WINNER SIMPSON TRAVEL RUNNERS-UP THE THINKING TRAVELLER, VINTAGE TRAVEL
While most of us have fond memories of self-catering holidays in childhood, today’s villa stay is entirely different. The best operators plonk you in the heart of a destination and take on luxury hotels for design and quality of concierge services. Fancy an on-site chef? A truffle-hunting guide? A choir? All of this is available in an increasingly sophisticated market.
Leading the pack is Simpson Travel, with high-end self-catering in mainland France, Corsica, Mallorca, Sicily, Puglia, Turkey and 10 Greek islands. Its diverse range of properties and bespoke concierge services is impressive. Age-specific on-site child care is offered at many of Simpson’s properties. Activities such as sailing lessons and horse riding compete with the best on offer at hotel kids’ clubs, and creche care from six months helps make this a standout operator.
Following close behind is The Thinking Traveller, purveyor of beautiful properties in Corsica, Sicily, Puglia, the Ionian and Sporades islands. Each destination has particular “experiences”, such as yachts to charter for snorkelling excursions or private guided tours of Unesco World Heritage sites.
Finally, our readers praised Vintage Travel, an operator also commended last year, which offers villas, all with private pools, in quiet rural locations around the Mediterranean, Canary Islands and United Kingdom.
Its categories include villas near beaches, near golf courses, and with fenced pools. And with small-party rates available, it’s easy to find a suitable property for your group.