Who Wouldn’t Want to Stay in Sting’s 16th-Century Tuscan Villa or a Scottish Castle on a Loch?
By Anastasia Mills Healy
How would you like to relax with friends around Sting’s pool in Tuscany or screen a film in George Lucas’ state-of-the-art movie theater in his Umbria home? Laura Blair of In Villas Veritas can arrange that and much more.
“A lot of people have snazzy websites but nothing to back them up. I’ve personally visited every property I recommend,” says Blair. She’s been matching discerning guests to exceptional properties around the globe since 1997.
In Villas Veritas
If Africa is calling you, Roar Africa CEO and Founder Deborah Calmeyer can expertly tailor a private safari for you as she did for Robert Redford.
“It was a privilege to be able to design and deliver Mr. Redford’s return to Africa since filming the beloved ‘Out of Africa.’ This journey included his first visit to South Africa and Botswana, and a highlight of his trip was his safari in Botswana where he could witness firsthand the proactive practices of eco-tourism and effective conservation. It was humbling to hear him say that his journey was one of the most transformative experiences he’d ever had,” says Calmeyer.
If fly fishing for salmon, grouse hunting, clay pigeon shooting, golf, and a visit to a whisky distillery followed by repose in your own Scottish castle is more your style, ring Jonathan Townsend-Rose and Andrew Loyd of LTR.
“Approximately 80 percent of our business is either repeat or referred,” says Townsend-Rose who advises clients not to be concerned about drafty rooms and cold water. “Owners have completely modernized and refurbished their castles to the very highest of standards ensuring that guests can enjoy supreme comfort.”
Tips and Trends
Blair of In Villas Veritas is deeply familiar with the Caribbean and since recent hurricanes she has seen an increased interest in the Grenadines while St. Barts, St. Maarten, and Anguilla have gone out of favor. She personally recommends Canouan, which is “next to Mustique but very different. It’s a sleepy, beautiful island with a fantastic resort that’s low key but has all the amenities. Hopefully it won’t get too built up.”
What about Europe? “Greece is hot; St. Tropez is out; Provence is back. I’m also seeing a lot of interest in Croatia,” Blair says.
“Belize and Costa Rica are popular with younger, active families. The north coast of the Dominican Republic now has an amazing luxury property with private, ultra modern residences and villas,” Blair adds.
Why Rent a Villa?
“Villas have become like mini resorts. They now offer everything you can find in a resort: a pool, spa, massages, sports personnel, trainer, chef, and concierge, all working just for you,” Blair says.
Villas also offer privacy and exclusivity and are more transparent regarding costs than resorts. “Hotels have so many extra costs…When you pay for a villa, most everything is included and easily explained, so final costs are well known and clear upfront.”
Not only do Blair, Calmeyer, Townsend-Rose and Loyd match clients with properties – including some that are not publicized – but they also design bespoke experiences and activities for them.
Blair can get you behind the scenes for Siena’s Palio and access to see Michelangelos in a private home
Calmeyer has arranged a visit to the president’s residence, a meeting with Nelson Mandela’s prison guard, and tastings of South Africa’s premier wines that never reach the shelves.
“Those wishing to experience the ultimate in residential living can select from beachfront villas with multiple pools and a personal chef, or expansive homes featuring stunning vistas and butler service. Realizing the tremendous appeal of authentic residential experiences, we have also recently introduced a Private Homes Tour in Cape Town, providing exclusive access to a curated selection of inspiring homes and spaces not ordinarily accessible to the public,” Calmeyer says.
Blair has organized everything from sizable celebrations to ensuring guests have the firmness of pillow they desire. She assures “no surprises, except of the pleasurable kind.”
“We offer exemplary and seamless logistics from start to finish for everything we create, and maintain full control throughout every journey. The result is a refined luxury travel experience where every detail is attended to, allowing our guests to enjoy a stress-free holiday defined by extraordinary levels of expertise, insight and unique access,” says Calmeyer.
In Villas Veritas http://invillas.com/
Roar Africa https://www.roarafrica.com/