The best overseas villas for a holiday

‘Corsica is one of the Mediterranean’s best-kept secrets-astonishing natural beauty combined with a fiercely independent spirit. My favourite villa is in the Porto Vecchio region- Le Domaine features five individual bergeries with private pools set within an 110-acre estate, less than 10 minutes’ drive from the island’s beautiful, Caribbean-like beaches.’

Graham Simpson, owner of Simpson Travel
Simpson Travel has villas in Corsica, Greece, Turkey, Mallorca and Morocco (020-8392 5858; www.

‘One of my favourites has to be Gallo Pastre-a charming, spacious bastide near the picturesque, pastel-coloured village of Collobrières. This characterful rural villa is full of soul inside, and set in 20 acres of wonderfully peaceful private land-the only sounds are the cicadas. The views are breathtaking, and the telescope in the master bedroom is perfect for those who, like me, enjoy looking at the stars, after a delicious alfresco dinner on the terrace.’
Francis Torrilla, managing director of CV Travel
CV Travel offers villas and hotels in the Mediterranean, the Caribbean and beyond (020-7401 1010;

‘A luxurious and elegant home on an estate in the heart of Chianti, Villa Rignana is definitely one of my top choices, with so much on offer. There’s an array of animals -including ponies, dogs and ducks-a trampoline and a tennis court, as well as a sauna and croquet for the more sedate. It’s the perfect place in which to enjoy a luxury holiday with a large gathering of friends and family, and, of course, there’s lots of delicious local wine to try.’
Merrion Charles, founder of Merrion Charles Travel
Each of the villas in the Merrion Charles Travel portfolio is a home with its own particular style and charm (020-3326 1213;

North Africa
‘It’s got to be Dar el Kamalia (company reference number 69), close to Marrakech, the quintessence of beautiful architectural design, with accommodation for 12 in superb ensuite bedrooms. The grounds are filled with exotic plants and fountains, there’s a beautiful pool with an underwater music system and a jet stream, a marble hammam, a fitness complex, a clay tennis court and even a home cinema.Then, of course, there’s Marrakech itself to explore nearby.’
Pamela Nicholson, managing director of Private Properties Abroad

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Private Properties Abroad has villas in France, Greece, Italy, Spain,North Africa and Thailand (01423 330533;


Bird of Paradise in Anguilla is the jewel in our crown. Balinese in style, it’s set up on a hill, with incredible sea views. The pool runs right through the middle, creating a waterway, and a bridge allows access to the master suite, which has a gorgeous, spacious living area, looking out across the ocean. As if all this isn’t enough, the chef is outstanding and will even give you cooking lessons, so you can learn some tricks of the trade.’

Michelle Sephton, managing director of Elegant Resorts
Elegant Resorts has run tailormade holidays for more than 22 years, with properties around the world and a dedicated concierge service (01244 897505;

The Balearics

‘My personal favourite is El Sueño, set in a secluded area near Artà, in north-east Mallorca. It’s the gardens I really love-the villa is surrounded by a sprawling six-acre private estate, with fruit trees and a vegetable gardens. Despite its amazing seclusion, terrific beaches and several golf courses are only a short drive away-it’s the very definition of having your cake and eating it, too.’

Charlie Stephenson, managing director of Abercrombie & Kent Villas
El Sueño is available through Abercrombie & Kent Villas, which specialises in hosted and tailormade holidays in properties in France, Spain, Italy, Greece and the Americas (0845 618 2205;


‘Goddards is a sublime Lutyens house with a Gertrude Jekyll garden, amid ancient countryside in the Surrey Hills, yet within sight of Canary Wharf. Its charm is that it’s a place to do lots or very little, as the mood takes you.

It’s perfect for family events and celebrations in its atmospheric dining room or for more informal socialising, with skittles in its own alley, walks and rides in the woods. Surrey is our most wooded county, and this is the perfect place from which to explore it in style.’

Peter Pearce, director of The Landmark Trust
The Landmark Trust is a building-preservation charity that rescues interesting buildings and lets them as holiday rentals (01628 825925;

* This article appears in COUNTRY LIFE INTERNATIONAL, out with COUNTRY LIFE magazine on March 2 

** Luxury overseas properties for sale