Here at i-escape we don’t just do hotels. Did you know that over 300 of the properties in our hand-picked collection are self-catering rentals? We’ve got something to suit every group and budget, and we’ve shared some of our favourites below – alongside some top villa-booking tips from our expert team.
If your 2017 resolutions are to a) go on more holidays (good choice!), and b) spend more time with your loved one, then what better way to fulfil both than tucking yourselves away at a romantic bolthole just for two? I’ve booked a surprise toddler-free getaway for my husband and I at Hoxton Boutique Houseboats, two cool but cosy floating sanctuaries in vibrant East London. Further from home, The Gecko on the Greek island of Lefkas has light and airy rooms and long views out to sea from its private pool, while The Beach Hut near Galle in Sri Lanka is a secluded yet staffed coastal getaway where you don’t have to cook!
It’s no secret that family breaks tend to be a whole lot easier the more space you have, especially when you can easily make snacks for hungry kids or sit back and relax in another room after they’ve gone to bed. Surrounded by nothing but wooded hills, farmland and utter peace, Tuscany’s Fattoria Barbialla Nuova is the ultimate escape from city life, where kids can run free and you can all forage for fresh fruit and herbs. On home soil, a short walk from a sandy Cornish beach, are Merlin Farm Eco Cottages. They’re luxe but laidback, and a firm favourite with i-escapers and our guests.
Travelling en masse? Finding self-catering getaways for groups of friends or multi-generational family breaks for 10-30 people needn’t be hard work. Our collection features everything from huge country piles like France’s picture-perfect Chateau Rigaud, to clusters of cottages where you can all have your own space. Our Editor-in-Chief loved his stay in the cosy cottages at West Charleton Grange, set in a pretty valley near Kingsbridge in Devon. If falling asleep to the sound of the sea appeals, then Glen Beach Villas near Cape Town are set right on a sandy beach where local surfers carve up the waves.
Cosy boltholes in resort-type settings are ideal for those who love the extra space and privacy of a self-catering pad, but not the cooking and clearing up (it’s a holiday, after all!). For the ultimate get-away-from-it-all experience, Onar is a group of nine stone houses on a secluded cove on the tiny Greek island of Andros, where wonderful home-cooked meals are served under the shade. On more distant shores, the cool casas at Brazil’s UXUA Casa Hotel & Spa come with the option to self-cater or be given the five-star treatment: win win.