Ever wanted to blend in with the stars in Los Angeles’ Hollywood Hills, gaze at Paris’ Eiffel Tower from your private balcony, or dine al fresco on St. Martin island, arguably one of the best sunset gazing spots on Earth? You’re not alone. For the dreamers out there, wake up—these top luxury vacation rentals from Luxury Retreats’ extensive portfolio should be on your bucket list.
Hollywood Hills Sanctuary in Hollywood, California
Close to: Universal Studios, Santa Monica, and Downtown Los Angeles
Located at the base of the iconic Hollywood Hills, this three-bedroom, 3,000-square-foot gem is close to all of Los Angeles’s action, but still tucked away on a quiet street off Hollywood Boulevard. Hollywood Hills Sanctuary is just a 20-minute jaunt from all the action, shopping, restaurants, bars, and comedy clubs of iconic Sunset Strip, and about the same distance from popular hiking areas like Runyon Canyon. If the City of Angels does you pull you away from the home, it’ll likely be for a jaunt down the eccentric Venice Beach promenade (14 miles away), chic restaurants in Santa Monica (11 miles away), shopping like an A-lister on Rodeo Drive or Wilshire Boulevard (each about four miles away), or taking in a superstar performance at downtown’s Staples Center (10 miles away).
Yet temptation may strike to simply stay in. And why not, when your pad has its own koi pond, swimming pool with a waterfall, hot tub, and outdoor fireplace? And that’s just the backyard. Walking through the Sanctuary feels like touring an art exhibit, as it’s impeccably laid out with an eclectic mix of modern furnishings and mid-century style, all strategically lit to call attention to its most important spaces. The master suite is fit for stars. Mornings start here by stepping out onto the balcony and pulling up a chair next to the private koi pond. A more relaxing way to start your day we can’t imagine. And if you or someone in your party plays piano, take advantage of the black baby grand piano to create your own intimate show.
Finca Austria Nosara Estate in Nosara, Costa Rica
Close to: Four beaches, all within 11 km—Playa Nosara, Playa Pelada, Playa Guiones, and Playa Garza.
The laid-back village and district of Nosara is one of Costa Rica’s most relaxing vacation getaways thanks to its proximity to beaches, surfing, and yoga culture. Often, the three intersect and you may find yourself doing yoga on the beach before grabbing a board and hitting the waves. Take Playa Guiones, a beach awarded a Blue Flag certification for its eco-friendly and well-maintained shoreline. The quaint town and its beaches remain light on tourism, making them ideal for R & R. A place to escape and simply relax, this village on Guanacaste Province’s Nicoya Peninsula makes it easy to fully immerse yourself in your beautiful natural surroundings.
The Hacienda feel is evident in Nosara Estate’s beamed ceilings, stucco walls, and wrought-iron chandeliers. The open-plan interiors are warm and breezy and wicker seating and floral prints lend to a tropical vibe. The estate is made up of two four-bedroom villas: Casa Colibri and Villa Mariposa. Each villa has its own outdoor pool, shower, an al fresco dining area, and shared access to some incredible amenities. The most private way to enjoy your stay here is to rent both villas and have the whole estate to yourselves—combined, its eight bedrooms (including a perfect kids room with two twin beds) can accommodate up to 19 people and any type of group. Host your own mini Olympics on the property’s tennis court, basketball court, or soccer field. Or just laze poolside in a hammock under a palapa from sun up until sundown. One of the best lounging spots is the daybed on the rooftop patio, with views over the vast, verdant landscape.
Celine in St. Germain des Pres, Paris
Close to: Café de Flor, Pont des Arts, the Louvre Museum, the Eiffel Tower.
This spacial Parisian escape is for the lovebirds. Celine is an intimate, one-bedroom, honeymoon-worthy Parisian chef-d’œuvre in the 6th Arrondissement just steps from some of the most popular attractions in the City of Lights. The master bedroom has a comfortable Queen bed, a flat screen TV embedded in a large bookcase, and a desk for journaling the day’s adventures. The connected ensuite bathroom with a stand up shower is one of two in the apartment. Since Celine is right in the thick of Paris’ historic Left Bank, don’t miss the chance to step out onto the bedroom’s balcony for a bird’s eye view. The apartment’s tall French doors offer a view of the Eiffel Tower and some iconic Parisian rooftops—a perfect backdrop for a candlelit dinner.
