As destinations around the world slowly begin to reopen to tourists, many people will be wary of holidaying in crowds. Safety will be a priority and bustling city breaks may feel overwhelming. So here are some luxury options that are guaranteed to keep you at a decent distance.
An island to yourself in the Maldives
The Maldives will begin welcoming visitors back this month and, for a holiday where you are absolutely guaranteed not to have to rub shoulders with strangers, Velaa Private island is offering an island buyout.
You can take some trusted friends with you – the island is home to 47 private villas, houses and residences, including four-bedroom options and the Romantic Pool Residence, which can only be reached via boat from the island.
After landing at Maafaru International Airport in the Maldives, you’ll be picked up in a private yacht and whisked off to the island, where you can partake in golfing, jet-skiing, windsurfing, pedal-boating or scuba diving. Alternatively, spend the day in the spa, or explore the sea in a mini submarine or an underwater drone that allows you to make short films. All without seeing another soul. Price on request.
A slice of Greece
The Greek Villas has launched The Private Hotel experience, featuring 57 remote residences across the Greek islands that combine total privacy with the services of a five-star hotel, including daily cleaning, catered meals and day trips. Options range from 11-bedroom properties with direct beach access to three-bedroom hilltop wellness retreats.
The newly built Villa Maldini on the island of Paros offers sea views and sleeps up to 16 people, with eight main bedrooms, a hammam, jacuzzi, gym, infinity pool and dining areas, for Dh13,000 per night; while the six-bedroom Villa Lopez in Mykonos is situated on a rocky outcrop, and boasts its own helipad, fire pit and playhouse, complete with a pool and private home cinema, for Dh13,700 per night.
In addition, The Greek Villas is offering a full refund up to 21 days prior to check-in for all reservations made for 2020.
A UK getaway
If you are looking for a UK getaway, but want to avoid the hustle and bustle of the country's crowded cities, the Monkey Island Estate in Bray, 40 minutes from London, has six private residences that offer a socially distanced stay.
Named to reflect their individual nature, each of the six period properties has an intriguing story of its own. Guests can look forward to a fully stocked fridge on arrival and can pre-arrange food orders from local restaurants, including a Sunday roast by Jack Blumenthal, delivered with all the trimmings, with 20 per cent of profits from each meal being donated to the NHS; Italian fare from Caldesi in Campagna; or French cuisine from Roux at Skindles.
Meanwhile, the surrounding countryside offers a multitude of walks, from picturesque Bray to the famous Dorney Lake and Bray Nature Reserve, as well as boat trips, electric bikes available to hire, picnic spots and horse-riding facilities.
Accommodation options include Long White Cloud, where Edward Elgar is known to have stayed and composed some of his greatest works. More recent residents include Formula One racing legend, Sir Stirling Moss. Sitting on the banks of the River Thames, the 19th century property has four large bedroom suites, a garden, private pool and a jetty, should you wish to arrive by boat. Rates start at Dh6,430 per night.
An entire village in France
If you are really keen to distance yourself, perhaps you’d like to hire out an entire village in France? Nestled in the heart of Gascony, amid a verdant, ever-changing landscape, this 13th century village with 14 private houses, a private swimming pool and tennis court, a smattering of pine trees, charming private gardens and even a church of its own, awaits. Leased by Oliver’s Travel and capable of accommodating between 50 and 80 guests, the village is ideal for large groups or special events.
Individual houses have been decorated and furnished with antiques and fabrics from the original era, so prepare to feel like you've stepped back in time (bar the wi-fi, of course). It costs about Dh285,000 per week.
A treehouse in Brazil
A jungle villa in the heart of the Brazilian rainforest is about as remote as it gets. Available through Stay One Degree and located in the Atlantic Rainforest in Brazil's Bahia state, the environmentally friendly accommodation is built from 60-year-old naturally felled timber and features an elevated terrace for premium tree jungle watching, a secluded garden, private pool and yoga deck. There’s also a fully equipped kitchen and a dining area engulfed in the forest canopy.
Hotel buyout in Puglia
Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa in Ostuni, Puglia, Italy, opened its doors for the first time on June 18, and if you want to be among the first to stay in this boutique property, you can now invest in an exclusive takeover of all 11 of its rooms. A red brick facade hides lush gardens and a private swimming pool – a rare bit of green space in the midst of the city of Ostuni. The hotel is a five-minute walk from the city’s main square, if you do want to go out and see some sites, otherwise you can make use of the property’s private spa or eclectic bar. Private boat trips, motorbike tours, art and cooking classes, and open-air cinema nights can also be organised. An exclusive buyout will cost from from Dh41,000 for two nights.
[ www.paragon700.com ]
A solitary safari
Located more than 300km from Johannesburg, and consisting of just five private villas, is Noka Camp by Lepogo Lodges, one of Africa’s few entirely not-for-profit high-end safari lodges.
Its remote location within the 50,000-hectare, malaria-free Lapalala Wilderness Reserve, makes it an ideal spot for a socially distanced stay, while 100 per cent of any financial gains made by the camp are reinvested back into the reserve for the benefit of wildlife, conservation and the local community.
Lepogo Lodges is also the first luxury camp in Africa to offset the carbon footprint of every visiting guest, from the time they leave their home to the moment they return.
Noka camp is now available for exclusive hire. You'll enjoy game drives and water safaris, yoga and spa experiences, as well as tours of iron-age settlements and bushman paintings in the cliffs below the lodge.
Nightly rates at Lepogo Lodges start from Dh3,520, per person, per night on an all-inclusive basis.