9 of the best villas in the world

There are some great villas and vacation homes on the north coast of Koh Samui, Thailand

Wherever your travels take you, one thing remains true: having a good place to rest your head at night can make or break a trip. But sometimes, ‘good’ just doesn’t cut it – for a really special vacation, you need a special place to stay.

There are all sorts of incredible hotels and guesthouses around the globe, but few can compete with the world’s best vacation homes, which offer total privacy and the kind of spectacular facilities that you won’t find anywhere else – from bowling alleys and ice-skating rinks to horse-riding stables and indoor pools.

Read on for a virtual tour through some of the best villas in the world.

Aspen 4

7 bedrooms, sleeps 14
Colorado, USA

Aspen has some of the best villas in the world

With Aspen’s hallowed ski slopes right outside the door, this magical 7-bedroom vacation rental is about as far from the ‘rustic cabin’ stereotype as you can get.

Big glass windows let light flood into the mansion’s modern interiors, which stretch across 3 floors and provide an incredible 19,000 sq ft of living space. Beyond the 40-foot-high foyer, you’ll find a bowling alley, a home theater, a gym and a sauna. Even the game room, bar and arcade have a clean, contemporary feel.

Other features include a saline lap pool and – in winter – your very own ice-skating rink. Rooms throughout the house provide views of the surrounding mountains and the nearby cable car, which whizzes skiers to the top of some amazing runs.

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Villa Hyde Park at the Tryall Club

6 bedrooms, sleeps 14

Luxury villa in Montego Bay, Jamaica

Between the mountains and the sparkling Caribbean Sea on Jamaica’s north coast, this lavish vacation rental mixes elements of Asian, European and Caribbean design.

Fronting the villa is a huge outdoor lap pool that’s edged by mature palms. Another pool snakes around the side of the property, passing shaded outdoor seating areas and plush sunloungers. Inside, cool tiled living areas lead to immaculate bedrooms with vaulted ceilings. One has an en-suite bathroom with its own whirlpool tub.

Relaxing in the vacation home’s breezy public areas couldn’t be easier – not least because there are 7 on-site staff members to take care of your needs. Ask the butler to mix you a cold cocktail, or let the chef serve you a meal beside the pool.

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Malibu 1

5 bedrooms, sleeps 12
Malibu, California

Malibu 1 is one of the most luxurious villas in Florida

Wood floors and modern, minimalist interiors add a touch of class to this beachfront villa in beautiful Malibu. It’s slap bang on the oceanfront, just off the legendary Pacific Coast Highway.

Wake up here and you’ll be just steps from sunny Escondido Beach, where glassy waves gnaw at the soft sand. Apart from enjoying the beach, you can spend your days lounging on the villa’s terrace, which has views over the water, or soaking in the private outdoor pool, which is hemmed in by a thick curtain of bamboo and lush green foliage.

Inside you’ll find 5 airy bedrooms plus a small movie theater and a modern gym complete with weights and resistance-training machines.

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Marthon 1

9 bedrooms, sleeps 26

This amazing chateau is in southern France

This one-of-a-kind vacation home near Angoulême takes the rustic beauty of a classic French château and blends in bright flashes of modern style.

Set amid 5 acres of rolling parkland and just 500m from the nearest village, the château has sheer stone walls and fairytale turrets, which soar above the surrounding treetops.

Behind the grand facade are chic interiors with herringbone floors, exposed wood beams and standout designer furnishings. There are also specially commissioned artworks and pieces of furniture from the 1960s and 70s. Among the luxurious facilities you’ll find a movie theater, a piano, and a heated outdoor pool.

Santorini 23

9 bedrooms, sleeps 24

This incredible villa overlooks Santorini's volcano

Locations don’t get much better than this. Perched on a clifftop overlooking the Aegean Sea and a caldera, this whitewashed luxury villa is a gleaming example of old-meets-new, complete with a panoramic open-air terrace and 9 spectacular bedrooms.

As the sun sets over Santorini, making the sky glow pink like cotton candy, why not slip into the infinity pool with a drink and watch as white yachts sail between the islands just offshore?

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Plum Bay 1

7 bedrooms, sleeps 14
Saint Martin, Caribbean

Saint Martin, in the Caribbean, has some amazing villas

Lush gardens skirt Plum Bay 1, on the northwestern edge of Saint Martin – a small, beach-fringed atoll in the Caribbean. The 7-bedroom home is part of a private community that offers complete privacy, as well as breathtaking views of the azure sea beyond.

Choose to spend your days lounging by the beach-entry pool, where fountains spray fine jets of cool water into the air, or at the villa’s outdoor bar. Step inside the house and the first thing you’ll set eyes on is a tropical reef aquarium. Continue on and you’ll be greeted by bright rooms with interiors by Philippe Starck. There are 7 elegant bedrooms, along with a dining area and a fully equipped gourmet kitchen.

Feeling active? Head to the villa’s gym, petanque court or all-weather tennis pavilion. The Jacuzzi will be waiting for you when you’re done.

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Virgin Gorda 34

6 bedrooms, sleeps 12
British Virgin Islands

Virgin Gorda 34 is one of the best villas in the world

The clean lines of this ultra-modern villa contrast beautifully with the surrounding coastal scenery, which sees emerald forests leading down to crescents of white sand. Stand on the villa’s veranda and you’ll be able to drink in endless views of Virgin Gorda’s north coast, including two of its most impressive beaches – Pond Bay and Savanna Bay.

Living spaces are spread across 6 interlinked pavilions, which hug the hillside. Start exploring these bright and airy spaces to discover secret gardens, alfresco showers and swimming pools with serene sea views.

The villa has its own air-conditioned gym with an exercise bike, a treadmill and a weight-training machine. If you’re more interested in enjoying the great outdoors, never fear – just borrow the villa’s stand-up paddle boards or ocean kayaks for a day of splashing around. You can also join organized snorkelling and scuba diving trips to some of the coral-edged islands nearby.

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Reunion Resort 4500

10 bedrooms, sleeps 20
Florida, USA

Reunion Resort 4500 is a luxury vacation home in Florida

One of the most extravagant vacation rentals in the whole Orlando area, this vast, 10-bedroom mansion has all the facilities you need for an unforgettable trip to Disney. Set around a huge infinity pool and with grand palm trees flanking its entrance, the villa occupies a private plot of land that backs onto thick woodland.

There’s no shortage of things to do inside the vacation home, whether you fancy watching a movie in the plush home theater, sweating away your stress in the sauna, or playing air hockey in the game room. There’s even a dedicated room for late-night poker sessions.

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Maenam 7044

7 bedrooms, sleeps 14
Koh Samui, Thailand

There are some great villas and vacation homes on the north coast of Koh Samui, Thailand

Right on the beachfront in a sleepy village on Koh Samui’s north coast, Maenam 7044 is a magnificent base for exploring the island. Vaulted ceilings and traditional open-sided salas help to break down the boundaries between inside and outside, allowing guests to move seamlessly from beach to bedroom and back again.

Choose to swim in the warm, shallow waters of the Gulf of Thailand, or take a dip in the private outdoor pool, just steps back from the shoreline. The gas-fired BBQ and huge dining table are perfect for poolside meals with friends and family.

For a memorable round of golf, make the 15-minute trip to the Santiburi Country Club. The 18-hole course is surrounded by lush scenery, and offers views across the water to the neighbouring island of Koh Phangan.

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