Thanks to the seclusion, privacy, and white-glove service they offer — think: private chefs, butlers, and other yours-only amenities — villas are among the most romantic types of accommodation out there. And with Valentine’s Day just around the corner, what better time to check out a few of the world’s newest and most lavish options? From Thailand to Jamaica, here are six new and improved villa offerings that promise the ultimate escape for lovebirds.
1. Kamalame Cay (Bahamas)
This barefoot-chic island retreat added two new villas to its inventory for the 2016 travel season. Dorado and Indigo Palm each clock in at 1,400 square feet and have two bedrooms and two and a half baths — as well as full kitchens, cedar shingle roofs, private verandas, and direct beach access. Dorado, which is situated just steps from the water’s edge, affords panoramic Atlantic Ocean views from elevated decks, while Indigo Palm has a breezy common room with French doors leading outside. Indigo Palm also has two additional sleeping nooks (perfect for a single girls’ getaway).
Value Tip: Stay during low season, from May 1 through August 14 as well as October 21 through December 14, when Dorado starts from $1,695 per night and Indigo Palm from $1,895 per night. That’s a savings of $820 per night compared to high season rates.
2. GoldenEye (Oracabessa, Jamaica)
Island Records founder and GoldenEye owner Chris Blackwell has unveiled an expansion to his Oracabessa resort that includes 26 new beach huts. Designed with an eye toward indoor/outdoor living, the standalone huts feature private verandas, oversized louvered windows, high ceilings, Jamaica-made furnishings, and breathtaking views of — wait for it — the Caribbean Sea, Oracabessa Bay, Button Beach, or Snorkeler’s Cove. Considering all the space and gorgeous vistas you get for $400 per night during low season (or $600 during high season), this is one of the best value villa experiences on this list.
To steam up your stay, book a hut with an outdoor shower or bath. The expansion also includes a new seaside bar and rooftop terrace, a freshwater pool area, a snorkeling cove and bayside beach, and a grill shack and drink stand. Bookings are now being accepted for stays starting April 1. (Translation: Those who aren’t able to plan a last-minute getaway for February can surprise their sweetheart on Valentine’s Day with reservations for a springtime stay.)
3. Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay (Bali, Indonesia)
For the first time in 22 years, the Four Seasons Jimbaran Bay has completely renovated and redesigned its premier and deluxe villas. The resort’s always held an undeniable allure for lovebirds, but Indonesian design firm Jaya International increased the size of the villas’ bedrooms by 50 percent, added new living areas, and upped the size of the premier villas’ plunge pools. Outdoors, villa guests can now take in Bali’s famously breathtaking ocean and sunset views from new thatched-roof poolside bales, which offer “roll-in” access to the suites’ private infinity-edge pools. The typical rates aren’t insignificant — from $1,050 per night for deluxe villas and $1,300 per night for premier villas — but they do include daily breakfast and activities.
Value Tip: If you book a villa stay at the Four Seasons Jimbaran Bay for Valentine’s Day, you can take advantage of its premier launch offer — 30 percent off the best available rate for the renovated premier ocean, family premier, and deluxe villas. Stays must be for a minimum of two nights and be completed by December 20.
4. Anantara Layan Phuket Resort (Thailand)
In November, this posh resort on Phuket’s tropical west coast unveiled its new Residences by Anantara. The 15 villa-style accommodations are located on a tree-lined hillside overlooking the secluded resort and offer live-in butler and chef quarters, fully equipped kitchens, roof decks, outdoor showers, spa and entertainment rooms, and private, 21-meter infinity-edge swimming pools with Thai-style poolside salas for relaxing. The two-story villas are available in three- to five-bedroom configurations. Setting the stage for romance, The Residences also have high, vaulted ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows that afford expansive views of Layan Beach — in other words, a picture-perfect setting for an unforgettable dinner à deux prepared by your very own chef. You’d be hard-pressed to find a more secluded, private experience in one of Thailand’s most crowded beach spots.
In February, rates start from 120,000 Thai bhat (about $3,347) per night for a three-bedroom residence to 220,000 (about $6,137) for a five-bedroom residence.
5. Nayara Springs (Arenal Volcano National Park, Costa Rica)
Tucked amid the lush green foliage of Costa Rica’s Arenal Volcano National Park, the adults-only Nayara Springs opened the first 13 villas of a 19-villa expansion project in early January. Modeled after Nayara Springs’ existing villas, each new one has a private plunge pool fed by crystal-clear hot springs located near the crater of the Arenal Volcano. Interior features include vaulted beamed ceilings, four-poster beds draped in soft mosquito netting, terraces with daybeds, and mini-bars that are free to enjoy (with the exception of wine). Thick greenery surrounds each villa, creating a serene and private atmosphere that’s perfect for visitors seeking romance. In addition to the villas, Nayara Springs’ expansion will unveil a new gym, yoga pavilion, a new pool, restaurant, swim-up bar, and espresso bar in May — with the final six villas set for completion in June.
The villas start from $650 per night year-round, but if you’re able to splurge more, Nayara Springs is offering an On Cloud 9 package for Valentine’s Day with exclusive perks. The three-night experience, clocking in at $7,805 total, includes: a private helicopter ride over the Arenal Volcano and its surrounding rainforest and waterfalls; a guided tour of the Doka Coffee plantation, complete with authentic coffee to bring back home; a hot-stone massage; and a private dinner for two in a rainforest bungalow with live music.
6. Las Catalinas (Costa Rica)
If it’s a beach experience you want in Costa Rica, book a stay at 10 Calle la Ronda in the new beachside community of Las Catalinas, situated on Costa Rica’s Guanacaste Coast. By taking over the new seven-bedroom villa, you’ll have your pick of sleep spaces, but none outshine its third-floor master suite — which has a king bed, breakfast bar, and private terrace with gorgeous ocean views. In addition to creature comforts like a media room, a kitchen and kitchenettes, an outdoor dining terrace, and an outdoor pool with a waterfall feature and cabana area, a stay at 10 Calle la Ronda includes daily maid service and breakfast and snacks prepared in-house. A concierge is on hand to arrange services like airport transfers, grocery deliveries, boating excursions, and in-room spa treatments for two — the perfect Valentine’s Day treat.
Value Tip: Rates for the seven-bedroom villa start at $1,200 per night in low season — that’s about 33 percent off the high-season starting rate of $1,800.