Our favourite luxury villas within a resort
If you’re torn between an independent villa escape or going all-out at an amenity-packed resort, staying in a private villa within a hotel is a win-win. You’ll have all the benefits of a hotel stay – top-notch service, kids’ clubs, a spa and a choice of restaurants to name a few, but with the added luxury of your own tucked-away space to retreat to. We’ve rounded up some of our favourite resort villas that give you the best of both holiday worlds.
When we say this is a villa holiday with it all, we’re not exaggerating. Within the pretty Domain de Bel Ombre on the spectacular south coast of Mauritius, Heritage the Villas is a collection of two, three and four-bedroom villas perfect for multi-generational families. You can spend quality time together sizzling up barbecue feasts by your infinity pool or hop into your personal golf cart to explore the vast resort grounds. Within the Domain, you have access to an award-winning golf course as well as two incredible five-star resorts on your doorstep.
Away from the serenity of your villa, there’s a huge choice of activities including watersports, yoga and nature hikes. Take some well-deserved time out in the Seven Colours spa while your tots and teens are busy in the kids’ club; there’s heaps of fun from treasure hunts to tennis tournaments.
Although you may prefer to rustle up family favourites in your well-equipped kitchen (or call in the services of an in-villa chef), you have 17 restaurants and 10 bars close at hand. Opt to go all inclusive for the full gourmet experience or you can wine and dine at your leisure. We highly recommend the toes-in-the-sand brunch at the stylish Heritage C Beach Club and soaking up the old world charm at the fine dining restaurant, housed in a grand 19th-century mansion.
Elounda Gulf Villas & Suites in Crete has 18 chic villas perched on a hillside, each with a magazine-worthy pool overlooking the impossibly blue waters of Mirabello Bay. Thanks to the exclusive vibe and sense of privacy each villa offers, it’s no surprise this hideaway is a hot commodity with celebrities, and you can expect the star treatment during your stay here. The helpful staff can arrange everything from babysitting to boat trips, alongside authentic Cretan experiences such as olive oil and wine tasting.
Your villa has all you need to feel right at home and gloriously far away at the same time. Lounge in the Cretan heat on your large terrace or bask in the blue views from your outdoor Jacuzzi, occasionally retreating to the cool of your kitchen where you can whip up a few poolside snacks. If you’re the active type, opt for an Imperial Spa Villa and you can work off all those Greek delicacies in your own gym, complete with a steam room and sauna.
When you’re ready for a change of scene, hop on the complimentary shuttle to the resort where you’ll find all of the restaurants, bars and facilities, including a highly-regarded kids’ club and crèche.
If you’re looking for a heavenly villa retreat, the aptly named ‘Island of the Gods’ is a good place to start. Bali’s coastline and vivid green interior is peppered with romantic retreats, and one of our stand-out favourites is The Lovina. This tropical resort is hidden away next to a pretty volcanic beach on the laid-back north coast and feels a world away from the built-up buzz of the south.
Stroll into the town of Lovina and you’ll find cheery bars and traditional warungs serving up spicy street food. Alternatively, delicious meals can be served in your villa or at the onsite restaurant overlooking the paddy fields – don’t miss the wood-fired pizzas fresh from the oven.
The one, two and three-bedroom villas shrouded in lush greenery are incredibly peaceful; lay back and listen to the palms rustling as you lounge by your private pool, watching dragonflies skim the water. When you can tear yourself away from the tranquillity, there’s plenty to see and do around the North of Bali. Aside from snorkelling adventures and trips to colourful temples, hot springs and waterfalls, Lovina is famed for its dolphin-watching opportunities. Just be prepared for an early start, as the best time to see these playful pods is at sunrise.
Praslin Island in the Seychelles is often called ‘The Garden of Eden’, and it’s easy to see why. The coast is blanketed with paradisiacal beaches and the jungle-covered heartland is home to indigenous plants and endemic wildlife. Perched on the north-western tip of the island and nestled between three beaches is the five-star Constance Lemuria. Couples, families and groups can enjoy an away-from-it-all escape that combines the perks of a villa with all the mod-cons of a world-class resort, wrapped up in a truly breathtaking setting.
You can choose to dine al-fresco on the terrace of your exquisite pool villa, or take advantage of the four restaurants where you’ll find culinary delights from around the world. We love The Nest, a treehouse-style restaurant that serves up Creole cuisine and creative cocktails. We highly recommend the signature coconut sherbet cocktail – which tastes even sweeter when accompanied by a Seychellois sunset.
Younger ones are entertained with imaginative activities or they can join you in the spa; there’s a menu of pampering treatments for children as well as adults. Plus there’s everything from tennis courts to watersports to keep your tribe occupied, and keen golfers will be in their element at the 18-hole championship golf course.
We couldn’t possibly talk about hotel villas and not mention the Maldives. Each resort is on its own island, and even better, many rooms are in the form of individual villas perched either on the sand or at the water’s edge. At Niyama Private Islands Maldives, you not only have the privacy of your own villa in a cutting-edge resort, there are two islands with different vibes. ‘Play’ has more of a family focus with a super kids’ club and family-friendly restaurants, and on ‘Chill’, couples drift between the spa and seductive dining venues. Speaking of which, this island is home to one of the most mesmerising restaurants in the Maldives, the epic underwater den, Subsix.
You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to villas. The dreamy overwater villas feature a fibre-optic lit pool, perfect for a moonlit swim, and are kitted out for cosy movie screenings with a massive TV, a fridge stocked with ice cream and even a popcorn machine. Families will appreciate the spacious one and two-bedroom beach and ocean pavilions, which have an impressive-sized pool where little ones can have hours of splashing fun. Your butler is on hand 24/7 to attend to your every need, whether that’s flowing Martinis from your in-villa cocktail bar or a delivery of fresh aloe vera leaves after a day in the hot sun.