It comes as no surprise that a collection of hotels crafted over nearly 25 years is chock full of dream destinations, design standouts, and original experiences. But it’s precisely this quest for unique offerings that has led Design Hotels™ to the forefront of a trend in hospitality-one that now sees travelers seeking out private residences and villas for their stays.
And hence, a crop of stunning homes curated by visionary hoteliers is catering to new ways friends and family are traveling together. The takeaway: An immaculate stay steeped in the intimacy of a private home with all the finer perks of a full-service hotel.
From the treetops of Tulum to the bountiful acreage of an Ibizan farmstead, and a few incomparable settings in between, let the bold perspectives of true artisans immerse and amplify the local experience through their singular expressions of home. These five private villa properties are the culmination of a new breed of compelling hospitality experiences that is transforming the travel landscape.
TULUM TREEHOUSE — Tulum, Mexico
Nestled among a swaying sea of lush emerald palms, Tulum Treehouse is a full-service private home located a stone’s throw from the heart of Tulum—yet it is a fortuitous jungle setting near the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve that sets this experience apart. Here, a sublime private house can be rented with only the three bedrooms, or as a five-bedroom accommodation. Created by local craftspeople in collaboration with an international design crew, the team collectively put sustainability above all. The Tulum-based, full-service architecture studio Co-Lab Design Office and interior designer and stylist Annabell Kutucu have taken the natural beauty of the Yucatán as primary inspiration, conscious not only to preserve and protect the biodynamically rich environment, but to also create a stay deeply connected to the natural world. Large common areas, several spacious wrap-around terraces, multiple spaces for indoor-outdoor living, and five bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms make up this exclusive, full-service jungle escape.
EROSANTORINI — Santorini, Greece
Designed by Milan-based designer Paola Navone, the two-acre estate is set 300 meters above the sea overlooking Santorini’s iconic caldera. Conceived and created by Athens-based x2 Architecture, the year-round enclave boasts an infinity pool that cascades over three levels, dramatic floating fireplaces, heated flooring, and outdoor Jacuzzis. The property is also augmented by a rare, underground sound system. The exclusive-hire retreat accommodates up to 10 adults and 4 children, with seamless, anticipatory service provided by a dedicated on-site team. Erosantorini represents the best of both worlds for the discerning, combining the most desirable elements of a luxury resort, an exclusive private villa, and the welcoming home of a beloved friend. There’s also a private chapel, a wine cellar, and a cinema under that cerulean Greek sky to complete the stunning picture. And the most precious gift of all: complete privacy.
LA GRANJA — Ibiza, Spain
A farmstead set among Ibiza’s pastoral inlands, La Granja is a 10-room members-only retreat available for private hire launched in collaboration with Friends of a Farmer, an international association devoted to the cultivation of art, crops, and inner gardens. Focusing on the essential and the raw beauty of natural materials and imperfections, the Dreimeta design team individually built La Granja’s furnishings rooted in the grounding aesthetics of wabi sabi. An overarching return-to-the-land concept means La Granja features an on-site master farmer who oversees communal farming projects and workshops. Signed and labeled garden plots encourage open access and self-guided tours, and guests can learn about biodynamic agriculture through a series workshops, classes, and community-based projects. An enlightened program of rituals—from communal farming and slow food workshops—daily music sets, and lectures on diverse topics such as the future of mobile societies fosters a spirit of organic togetherness.
PIET BOON BONAIRE — Bonaire, Caribbean
Here, in the Dutch Antilles, just 50 kilometers from the island of Curaçao and 80 kilometers from Venezuela, eight private villas are the unmistakable work of Dutch design guru Piet Boon. The villas pay homage to the island’s cunucu houses while stone floors, minimalist furniture, and an ultra-spacious living spaces lead out onto private terraces, which have cool pools and easy access to the sea are the signature work of the international design darling. Each four-bedroom villa boasts a kitchen, a private pool, and an open-air living room, while daybeds and gazebos on the beach are part of the experience for guests of the seafront villas. Ranging from 340 to 580 square meters, the villas are sprawling havens ideal for families and groups of friends. In addition, The Boon House comprises eight double rooms, each featuring a private terrace.
CHEZ GEORGES — Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
High on a hilltop in Rio de Janeiro’s lush Santa Teresa neighborhood between the city’s center and the sandy beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema, Chez Georges is an impressive work of Brazilian Brutalism by the nationally renowned architect Wladimir Alves de Souza. Thanks to the private villa’s lofty and secluded location on the edge of a protected forest, such sights as Sugarloaf Mountain, Guanabara Bay, and the city rooftops provide impressive backdrops from various vantage points. The seven-suite villa and separate two-bedroom studio is characterized by rich woods, azulejo mosaics, spectacular artwork, and a glorious mix of midcentury European and Brazilian furnishings from names such as Nils Jonsson, Jo Hammerbörg, VB Wilkins, and Ricardo Fasanello, as well as handpicked pieces from the antique markets of Paris, Brussels, Ghent, and Antwerp. Not only a design showcase, the property is a music-lovers dream as the entire house is hooked up to a state-of-the-art music production room situated below the welcoming 14-meter-long pool transforming the villa into a huge recording studio.