For many of us, living the sort of life enjoyed by the rich and famous just isn't an option. So, we save our pennies to jet off to a resort-style vacation for a couple of weeks a year. If you're a frugal saver or if you have the dough to cough up for a nice vacation rental or a house share, you can even enjoy resort-style amenities while bypassing the crowds and the buffet.
Vacation rentals tend to conjure up an idea in your mind – quaint apartments in Paris, vintage beach cottages on the lake. They’re nice enough, usually shared with friends or family; where often someone ends up on the pullout couch or the extra cot. There are probably going to be some out-of-date appliances, maybe a clogged sink, perhaps a few kilometers from the nearest store.
The rentals on this list couldn't be further from this: These are the pinnacle of elite and state-of-the-art getaways, offering those who can afford it the best of the best, and a memorable holiday chock-full of premier features the common folk can only dream of – think helipad, private staff and dance studio. The vacation rentals on this list - available for any of us to book (if we have the spare cash!) on vacationhomerentals.com - are all about size and style and you definitely get what you pay for. So, while you pack the mosquito repellent and a set of clean sheets, indulge vicariously in these top 10 most expensive vacation rentals around the world.
10 St. James, Barbados—$2,454-$3,385/Night
Don't let the "reasonable" price fool you - this luxury holiday villa is still in a class by itself. Located in the exclusive Royal Westmoreland resort, “The Westerings” - as its known by those who are so well off that their familiar enough with the place to give it a nickname - is nestled in lush gardens and tropical Barbados landscape. Views soak up the nearby golf course and vibrant blue waters of the Caribbean Sea. The custom built property includes a palm-fringed terrace, infinity pool and Jacuzzi hot tub. Five bedrooms offer luxury views with the master boasting private lounges and a spa-like ensuite bath. There’s a guest cottage to house further revelers, and guests can partake in air hockey and table football in the games room. A golf buggy gives guests a quick and easy way to boot around the resort, while a housekeeper, cook, and butler can be hired on at an extra charge if you're feeling particularly “Downton Abbey”.
9 Santa Barbara, California—$3,500/Night
This is a romantic and gated getaway on two acres of land with a shimmering pool, spa, tennis court, and more - right in the heart of Montecito. The Ravenscroft Estate boasts classic architecture and design including handtooled wrought-iron gates, day beds, and fireplaces, with a quiet library, secret passageways and a wine cellar amidst its interior delights. The exterior offers expansive lawns, colorful gardens, and relaxing outdoor terraces. Sweat it out in the state-of-the-art workout room, lounge poolside, or cozy up on the outdoor couch at dusk in front of a custom stone fireplace. Four bedrooms and four baths here offer vacationers an elegant Santa Barbara sanctuary. There’s also a charming guest cottage surrounded by a fruit orchard.
8 Miami Beach, Florida—$20,000/Week
This vacation rental is all about location, situated in the exclusive North Bay Road area of Miami Beach. This American contemporary luxury villa offers six bedrooms and six baths, with luxury waterfront and a one-of-a-kind view of the Miami skyline. After a day on the water, boat up to your private slip and enjoy grilling up a dinner in the gourmet kitchen. The nearby North Bay Community offers golfing, dining and entertainment options for its exclusive residents.
7 Punta Mita, Mexico—$21,000-$38,000/Week
Enjoy the convenience of your own staff of five at the private beachside estate at Casa Querencia. Located in Nayarit, this exclusive property sits above a white sand beach and offers features including a Jacuzzi hot tub, infinity pool, outdoor bar, fire pit, and private beach cabana. Enjoy the ultimate in relaxation from a lounge chair in the palapa, below the fluttering palm leaves, as you call for the server to bring out another round of margaritas. Indulge in traditional Mexican dishes from the in-house chef, and take a sunset stroll along the winding path through pristine landscaping to the waters edge. The five bedrooms here offer handcrafted furniture made locally, utilizing native tropical hardwoods. Just steps from the door you can enjoy championship golfing, spa services, a lively village, and more.
