For anybody who likes to blur the lines between the luxuries of staying in an exclusive hotel and the charm of having a place to yourself, we have picked out distinctive dwellings that have turned the standards of private living into a new art form – these residences, villas and apartments boast enough facilities, space and staff to be hotels in their own right.
Estate Homes and Villas at Jumby Bay, A Rosewood Resort - Antigua
The three-generation holiday is on the rise. With grandparents enjoying more active, longer and fuller retirements, top of the list are often family holidays for all. With that in mind, Jumby Bay has a multitude of homes that can cater for the whole tribe. Privately owned and each individually designed with its own unique style, 17 luxury villas, four gorgeous beach homes and a dozen exclusive estate homes are sprinkled around this dot of an island as hidden retreats. Architectural and interior styles vary from neo-colonial to ultra-contemporary Caribbean. Each opening up onto the four mile coastline, these properties feel wonderfully secluded with no need for high walls and are found by following long, meandering driveways through a lush tropical landscape. The overwhelming impression of these residences is one of space; several with pools larger than some hotel swimming pools in the Caribbean. Others boast everything from their very own flood-lit tennis court, personal fitness centre and games room to acres of manicured gardens, a Red-Footed Turtle sanctuary and rooftop tower lounge. All Beach and Estate Homes come with private chef, housekeeper and butler.
A 3G holiday with renowned journalist Lynn Barber
"Jumby Bay is a beautiful 300 acre private island, a couple of miles off the coast of Antigua, with the most perfect white sand crescent beach I have ever seen. I took my daughter Theo, son-in-law Sasha and their two children Effie, 3, and Enzo, 1, and we were given a lovely villa, Jabberwocky, with an infinity pool overlooking a sheep meadow and then the sea. We had a golf cart and bikes to travel the half mile or so to the hotel - the children adored the golf cart so it was easy to whizz down to the restaurant and the beach,
or to the kids' club where we could leave the children for a couple of hours to go to the spa. The great thing about staying in one of the gorgeous private villas when you have small children is that you don't have to worry about them making a noise and you can wake up at dawn (as they always do), go to the beach, nap in the afternoon, and generally arrange your day as best suits you. Our villa had all the equipment for cooking our own meals or having a barbecue if we'd wanted to, but actually we never did because the hotel food was so good. An altogether idyllic holiday."
Lynn Barber has worked for a host of publications throughout her career and now writes interviews for The Sunday Times - which have won her six British Press Awards. She is also the author of two books of memoir, An Education (made into a successful film starring Carey Mulligan) and A Curious Career.
The Residences at Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort - St Lucia
It has become apparent that a growing number of the elite are now adapting to the sought after 'room service' lifestyle. Many affluent New Yorkers choose to live in iconic addresses such as The Mark or The Plaza - purely for the five-star treatment and services they provide. Recognising this, the Viceroy Group pulled in one of the most renowned architects in the Caribbean and RIBA-member, Lane Pettigrew, to design its West Indian influenced residences, providing a truly spectacular Caribbean home from home experience with all the benefits Sugar Beach has to offer.
The views have been carefully plotted from each angle to really make the most of its setting - enjoy breakfast on your spacious terrace with intuitive services by your dedicated butler and relax by your own infinity-edge pool, taking in the panoramic views of the Caribbean Sea whilst listening to the exotic sounds of the rainforest. If you can drag yourself away from your perfect holiday abode, scuba dive through the waters of the nationally protected marine reserve, enjoy a hot rock therapy in one of the traditionally built tree house treatment rooms or sip on a rum cocktail made by the professional rummelier in The Cane Bar.
The St. Regis Villa at The St. Regis Mauritius Resort
This resort has it all, an unparalleled setting, world-class amenities and, reserved only for a special few, The St. Regis Villa - the largest and possibly the most exclusive beachfront address on the island. In today's world privacy can sometimes be hard to come by so, shielded by luscious tropical surroundings, this palatial home is the ultimate getaway for the reserved traveller. Expect four oversized ocean-fronted suites - three of which have their own individual tempered plunge pools -plush indoor and outdoor living spaces, a gym complete with steam room and direct access to the beach.
The attention to detail from your dedicated team of manager, St. Regis Butlers, valets and chefs, sets this villa apart and raises it to be the island's top contender. They will prepare everything from selecting which of your preferred amenities are stocked (choose from Remède, Jo Malone, Aqua Di Parma and Hermès) and sourcing your children's favourite treats, to arranging a private cinema viewing in La Palme D'Or and scheduling a kite surfing lesson at the infamous One Eye. With an experienced culinary team at your disposal, dining options are endless - a celebratory banquet in your dining room, breakfast in your garden or an informal lunch by the pool. It will be hard to remember that you are in a holiday resort at all, so don't forget you can also choose from the four distinct gastronomic experiences offered by the main hotel.
Soneva Fushi - Maldives
Barefoot luxury? Check. Castaway chic? Check. Premier dive spots? Of course. Soneva Fushi has proven that beach is beautiful by bucking the regional trend for over-water villas in favour of thatched properties just steps away from the warm, clear waters of the Indian Ocean. Hidden away in jungle foliage, Soneva Fushi offers 57 individually themed eco-fabulous villas, however the impressive six and four bedroom private villas are worthy of a special mention. Fitted with thatch, bamboo and sustainable wood furnishings and complete with a rustic style finish, these villas are the epitome of indoor-outdoor living, fused with an expanse of space.
Submerge yourself in your own sea water swimming pool whilst your Mr/Ms Friday is on hand to cater to your every need. Oenophiles will love the walk-in mini bar area with substantial wine fridges in the residences, whilst children will love the giant water slide in Villas 11 and 15. Families have the run of their own stretch of beach and the beguiling house reef; take advantage of the resort's complimentary activity programmes and snorkel below the surface of the Maldivian lagoon or scuba dive with one of the PADI certified instructors. Wind down at the end of the day by bathing in your open-air garden bathroom and enjoy peace and tranquillity to the utmost level.
Elounda Gulf Villas & Suites - Crete, Greece
Tucked away on a hillside overlooking the beautiful Mirabello Bay, sits this family-run bolt-hole. Providing you with the warmest welcome, Anna Kadianakis, one of the owners and her daughter Charitini greet you with a delicious Cretan feast to ensure you feel at home from the moment you arrive at your intimate villa. As a proud member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World, the exclusive resort offers secluded retreats with bountiful privacy. Highly regarded by today's glitterati, Oscar-winning actress, Jodie Foster, recently enjoyed a stay in a lavish three bedroom villa with her two sons whilst visiting the captivating island of Crete.
The spacious villas are individually designed to combine luxurious elegance with contemporary comfort. Floor-to-ceiling windows lead to an impressive infinity pool - relax in the glistening waters and take in the sweeping mountain and sea views. Undisturbed isolation can still be maintained even if you wish to leave the resort; the hotel invites guests to rent a remarkable sailing or motorboat to visit alluring beaches, isolated coves, the uninhabited island of Kolokytha and the famous island of Spinalonga. A bespoke itinerary can be created for you to take in as much or as little as you wish.
Mandarin Oriental Bodrum, Turkey
The apartments here offer the perfect combination of space and style for larger groups. You can choose from one to three bedroom dwellings, with either panoramic vistas over the Aegean Sea or views over the lush surrounding pine trees. But our favourite has to be the four bedroom duplex with private pool.
Andromeda, Alcyone, Aether and Alexandros are the four available villas; the latter being the most opulent. These whitewashed homes decorated with antiques and original artwork impart all the charm of a traditional Cypriot village. Set within their own gardens, each has its own plunge pool on sea-facing terraces.