Like Airbnb, however for wealthy individuals


From the Monaco marinas to the slopes of Aspen, it’s no secret where the rich love to vacation.

But where they stay is more of a mystery. Rental apartments offer space and privacy, while luxury hotels have “as you wish” service staff ready to bend back to please their affluent clientele.

With “Ultra Luxury” villas, wealthy travelers can have both. The homes, which are the pinnacle of the luxury home rental market, have palace grounds, private chefs, and nighttime rates that match many people’s monthly mortgage payments.

“Ultra Luxury” Homes

For those who need more than the oversized bathtubs and marble kitchen countertops of a normal luxury home, there are “ultra-luxury” rental homes. The term is used by several landlords to distinguish outstanding homes from high-end vacation homes.

Casa Fryzer, a collection from the Chairman’s Collection in Los Cabos, Mexico, is said to have housed celebrity entertainers, kings, and Fortune 500 CEOs.

Courtesy Villas of Distinction

One such company is Icon Private Collection, which allows users to search for “ultra-luxury villas” on a budget that starts at $ 13,450 a night. Another, UltraVilla, connects travelers with luxury homes from Saint Martin to the South African vineyards of Franschhoek.

Villas of Distinction uses a different term to distinguish its best villas. The Chairman’s Collection homes offer prime locations, architecture and privacy, and “exquisite design both indoors and outdoors,” according to the company’s website.

Another choice of the Chairman’s Collection, La Dolce Vita by Turks & Caicos has nine bedrooms and an area of ​​over 12,300 square feet.

Courtesy Villas of Distinction

Out of more than 2,900 luxury rental properties, only 35 qualify for the special award, said Steve Lassman, vice president of Villas of Distinction.

“We have a few new ones in the next 30 days which are incredible,” he said, adding that some will start offering private jet service from 2021.

Other companies are more location-specific. Luxico rents five-star “Ultra-Villas” in Australia with daily housekeeping, personal butler, designer bed linen, stocked refrigerators and a “Sommelier’s Honesty Bar” that comes with top-quality wines and liquors.

“Private Resort” houses

Ani Private Resorts is a hybrid vacation option for wealthy travelers.

The company has four “private resorts” – located in Anguilla, Dominican Republic, Sri Lanka and Thailand – that combine the best aspects of a private villa and resort into one, said Ira Bloom, CEO of the company.

“In a private villa, guests have a lot of things to do for themselves, whether it’s hiring a cook, planning meals, doing the dishes … they’re mostly left alone with no staff,” said Bloom. “At Ani, we adapt everything to our guests.”

The 10-suite Ani Anguilla is open and taking reservations.

Courtesy Ani Private Resorts

Staff, most of whom have been trained at Aman Resorts and Four Seasons Hotels, can organize special requests, from fireworks parties to helicopter landing in the villas. They recently held a “Moana” birthday party at the Thailand site with staff in full costume, Bloom said.

The furnishings are also more like a resort than a rental house. Located on 20,000 square meters on the south coast, the location in Sri Lanka has its own tennis court (and tennis professional), an Ayurveda spa and an activity coordinator for children.

Despite the global coronavirus pandemic, all four properties are open, said Yeshi Phuntsho, the company’s managing director.

“Àni Anguilla and Àni Dominican Republic are conducting normal operations,” he said. “We were actually very busy there because people prefer to travel privately because of Covid.”

Ani Private Resorts employ kids activity coordinators to organize beach treasure hunts, baking classes and arts and crafts.

Courtesy Ani Private Resorts

The locations in Thailand and Sri Lanka are only open to domestic guests.

As in a private home, each location only houses one group at a time, Bloom said. Prices include meals, drinks (including alcohol), Wellness treatments, personal training, cooking courses and children’s entertainment.

The company used to charge a la carte, but going through a detailed list of fees wasn’t a “super fun” way to end a trip, Bloom said.

“With luxury all-inclusive, our guests can no longer worry about anything and simply be in the moment,” he said.

Fares: from $ 4,625 per night (8 adults) or $ 9,625 (28 adults)

Historic houses

After nearly a decade of restoration worth $ 40 million in 2019, London’s stately Templeton House is now accepting nightly guests. The 240-year-old Georgian mansion and former home of Winston Churchill has eight bedrooms, a spa and a 25-meter pool.

Templeton House is located in the London borough of Richmond upon Thames.

Courtesy of the Richstone Collection

In 2010, the house was bought by David and Laura Rich-Jones, the couple from Richstone Properties, a London-based real estate development company that entered the luxury housing market with the launch of La Bergerie in the south of France.

So began the Richstone Collection, an “ultra-exclusive portfolio of fully occupied properties,” said CEO David Rich-Jones.

Unlike many hotel and home rentals, instant bookings are not possible. According to Rich-Jones, guests who come primarily from “highly professional businesses” are evaluated before they can book.

The drawing room at Templeton House contains a portrait of Lady Templeton, the original occupant of the house.

“We always screen our guests – mostly to make sure they’re legal for travel and the source of funds,” said Rich-Jones. “It is also important for us that these properties, which are all privately owned by us, are respected.”

Exclusivity and privacy are two of the main reasons why guests book these properties.

“With a property from the Richstone Collection you can enjoy all the advantages of a top hotel, but in a very private setting,” said Director Laura Rich-Jones. “For example, you don’t have to share your pool or dining room with strangers.”

“Only a select few guests can stay each year,” she said. “And most bookings are made orally.”

La Bergerie is an eight bedroom villa with a professional kitchen, cinema, guest house and nearby helipad in Provence, France.

Courtesy of the Richstone Collection

Each home has a cook, sous chef, host, and a team of housekeepers. Services such as babysitting and yoga can be arranged. The company organizes activities such as mountaineering, gliding, and race car driving, all of which have been requested by previous guests.

Accommodation prices from:

Templeton House: £ 15,000 ($ 18,217)
La Bergerie: € 4,850 ($ 5,890)
Villa Charlotte: € 4,357 ($ 5,290)

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