8 holiday rentals with a story to tell
Whether you’re a culture and design devotee or simply someone who loves to discover one-off experiences while travelling, take a look at our roundup of holiday rentals with their own unique architectural styles. From castles and country ranches to hunting lodges and windmills, each has a very special history—offering you the chance to be part of their story for a short break or longer.
1. A picture-perfect Puglian trullo
A fine example of the round stone huts with conical roofs found only in this sun-blessed region of southeastern Italy, this three-bedroom property offers a contemporary—and luxurious—take on local tradition. Chic, airy interiors include an open-plan living area; outdoors you’ll find a sparkling pool surrounded by loungers, a barbecue and kitchen area, an olive-shaded dining area, and an alfresco lounge with views over countryside and coast.
2. Your gorgeous getaway in Gozo
Nestled in a peaceful village on the western side of the Maltese island of Gozo, this 300-year-old farmhouse blends historical charm (wooden beams and vaulted stone ceilings) with colourful interiors that include Indian furnishings and plush leather sofas. Sleeping 11, it invites sociable gatherings around its lagoon-shaped outdoor pool with waterfall and fish pond, spacious sun terraces, and outdoor dining area with barbecue.
3. Cosy castle living in Crete
Located at the edge of the village Atsipopoulo, this 19th-century stone property comprises a main house and a guest house linked by a bridge; rented together, they sleep a total of 10. Extensive terraces let you appreciate the dreamy sea and sunset views, while within the castle you’ll enjoy the rustic snugness—think creamy exposed-stone walls, old beams, and open fireplaces.
4. A slice of Spanish history in Mallorca
With some walls dating back more than 800 years and pretty wooden shutters, this three-bedroom finca or ranch takes you back in time while affording all the contemporary touches that make a holiday complete. These include a state-of-the-art kitchen, a gleaming modern fireplace, gym equipment, a sparkling outdoor pool, and a shaded patio with a gas grill.
5. Stylish summer or ski base in Germany’s Sauerland
A surprise awaits guests at this half-timbered house built more than 200 years ago. Alongside original features such as ceiling beams and stone hearths, you’ll find chic modern decor, including plump knitted cushions and luxurious throws. With space for up to 26, the one-off property also boasts a sauna, a contemporary kitchen, an outdoor pool, and gardens with quirky touches, including an old carousel horse.
6. Homely history in the High Peak district
There’s a real get-away-from-it-all feel to this five-bedroom Arts and Crafts shooting lodge built during the First World War. Tucked away amidst moorlands, it has woodland gardens with wooden bridges, a wraparound verandah, a patio, a fire-pit, barbecue areas, and topiary “rooms” with swing seats. Hunker down indoors beside one of the roaring wood stoves when there’s a chill in the air.
7. Canalside chic in Paris
Within a cobbled courtyard surrounded by artists’ studios, this one-of-a-kind loft-apartment puts you in the heart of one of the French capital’s most buzzing districts. Many features date from the building’s industrial past—among them, bare-brick walls, wooden beams, a high vaulted roof, and an open fire with metal chimney. Mixing both open-plan spaces for gatherings and intimate nooks and crannies, the loft sleeps 11.
8. A riverbank retreat in Holland
It’s hard to believe you’re only 20 minutes by train from Amsterdam’s main station when you roll up at this thatched-roof windmill sleeping six. Mixing warm colours and plush fabrics with rustic elements, including old wooden beams and exposed brickwork, it has an outside dining area with views over archetypal flat Dutch meadows, bikes for exploring the area, and even a river to swim in.