The best of both worlds, a home-from-home, signature living – however you phrase it, standalone residences with all the benefits of a luxury hotel are fast becoming essential for those seeking privacy and space, without compromising on style and service. These abodes are leaders in luxury living – a welcome, well, home.
Honing in on the varying elements of the island, Amilla Maldives Resort and Residences, which translates from the local Dhivehi language as 'my island home', offers ten different styles of sanctuary, spanning ocean, beach, lagoon and even treetop living. Beauty is abundant both inside and out - the Baa Atoll is a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, recognised for its unique harmony between man and nature.
And, unique harmony is an incredibly apt description for the overall experience at Amilla. Homes may be contemporary, but the island itself is rather rustic, staff are warm, unassuming and relaxed. It is not uncommon to see Michael Flynn, Chairman strolling around barefoot. Michael, alongside Tom McLoughlin, are the visionaries behind Amilla.
Both have long been renowned for innovation and it would seem such talent is running in the family. It was Tom's young son who inspired Amilla's Tree Houses - sure to conjure up images of Peter Pan adventures for adults and youngsters alike. After telling his father it would be 'cool' to live up in the canopy, so began the vision for a selection of two bedroom homes situated 12 meters above the ground, tucked away amongst jungle foliage and palm groves. The Tree House sanctuaries, as with the other homes at Amilla, offer lavish interiors, butler and chef service, private fresh water pools and personal bars. The larger residences, some sleeping up to 14 adults, step things up even further, with a private sauna, expansive sundeck and mesmerising Maldivian vistas.
Whilst the vibe may be suitably laid-back at Amilla Maldives Resort and Residences, attention to detail is not. Between now and October guests can take advantage of complimentary water sports (even motorised) and a 50 minute spa treatment - every day. The Javuu Spa encourages a 'stop and flop' attitude - guests are just as welcome to simply chill out beneath the trees with a glass of Champagne. Set in a lush secret garden, ten treatment rooms offer a range of rituals to revivify mind and body.
Acclaimed chef Luke Mangan has created three of the five distinct culinary experiences, which range from elegant over water dining at Lonu by Luke Mangan to diverse dishes at Baazaar, offering an infusion of Asian, grill and seafood specials. Of course, no retreat would be complete without personalised and private experiences on hand, and Amilla's 'Destination Dining & Home Delivery' offers just that. Opt for butler service within your island home and enjoy Lonu's signature dishes, or relax in front of the Maldivian sunset with a wide range of gourmet barbeque dinners available. Staff can take your table anywhere you wish - even to a deserted island.
Located on a working wine estate, the four luxury villas at La Clé des Montagnes are set amongst picturesque vineyards and plum orchards, with an impressive mountain range completing the ultimate backdrop. Each superb villa emanates a distinct personality - the handiwork of esteemed interior designer Sarah Ord, who is native to Cape Town. Sarah describes herself and colleagues as 'magpies of colonial meets cosmopolitan style' and this is definitely evident here.
Le Colonial is a bold four bedroom, four bathroom home, blending a perfect fusion of East and North African aesthetics, whilst Le Galerie, sleeping four, is positioned as an 'avant-garde luxury villa', with many of the deep grey walls featuring artwork by the acclaimed Swedish artist Bengt Karl Erik Lindström. Three bedroomed La Grange is reminiscent of a Victorian farmhouse, making use of rustic woods, elegant textures and seasonal hues, whilst Le Manoir, a two bed, is inspired by the French heritage of Franschhoek, showcasing beautiful antiques, traditional furnishings and splashes of colour.
Those with an eye for art will love Franschhoek's galleries, easily accessible from La Clé des Montagnes, where you will also find stylish boutique stores, and of course, fine wining and dining. Described as the 'food and wine heartland of the country', Franschhoek is home to some of the world's finest wines, and guests at La Clé des Montagnes are invited to take a private tour of one of the town's award-winning wine estates, where you can create your own blend. Back home, enjoy panoramic vistas with a personal butler on hand, or take advantage of gourmet cuisine cooked up by your resident chef.
Dubai is famed for its chic shopping and luxurious hotels, and Jumeirah Beach Hotel has long been a firm favourite amongst Dubai devotees. More recently, the style set can be found frequenting the Beit Al Bahar villas (meaning 'home by the sea') which are nestled within the grounds of the resort. Having recently undergone a refurbishment, the 19 residences are built in the style of a traditional Arabian village. Overlooking the majestic Burj Al Arab, each boasts a private terrace and plunge pool, enveloped in manicured gardens, with the 1.5 kilometre private beach within touching distance.
