Exclusive luxury escapes: rent an island, castle, safari villa or Lapland lodge
Getting away from it all, and everyone else, does not come cheap
In a world where remote working and social distancing is now the norm, it’s understandable that many people are also seeking holidays away from the crowds.
If you are wanting to go somewhere that’s exclusive - and ultra-luxurious - then you’re in luck.
From island buyouts to hiring a whole castle, we pick out some of the most unique deals available. But remember, if you really do want to get away from it all, expect to pay for that luxury...
Chapel Barn Estate, Suffolk
Wilderness Reserve has recently launched Chapel Barn Estate, which is set across 5,000 acres of countryside in Suffolk. The estate features a number of accommodation options, but it’s the Chapel Barn itself that’s really got the “wow factor”. Ideal for weddings or for staycations, the renovated 15th century barn can sleep up to 38 people in 17 double bedrooms and one bunk room, all of which include en-suites. As well as its heritage and charm, Chapel Barn also has luxury offerings including an indoor swimming pool, cinema, gym and spa.
One night from £201 per bedroom (based on a Monday in low season) or £3,625 for a one night exclusive booking. Weekdays no minimum stay, weekends minimum three nights from Friday; wildernessreserve.com
Ellenborough Park, the Cotswolds, England
Steeped in 500 years of history and set amidst 90 acres of sprawling countryside, this former stately home is a jewel in the Cotswolds crown. Ellenborough Park’s exclusive use offering gives guests access to all 62 bedrooms, meeting and event rooms, the gym and the outdoor swimming pool. Also included are the hotel’s two dining options - The Restaurant which offers fine dining and The Horse Box, based on a typical countryside pub.
Exclusive use of Ellenborough Park starts from £18,000 per night; ellenboroughpark.com
Torre Palazzone, Tuscany
Most families could probably manage to squeeze themselves into the 11-bedroom Torre Palazzone, a gloriously atmospheric Tuscan villa in the hills outside Siena. Its secluded woodland setting (and a private heated swimming pool) make it ideal for a spot of elective self-isolation in a richly historic seting. The property’s tower is 1,000 years old, while an Etruscan tomb in the garden dates back to about 500BC. There are ancient treasures to be found inside too, including a vintage daybed from Transylvania and antique panels from a Syrian house, curated by antique dealer Kitty Walsh. A maid and cook will take care of the practicalities for up to 22 guests.
Torre Palazzone, available through Tuscany Now & More, offers weekly stays from £10,945
Glenapp Castle, Scotland
Experience the height of opulence at Glenapp Castle, a 17-bedroom luxurious Relais & Chateaux hotel tucked away on the breathtaking Ayrshire coast in Scotland. The full exclusive hire offers use of the castle, all 17 bedroom suites, the four-bedroom castle apartment, 110 acres of gardens and surround estate for private use and breakfast for up to 42 guests.
From £9,950 per night (1 November 2020 to 31 March 2021); glenappcastle.com
Blackrock Beach House, Northern Ireland
Overlooking the Blue Flag West Strand beach and offering sweeping views of Donegal, Ramore Head and the Isle of Isla, Blackrock Beach House in Portrush provides the ideal setting for a luxury break. Sleeping up to 14, this is a perfect place for anyone looking to book a luxurious self-catered break with friends or family.
Available for exclusive hire from £840 per night with a minimum stay of seven nights required; blackrockbeachhouseportrush.com
Singita Serengeti House and Singita Kataza House
With the brand new exclusive-use retreat Singita Serengeti House in Tanzania, Singita has launched a 12-night private jet package combining the villa with Singita Kataza House in Rwanda. Both villas are completely private, with minimal touchpoints, no interaction with other guests and a full staff complement. This new itinerary offers access to the best of East Africa, launching just in time to combine Rwanda’s mountain gorillas with the Serengeti’s iconic wildebeest migration.
Rates for the 12-night itinerary start from $209,339 (£166,736) for up to eight guests and includes all accommodation, meals, drinks and game drives in Tanzania on an exclusive, full board basis as well as private transport between Tanzania and Rwanda and activities. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Six Senses Zil Pasyon, Felicité Island, Seychelles
Described as the “ultimate playground in paradise”, this unspoilt island is offering a private destination to be pampered, yet isolated. Twenty guests can take up residence in the spectacular villas, set amongst dramatic granite boulders and untouched nature.
