Exclusive Resorts specializes in luxury European holidays with a curated collection of one-of-a-kind luxury private villas and apartments that come with a personal local host for a true insider experience. “Our Members will be thrilled to know that many of their favorite European destinations will be available again next summer, along with some exciting new additions,” says Moni Szabolcs, Director of the Exclusive Resorts Experience Collection. Our diverse portfolio of exclusive holiday homes features multi-bedroom residences in Dubrovnik, Lake Como, Sicily and the Amalfi Coast, along with exquisite apartments in San Sebastian and Lisbon. New for next year, we have a pied-à-terre in Florence and stunning villas in Provence and Corfu.
The pièce de résistance? Every one of our residences is scouted and handpicked by The Experience Collection Team for its uniqueness and sense of place in every destination. Members are in the best of hands with seasoned local hosts that meticulously curate each getaway based on specific interests and preferences. Here is our team's insider recommendations and not-to-be-missed experiences from the 2023 European Villa Collection.
AMALFI COAST, ITALY
Outside of exploring Positano, there is so much to do in nearby towns. Rent a private boat, or take the Positano ferry to the picturesque island of Capri for the day; you can shop, eat, and explore historic ruins or spend the day at the Lido. We suggest exploring the island via a private car and driver to cover more ground, and don’t miss the quieter area of Anacapri. We can also arrange to take you to Pompeii — an absolute must — then on to the National Archaeological Museum in Naples where all the original artifacts from Pompeii are kept. If you’re hungry, Naples is also famous for their pizza, arguably the best in Italy.
WHERE YOU WILL STAY — Clinging to the cliffside, the Club's Villa Bella boasts breathtaking sea views. A private pool and spacious outdoor terrace are made for taking in the scenery between shoreline explorations and hikes from village to village.
Corfu’s Old Town, about an hour from your villa, is a knot of streets and alleys that wind through Venetian and Neoclassical houses painted pale yellow and orange — it’s a beautiful walk. Feeling the call of the ocean? Book a sailing or speed boat to spend the day swimming (float in the salt water of the Ionian Sea), snorkeling, fishing or enjoying a meal in one of the quiet bays of Koloura or Agni. Speaking of food, Corfiot cuisine is famous for its Mediterranean character with Venetian influence. Try Sofritos, a trademark dish, which consists of fried thin slices of beef cooked with white sauce, garlic, pepper, white wine, vinegar and parsley.
WHERE YOU WILL STAY — New to the collection for 2023, our residences in Corfu — Villa Exi and Villa Trina — allow you to get swept away in the beauty of Greece's natural landscape. Our villas boast ample outdoor dining and seating spaces, large infinite edge pools, and breathtaking Ionian Sea views.
Walk the perimeter of the city walls to take in Dubrovnik’s unique architecture and the clear Adriatic Sea. Game of Thrones fan? Much of the series was filmed in Dubrovnik and Members can visit sites from specific scenes or hire a Game of Thrones guide for all the insider details. For the most mesmerizing view of the Dalmatian Coast, embark on a private boat tour and cruise among the Elaphiti Isles, which have been home to captains and sailors since the Dubrovnik Republic. Don't hesitate to jump in and explore the crystal clear seas on a stop in a hidden bay (you can even dive into underwater caves). And when you’ve worked up an appetite, dive into some oysters. In the peninsula towns of Ston and Mali Ston, famed for their 14th century city walls and Roman-era saltpans, you can accompany a local fisherman on an oyster harvest, followed by a lunch prepared before your very eyes.
WHERE YOU WILL STAY — Centrally located to many of Croatia's cultural and famous offerings, Villa Arya & Villa Mare are perfect for your Eurotrip. Inside, find unique interiors, while outdoor living rooms and private pools overlook Old Town.
One of the most cultural and historic cities in the world, Florence is packed with many must-sees. Here’s our shortlist: the Florence Cathedral (Duomo), Palazzo Vecchio, Ponte Vecchio, Uffizi Palace and Gallery, and Galleria dell’ Accademia — the home of Michelangelo’s David sculpture. For a great view, visit San Miniato al Monte, located on a hill on the far side of the Arno River, (for those more energetic, you can rent a bike and cycle two miles up). Florence is known for its leather markets, so check out Santa Croce and the market nearby San Ambrogio for leather jackets, purses, bags and gifts. Need a snack? All’Antico Vinaio, a two-minute walk from the Palazzo Vecchio, is the go-to place for an epic sandwich.
WHERE YOU WILL STAY — Located off the Arno River and just steps from the Ponte Vecchio, the luxurious San Jacopo Apartment offers the intimacy of a private home right in the heart of one of the most cultural and historical cities in the world.
LAKE COMO, ITALY
The best way to settle into lake life? A private boat tour, of course. You’ll pass many attractions including Bellagio, Varenna, Tremezzo with the splendid gardens of Villa Carlotta, the Villa del Balbianello (which you’ll recognize from Casino Royale and Star Wars 2), and Isola Comacina, the only Island on the lake (it has a charming restaurant, too). Of course, a trip to Lake Como isn’t complete without a visit to Como itself, Italy’s silk capital and birthplace of Alessandro Volta, inventor of the battery (you can visit museums for both). The charming village of Bellagio, the 'Pearl' of Lake Como, is home to silk and leather shops if you feel like shopping. Swing by Villa Serbelloni and the Roccafella Centre, and take in the stunning lakeside gardens at Villa Melzi, which was beloved by Napoleon. If you go to Bellagio by private boat, you can stay for the evening and enjoy the live music in any of the many bars and restaurants.