6 Paia, Hawaii—$24,500-$27,000/Week
On 4.1 acres of land you’ll find the luxury getaway of Paia, in Hawaii. The oceanfront beach sits on the Maui North Shore, surrounded by over 100 coconut trees with spectacular views that include a nearby volcano. Enjoy privacy in the gated cul de sac with a main house and three guesthouses, which share 700 feet of beach and waters, boasting the widest residential oceanfront on the entire island. Six people can enjoy the amenities here that include a tree-house sanctuary, Jacuzzi hot tub and a private gym.
5 Phoenix, Arizona—$3,500-$4,000/Night
At the Camelback Vista in Phoenix, Arizona, you can soak in the custom hot tub that stretches out along the mountainside and 40 foot cliffs, for unparalleled views of the valley below. This hot tub was, in fact, named “Hot Tub of the Year” by Spa Magazine. This chic home is built right into a mountainside with multiple waterfalls, terraces and patios. It boasts features like a rooftop deck, putting green, illuminated pool, floor to ceiling windows, in-home fitness centre, climbing gym and more. Offering six bedrooms and eight baths, this deluxe rental is surrounded by lush landscapes and situated only five minutes from the charming amenities of Old Town Scottsdale.
4 Park City, Utah—$2,500-$10,000/Night
At the Dream Catcher Estate in Park City, Utah, you can ski in and ski out from your front door to maximize slope time. With seven spacious bedrooms, your group can store their valuables in private locker rooms and enjoy the hot tub, sauna, and more. This is part of the Colony, an award-winning development on the Canyons and one of the biggest resorts on the continent. Built seamlessly into the landscape, the gorgeous villa is settled in amidst firs and aspens, with stunning mountain and valley views. It's an impressive 17,000 sq/ft of optimum vacationing, with an opulent design and style that includes entertainment centers, game rooms, card tables and exclusive bar for a high-end round of poker - try your luck in winning back the price of a night’s stay.
3 Providenciales, Turks and Caicos—$4,250-$6,500/Night
The Turks and Caicos islands are a dream come true for vacationers seeking a “wow” factor in their landscapes, and today this area is the most sought-after Caribbean destination. Stargazer Villa offers vacationers 180-degree views of a turquoise ocean that surrounds this uber-exclusive mansion on the water. The gated 2.3-acre property offers a tennis court, sauna, hot tub, two custom infinity pools, a gym, Pilates room and dance studio. And after taking in the vibrant sunset with a BBQ poolside, or relaxing on the white sands of the Babalua Beach below, you can settle into the night at the 8-seat private movie theatre.
2 Kailua, Hawaii — $34,900/Week
Looking for lush vegetation, palm trees swaying in the salty breeze, sparkling freeform pools and indulgent comfy cabanas amidst rock-formations and waterfalls? Then this is the place to be. The luxurious oceanfront of Kailua in Hawaii is only $34,900 a week. Just think, a week here, or a down payment on a house? It’s all about priorities. But for those whose pocket change runs in the thousands, this is a priority that’s going to be worth every penny. Vacationers can enjoy their own private courtyard in the guesthouses that hold up to 12. There’s a main house with features that include a private theater, and a full cooking cabana by the pools. From the spiraling staircases to the marble countertops, you can enjoy the view of white sand and aqua-hued ocean waters just steps from the front doors. Enjoy deep sea fishing, jet skiing, tennis and more.
1 Whistler, Canada — $10,000-$12,857/Night
What was at one time a winter resort for the upper class has become a community and year-round lifestyle for many, developing itself into its own unique fun-loving city along the aptly named Sea to Sky Highway, in British Columbia. At the Whistler Heli Chalet, vacationers can enjoy a seven bedroom private house on seven sprawling acres that features a helipad, heated outdoor pool, hot tub, steam room, billiards room and home theater. Winter or summer, this contemporary pad boasts majestic mountain views, and a design that fits flawlessly into the rustic beauty of its surroundings, including exposed beams, massive custom stone fireplace, gleaming dark hardwood floors and stone-slab coffee tables. Here, you’re just minutes from the ski lifts, or during the summer, the internationally renowned mountain bike trails. This property isn't for penny-pinchers; the luxury party pad comes in at minimum 10K a night.