A Villa for All Seasons
Perhaps the greatest recent revelation of the European high end holiday rental sphere is that the best appointed villas can be year round destinations. As more and more people strive to benefit from the shoulder season, as well as inevitable travelling within peak times, it is timely to explore the theme of a villa for all seasons.
A ski chalet might be the obvious winter choice, but few measure up to Chalet Jejalp, about 90 minutes’ drive from Geneva Airport. There is room for up to fourteen lucky guests in its six bedrooms, all set within a brand new structure setting a new standard in bespoke chalet design. Flooded with natural light, its wooden walls and floors are in complete harmony with the outside environment. There is nothing rustic about the experience though, as the high spec cinema and gym indicate. The winter slopes are always inviting, but there is much to tempt skiers back to this property too. A private chef can prepare delicacies from dawn to dusk, there is a hot tub with spectacular views, and a sauna to unwind and detox in after a day of ski and après ski. The resort chauffeured 4X4 is the ideal all-terrain run-around too.
There cannot be a more lovely time to be in Rome than in the spring. Set just outside the Eternal City in Nepi, Villa Elda is a historic and beautiful four bedroom manor house with its own pool, sauna and Turkish bath. There is a personal chef and even a second kitchen which can be used for cookery classes. The extensive and beautiful grounds, complete with a stretch of private lake shore, are the perfect place to spot spring flowers and birds, and maybe even a hedgehog or bat. The mellow Roman climate and new spring lamb and wild asparagus are yet more powerful draws.
The Italian eight-bedroom property La Baia in Sardinia, sleeping 16 people, must be the perfect summer party destination. It overlooks the very special marine sanctuary of Tovolara, where monk seals once lived and where scuba diving and dolphin-spotting are still thriving activities. The villa’s deep harbour is capable of accommodating even larger boats and yachts, making it even easier to invite seafaring friends to join the fun for the day, as well as the perfect launching point to enjoy the glorious ocean around Sardinia’s North East coast. The large garden is the ideal spot for dining and relaxing amongst the wonderful Sardinian flora and fauna.
Santorini Mansion is a doubly evocative name, reflecting spacious luxury as well as the most idyllic and iconic of the Greek islands. Santorini might be at its very best in October, when much of Europe has already descended into wintry gloom. With sea still warm enough for swimming, sparse other visitors to compete with, and what locals deem the world’s best sunsets, it is the perfect time to explore its delights. Far more than just a stately main house, with adjoining apartment and studio, Santorini Mansion is a full estate. The large traditional dining table forms the perfect focal point for autumn feasts, when the freshly caught fish is deliciously satisfying and the Italian-influenced wines are ripe for tasting. The villa’s sumptuous Jacuzzi is also an ambient spot to relax as the nights draw in.
With the growing emphasis on luxury products and experiences, there has never been a better time to explore the different seasonal sides of Europe’s loveliest places.
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By Phileas French, Travel Writer, Editor