Turquoise Holidays offers a week’s exclusive buyout of Six Senses Zil Pasyon for up to 20 guests from £295,600 (£14,777 per person) for seven nights on an all-inclusive basis; turquoiseholidays.co.uk
Shakti 360° Leti, India
High up at 8,000 feet in the Indian Himalayas, Shakti 360° Leti is a truly breathtaking resort. With just four guest pavilions and a main lounge and dining area, all built combining age-old local building techniques with contemporary design, this is a stunning mountain sanctuary for eight people.
Available from October to April each year, seven nights exclusive use for eight guests costs $76,216 (£57,868) on an all-inclusive basis; shaktihimalaya.com
La Sultana Marrakech, Morocco
Immerse in the Moroccan charm and glamour of La Sultana Marrakech, located within the old Imperial City Walls. Sleeping up to 56 people in 28 individually designed rooms and suites, La Sultana Marrakech is perfect for a hotel take over. When booking the hotel for exclusive use, guests can enjoy the cathedral-like spa with traditional Moroccan hammams, a heated swimming pool and indulge in the delicious food available at the two hotel restaurants serving the best of Moroccan cuisine.
Exclusive bookings start at £13,060 per night and require a three-night minimum stay; lasultanahotels.com
Pullman Maldives Maamutaa Resort, Maldives
Set amidst 18-hectares of tropical vegetation, stunning beaches, and landscaped gardens, as well as surrounding a natural lake, Pullman Maldives Maamutaa is a paradise setting and the first Pullman Resort to offer an all-inclusive concept. For those really wanting to push the boat out, why not take over the island by staying in 122 of the resort’s opulent villas. The resort has also launched a new three-night Underwater Villa Experience starting from $9,999 (£7,570).
Exclusive booking pricing upon request; pullmanmaldivesmaamutaa.com
The Nautilus Maldives
Book an “island to yourself” with two new buyout packages at The Nautilus Maldives. The packages include exclusive use of the entire island; accommodation; private butler service; unique airside VIP arrival service; return transfers via the resort’s liveried seaplane; breakfast; and a host of additional exclusive benefits. With a total of 26 houses and residences, each with its own large private pool, the packages offer a variety of options for families or groups of friends. For bookings of up to 62 adults, guests will have the run of the entire island; more intimate groups of up to 30 adults can also enjoy exclusive use of the island, with accommodation in 14 of The Nautilus’ Houses.
A minimum of four nights is required for The Nautilus’ exclusive island buyouts and prices are available on request; thenautilusmaldives.com
The Lava Cove, The Retreat at Blue Lagoon, Iceland
The Lava Cove is a secluded, exclusive, self-contained spa hidden within The Retreat Spa. Visitors to Iceland currently have to take a Covid-19 test on arrival and then quarantine at their accommodation until they get the results, and the Lava Cove is the place to do this. This extraordinary suite - which includes a private entrance, a lagoon, a fireplace, and a butler - is a place of abundant comfort and wellbeing. Guests can enhance and customise their Lava Cove experience with in-suite gourmet dining, in-water massage, and guided yoga sessions. Lava Cove must be booked separately, each individual changing room is configured for one or two people and maximum occupancy is six people.
Lava Cove with one private changing room costs £1,310, two private changing rooms £1,894, three private changing rooms £2,477; bluelagoon.com
Octola Villa, Finland
Take over the brand-new Octola Villa for a luxury wilderness retreat set within 300 hectares of Finnish Lapland. Described as the “most exclusive lodge in Lapland”, the villa is complete with floor to ceiling glass walls and is the perfect place to spot the Northern Lights. Seven-nights in the brand new Octola Villa, which sleeps four, starts from €79,254 (£70,800) during winter.
For larger families or small group gatherings, all ten rooms at Octola can be booked out; octola.com
One&Only Reethi Rah, Maldives
The world has shifted to remote working and this ultra-luxury, all-villa resort in the Maldives has launched a long-stay package for guests wishing to stay for 28 days or more. All the villas on the resort offer high-speed wi-fi and with an abundance of space, they are the perfect spot to “work from home”. When not glued to their laptops guests can also enjoy a wide range of culinary experiences, outdoor activities and wellness options.
This 28-day package starts from $42,600 (£32,111) for two guests, including transfers, daily breakfast and a half board supplement per villa; oneandonlyresorts.com