Sure, luxury villas are ideal for holidays with friends or family, but with assured privacy, a ‘come in, have some wine’ attitude and often a hidden-from-voyeurs pool for swimsuit-free fun, they make excellent crashpads for couples, too. So, ditch the entourage, bring a board game and make these twosome-sized luxury villas your own…
MONTEVERDI VILLA SAN PIETRO, TUSCANY
Part time-machine, part luxury hotel, Monteverdi is set in the medieaval Tuscan village Castiglioncello del Trinoro and – like its namesake – hits all the right notes. The San Pietro villa is one of three, each furnished with pencil-post beds, travertine-tiled bathrooms and kitchens chock-full of chef-grade cookware (plus an espresso machine, naturalmente). They’re topped and tailed with beamed ceilings and flagstone floors, too. The village is open year-round, so you can watch the Val d’Orcia change from green to gold and try your hand at season-appropriate pastas in the culinary academy. Or, romp around the 12th-century castle ruins, hit the hammam and see what’s happening in the gallery and performing-arts venue, set in a 14th-century Romanesque church.
DOMAINE LES ROULLETS, FRANCE
Provençal pleasures are present and correct at this sweetheart of a stay at the foot of the Luberon mountains. The two-bedroomed cottage is laced with lavender, adorned with antique candelabra and fauteuil-style chairs and has très, très jolie gardens, with a pool and plentiful white-rose bushes. When not skipping hand-in-hand through wildflowers or tripping along cobbled alleyways in dinky villages, you’ll have a glass in one hand and a fork in another. The hotel’s kitchen-gardens, fruit groves and truffle forest are plumped for seasonal plates and there’s a petit vineyard for rosé and red, plus a constellation of star-turn wineries.
ANNANDALE SEASCAPE, NEW ZEALAND
You can be assured that only your partner will see you lying around in your pants (well, them and a few nosy sheep) in this breathtaking glazed cabin – part geometric lookout, part submerged nature watch – overlooking Pigeon Bay in New Zealand. You’re a bumpy off-road drive or helicopter ride away from your nearest neighbour and have a whole bay to yourselves. Admire the rugged surroundings from your bed or perhaps the cool swinging bubble-chair by the fireplace. Or share the spa bath on your deck (there’s a fire pit for chilly eves) and spy dolphins and seals frolicking in the Pacific.
FINCA CORTESIN, SPAIN
A sleek white-cube exterior hides a little of the Spanish avant-garde in this two-bed Marbella villa, furnished with scrawly wicker seating, Eero Saarinen chairs, antlers and, um, a doll’s house, alongside Moorish lattice-work, rugs and hangings. Couples have a plunge pool, shaded lounging area and Mediterranean garden to enjoy – plus, a barbecue to chuck a few Merguez on. But make sure you make the flip-flopped pilgrimage to the main hotel for its enormous beach club, Thai-style spa, tennis courts and trio of fine-dining restaurants. And, world-class golfing, too, if you possess a pair of plus-fours.
PLACE TO READ, ICELAND
Ah, Iceland: land of fire, ice and, uh, cosy reading nooks… This hideaway in Akureyri – Iceland’s northern capital, on the edge of the Eyjafjordur and the mountainous Troll Peninsula – is a quaintly corrugated former pharmacy, where tonic now comes in the form of stocked bookshelves, rustling up feasts from the pre-stocked fridge and depleting the honesty bar – and admiring the fjord from the upper-level windows of the North Upstairs Apartment. But, it’s not all faintly flipped pages and fleece-blanket wrangling: there’s some of the country’s best skiing and whale-watching here, plus eerily turquoise volcanic Lake Myvatn with its natural hot springs. Get steamy, then cool down with a trip to famed Brynja ice-cream store, just next door to your Icelandic home.
OLD WALLS AT THYME, COTSWOLDS
If you’ve driven through the Cotswolds, eyed up a sweetly ramshackle honey-stone cottage and immediately assessed your mortgage eligibility, then Old Walls is a commitment-free way to experience the picturesque country life. Set in the winsome, old-with-an-E village of Southrop, just steps from the excellent Swan pub (a traditional country meet-up that assumes dining duties for Thyme), it’s a perfect summer picture of dry-stone wall, honeyed brick and creeping florals. Inside, wood beams, reading nooks and a wood-burner up the rustic romance. Book a breakfast basket and unload at the alfresco picnic table (or conservatory, if the weather’s a bit ‘English’), then head to the main hotel for country pursuits: seasonal cooking classes, naturally inclined spa treatments, floristry classes and kitchen-garden tours.
THE SIAM POOL VILLA COURTYARD, BANGKOK
Find waterfall-soundtracked seclusion at the heart of riverside city stay the Siam. In the hotel’s lushly landscaped gardens, these honeymooner havens have been dressed in polished art-deco style by revered hotel stylist Bill Bensley. A private courtyard has greenery galore, a plunge pool for two and restful dining area dining area. You’ll feel like you’re in your own little world, yet you’re steps from a lengthy monochrome pool, the pier where you can hitch a ride on the hotel’s private speedboat, a Muay Thai practice ring and a spa where you can get Sodashi facials, a crash course in tai chi or sacred tattoos.
SUBLIME COMPORTA, PORTUGAL
Comporta’s unruffled stretch of golden sand has caught the eye of the ‘in-the-knows’, but it’s still a spot for peace, quiet and a whiff of authenticity – something serene hideaway Sublime Comporta has taken heed of. Each wood-lined, glass-fronted villa is inspired by old-school Portuguese fishing cabanas, simply dressed in driftwood furniture and blue-and-white Danish linen. Sustainable to a tee, the hotel has a botanical spa, yoga pavilion, impressively diverse kitchen-garden supporting both a fine diner and intimate alfresco chef’s table. And, villas have private pools and decks and views across the ample grounds.