For a sun-soaked holiday that oozes the high life, luxury villas often can't be beaten. These are the cream of the rental crop in Spain, Portugal and beyond. They come with glimmering swimming spots and sumptuous interiors, offering a slice of real relaxation wherever you are. This guide suggests some seriously enticing destinations to go in search of your plush pad this year.
Luxury villa holidays in Spain
Spain is surely deserving of a special mention on the luxury villa front. As one of the UK's favourite summertime destinations, this huge swathe of Iberia offers up a kaleidoscope of home rentals. From the scrub-clad Andalusian sierras to the scintillating coves of Ibiza, they cater to classy travellers all over.
Living with the jet setters of Ibiza
Sizzle off the hangover in the hills above San Antonio by bagging yourself a glitzy rental with whitewashed walls and an enticing swimming pool. Going nearer to Ibiza Town means infusing your luxury break with the UNESCO-approved history of the Dalt Vila fortress – a medley of cobbled lanes steeped in Roman and Moorish culture. Further north is sleepy Portinatx, where a seaside pad could put you right by pink-tinted coves.
Get luxury villas on Mallorca
As the Serra de Tramuntana rises to the west of Palma, the capital of Mallorca, it starts off with a clutch of uber-chic resort towns where yachts bob in the marinas and cocktail bars buzz when the sun sets. If that sounds like your sort of thing, check out the luxury villas that surround Portals Nous.
Luxury villa rentals on the Costa del Sol
The Costa del Sol is no stranger to glitterati. Princes, rockers and A-list actors have been making it their holiday destination of choice for decades, which might explain the abundance of millionaire yachts that cluster around Marbella and Puerto Banus. Of course, you won't need to own one of those to enjoy the luxury living offered by the villas in the nearby hills, where a taste of rural Andalusia could also be on the menu.
Other destinations for luxury villa holidays in Europe
If you're keen to escape Spain for that luxury break but don't want to make it a long-haul jaunt, there are myriad options to get excited about in Europe's other nations. Some real favourites for comfort-loving travellers are listed below.
Get your chic pad in Greece
The glimmering islands of Mykonos and Santorini really stand out from the crowd in Greece. If you're searching for luxury villas, they certainly won't disappoint. In the former, the vibrant hub of Little Venice is the place to spend your evenings, where saganaki-sizzling tavernas spill straight into the Aegean Sea. In the latter, it's all about bagging a cliffside villa in Oia or Fira, so as to make the most of what many think is the best sunset show in the entire world.
Luxury villas in Portugal
Portugal certainly isn't short on glitzy resorts. The Algarve's sun-baked coast is the stomping ground of many an A-lister come the summer months. The town of Vilamoura is a favourite retreat. It's home to the acclaimed golf courses and country clubs of Dom Pedro – you could even score a rental that sits right next to the manicured fairways and glowing bunkers.
A taste of the high life in Italy
Italy's central regions have been a favourite escape for fashionistas since the days Lord Byron waxed so lyrical about their wondrous beauties. These days, the soft hills of Umbria and Tuscany host scores of handsome farmhouse conversions and terracotta-topped luxury villas. They come with pools that offer sweeping views of the Apennines, or nestle between rolling vineyards where you can taste fine Chiantis in the cellars.
Long-haul destinations for luxury villa holidays
Feeling adventurous? If you're willing to hop on a plane for 8 hours or more, the luxury villas of the entire globe become your oyster. Whether you settle down between the cascading rice paddies of Indonesia or the quartz-glinting beaches of the Mexican Gulf, you can look forward to a little more exotic pampering in these worldly spots.
Choose luxury villas in the Caribbean
Just a mention of the Caribbean is usually enough to conjure images of azure seas and palm-fringed sands. It's a cocktail that's long drawn jetsetters and their yachts to these sultry archipelagos at the far end of the Atlantic. Take the Turks and Caicos, which are famed for the sugar-powder sands of Grace Bay. Or, consider St Lucia, where upscale pads clutch the volcanic mountains to offer jaw-dropping views of the rugged Pitons and the Caribbean Sea.
A tropical treat in Bali
Balinese villas have their own unique style. Bamboo-built cabanas beckon in the gardens, dark-tiled pools hide beneath blooming banyan trees and there are swish interiors that fuse minimalism and islander charm. Of course, all that also comes close to the rolling surf of the Bukit Peninsula and the mist-gathering jungles around Ubud.
Sumptuous family villas in Florida
If you think the whole family could do with a luxury escape, the classiest villas of the Sunshine State might be perfect. Sprawling and packed with mod cons, they often have sheltered pools out back and grand interiors with big kitchens and lounges. Bag them with a high-class rental car and you could ride the roller coasters of Universal and tour the croc-snapping Everglades in real style.