The gradual return of international travel is likely to bring with it a surge in demand for luxury crowd-free escapes. Which means now may be the perfect time to join an exclusive club which grants you access to beautiful private houses in spectacular places, both at home and abroad.
Part social network and part members’ club, Stay One Degree is a collection of high-end holiday homes and people who appreciate them. Properties include private islands, Scottish castles, Mediterranean villas and everything in between.
Would-be travellers hankering for five-star service may also be in luck. The company recently announced a partnership with legendary hotel group Mandarin Oriental, which is expected to provide members with new levels of luxury.
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How it works
Stay One Degree is like a more selective version of LinkedIn - but far more interesting. Anyone can ask to join, but applicants must pass preliminary vetting before they can see full details of the available properties. Once in the club, members can send connection requests to property owners and, if accepted, can then arrange a stay.
The social element is intended to give owners the confidence to let out their valuable and often exquisitely furnished properties, knowing that the temporary residents are not quite strangers.
Letting out your home
If you are lucky enough to own the sort of home that belongs in the Stay One Degree collection you can apply through the company’s website. All listings are reviewed before publication to ensure that the property, location, decor and photography are of a suitable standard.
Where to stay
With more than 3,500 villas, castles, cabins, lodges and apartments, Stay One Degree covers most of the globe - or at least the more luxurious niches. Accommodation ranges from the bijou to the palatial:
1. Scottish castle, Perthshire
Standing in glorious isolation in the Cairngorms, this historic property features a lavish grand hall, a master bedroom with its own turret and traditional furnishings throughout. Head out into the highlands for hiking and sport, or else hunker down behind the thick stone walls of your own private castle. Sleeps 16 in seven bedrooms, from £611 per night
2. Portuguese villa, the Algarve
Set in an acre of gardens, this spectacular villa offers classically inspired architecture and airy poolside living in the green-list destination of Portugal. All eight bedrooms are en suite, making this the perfect property for post-pandemic reunions. Sleeps 16 in eight bedrooms, from £1,010 per night
3. Finnish river lodge, Lapland
For those seeking the ultimate post-lockdown escape, this log cabin in northern Finland is hard to beat - especially as the country is among those expected to join the green list. In the winter, the northern lights are the main attraction, but a summer trip to the high Arctic is equally special. Enjoy salmon fishing, hiking in the mountains behind the lodge or a visit to the Kevo nature reserve, an hour’s drive away. Or confine yourself to the cabin’s wood-fired sauna and outdoor hot tub. Sleeps six guests in two bedrooms, from £1,110 per night
4. Italian villa, Lake Como
From its perch high above Lake Como, this villa offers incomparable views of the surrounding mountaintops. The property offers seclusion, too. There are no immediate neighbours, just 4.5 acres of gardens surrounding the three-storey villa and its stylish modern pool house. Luxuriously appointed bedrooms, each with its own balcony, offer comfort and serenity. Italy remains on the amber list for now, but hopes are rising for later in the summer. Sleeps 15 guests in eight bedrooms, from £4,530 per night
5. Sri Lankan hillside villa, Koggala
At the intimate end of the scale, this pretty little villa sits within the grounds of a boutique hotel just inland from Sri Lanka’s south coast. The red-listed island is off limits for now, but ideal for long-term dreaming: surrounded by coconut palms, tea bushes and bright hibiscus, this serene retreat is a short tuktuk ride from several glorious beaches - and less than an hour from the historic city of Galle. Guests can use the hotel’s swimming pool, bar and restaurant. Sleeps two in one bedroom, from £270 per night
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