Who doesn’t love a great hotel? But only a private villa lets you live the fantasy that you actually live in this or that fabulous spot. Here are some charmed choices to ponder.
Esencia Mansion, Mexico
A Hollywood producer transformed an Italian duchess’s tropical home on the Riviera Maya into Hotel Esencia, one of Mexico’s most exclusive beach boltholes. Its VVIP clientele can now hide away even more discreetly in this villa, the Esencia Mansion. Location: A jungly corner of the 50-acre estate only a five-minute walk from the white sands of Xpu-Ha beach, the spa, and the gourmet tacos served at Mistura. Layout: 12,000 square feet on four levels, with four suites (each with a terrace with a hammock), a fitness studio, a rooftop terrace with ocean views, and three pools. Wow Factor: A secret entrance leads to an underground speakeasy-style bar, fully stocked and outfitted with a DJ booth, which is staffed on request.
Sopris House, Aspen
A former family ranch, Aspen Valley Ranch, opened in May 2021 as a gated community with high-end homesteads (for sale or rental of a month or more) and resort-level amenities and service (some of the team come from Aspen’s lauded Little Nell, and the concierge is from Les Clefs d’Or). Location: Ten minutes from downtown Aspen. But why leave when you and yours can Nordic ski, snowshoe, and snowmobile in your private 813-acre playground? Layout: Five bedrooms and bathrooms (tubs have mountain views) spread over 5,709 square feet, with a central courtyard, greenhouse, and wine cellar curated to your taste. Wow Factor: Private stables and a wrangler at your disposal. The public spaces, such as the historic barn turned clubhouse, feature artworks by Jeff Koons and Tony Cragg.
Dunton Pangolin, Mustique
The couple behind Colorado’s luxury ghost town resort Dunton Hot Springs recently renovated their private Caribbean retreat and added it to their portfolio of boutique stays. Location: Dunton Pangolin, the 20-acre estate atop Rutland Hill is the island’s largest rental, overlooking the almost always empty Macaroni Beach. Layout: Seven king rooms and one queen, each with en suite bathroom. The 35-foot pool on the sundeck has both Atlantic and Caribbean views. Wow Factor: The impressive art collection includes work by Marc Quinn. Five staff members excel at entertaining kids with everything from pony camps to treasure hunts.
Aurora Lodge, Norway
Travel curator Black Tomato’s exclusive-use, fully staffed Arctic adventure base, the Aurora Lodge, was designed by Norwegian architect Snorre Stinessen (known for his award-winning minimalist cabins) and is so remote you have to helicopter in from Tromso. Location: 100 yards from the sea on 50 acres of wilderness in the Lyngen Alps, one of Norway’s top spots for aurora viewing in winter. Layout: The A-frame sleeps up to 12 in six suites, all with wraparound floor-to-ceiling windows. An open plan living and dining area anchored by a fireplace embodies the concept of hygge (convivial coziness). Wow Factor: In January and February, the staff can arrange to have nature photographer and marine biologist Audun Rikardsen join groups as they kayak alongside orcas.
Kit Kemp, the British designer behind Firmdale Hotels in London and New York, recently opened the doors to her Caribbean home, Rossferry, which—no surprise— is decorated in her signature collage of bold patterns and colors. Location: On 2.5 acres within the Sandy Lane residential estate on the island’s west side. A private beach with a dedicated cabana is a 10-minute walk away. Layout: A grand hallway with sea views, an art-filled drawing room, four bedrooms each with a covered terrace facing the pool or gardens. Wow Factor: Six Firmdale-trained staff members can arrange formal dinners in the dining room, barbecues on the terrace, or sunset drinks at the poolside gazebo. The 80-foot swimming pool is one of the longest on the estate.
One gem in Mandarin Oriental’s new villa collection, launched last summer, is Ca’n Miquelet, on Mallorca, a four-bedroom finca-style stone house on a 32-acre estate surrounded by citrus and olive trees near the coastal village of Deia. Included: Mandarin Oriental’s five-star service.
This story appears in the October 2022 issue of Town & Country. SUBSCRIBE NOW
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