In the beginning was the word, and the word was Hotel. Then it changed to Five-star Hotel. Then Boutique Hotel. And then, with a leap that can be described as both quantum and thoroughly commonsensical, it metamorphosed to Villa.
Holidaying in private villas – independents, rather than something tacked onto the fringes of a hotel – is already vastly popular in Europe.
And now it’s starting to catch on in Asia. For the first time ever, The Asia Villa Guide brings the best of what’s on offer under one roof, so to speak.
Flip through these pages, and be transported from heritage properties in Sri Lanka to billionaire’s pads in Phuket; spa retreats in Bali, to beach hang-outs in Lombok.
Size and cost go more or less hand in hand, but – to embrace that well-worn cliché – there is something for just about everyone here.
The delight of a villa holiday is that it includes everything that’s good about a hotel, and sidesteps everything that’s bad. The pool’s always exclusively yours; the chef cooks what you want to eat rather than what he or she has decided you’re going to eat; you can see the smiling faces of the staff rather than them being concealed behind the ‘Guest Services’ button on the room phone. Nobody’s peering over the next door balcony, because there is no next door balcony. No wonder it’s said that space and privacy are the ultimate luxuries.
Some villas include a car and driver, a boon in destinations where road signs can be haphazard at best and everyone else behind the wheel seems to have authored their own version of the Highway Code. And while a chef is usually in attendance behind a highly metaphoric green baize door, if you want to get to grips with culinary matters yourself, the staff are only too happy to step aside. Again, this is part of the zest of a villa holiday – not just being the boss, but being the only boss.
The Asia Villa Guide is laid out by country and destination. Each villa is in a collection and has been given a rating to help you compare. Overleaf we walk you through our rating criteria and collections.
On each page of the guide, the nuts and bolts of the villas’ facilities, staff and rooms are embellished with photographs and an independent portrait penned by one of our team of experienced travel writers (who visit over 200 villas a year). Their aim is to it as they see it, so when you arrive for your dream holiday, you get what you are expecting. While we have no vested interest in one villa over the next, we do have vested interest in you agreeing with our reviews and ratings so that you’ll come back to us again to find your perfect piece of private paradise.