A newly-launched portfolio of 500 Relais & Châteaux villas aims to raise the bar for fully customizable getaways.
Written by Leo Dessaux
As the world slowly begins to crack open its door to travelers, some are willing to jump right in, while others take a more cautious approach, eschewing hotels for more private experiences. Reflecting changing customer attitudes due to the pandemic, Villas by Relais & Châteaux amplifies the group's defining ethos of family spirit, local anchorage, and excellent cuisine with a collection of more than 500 villas in 30 countries. Villa vacations are nothing new, but the affiliation with Relais & Châteaux gives guests peace of mind that they can expect the same elevated service found at one of the 580-strong, largely family-run network of R&C hotels and restaurants. Each villa in the portfolio is carefully evaluated and included based on guaranteeing a genuine sense of space, being available to rent exclusively, boasting private access, and having no adjoining properties, except for properties located in city centers. "Guests of Villas by Relais & Châteaux can expect the same level of refined service as if they were staying in one of our hotels – how much they want and when is entirely up to them," said Philippe Gombert, President of Relais & Châteaux. "Now, more than ever, our guests value personal space, and our collection of incredible villas can give them confidence and peace of mind – without compromising on hospitality. Villas by Relais & Châteaux is an essential component of our ability to evolve and thrive as we begin to think beyond the pandemic." While it's hard to choose favorites among the many notable properties, we've highlighted a few of our favorites below. You can view all of the available villas and make reservations at relaischateaux.com/us/villas/destinations.
VILLA IL BORRO, ITALY Nestled in the heart of a 270-acre estate in Tuscany, the 19th-century Tuscan villa overlooks the medieval village of Il Borro. The private palazzo sleeps up to 20 people in 10 quaint en-suite bedrooms with double beds. The property boasts a heated indoor pool, an outdoor pool, a fully equipped gym, a Turkish bath, and a large billiards room. Guests can spend the day strolling through a pair of private gardens, admiring the exquisite artwork painted on the estate ceilings, or sitting by the fire enjoying fine Italian wines and charcuterie.
CASA DEL ARBOL, MEXICO Just five minutes from the main hotel, Casa del Arbol is a private treetop retreat perched above the tropical rainforest with incredible views overlooking the Pacific Ocean (book during the winter months for exceptional whale-spotting) and a private beach. Crafted from crafted pine and local stone, the villa is crowned with an enclosed main bedroom surrounded by a large private terrace. A wall-free second bedroom with an outdoor shower on the floor below makes guests feel truly at one with nature. Continuing down to the lower levels, a beautiful waterfall cascades down the hillside to fill three ponds that serve as guests' very own private pools. The culinary experience is one to remember, prepared by a chef who champions local Mexican ingredients.
CHALET COTTAGE AT TWIN FARMS, VERMONT The crown jewel of Vermont's only five-star resort is the Chalet, one of the property's ten uniquely designed standalone cottages. The two-floor, 3,000-square-foot cottage nestles at the edge of one of the property's six private ski slopes. Guests can admire the view of Mount Ascutney as they lounge in the expansive living area with floor-to-ceiling windows or soak in the tub on the enclosed private patio. Uniquely appointed, the cottage boasts two fireplaces, beautifully crafted furnishings, 18th-century Burgundian limestone flooring, and hand-thrown glazed tiles. Executive Chef Nathan Rich and his expert team invite guests to go on a unique menu-less journey throughout their stay by entrusting the kitchen to guide them through an exceptional culinary program celebrating local New England terroir.
Located within the Maldives' stunning Baa Atoll, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, the three-bedroom Nautilus estate was designed as the ultimate private beach home with panoramic sea views from every light-filled room. Capped by an incredible thatched roof, the living spaces and decor convey the bohemian spirit of the island. Guests can indulge in fine cuisines and a curated wine selection via personalized catering service or select from various dining destinations throughout the estate.
SPRING COTTAGE AT CLIVEDEN HOUSE, UK On the outskirts of London, this standalone cottage sits on the banks of the River Thames. Beloved by royalty, Queen Victoria and the Duchess of Sutherland are among the esteemed guests to have enjoyed afternoon tea at the cottage. The charming design of this three-bedroom residence is the perfect spot for travelers looking for an ultra-private, elegant home-away-from-home. A rear garden right on the banks of the Thames makes this accommodation incredibly unique. Throughout their stay, guests will benefit from exceptional amenities, including personalized catering.
VILLA DES ORANGERS, MOROCCO An oasis of calm and serenity in the heart of the Medina of Marrakech, the centerpiece of this private riad is the courtyard, finished in ornate ceramic tiles and featuring a private pool that shaded by lush banana trees. The private roof terrace overlooks the old town and the Koutoubia Mosque and has an unobstructed view of the Atlas Mountains. Guests will feel swaddled by nature as the property is complete with exceptional landscaping, flowers, tropical plants, and verdant planters. The two-suite riad, accommodating up to five guests, features intricately carved wooden furniture with soft fabrics, two luxuriously appointed bathrooms finished in cooling marble, and an outdoor living area.
ZABUCO HONEYMOON VILLA, DOMINICA Perched atop a majestic cliff offering 180-degree views over the mountain peaks of Dominica and the sparkling Caribbean Sea, the Zabuco Honeymoon Villa lies at the furthest point of the Secret Bay promontory. The property is ideal for couples looking for a remote escape with all the luxuries of a beachfront home, including a state- of-the-art open-plan kitchen, private plunge pool, and expansive outdoor deck area. The beautiful master bedroom features furniture made from Dominican Red Cedar by local craftsmen. Guests enjoy dedicated villa hosts on call to provide discreet service, creating the perfect balance of romance, privacy, and pampering