From the beaches of Sardinia to the cliffs of Santorini, Europe is nothing short of hot, hot, hot this summer. A declining Euro translates to an added bonus for travelers seeking an ultra-luxe European vacation in the coming months. So we put together a roundup of a few of our fave destinations—including private villas for those seeking the ultimate Italian holiday. As always, readers of Haute Living will enjoy extra-special treatment when booked through Elite Travel International at any of our recommended “haute” spots, including the featured private villas.
Whether you’re docking your private yacht in the islands or flying in from the mainland, Mystique—Santorini’s newest cliffside hotel—is a must-visit. Built into Oia’s cliffs with stunning views across the Caldera, Mystique is an 18-suite hotel that gives new meaning to unique. Each light-filled, cave-shaped suite has sea views—some from private terraces or the bathroom’s oversized jetted tub. A gorgeous swimming pool overlooks the cliffs, as does the intimate restaurant, which also houses a wine cellar ideal for romantic dining. Walking distance from the shops and cafés dotting the village of Oia (pronounced Ee-ya), Mystique is THE place to stay in Santorini. Should the need for a spa day hit, simply head to sister Starwood Luxury Collection property Vedema, home to the best spa on the island.
Just enough off the beaten path to steer clear of the daytripping cruise tourists but still just minutes from all the action, Santa Marina Resort & Villas remains the top choice on Mykonos. One of the original luxury resorts on Mykonos, the 96-room property is ideal for both families and couples, with gorgeous private villas that lend themselves to longer stays as well as entertaining “en suite.” The resort’s private beach is a key selling point, as is the genuine hospitality, the best spa on the island, and amazing food (especially at the beachside Greek Taverna). The hotel’s own private jet and helicopter are available to guests seeking the ultimate in privacy—as well as hassle-free transfers from Athens or other Greek islands. www.santa-marina.gr