If clients are after a stay with a twist, suggest one of these one-of-a-kind holiday homes, finds Laura French.
Privacy, seclusion and the chance to spend quality time with people you might not have seen in more than a year – it’s not hard to see why demand for villa holidays is soaring.
From beachside properties to rural retreats, whatever style of holiday home your clients have in mind, you’ll find something that fits the bill. But where should you suggest for those who want to go beyond the bog-standard and make up for lost time with a standout property and location they’ll remember for years to come?
Here we’ve rounded up some of the most unusual properties from across the globe, from a 14th-century castle to a music-themed villa, an Elizabethan manor to a contemporary Cabo casa, and everything in between.
Best for… music lovers
Cocosan Villa at Geejam Hotel, Jamaica
For clients into their music – and with cash to splash – it’s hard to beat this six-bedroom pad in Jamaica, where USPs include regular band performances and access to Geejam Studios, a recording studio where Gwen Stefani and No Doubt both recorded albums.
“USPs include regular band performances”
It’s part of Geejam Hotel, which has its own private beach, six bedrooms, a pool, gym, sauna, hot tub and pool table, plus a team of chefs and housekeepers on hand to serve meals on the alfresco terrace. Close to the resort, Frenchman’s Cove offers an Insta-worthy beach flanked by mango trees, alongside the historic town of Port Antonio, known for its reggae bars.
Book it: A week costs from £2,457 per person based on 12 sharing.
Best for… domestic travellers
Elizabethan Manor, Sussex
Closer to home there’s plenty more in the way of impressive abodes, not least this Grade II listed manor house in the village of Pulborough, new to the rental market and exclusive to Oliver’s Travels. “Originally built in 1252, this elaborate manor once hosted Queen Elizabeth I,” says Kyra Simon-Millar, UK and Ireland expert for the luxury villa operator. “It boasts many historical features including its original dovecote, which is the oldest dovecote in Europe, and a Tudor inglenook, which is the largest in the country.”
“This elaborate manor once hosted Queen Elizabeth I”
Opulent furnishings, wood-beamed ceilings, stone walls and a roaring fireplace characterise the decor, while a walled garden, heated pool and tennis court complete the picture.
Book it: A seven-night stay starting July 2 costs from £1,093 per person, based on 14 sharing.
Best for… families
Villa Caria, Turkey
Direct families looking to be entertained to this recently renovated villa in Kalkan. Boasting a children’s play area, swings, games area and cinema room, it also has its very own treehouse, climbing wall and huge pool complete with a waterfall and cave.
“Rooftop restaurants overlook a lively harbour”
Adults will find plenty to please too, including an indoor heated pool, sauna, Jacuzzi and gym, with four en-suite rooms and a secluded location above the town of Kalkan, where rooftop restaurants overlook a lively harbour, and antiques shops line cobbled streets.
Book it: Seven-night stays start at £448 per person based on eight sharing. A chef service, pre-arrival food delivery and in-villa wellness and beauty service are available at extra cost.
Best for… groups
Villa Oliveto, Corfu
The backdrop alone is enough to sell this four-bedroom, contemporary hillside villa, with idyllic ocean views flanked by cypress trees and an outdoor pool shaded by giant palms. “This is a wonderful place to relax and entertain family or friends,” says Mathew Simpson, product director at Simpson Travel. “Double-height beamed ceilings create a sense of space, while the outdoor bar has everything you need for a memorable gathering, including a wine fridge, bar seating and wiring for a sound system.”
“The outdoor bar has everything you need for a memorable gathering”
Indoor amenities include table football, a pool table and TV room, while beaches, coastal hikes and tavernas are all close by.
Book it: Simpson Travel offers a week from £1,695 per person, based on six sharing.
Best for… luxury clients
Casa Fryzer del Mar, Mexico
The luxury end of the market isn’t short on properties to make the jaw drop, but for one of the real standouts, suggest this architectural feat in Los Cabos, set on a hill above the Sea of Cortez and boasting six en-suite bedrooms as well as a heated infinity pool, hot tub, outdoor shower, oceanfront lounge area and 10-person cinema room among its amenities.
“It has the most amazing views and is in a beautiful gated community”
“This is my favourite house in Cabo,” says Laura Blair, founder and director of In Villas Veritas. “It has the most amazing views and is in a beautiful gated community with a swimmable beach, beach club and spa.” The property comes with a chef, butler and driver, and guests also get access to the golf course at the One&Only Palmilla next door.
Book it: Seven nights costs from $5,833 (£4,173) per person, based on 12 sharing.
Best for… larger parties
Castello di Segalari, Tuscany
For larger groups wanting to go all out, Red Savannah points to this 12-bedroom, 14th-century castle, set amid the hills of Tuscany and once home to the noble Della Gherardesca family. “Family heirlooms, modern art and period decor create a sense of place, with lots of space for entertaining, including a formal dining room with massive timber beams, as well as a library and billiards room,” says marketing director Sarah-Leigh Shenton. “Outside, there’s a tennis court, huge Carrara marble pool, sun terrace with far-reaching views and covered chill-out zone. During the summer, the vast rooftop terrace, lit by hundreds of candles, comes into its own.”
“The castle comes with a chef to prepare meals”
If all that’s not enough, the castle comes with a chef to prepare meals, while themed gala dinners complete with an actor reciting Dante’s Divine Comedy regularly take place too.
Book it: A week starts at £1,967 per person, based on 20 sharing.
PICTURES: Oliver’s Travels; The Villa Collection; Rigoberto Moreno
Best of the rest
Treehouse Villas Resort, Thailand: If clients like the sound of sleeping among the trees, suggest this adult-only collection of jungle villas, set on the remote island of Koh Yao Noi and reached via a suspended bridge. “Each has its own private plunge pool, and the resort offers sea kayaking, fishing, trekking, mountain biking, yoga and a wellness spa,” says Mark Mallinson, Gold Medal’s destination manager for the Far East.
A week costs from £2,939 per person, including breakfast, speedboat transfers and flights in January 2022.
Villa Girolia, Sardinia: Elegant Sardinian design, sprawling gardens and a huge pool are among the standout features of this property,
which has three en-suite bedrooms as well as a self-contained apartment, making it ideal for multigenerational groups.
Sardinian Places offers a week from £539 per person, based on eight sharing from October 2.
Bacchus House, Antipaxos: For a secluded escape that would make Robinson Crusoe feel right at home, GIC The Villa Collection suggests this retreat. Tucked high in the hills on the Greek island of Antipaxos, it boasts a private pool and terrace overlooking the ocean, with provisions delivered by motorboat from the nearby island of Paxos.
Seven nights starts at £1,749 per person, including flights from Gatwick and transfers on August 9.
Ask the Expert
Tristan Symondson, managing director, CV Villas
“Since the government’s roadmap announcement and confirmation of the new traffic light system, the sentiment around travel has become more positive, which has been reflected in the number of bookings and enquiries we’ve received for this summer.
“We are seeing numbers that are similar to those of 2019”
“We are seeing numbers that are similar to those of 2019, and we’re confident that we’ll surpass these figures if international travel is given the green light. Greece is proving particularly popular for 2021, while the Caribbean is doing well for 2022, with Barbados being included in our top five destinations for the first time.
“We’re also seeing multigenerational holidays becoming increasingly popular for this year, with a spike in the number of larger family bookings.”