare to find a villa where the owner has encouraged his staff to go the extra mile to please guests in this way.  To quote from the visitors’ book, “The staff are truly the heart of Anandita”.  The kitchen produces some fine meals, with the emphasis on fresh fish and local produce - but remember that (if you wish to order from the suggestion menu) you need to give a bit of notice when ordering your meals or making your grocery list as the villa is a long way from the nearest shops.  An easy alternative is to opt for the all inclusive meal package offered at the villa which includes breakfast, lunch, dinner and afternoon tea.

Nothing changes very much in Lombok, so when we returned to Villa Anandita for our three-year-update we were delighted to find that everything was very much as it had been, including most of the staff who remembered us from our first visit.  Gusti the manager/activities manager delighted us with his energy and enthusiasm, taking us out for a long bicycle ride across the golf course and along rough tracks through the fields to the traditional market at Tanjung.  Since our last visit, the complement of bicycles has gone up to 13 and the owners have added a spa pavilion with two massage beds (professional therapists will come to the villa to deliver soothing treatments).  We were also pleased to find that the villa now has a WiFi internet connection, so it doesn’t feel quite so detached from the world.  The property has been well maintained but the beach bordering the garden has suffered from a bit of erosion so it has got narrower, but it is still beautiful to look at and you only have to walk a short distance to reach a wider section of sand.  Oh yes, there’s a new international airport in Lombok now, which is further away from the villa, so the journey is longer but you’ll see some gorgeous rural countryside en route.

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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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From $2,834 Special 7br Rate

Bedrooms 9

Sleeps 16

Our
Rating 9.3

Real-time Availability

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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From $3,468

Bedrooms 9

Sleeps 20

Our
Rating 9.3

Real-time Availability

Baan Taley Rom
Baan Taley Rom
Ban Suriya
* Additional charges may apply for maximum occupancy
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