WHERE YOU WILL STAY — Our five-bedroom Villa Pendio is blessed with breathtaking lake views. The sunroom is the perfect spot for an aperitif — or sip Italian wines from your cellar in the garden, on the lake view terrace, or by the private pool.
Lisbon’s family-friendly Tram 28 is the perfect way to explore the city’s iconic architecture and give your feet a break from cobblestone streets and endless hills. For a history lesson, head to Belém, and fuel up with a pastel de nata from the Pastéis de Belém bakery. Then make your way to Belém Tower on the Tagus River — a monument to Portugal’s power in the 1500s. Climb up to the top for amazing views before heading to Jerónimos Monastery, a place known for spiritual protection for sailors and explorers during the Portuguese Age of Discovery. (Take note of the mix of nautical, religious, and royal symbols sculpted into the stonework.) Up for a day trip? Sintra, located half an hour away, is set amidst the mythical Mountains of the Moon and home to baroque churches, colorful mansions, and the grand palaces of former Portuguese kings and queens. Check out Pena Palace and its lush, surrounding grounds — even the drive through the windy wooded roads to get there is an experience.
WHERE YOU WILL STAY — Sip cocktails in the private courtyard, warm your toes by the traditional fireplace, then rise and shine to a breakfast-stocked kitchen. Our two-bedroom residence, Apartamento Colinas, is walkable to many Lisbon mainstays for exploration.
Start your day (Wednesday, specifically) with a trip to the St. Rémy market to stock up on fine French delicacies and souvenirs like soaps, baskets, and fabrics. Then, explore the old town — with its winding streets, fountains, archways, and intriguing mix of traditional shops and upscale boutiques, it’s St. Rémy's main attraction. Les Antiques (the Roman ruins of Glanum) is a must, and art lovers can savor the views that inspired some of Van Gogh's most famous works when he was a patient at the Cloître St. Paul le Mausolée clinic. For a picturesque experience, take a guided bicycle tour into the heart of Les Alpilles, the area surrounding the villa, which is renowned for its olive groves and vineyards. Then, enjoy a picnic at Domaine de Lauzières. Want to sing for your supper? Go truffle hunting with a professional Trufficulteur and his truffle dog, then have a truffle-infused lunch and wine tasting at the Maison de la Truffe et du Vin in Menerbes.
WHERE YOU WILL STAY — Our luxury residences, Villa St. Remy and Villa de Ventoux, allow you to relax in comfort, with access to bustling village markets and the best of local cuisine. A stay in Provence is all about slowing down to appreciate the meaningful moments of life.
SAN SEBASTIAN, SPAIN
Rooted in Basque tradition and known as the Pearl of the Cantabrian Sea, San Sebastian possesses a unique beach-mountain magic. Explore your surroundings with a stroll along La Concha Beach’s promenade for views from Mount Urgul, Igeldo, or Ulia. Got a pirate enthusiast in your life? Work up an appetite discovering picturesque pirate villages via St. James Way. And now for the food: gastronomy is both an art and identity for San Sebastian (in fact, it’s the second city with the most Michelin stars in the world). Take a Pintxo (tapas) tour to get a taste for it on a more local level and discover the city’s greatest culinary secrets. Toast with 'Txakoli', which is a sparkling white wine from coastal vineyards, a cider from traditional apple trees, or a glass of red from the famous region of La Rioja. If you have time, travel The Corniche Route, only 15 minutes from San Sebastian, into France. It’s a historic and sensorial journey — think Belle Époque, pirates, 1950s Hollywood surfers, markets, pintxos, oysters, wine, cheese, and chocolate.
WHERE YOU WILL STAY — Our luxury homes, Casa Del Rio, Casa La Concha, and Casa Zurriola boast water views in a prime location steps from beaches, sights, and restaurants. After sightseeing, siesta in plush beds, or enjoy wine and tapas on the terrace before taking a quick stroll to Old Town.
A stay in Sicily has so much to offer, from the historic to the aquatic to the culinary. One sight (in fact, a UNESCO World Heritage Site) you won’t want to miss: the Hellenic ruins of the Valley of The Temples, one of the best-preserved archaeological sites of the ancient world which stands on a breezy hilltop overlooking the Ionian Sea. Glimpse the famous Doric temples, bathed in the Sicilian sun and surrounded by ancient, gnarled olive trees, and you’ll understand why this is arguably the most significant Greek ruin outside of Greece. Other must-sees include the ancient Greek temple and Roman amphitheater at Segesta, along with the historic Erice, a 40-minute drive from Segesta. It’s a wonderfully preserved Medieval town that towers 751m above sea level and offers breathtaking views and a palpable sense of history. Feeling nautical? Take a half-day boat trip to La Scala dei Turchi, an incredible white marble cliff into which centuries of rain and wind have carved a natural staircase. Framing the clear blue of the sea, it’s nearly impossible to describe its beauty. And every meal counts in Sicily, of course, but what if you could eat that way all the time? Perhaps you can — as an Exclusive Resorts Member, you’ll experience a Sicilian cooking class as part of your villa stay where you’ll learn how to make some of Verdura’s most popular dishes with the freshest local ingredients, often including Sciacca’s catch of the day, greens hand-picked from our vegetable garden, and oranges and olives plucked from our trees.
WHERE YOU WILL STAY — Our 3- or 4-bedroom Verdura Villas have uninterrupted ocean views, space, and privacy as well as services of the five-star Rocco Forte’s Verdura Resort — including a private beach, restaurant, and spa — a mere golf cart ride away.