Summer vacation is halfway behind us (sorry), but that doesn’t preclude you from a bit of daydreaming. Taking an aspirational scroll through the often incredibly luxurious vacation rentals found online is a great way to take a getaway without really going away—even if it might leave you a bit disenchanted with your own abode. HomeAway is here with ten of their most dreamy vacation rentals to fuel the fire of your most decadent vacation fantasy. Dream on, globetrotters.
By Maggie Gorman
Paris: Villa D'Alésia
If the sleek, day-glo white interiors adorned with vestiges of colorful art deco, dangling diamond chandeliers, and pop art aren't enough to make you lustful, consider the fact that this 14th arrondissement villa is a "secret garden" cove tucked behind a private backyard in the bustling heart of Paris. The 1930 loft is ready-made for luxe parties, with a Japanese garden beyond a 6-meter glass wall, spacious luxury furniture, and a small terrace. This 5-bedroom gem can be yours for $12,250–$17,500 a week—start saving!
Barcelona: Dreta de l'Eixample
Whether you have in mind a fiesta, a siesta, or a sunset, this luxurious 4-bedroom Barcelona duplex is ideal. It boasts a spacious private rooftop terrace decked in warm wood and brick, complete with almost unreal views of the city, a fully equipped kitchen, and a swimming pool (with a high-diving board, too). Inside, chic monochrome décor decks two kitchens, two bathrooms, and four comfortable bedrooms. But the real draw of this $789/night rental is its location—set on Calle Balmes, Paseo de Gracia is just minutes away, while the famous Gaudi houses are within 1 km.
Switzerland: Chalet Trois Couronnes
Who doesn't want to book an entire ski chalet as a vacation rental? How about a palatial Swiss estate centered on something called "an art gallery-meets-banqueting hall with vaulted ceilings." The Alpine villa's ornate antiques, fine art, Gothic fireplaces, stone fountains, and 18th- and 19th-century wood paneling stretches across three structures. Now, just ponder the chalet's extensive spa—a pool, Hammam, sauna, and outdoor Jacuzzi. The movie theater, wine cellar, and comprehensive staff and services combine to make it unlikely you'll even want to leave to ski the majestic mountains right outside the chalet's massive windows. It's also unlikely you're keen to foot the equally massive $23,654/night.
Spain: Finca de Palermo
This finca fancies itself a great place to "chill out," but you're more likely to freak out when you see it. The whole chateau looks like a movie set, situated on the edge of the Ronda Mountains overlooking the Mediterranean and bedecked with an indoor spa (heated pool, Jacuzzi, and sauna), terraced dining area, poolside bar, and mirador. Each of the four double bedrooms has its own large bathroom ensuite, so bring your friends and split the hefty $5,914/week rent.
Tuscany: Borgo Finocchieto
With 22 bedrooms surrounding a central piazza, Borgo Finocchieto is a modern-day Tuscan palace fit for royalty. Located on a rural hillside in historic Via Francigena, it was renovated as a place for the world's "great thinkers" to convene and "reset their compasses for the future." This compass resetting can take place in the outdoor dining terrace, media room, library, bar, conference room and ballroom, cantina and wine-tasting room, professional teaching kitchen, interior arcaded courtyard, lawn, garden, and gazebo—among other nooks. A plunge pool, spa, fitness center, and private yacht let the thinkers zone out a bit, too—so they can forget about the $18,308/night price tag.
France: St. Jean Cap Ferrat
Saint Jean Cap Ferrat on the Mediterranean southeast coast of France is a favored haunt among the European aristocracy and international jet-set, and it's where you'll find this glitzy villa. An airy floor-plan combines with luxury furniture and services like an elevator. Two full kitchens, an indoor swimming pool and spa, and a cinema with a full bar round out the compound, which perches on a precipice overlooking the harbor and village. With seven bedrooms, the villa sleeps 12 and goes for up to $124,859 a week.
Amalfi Coast, Italy: Villa le Camelia
It's only fitting that a villa built right above former Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus' Palace by the Sea looks like your own Versailles inside. Adorned with dazzling and ornate art and furnishings, this seaside palace is surrounded by lush gardens and boasts breathtaking views of Capri and beyond. Personal cooks, gardeners, housekeepers, and a manager are all included with the two-building, two-story complex, which features 9 bedrooms each with its own en-suite bathroom. The up to $12,791/night rent seems almost paltry in view of Villa le Camelia's staggering art collection.
Notting Hill, London: Portobello Road Loft
"Delightful English sensibility meets American wide open spaces" in this cozy-chic, expansive loft studio house on London's Portobello Road in Notting Hill. While the neighborhood buzzes with action at its shops and restaurants, and mob-scene weekend market, guests can relax in privacy thanks to the secluded leafy path down which the house is located (it can't even be seen from the street). The two bedrooms and bathrooms feature five-star amenities, but you won't want to sleep in with all of London right outside your door. $3,236 lets you play Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant for a week at this beautiful British abode.
The Cotwswolds, England: Painswick Estate
Finally, a retreat for those who want to make believe they're in Downton Abbey for a week. This regal estate is peppered with British period-novel-esque features from the quaint to the queenly: the first floor has an original 16th century fireplace (it's one of three) and a hidden door leading to an original stone staircase and vaulted game room. The nine bedrooms, with names like "Buckingham Suite" and "Monarchy Suite," are fit for aristocrats, but this sprawling fortress isn't stuffy: a gym, Jacuzzi, massage room, gated pool, sauna, and cinema ensure modern would-be-monarchs are comfortable. $21,623/night buys you just about everything but a spot on the throne.
Lake Como, Italy: Pognana Lario Villa
You can almost smell the fresh lake air breezing through this sunny waterfront retreat when you view the high-beamed ceilings vaulting over the living room, leading out to the portico terrace's alfresco dining area with panoramic views of Lake Como. Everywhere you look, there's the lake, making for a sensation of floating on the sparkling blue water. Pognana Lario is the idyllic village in which Villa Chez Nous is located, in a basin hugged by green mountains and snow-capped Alps in the distance. Cosmopolitan Como is nearby, too. The four-bedroom dazzler goes for $6,177 a night.