Home & Garden

13 Of the most beautiful houses you can use to design your own


If you want to forgo the traditional hotel experience and stay in a private home or luxe villa on your next vacation, we certainly wouldn’t blame you. These spots are a far cry from your mom’s favorite bed and breakfast—they’re secluded enough that you can truly unwind and relax with your friends or family, but they still offer modern amenities and feature well-appointed interiors that would rival those found in any decor magazine. From breathtaking views and alfresco dinners to unforgettable adventures and local experiences, these stunning private homes and villas await you on your next trip. Whether you’re looking to escape to a party pad in the Caribbean, a nature-lover’s retreat in Mexico, or a picturesque Italian estate, we’ve rounded up our inaugural list of the most beautiful villas and homes where you can stay around the world.

Faraway Federal Suite: Nantucket, Massachusetts

Matt Kisiday

This standalone home was just redone as a freestanding companion to Faraway Nantucket’s hotel, which occupies a block in historic downtown. The ebullient design carries throughout the home’s three bedrooms, living space, chef’s kitchen, wet bar, and outdoor patio for a beach town retreat you won’t ever want to leave.


Cercoschene, Reschio Estate: Umbria, Italy


You may have heard about Reschio’s stunning castle hotel, but there are also 26 freestanding homes on the property (eight of which are available to rent). Cercoschene, a 10th-century farmhouse that was restored last year, boasts sweeping views of the estate’s verdant olive groves, vineyards, and forests. The home’s wisteria-wrapped terraces feature a panoramic swimming pool, lounge, fireplace, and bread oven—perfect for making dinner and drinking wine alfresco. Once inside, you’ll notice the early Medieval architecture complete with a double-height entrance, Romanesque arch, and unsupported solid stone staircase. Modern sensibilities such as heated floors, wifi, and bespoke furniture from B.B. for Reschio up the comfort level to make this a truly luxe stay.


Cirencester Estate, A Mandarin Oriental Exclusive Home: Cotswolds, England

Cirencester Estate

This home may be a new build, but it still has a grand manor sense (it recently won the Georgian Society’s best new build award). Built from hand-quarried artisanal Cotswold stone found on the estate, this 10-bedroom, 8-bathroom architectural beauty has everything you’d need for some serious R&R—including a heated outdoor swimming pool, tennis court, croquet lawn, fire pit, sauna, hot tub, and yoga deck. When you book this stately home, you’ll also have access to a house butler and an in-house chef who prepares all of your daily meals with locally sourced ingredients.


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Posillipo: Kontolaki, Corfu, Greece


This villa appeared in The Durrells, a British comedy that took place on the Greek Island of Corfu (and the real Durrells actually lived here in the 1930’s). This 18th-century home is inspired by traditional British, French, and Venetian architecture and design, which sets it apart from modern Greek villas. From the luxuriant gardens and private beach on the property to the original tile floors and free-standing marble clawfoot tub, there’s truly beauty everywhere you look.


Fincadelica: Ibiza, Spain


Travelers are starting to embrace the quieter, more soulful quarters of Ibiza—and this charming villa is the ultimate stay for artists and dreamers. Fincadelica is a 300-year-old Ibicencan farmstead located on a 20-acre estate boasting untamed gardens and natural beauty. The oval saltwater pool, outdoor lounge area, strawberry-lined pathways, and bohemian interiors make for a tranquil getaway you won’t soon forget.


The Village Estate: Moskito Island, British Virgin Islands

Moskito Island

Moskito Island, Richard Branson’s second private island in the Caribbean, has added an extraordinary new villa to its collection. The Village Estate is set on a clifftop on the far west of the island, which makes for incredible sunset ocean views. This party paradise sleeps 18 people across its seven spacious homes and two rooms in the main pavilion. It boasts a state-of-the-art home movie theater; party lighting and a hidden DJ booth; two pools with a water slide, hot tub, and fire pit; billiards, a gym, and more.


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Zannier Private Estates Le Chalet: Megève, France


This timber-forward, three-level chalet in Megève, France was long owned by Roger Zannier; his son Arnaud Zannier, founder of Zannier Hotels, turned it over to the Zannier Estates collection just this year. The charming winter retreat boasts cozy interiors, open fires, mountain-view terraces, a cinema room, wine cellar, and even a private hammam for total relaxation after a day on the slopes.


Villa Sainte-Anne, Hotel Du Cap-Eden-Roc: Cap d’Antibes, France

Villa Sainte-Anne

This grand villa and its incredible landscape were renovated by architect Luc Svetchine, and the elegant interiors were decorated by Bergit Gräfin Douglas of MMDesign. Though the architectural foundations have been preserved, the existing rooms were all enlarged to meet modern standards. Behind the villa, 22,600 square feet of cascading gardens conceal a private pool and a shaded terrace that offers spectacular views across the bay of Juan-les-Pins. The fully staffed villa comes with a chauffeur and car, complimentary daily spa treatments, and even an Aquariva Super boat to take out for a spin on the sea.


Kerala: Bainskloof Pass, Worcester, Cape Winelands, South Africa


Gabion stone walls and sugar gum timber details are expressions of the laid-back Lamu lifestyle, while this interior of the villa offers exquisite layering of design and decorating. Inside you’ll find bespoke wallpapers designed by Katie Lund, floral photography by Filipa Domingues, a Gregor Jenkin dining table, and antique collectables sourced from India, Ethiopia and Zanzibar. But our favorite part just might be the incredible stone soaking tub with panoramic views that will make you feel like you’re bathing in nature.


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High Country Cottage: Wolseley, Cape Winelands, South Africa

Linley Meavers

We love the confluence of a 21st-century interpretation of an African, barn-style farmhouse—it features Cape Dutch colors with a thoroughly contemporary spin. The oversized windows and large glass doors look out onto superb mountain backdrops from nearly every room, so you can take in the views wherever you are.


One & Only Mandarina

Signature Villa 14, One&Only Mandarina: Riviera Nayarit, Mexico

This 7-bedroom villa is perched nearly 400 feet above the glittering Pacific ocean and is surrounded by lush green foliage. Living and sleeping spaces are spread across four buildings that are connected by leafy walkways, while communal zones such as the infinity pool and jacuzzi, terrace, outdoor dining area, chef’s kitchen, and full-screen cinema offer spots for easy entertaining.


The Cottages at the Ocean Course: Kiawah Island, South Carolina

© Francis Dzikowski/OTTO

These luxe new cottages on Kiawah Island offer golf lovers a beautiful getaway they’ll dream about for years. Each cottage features four guest rooms with king size beds, private en suite bathrooms, and custom furnishings. Soak in the spectacular views of Kiawah’s Ocean Course, as well as the clubhouse, driving range, and Atlantic ocean beyond.


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Don Arcangelo all’Olmo: Giare, Sicily, Italy

Don Arcangelo all’Olmo

Sicily is the “it” destination right now, and we’re dreaming about staying in this beautifully restored villa that has a sumptuous and high-end approach to its design. Vaulted ceilings, magnificent fireplaces, well-appointed interiors, an incredible art collection, and glazed doors opening to the surrounding terraces and gardens make this villa equal parts refined and welcoming.


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