Inside, opulence is evident at every turn - even the bathrooms are 18 carat gold plated. Sumptuous Persian fabrics, expansive living areas and beautiful artwork combine to create an ambience that is indulgent yet authentic. Each household is assigned a butler, and guests are given unlimited complimentary access to Wild Wadi Waterpark - perfect if the little ones are in tow. Of course, the facilities of the resort are not to be overlooked.
The homes are located perfectly, providing privacy away from the hotel yet easy access when required. With over 19 restaurants, cafes and bars, you're never far from a wide range of eateries, and there are endless activities including watersports, tennis and golf. Residents of the Beit Al Bahar villas also have access to their own exclusive majlis tent and lounge chairs at the Executive Pool and beach.
One of St Lucia's most popular boltholes, The Landings Resort and Spa by Elegant Hotels has mastered perfectly the blend between hotel and villa living, with luxury 'villa suites' overlooking the private marina, ocean or beachfront. With an almost Floridian feel, the resort is distinctly different to anything else on the island, and is unique with respect to its own marina - guests can admire the impressive yachts and cruisers that dock and depart each day.
First impressions count, and as you enter the grand lobby, with high grandiose ceilings and atmospheric lighting, you are left in no doubt about the standards here. Expectations mount and are suitably exceeded upon welcome to the spacious suites, some of which come with Jacuzzi plunge pools on the private terrace.
Whilst perfectly positioned for the bars, restaurants and shops of Rodney Bay, the ambience of the marine suites is one of stillness and serenity; the only distinct sounds the doves cooing and the bells on the boats. The nearby beach is one of the best in St Lucia, in fact only Sugar Beach is on a par. Soft, light sand slopes safely into the sea, making this a great choice for child's play, and we recommend The Beach Club for a rum-based sundowner. For dinner, The Palms restaurant is a must. The open-air patio offers romantic views of the marina, which is complimented by live music and fine dining, offering the best in seasonal meats, fresh fish and seafood, cooked on the lava stone grill.
For many, a ski holiday is a prerequisite in the annual calendar, a time for friends and family to reconnect, hit the slopes and enjoy some après-ski socialising. The Private Residences at Four Seasons Resort Whistler come highly recommended for a memorable experience both on and off piste.
With panoramic views of the surrounding forest, valley or mountains, the residences take lodge-living to new heights, with a furnished terrace, gourmet kitchen and gas-burning fireplace just some of the highlights of your mountainside retreat.
A ski concierge whisks skis, boots and poles to the nearby lift for hassle-free access to the slopes of Whistler Blackcomb, and, after a day pounding the powder, relax in the spa, heated outdoor pool and whirlpools which are open year-round.
The resort offers sumptuous dining options, including all-day bistro cuisine at Fifty Two 80 and incredible steaks at Sidecut. Guests are also invited to sample British Columbia's finest wines served with canapés at a daily Manager's wine reception.
Just a six-minute boat ride from the coast of Antigua, the private island exclusivity of Jumby Bay offers white sandy beaches, blue waters blooming with sea life and, arguably, some of the best family accommodation in the Caribbean.
With a blend of sea-view villas, beach and estate homes; variety is never vexed at Jumby Bay, A Rosewood Resort. Whilst style may vary, all homes come fully staffed with a housekeeper, chef and butler, and offer private pools, ocean views, bicycles and a golf cart.
Those seeking active appeal will love Ty Molineux - an Estate Home complete with fully equipped gym, spa treatment suite, flood-lit tennis court and outdoor games area. Opening directly onto the beach with exceptional views of the sea and the 20 metre long infinity swimming pool, this is the perfect private retreat for both families and larger groups.
Romping its way up our list of European hot spots, Turkey is definitely en vogue for glitterati getaways this year. Enjoying a secluded position on Paradise Bay, locally known as Cennet Koyu, the villas at Mandarin Oriental Bodrum blend style, space and scintillating views of the Aegean to create true luxury living. Residences come in five different styles, all ideal for larger groups, with the smallest sleeping nine. Guests have access to two private sandy beaches as well as plenty of room for entertaining back at the ranch, with indoor and outdoor dining tables, private swimming pool and terrace. The chic apartments also present the charms of staying in a home - spacious, individual and private - with all the convenience and comfort of a hotel.
Details matter; and this certainly rings true here - Acqua di Parma toiletries, Bang & Olufsen televisions and hypoallergenic feather bedding by Ploh all add to the splendour. Of course, a world class spa, delectable range of eateries and leisure activities are also there to enjoy.