World class stays: The best private homes, villas, safari lodges and chalets to rent around the globe right now

From multi-generational summer holidays to adults-only celebrations, there's a holiday rental out there for every trip. Our Travel Editor, Rosie Paterson, selects some of the best.

La Maison d’Ascain, Ascain, Côte Basque, France

Who? Sleeps 16 (the owner says that eight adults and eight children works best). Groups with teenagers are well catered for. 

Why? Adults will love this historic house, recently refurbished by its Paris-based owners; teenagers will love its proximity to a lively village, surf-bashed beaches (surfing lessons available upon request) and nightlife. 

How? Book with SJ Villas from €18,750 (about £16,500) a week; minimum two-week stay required in July and August.

Don Arcangelo all’Olmo, Giarre, Sicily, Italy 

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Who? Sleeps 24. Best for the culturally minded.

Why? History buffs will feel at home inside this late-18th-century villa, which is under the protection of the local department of Fine Arts and Architectural Heritage group. Make the most of Sicily’s melting pot of architectural, art and cuisine styles with visits to the neighbouring towns of Catania and Taormina and, further afield, the Baroque towns of the Noto Valley and Palermo. Helicopter tours of Mount Etna are also available. 

How? Book with The Thinking Traveller from £19,442 a week.

Bittescombe Lodge, Somerset, England

Who? Sleeps 20. Perfect for large family celebrations on home soil. 

Why? Big birthdays and milestone anniversaries should be marked in style, but the thought of corralling three generations through Gatwick is enough to make even the calmest traveller break out in hives. Bittescombe Lodge is a fully staffed country house on the edge of Exmoor with wonderfully theatrical interiors, a swimming pool, cinema and snooker table to boot. Stalking, fishing and shooting can also be organised. No passport required. 

How? Book with Mandarin Oriental Exclusive Homes from £10,440 a night; two-night minimum stay required.

The Private Reserve at Soneva Fushi, Maldives 

Who? Sleeps up to 14 adults and nine children. Best for winter-sun breaks, young children and water babies. 

Why? Ask a child to draw their dream jungle house and it’s likely they’ll produce something that looks rather like Soneva’s 3,000sq m Private Reserve—with its gargantuan lagoon-style pool and sunken dining area, water slide, over-water hammocks and tree-branch bannisters. Assuming you can tear them away from the slide, the resort has an excellent children’s club and range of children-friendly activities—leaving you time to make the most of the Reserve’s private spa or embark on a manta-ray snorkelling expedition. 

How? Turquoise Holidays offers seven nights at Soneva Fushi’s Private Reserve from £239,000 on a half-board basis, based on a group of 12 people (eight adults and four children) travelling together, including return seaplane transfers and international flights, May 7, 2023–October 31, 2023. This price includes a 20% discount off the normal price.

Korakia, Porto Heli, Greece

Who? Sleeps 16–18. Perfect for a broad mix of ages and interests. 

Why? Porto Heli Greece is a cosmopolitan port village on the eastern side of Peloponnese, on the Greek mainland (‘You’re not beholden to weather gods, boat and plane schedules,’ points out Ileana von Hirsch of Five Star Greece). Grandparents will love the myriad mainland cultural sites from Mycenae to Corinth; parents will want to visit the rural hinterland with its olive-oil makers, honey and herb producers; children will gravitate towards all of the water sports on offer at nearby Kilada. There’s a small, semi-private beach and floating jetty at the bottom of Korakia’s garden, a shaded beach pavilion overlooking the pool, hard-surface tennis court and BBQ. 

How? Book with Five Star Greece from €87,500 (about £77,000) a week.

Eden at JAWAI at Suján Jawai, Rajasthan, India

Who? Sleeps six. Wide-eyed wonder guaranteed, regardless of age. 

Why? A safari is as exciting at age six as it is at 66—especially one in a tented camp surrounded by ancient rock formations and in such close proximity to wild leopards (that co-exist happily with nomadic tribes). Eden at JAWAI, a private encampment within the existing camp, is new for the winter season. There are three bedrooms across two tents, a separate lounge and dining tent, heated swimming pool and boma campfire. Twin with a trip to sister property Suján Sher Bagh in Ranthambore for a chance to spot the elusive tiger. Larger parties can book out Suján Jawai on an exclusive-use basis (sleeps 24 including Eden at JAWAI). 

How? Book with Scott Dunn for £55,099 for 11 nights, based on six people travelling and sharing on a B&B basis (full-board Jungle Plan at Suján JAWAI) and including international return flights from the UK, internal flights, private transfers and sightseeing activities in Udaipur and Jodhpur.

Villa Sainte-Anne, Antibes, France

Who? Sleeps 10. Best for super-chic, adult-only celebrations (leave the children at home).

Why? A dedicated butler can arrange poolside lunches, mix evening cocktails and organise trips into nearby Antibes at this private villa, part of the fabled Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc estate. Use of one of the hotel’s seafront cabañas comes as standard (Monica Bellucci is rumoured to have spent the night in one; Marc Chagall regularly sketched in them), as well as airport transfers, two 60-minute body treatments per day of stay and one day aboard a Aquariva Super yacht. 

How? From €13,800 (about £12,000) a night.

Chalet le Namaste, Courchevel 1850, France

Who? Sleeps up to eight adults and five children. Will suit skiers of all abilities. 

Why? Plenty of reasons: Chalet le Namaste is safe, situated in a gated part of the resort, offers ski-in/ski-out access to the green Bellecote piste and recently underwent a €1million renovation (so everything is in tip-top shape). A Courchevel-only lift pass is ample for beginners; intermediate and expert skiers should invest in the full Les 3 Vallées pass. Discounted family passes are also available. 

How? Book with Camel Snow from €49,900 (about £44,000) per week 

You can follow Rosie Paterson @rosielkpaterson