If you’re planning the ultimate getaway with family or friends, staying in a villa within a resort is a great way to please everyone. You’ll have all the seclusion and space you need for fun and frolics with your tribe, with the bonus of five-star facilities at your fingertips. We’ve rallied together a few of our favourite hotels in Europe with stand-alone villas on their grounds, to show you how you can have two styles of holiday in one.
With electric blue views every way you turn, soft and sultry decor and decadent Champagne breakfasts each morning, this dreamy hideaway could be mistaken for a honeymooner’s haven, if not for the substantial size of the villas. The collection of one, two and three-bedroom pool villas attracts families, couples and groups of friends, as well as a little black book of celebrity clientele.
Each abode is different; some have modern, maritime-inspired décor and others have a more classic style – think chandeliers and antique furnishings. But all of the villas have one show-stealing highlight; an alfresco terrace and private pool overlooking mesmerising Mirabello Bay. Fire up the barbecue (or order an in-villa chef to do the cooking), whip up a batch of ouzo-infused cocktails in the kitchen, and enjoy precious family time in the sun. For an extra wow factor, book a stay in a Spa Villa that comes with a steam room, sauna and your own gym – great for burning off all the Cretan treats you’re sure to indulge in during your stay.
When you’re ready for a change of pace, you’re just a quick buggy ride away from the action of the resort, where you’ll find an excellent kids’ club and a duo of restaurants. If you’d like to explore beyond the hotel walls, a team of exceptional staff are on hand to arrange activities from Spinalonga boat trips to a helicopter flight to Santorini. In the evenings, relax with a mojito at the Argo Bar or liven things up with a night of Greek dancing.
If you’re looking for a high-end villa hotel with facilities for all ages, the beachfront Bahia Del Duque is one of Tenerife’s best, perfectly positioned just a flip-flop away from the designer shops of trendy Costa Adeje. Designed in the style of a 19th-century Spanish village, you can stroll through botanical gardens filled with ponds and waterfalls, dine on locally-inspired cuisine and marvel at the quirky turret-topped buildings. Even the staff look the part, dressed in traditional costume, which adds even more charm to this authentic Canarian resort.
Families especially will feel at home here, as in addition to the chic rooms and suites, there are three types of villas to choose from. Designed exclusively by interior designer Pascua Ortega, each opulent villa has a pitched bamboo roof, an outdoor pool with plush loungers and a huge bathroom, complete with a tempting aromatherapy bath menu. If you’ve grandparents or friends tagging along, opt for the grand Two Bedroom Villas Las Mimosas that has plenty of space for quality time together (and apart).
Although the villas don’t have kitchen facilities, it’s unlikely you’ll feel inclined to cook. A lavish continental breakfast is served in your villa each morning, and your personal butler can whisk room service to your door at any time of day or night. You can also add extras such as a floating brunch in your private pool or hire the services of an in-villa chef. Plus, with a variety of dining venues on your doorstep – nine restaurants and 13 bars to be exact – you’re spoilt for choice. Favourites include Nub, for Michelin-star Latin American fare, and the brand-new Kensei, which serves up flavourful Japanese food and sublime sake cocktails.
Tucked away on a pretty peninsula in mountainous Northern Greece is the upscale Eagles Villas, a luxurious addition to the five-star Eagles Palace. At this all-villa Small Luxury Hotel of the World, you can revel in the complete privacy of your own stylish space, yet you’re just a short stroll away from the facilities of an award-winning resort.
There’s a collection of 42 elegant villas, each a secluded oasis with wrap-around sea views, crisp white-on-white furnishings and a refreshing plunge pool. There are larger villas for multi-generational families, and the Junior Pool Villas are just the right size for couples or those travelling with a little one in tow. The Blue Flag beach, which is exclusive for guests of Eagles Palace and Eagles Villas, has plenty of spaced-out sunbeds on the golden sand and icy drinks at the push of a button. If you prefer more of a Robinson Crusoe beach-vibe, we recommend hiring a boat for the day to explore the secluded Drenia Islands, a haven of pine-scented coves with amazing snorkelling. For a taste of local life, hop on the shuttle to the nearby village of Ouranoupolis, where you can shop for souvenirs and sample Grecian delicacies in the terracotta-topped restaurants.
But you don’t have to leave your swish sanctuary for culinary adventures. Alongside two restaurants at Eagles Villas, you can wine and dine in the array of restaurants at Eagles Palace. The Armyra beachside tavern is an idyllic spot for a laidback lunch with a side of sea views, and in the evening, head to Kamares by Spondi. The two-star Michelin chef creates exquisite dishes such as pan-fried seabass, lemongrass-stuffed dolmas and dangerously good desserts.
As one of Portugal's leading family-friendly hotels, it's not surprising that this expansive oceanfront retreat has a string of awards under its belt, including the recent title of 'Best Family Villas' at the 2021 Haute Grandeur Global Hotel Awards. Beyond the spectacular setting, perched on dramatic red sandstone cliffs above beautiful Praia da Falésia beach, you can expect lots of fun for the kids, top sports facilities and a stunning collection of suites and villas.
The elegant rooms are scattered among fragrant pine trees and manicured gardens. For a home-away-from-home, we recommend staying in the Pine Cliffs Residence, a secluded area designed just for families. The two-bedroom residences are the ideal place to hide away after a day out in the Algarvian sun, with an air-conditioned living and dining area and a kitchenette where you can prepare a few post-pool snacks. A shuttle runs by regularly to take you to all of the amenities; there’s a dizzying choice of restaurants, eight outdoor pools, and don’t miss a trip to the world-class spa for pampering treatments.
Children of all ages will be in their element with lots of activities to keep their boredom at bay. Younger ones will love the Porta Pirata kids' club with its life-sized pirate ships, bouncy castle and mini racing track. Sports fans are in for a treat; budding Beckhams can train with qualified coaches at the football academy, and at the Annabel Croft Tennis Academy, there’s coaching courses for both adults and children, as well as weekly tournaments. If you’re into golf, the world-famous golf course can be enjoyed by both beginners and advanced players – pros will revel in their chance to test their skill on the legendary 'Devil's Parlour', a challenging Par 3 crossing a gorge below the cliffs.