Indulge in the Sixième’s café culture at local staples like Café de Flor, Les Deux Magots, or Le Procope. With its bohemian and intellectual reputation, the 6th Arrondissement is known as Paris’ most prosperous neighborhoods, and one of its centers for fashion, art, and architecture. And of course, don’t miss some of Paris’s greatest sights like the Luxembourg Gardens, the Louvre Museum, and the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris, all within a few miles of the villa.
Lo Stazzo Country House in Porto Cervo, Italy
Close to: Downtown Porto Cervo, Costa Smeralda, Cala Di Volpe.
Porto Cervo was created by Prince Karim Aga Khan in the 1950s, and quickly became a billionaire’s playground—and a hotspot for yachts—on the island of Sardinia. Now a town of less than 500 residents, it remains a top-tier luxury destination, but a nearby airport now means you no longer need a yacht to get to the village and its various luxurious accommodations. Among them, Lo Stazzo Country House is one of the most exclusive. Being in the large freeform swimming pool feels like being inside a lagoon, as you’re surrounded by trees and lush green hillside that spills down to the sea below. High ceilings, white contemporary furnishings, and glass doors give the living areas of the home an airy feel. And while its secluded location promises peace and privacy, downtown Porto Cervo is just 10 minutes away by car.
Nearby, there’s plenty to keep you entertained. There’s Pevero Golf Club, the Porto Cervo Tennis Club, and several beaches. In the Costa Smeralda area, home to some of Europe’s most expensive real estate, you’ll find designer boutiques, fine restaurants, and exclusive nightspots. Plan your visit in September to catch the Sardinia Cup sailing regatta, held right off its coast. And polo matches can be seen in town all summer.
Bamboo in Hillside, St. Martin
Close to: Marigot, Long Bay Beach, Sint Maarten, Princess Juliana International Airport.
With two stunning bedrooms and open indoor-outdoor living spaces, Bamboo is the perfect villa for a romantic getaway or a multi-couple trip. You could spend your entire day by the pool, barbecuing, dining al fresco, or just enjoying the unobstructed views with a drink in hand. You’re spoiled throughout the home; each of the bedrooms has a king-sized bed and a private bathroom that feels like your very own spa, combining luxurious woods and limestone alongside oversized walk-in showers.
But of course, coastal St. Martin surroundings draw you to spend most of your time outdoors right from the get-go. After a pleasant seven-minute drive from the airport, the dramatic walk up to the villa’s grand entrance sets the tone for the whole stay. A breathtaking view of the sea serves as the backdrop, so set your alarm prior to sunset every evening so as not to miss a moment of the beauty.
Bamboo is just 10 minutes from the French capital of Marigot, home to some of St. Martin’s hidden beaches like Red Bay and Friar’s Bay (beware those that are clothing optional), lively markets, and some of the Caribbean’s best dining in renowned Grand Case. Just south of Bamboo over the French-Dutch border, take advantage of casinos, beach clubs, and golf courses.
Villa Divina in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Close to: Malecon, Marina Golf Course, Playa Conchas Chinas, Licenciado Gustavo Diaz Ordaz International Airport.
Planning a large family getaway or a trip with a big group of friends? Villa Divina is the perfect vacation rental to host a crowd, easily accommodating up to 22 people. A big plus is the fact that Divina has nine bedrooms—and they’re each impressive enough to ensure no arguments over “the best room.” Each one has a king sized bed, an ensuite bathroom with shower, and a private lounge area either inside or outside. Plus, a two-bedroom penthouse beside the main house is perfect for a small family or couple that wants a little extra privacy. And a large swimming pool and hot tub facing the ocean means everyone can enjoy the stunning view. Regular housekeeping keeps things spotless, and a private chef can be arranged for two meals a day—a priceless amenity for a large group looking to spend as much time together as possible. Alfresco dining is an added bonus.
Divina is just two and a half miles from Puerto Vallarta’s famous boardwalk, the Malecon, a favorite location for a quiet stroll lined with palm trees and a sea breeze. For something a little more active, there are several golf courses nearby, including the lush Marina Vallarta Golf Club. For something more relaxing, three beaches can be found within just 10 minutes by car. Great day trips from PV include Marietas Islands in Banderas Bay, Sayulita to the north, and Guadalajara a few hours inland.