Luxury VillasGalavante Confidential - Villas Fit for Entourage
When it comes to travel, there’s style. Then there’s style. The kind money can’t buy. OK, yes it can. If you want to take your experience to the pinnacle of luxury, it’ll be worth every penny. At long last: The Galavante guide to the world’s best villas.
From laid-back gypset chillin’ to old-world luxury, most villas share a few commonalities. And since this is clearly on your radar (you’ve earned it, we agree), allow us to offer a few tips for navigating the territory. First, keep your wits about you among your expertly trained staff. Stay classy; your butler’s name is likely not Jeeves, and he probably doesn’t know what a pimp cup is. Second, there will be plenty of room to spread out, but plan your invite list accordingly. Guests should enhance, not detract, from the experience. For a basic guideline, think: Kate Moss, yes. The Richards family, yes. Miley, no. (Unless it’s that kind of party.) Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, leave the sweatpants at home. From the royally owned Don Arcangelo all’Olmo in Sicily to the elegant Villa Nina at Eden Rock to Musha Cay, David Copperfield’s private isle (just a cool $37K a night), these villas will inspire you to dress for dinner. It’s all part of traveling in style.
Think Sicily – Don Arcangelo all’Olmo
The Locale: Giarre in Sicily, on the East Coast between Catania and Taormina, two major destinations on the island. While the villa is tucked away in the small town and very private (you’d never know it was there), it’s central to the major sites and quaint towns.
The Scoop: You asked for it, so we’re coming out of the gate strong. Royalty strong. Sicily’s Don Arcangelo all’Olmo is, in a word, magnificent. Villa l’Olmo (as it’s affectionately called by insiders) is the most lavish villa for rent in all of Sicily. Set to the standards of the nobels who once lived there, it’s been restored to its original glory, with the added modern-day necessity of a pool. The villa comfortably sleeps 24, so expect some memorable pool parties if you choose your travel companions wisely.
Villa l’Olmo is just as exquisite on the inside as it is on the out. Granted, when it comes to décor, the Italy-meets-royalty equation runs the risk of barrelling toward gilded Versace gauche, but rest assured, Don Arcangelo all’Olmo is about as tasteful as it gets. The plush interior includes overstuffed couches that encourage you to lounge, plenty of places for an aperitvo hour, casual and formal dining rooms for long gourmet dinners, and living areas for digestifs and beyond. The 12-room villa comes with a full staff, including a private chef, obviously. Which means that if you need late night osso buco, you got it.
Details: Book through Think Sicily.
Villa Nina at Eden Rock
The Locale: In the idyllic St. Barth’s in the Caribbean, on the most glamorous property of Eden Rock. It’s like St. Tropez, except in the winter and without any cranky Frenchmen. Anyone who is anyone makes St. Barth’s part of their travel circuit.
The Scoop: Villa Nina is the sister villa to the famed Villa Rockstar. If you think of Villa Rockstar as the Rolling Stones of Eden Rock, then Villa Nina is, appropriately, Nina Simone – discreet, elegant, and luxurious, but still cool has hell. Nina’s guests include the uber-wealthy, like a certain private equity titan who threw himself a $5-million-dollar birthday party, and other billionaires whose modus operandi are private yachts and planes. Yet Nina has no ostentatious pretense whatsoever; she’s all class, with two bedrooms, serene décor that channels a warm Malibu beach house, and one of the most impressive art collections on the property. And a personal butler, obviously. The villa’s beachside location lends easy access and unobstructed views of the water. You’ll have cars at your disposal, but it’s within walking distance of Nikki Beach, in case you need a little midday table dancing to break up the monotony of utter relaxation. Convinced? One more thing: On the Rocks is Eden Rock’s on-site restaurant. Looks like you have yourself a solid St. Barth’s vacation.
Details: Eden Rock
The Locale: Brunello country, in Buonconvento, arguably the most picturesque area in Tuscany, with all the rolling hills and walkable wine tastings you could ask for.
The Scoop: You know the tender old adage, “It takes a village”? Well, much like raising a barn or a child, this also applies to Borgo Finocchieto. Because that’s exactly what it is: your own private village perched atop the picturesque Tuscan hillside. The choice of American Royalty (the Kennedys, Clintons, and Obamas, though not all at the same time), this compound exudes restrained luxury from each of its five individual houses. The real beauty of this destination, aside from the literal beauty of its view, which is one of Tuscany’s best, is its blend of home-meets-hotel comforts. In true Italian form, Marco and Carolyn, the villa managers, treat you like family while catering to your every whim, which is distinctly unlike family, but you get our point. That goes for food (yep, you have a private chef), wine, and activities, like taking a new Ferrari out for a spin. And speaking of family, the compound sleeps up to 44, so in the case that your extended family does not include a few terrifying members, it’s a great place for a reunion.
Details: Borgo Finocchieto
The Locale: A private island in the Grenadines, so exclusive and luxurious that everyone from Mick Jagger to Prince William and Kate (and we’re sure, little George) go to decompress and party within the comforts of their compounds.
The Scoop: We’ve expressed our love for Mustique and its serene, luxurious, paparazzi-free glory, time and time again, so it’s no surprise that it found its way to our list. When you’re going the villa route, a posse is part of the planning, so if you’re in it for the party, you can bring it yourself. And partying is really easy at Palm Beach Villa, with its personal chef to prepare three Michelin-star meals, a butler to cater to your every whim, four housekeepers to make what happened last night a distant (fond?) memory, and three gardeners at your beck and call to create some next-level ambiance. (Because at $75,000/week, why the hell not?) And let’s not forget the pool and tennis courts. If your crew is getting stir-crazy and yearning to explore the island and all of its undercover celebs, transportation is not a problem. While this little slice of heaven provides a Land Rover and a jeep to cruise around in, they had us at the property mule. In the case that you’re a little more selective in extending invitations, Hibiscus, the island’s five-bedroom villa, is a great alternative. It’s got a 49-foot pool, gazebo, and bar and two plunge pools. And yes, it comes with its own gardener. If it’s good enough for William and Kate, it’s good enough for us.
The Locale: A private island in the Caribbean – specifically the Copperfield Islands. Yes, as in David Copperfield.
The Scoop: Since we’ve come this far, we might as well ask: Why limit yourself to a villa when you can have an island? At just $37,000 per night – that’s $260,000 per week, but surely money is no object – you can. Musha Cay of the Copperfield Islands is the most expensive of our recommendations, and has all the amenities you’d expect for such a cost. Like five individual guest houses. And 40 private beaches (not a typo – really, 40 private beaches). And a drive-in theater. Even a Copperfield-designed treasure adventure lead by “real-life pirates.” If this is all sounding a bit over the top and you just want to kick it dive-bar style, don’t worry. Copperfield has acquired Houdini’s old billiards table. Cute, huh? Don’t judge us – we’re going there – Musha Cay is, indeed, magical.
The Details: Musha Cay