1 Private Escapes for Some Winter Sun - The Battered Black Book

Private Escapes for Some Winter Sun

As we enter December and temperatures in London drop, the skies are more consistently grey and we’re stilllll at home, we are increasingly dreaming of escaping to a desert island somewhere; somewhere hot with the water lapping at our feet, the sun shining and absolutely zero news about Coronavirus… Whilst we sadly have too much on running BBB right now, we wanted to share with you our favourite private destinations for Winter Sun – perhaps they are of interest to you or your principals…. (Send us a postcard!)

The Fleming Villa

Situation at Oracabessa Bay in the heart of Jamaica lies the GoldenEye Estate, and within that is the magical Fleming Villa. As you may have guessed from the name, this was Ian Fleming’s private residence and indeed the place where he wrote all 14 James Bond novels! So it has some pretty unique history and is the ultimate glamorous yet private getaway on the island.

The Fleming Villa Situation at Oracabessa Bay in the heart of Jamaica

The Fleming Villa is like an island unto itself. The main villa has two satellite cottages, a private beach, state of the art media room, private pool and gardens, plus a dedicated staff that includes a butler, housekeeper and cook.

Ian Fleming’s private residence at The Fleming Villa

Walk over to GoldenEye for a spa treatment, sunset cocktails at the Bizot Bar or dinner at the Gazebo Restaurant. On returning to Fleming Villa you are once again secluded. If these walls could talk they’d tell tales of artists and writers, spies and seducers. The romantic atmosphere is palpable.

GoldenEye Spa Treatment at The Fleming Villa

Without the slightest experience but with the greatest self-confidence, Fleming designed the house himself. As a typically dogmatic Englishman, he decided there would be no windows — just customary Jamaican jalousie blinds to let in the air and sun. And of course, he was right: The breezes at GoldenEye are a delight, all hours of the day, all times of the year.

GoldenEye Spa Pool at The Fleming Villa

The villa sleeps up to 10 adults and is located 20 minutes east of Ocho Rios, an hour and 45-minute drive from Montego Bay and Kingston, and less than a 10-minute drive from Ian Fleming International Airport.

Riad, Marrakech

For something a little closer to the UK, we highly recommend this stunning 18th century traditional Moroccan riad right in the heart of bustling Marrakech. The teeming life of the city is only moments away from the front door, and yet the property offers the utmost in privacy and relaxation – an oasis of calm.

Riad Marrakech Pool

6 spacious suites are decorated with neutral tones, accommodating up to 17 people in total. Large, open and spacious with beautiful traditional yet modern Moroccan theme running throughout, the property remains a quiet oasis in the centre of the bustling Medina, with a swimming pool and surrounded by a lush courtyard garden.

Riad Marrakech Bedroom

A mix of Morrocan, English and French cuisine, Riad Marrakech prides itself on wonderful food, with tea by the roaring fire in winter, home made pastries and more…. The cook is happy to prepare personalised meals using the freshest ingredients from the property’s organic gardens.

Riad, Marrakech Dining Table Outdoors

Arijiju, Kenya

Hewn into a rocky hillside on the sprawling Borana Reserve in Laikipia, Kenya, Arijiju is an enchanting family home that is available for exclusive hire for groups of up to ten. The calm and contemplative space takes inspiration from the Ethiopian monasteries that lie to the North, boasting vaulted archways, stone passageways and a central courtyard, whilst its flat roofs planted with natural grasses and rough-hewn rock see it all but disappear into the untamed landscape.

Borana Reserve in Laikipia Kenya Arijiju Outside View

For us, the highlight of staying here is the ‘constellation suite’ available for those nights too beautiful to sleep anywhere but under the stars.

A team of 14 resident staff that range from guides and rangers to butlers and chefs ensure that guests are totally looked after throughout their stay. Arijiju is not just a safari lodge but a health and wellness retreat too. The cuisine and fresh daily smoothies lend to the healthy lifestyle Arijiju supports.

Borana Reserve in Laikipia Kenya Arijiju family home

There is a spa, Hammam, gym, yoga deck, tennis court and squash court all inconspicuously blending into the valley, with treatments by Arijiju’s highly skilled masseuse and beauty therapist inclusive in the rates, and carefully mapped out running trails to offer unique ‘running safaris’.

Borana Reserve in Laikipia Kenya Arijiju Interior

The Maasai Mara is perhaps Kenya’s most famous safari region, but perhaps more rewarding is Laikipia’s exceptional diversity, with snow-capped mountains, dense forests and sprawling deserts lying to the North and East and the towering Mount Kenya to the south. As such, Arijiju offers a truly unrivalled number of ways to explore the area and spot the Big 5, including the usual 4×4 safaris, but also expeditions by horseback, walking, mountain biking and quad-bikes. Further afield, stride through the canopy of the Ndare Ngare forest on aerial bridges and spend a night camped in its lush interior, or board a helicopter to soar over hidden ecosystems nestled in the craters of dormant volcano and shimmering mountain lakes pink with flamingo.

