From a plush log cabin in the rugged Montana wilderness to a regal riad in Marrakesh’s medina, Relais & Châteaux’s extraordinary collection of some 600 standalone villas, chalets and lodges offers discerning travellers a fiercely private holiday experience with friends and family. Each beautifully appointed and secure, and many with their own private pools, terraces with jaw-dropping vistas and private chefs, each property promises a unique experience. Here’s a look at some of our favourite hideaways.
Palazzo Santa Croce, Italy, Positano
With its deep-crimson stucco façade and regal perch overlooking the too-blue-to-be-true Mediterranean, this beautifully restored 17th-century villa is a commanding presence in the legendary Amalfi Coast village of Positano. Operated by the nearby Il San Pietro di Positano hotel, the estate is a temple to baroque maximalism, with every corner of the property yielding a fascinating new discovery. From the extravagant frescoes, earthenware tiling and the romantic fruit-tree garden to the Salus Per Aquam spa, modelled after ancient Roman thermal baths and complete with a majolica-tiled swimming pool, sauna and sundeck with a Jacuzzi.
Casa del Arbol, Mexico, Higuera Blanca
Set on a particularly stunning spot along Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit, where the lush Sierra de Vallejo jungle meets the Pacific, Imanta Punta de Mita has long counted as one of the area’s most coveted hideaways, and its three-story treehouse, Casa del Arbol, its most sought-after lodgings. A jungle aerie built with pine wood and stone, up to five guests awake to birdsong, surrounded by nature, with a network of terraces affording ocean and jungle views that invite the great outdoors inside. Guests enjoy access to a private beach, and a magnificent waterfall feeds into three ponds that double as private pools.
Villa des Orangers, Morocco, Marrakech
Villa des Orangers stands out as an oasis of tranquillity among the invigorating bustle of Marrakesh’s Medina. With its Intricate, locally inspired interiors, light-filled courtyards and a serene swimming pool surrounded by greenery, you’d be forgiven for forgetting that this lavishly restored estate is positioned at the heart of the action, especially if you’ve checked into the hotel’s Private Riad. Sleeping up to five guests, this 185sq m residence is a vision in elegant decor and fabrics, boasting its own terrace with charming garden vistas and its own heated pool shaded by banana trees.
The Ranch at Rock Creek, United States, Philipsburg
Set on 2,500 hectares in the vast Montana outback – with its undulating meadows, majestic peaks and furiously flowing rivers – the Ranch at Rock Creek offers the ultimate dude-ranch experience. After a day spent horseback riding, fly fishing or hiking, would-be cowboys overnight in plush – yet delightfully rustic – accommodations, including nine standalone cabins, from the cosy one-bedroom Bluebird to the five-room Bear House, with a back-deck hot tub for soaks under the starry Montana sky and a tranquil reading room – the perfect spot from which witness the sun rise over the prairie.
The Huchet Beach House, France, Vielle Saint Girons
Nestled among the lonely sand dunes of Côte des Landes, just steps from the Atlantic in southwestern France, those arriving at the Huchet Beach House – which is owned and operated by the nearby Les Prés d'Eugénie hotel – may feel like they’ve just stepped into a dream world. Enveloped by nothing but the sea, sand and sun, the ethereal locale of the two 120sq m lodges, Rose des Vents and Alouette des Mers, is only the beginning. Inside, rustic-chic fittings, soft fabrics and a carefully curated collection of period art await. Sleeping up to six guests, days here are spent swimming, surfing and supping on delectable cuisine cooked up by their own private chef.
Son Brull Hotel & Spa, Spain, Pollença
At Son Brull Hotel & Spa, a former monastery tucked away on a hillside in Mallorca’s pretty north, life moves a little slower. Flanked by meandering olive orchards with postcard-perfect views of the Bay of Pollença, the grounds include fragrant gardens, sumptuous modern-Mediterreanean fittings, a welcoming pool area and an indulgent spa. The pulse-lowering effect of this Spanish idyll is only magnified at one of the hotel’s Villa Suites, troglodyte residences with two bedrooms, fireplaces, heated pools and generous decks for lazy lunches under the island sun.
Maslina Resort, Croatia (Hrvatska), Stari Grad
With mindfulness and abiding respect for its gorgeous setting in Stari Grad, a Unesco-protected town on the Croatian islet of Hvar, at its heart, it’s easy to see why Maslina Resort has topped many a solace-seeker’s bucket list since its debut two years ago. Aside from the seafront Pharomatiq Spa, which leans on locavore remedies in its menu of tempting treatments and therapies, the soothing atmosphere of its guest quarters – especially the three private villas – are a major draw. Each comes complete with its own pool, neutral-toned, contemporary decor and sea-view terraces.