Change things up a little on your next getaway with the gang. Instead of the usual hotel or holiday resort (albeit, they are great too), why not book a villa? There’s a special pleasure to be had in a villa stay, especially if you’re travelling with a larger group of family and friends. Most of them offer multiple bedrooms, a kitchen and large living spaces, so you’re sure to have a comfortable stay. Here are three different villa getaways to try:
Private luxury destination Club Afini, based in Singapore, gives its members access to some of the world’s best accommodation, including this villa located within the walls of Sri Lanka’s iconic Galle Fort.
Lighthouse, a stately residence within the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Galle Fort, was originally commissioned by Dutch traders. Two hundred years later, the property’s high arches, soaring ceilings and exposed beams remain perfectly intact, and they surround a unique swimming pool – the largest to be found inside the Fort. The villa features three ensuite bedrooms with private balconies, modern technology and colonial antiques, while the long-serving staff strive to make all guests feel immediately at home.
There’s also plenty to do in the vicinity of the villa. You can cycle along electric- green rice fields past centuries-old Buddhist temples, kayak on Koggala Lake, a bird watcher’s paradise edged by cinnamon gardens, and even sail from Mirissa’s charming harbour to spot whales and dolphins. The world’s highest concentration of leopards awaits you at Yala National Park while Uda Walawe boasts a bevy of elephants.
- Singapore Airlines and Sri Lankan Airlines both fly direct to Colombo in under four hours.
- For more information about this and other luxury residences, and how to become a member of Afini, visit afini.com.
Looking for a kid-friendly villa getaway with family or friends that’s near to the beach and dozens of wineries – where everyone has their own space? We’ve found just the thing.
Located an hour from Melbourne in the Australian state of Victoria, The Outlook is a former bed-and-breakfast that has been renovated and is now available for rental. The property has five double bedrooms, a kids’ room that sleeps six in king-single bunks, five bathrooms, and a playroom with toys, books and a TV/ DVD player. The sleeping arrangements are perfect for extended families who want privacy (or quiet for small children to sleep away from the action) – a high chair, portable cot and kids’ crockery is all provided, so you can relax and enjoy your holiday too.
Spend your days visiting the wineries, exploring quaint local towns with cafés and shops selling antiques and local produce, playing golf, learning to surf, or visiting the nearby hot springs – then come home and fire up the barbecue. Kids can run around outside, jump on the trampoline, or play boules, totem tennis or basketball.
- Airlines that fly direct from Singapore to Melbourne (7.5 hours) include Qantas, Singapore Airlines and budget carrier Scoot.
- For more information on The Outlook or to make a booking, visit theoutlookshoreham.com.
Forget crowded beaches and streets; next time, go for a private getaway at a beachfront resort. Lindsay Yap reports from Ani Villas Thailand on the laidback island of Koh Yao Noi.
After a one-hour transfer from Phuket airport and a welcome drink of lemongrass tea, I was escorted to my Master Pool Suite, where I was greeted by soothing lounge music from an in- room iPod. The layout featured wooden floors, a cosy sitting area and desk, a private dipping pool, and, at the end of a short corridor, a bathroom with his-and-hers vanities. There are 10 rooms in this two-acre villa resort, including a pair of two-bedroom Family Suites with ensuite bathrooms and a living room, and two Ocean Front Master Suites.
From cooking classes and yoga to water sports like kayaking, you’ll never have a dull moment at Ani Villas; I enjoyed a leisurely afternoon paddle with spectacular views of the karsts and the coastline. For a truly local experience, you can try your hand at Muay Thai.
- To get to Ani Villas, catch a flight to either Phuket or Krabi. The land transfer and speedboat ride to the resort take slightly over an hour.
- Visit anivillas.com for details and reservations.