Borana Reserve in Laikipia Kenya Arijiju Suite

Rahimoana Villa, Eagle’s Nest, New Zealand

This presidential villa boasts four private ensuite bedrooms, all adorned with original artwork from both New Zealand and international artists, to accommodate a maximum of eight people in complete comfort and luxury. The award-winning 600 square metre design takes full advantage of the 320-degree Bay of Islands views.

Rahimoana Villa, Eagle’s Nest, New Zealand Outside exterior

This villa offers some incredible amenities, including a state-of-the-art gym, sauna, 25 metre heated horizon edged swimming pool, Jacuzzi, Porsche Cayenne for guest use, 2x theater systems (one with a massive 100” screen), high speed wireless internet access, a personal chef-provisioned refrigerator and selection of premium local wines, a selection of French Champagne and a personal concierge and villa manager.

Rahimoana Villa, Eagle’s Nest, New Zealand Pool view

A resident personal trainer and spa therapists—including beauticians and massage therapists—are on hand to ensure no guest goes un-pampered.

Rahimoana Villa, Eagle’s Nest, New Zealand Suite View

With over 144 islands to explore, the Bay of Islands has no shortage of outdoor activities and adventures. Choose from big game fishing, sailing, diving, kayaking, helicopter flight-seeing, mountain biking and more. Eagles Nest can accommodate a wide range of interests and delights in customizing special packages based on guests interest.

Rahimoana Villa, Eagle’s Nest, New Zealand suite interior

For those willing to fly the distance, this really is something special…

House on a Dune, Harbour Island, Bahamas

This stunning seafront property on Harbour Island is nestled amongst 1.5 acres of natural vegetation just off the main highway and sleeps up to 10 people.

House on a Dune Harbour Island Bahamas Outside View

The owner of House on a Dune is an internationally renowned architect who conceived the house as being “simultaneously powerful, yet comfortable; primitive, yet innovative; casual, yet elegant; raw, yet refined. The result is a sensual and sensitive experience, reduced to its essence through the use of elemental forms and sincere materialism and detailing.”

House on a Dune Interior

The interiors are modern and minimalistic, blending seamlessly into the surrounding forest and overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. The central space of the house is essentially an open breezeway. Within this pavilion space are the living and dining areas that open onto verandas, well protected from any bad weather by the deep overhangs of the roof. The rest of the living spaces are simply arranged around the central space.

House on a Dune Harbour Island Bahamas Pool View overlooking the Atlantic Ocean

On the main level is a dining table seating 12 and a kitchen hidden by recycled cedar doors. Large verandas with seating areas that can also be used for alfresco eating, lead to the gentle shelving beach with clear aquamarine water suitable for snorkelling, swimming and surfing.

House on a Dune Harbour Island Bahamas Outdoor Space

From the house there are steps down to a short path leading to the beach with its famous pink sand. Guests love this property for its stunning contemporary design and its location above the famous Pink Sands beach. We wouldn’t mind working so much if we could do it from here….

Thotalagala, Sri Lanka

High above the plains of South East Sri Lanka and balanced on the edge of the Haputale Escarpment lies a beautiful tea estate that was founded 145 years ago. It is a place that takes your breath away. Having recently been through a masterful restoration, the bungalow has been returned to its former glory, retaining every perfect detail and the lush grandeur of its colonial origins.

Thotalagala Hotel Sri Lanka

This small hotel consists of 7 rooms in total, 3 Junior Suites and 4 Suites with a shared infinity pool overlooking the Haputale escarpment. It is ideal for an exclusive hire.

Thotalagala Hotel Sri Lanka Suite

Dining offers various possibilities. There is a communal dining table in main area and private dining is also available. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served daily, with optional extras such as high tea, champagne breakfast, the Thotalagala BBQ experience and a breakfast picnic all popular with guests. There are no set meal times and all meals can be catered to personal preferences, making stays truly individual.

Thotalagala Hotel Sri Lanka outdoor dining

Off-site activities include bicycle hire, a tour of the nearby Lipton Tea Factory, Lipton’s gardens, Horton Plains, Adisham Monastery and Ella. At 720ft high, Diyaluma Falls is the second highest waterfall in Sri Lanka and is a site of local folklore. It’s a wonderful place to visit.

Tea Fields

Within the estate grounds are a primary school and a kindergarten which are provided for the children of the estate workers. Although uniforms and some books are subsidised by the government, fees are still present, and education is hugely important in Sri Lanka. Guests are encouraged to visit one of the schools and contribute to the ongoing education of future generations, bringing along whatever they see fit. This may include items such as stationary, educational items for young children or sports equipment (second hand is more than acceptable).

Staying at Thotalagala is an experience unlike any other.

We hope that these 6 special places around the globe have whet your appetite too. If you’d like to discuss prices, availability or any other destination of any type, please get in touch with us and we’d be happy to introduce you to the right expert to help!