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Europe by Distinguished Residences

Europe is ready! Are you? While many may argue that there is nothing like having a private villa vacation on a sunny beach in Mexico or the Caribbean, taking that private villa vacation in Europe sends that stay into a whole new level of what it means to be living “the good life.”

Distinguished Residences is ready to show you what an elevated experience a vacation in Europe can become: the exquisite tastes, surroundings, quaint villages, social scenes and stunning settings are available in just a few quick clicks.

Guests choosing the Distinguished Residences lifestyle will get the privacy, safety and security of a vacation close to home — but in some of the world’s most iconic places that, frankly, cannot be topped. These can be in precious villages deep in the Alps of France or Switzerland, or in the undulating Umbrian foothills in centuries-old farmhouses or manors, or even in a home on a cliff over the Mediterranean – a Greek island stay in the style of Jackie O.

At last, a villa vacation concept that can do it all for you! Here is an overview of the possibilities through Distinguished Residences for the warmer seasons:

France by Private Villas

Although the location gets a single name to simplify referral, the resort is actually four separate villages: Courchevel Le Praz 1300, Courchevel Village 1550, Courchevel Moriond 1650, with the largest of the four as Courchevel 1850. This is a land of palatial hotels, wondrous spas, luxury chalets and designer boutique shops. In fact, everything about Courchevel spells luxury, including its perfectly groomed runs, state-of-the-art lift systems, and multitudes of Michelin-starred restaurants.

Summer highlights include the Courchevel Air Show, the Trois Vallées VTT mountain bike event and the phalanx of Tour de France contestants, but there is always plenty to do on and off the slopes in all seasons. Cool off or heat up at the largest European mountain aquafun spot: Aquamotion. Dive into a 75-foot swimming pool with accompanying indoor and outdoor lagoons, a five-lane waterslide, diving pool, an indoor surf wave pool and whimsical baby pool. Find hydrobaths, whirlpool baths, jets, saunas, steam rooms, even a seawater cave. And for those long ski days or challenging mountain hikes, there is a spa and balneotherapy area featuring sessions in cryotherapy, relaxing massages, and focused medical and beauty treatments.

Take in the cool climes on land with a panoply of hiking, trailing, Nordic tracking and orienteering, climbing and mountain biking options. The adventure continues through an assortment of ziplining courses, canyoning and rafting outfitting or some tamer rounds of alpine golf and ice-skating.

Spas, wellness works and Turkish baths are always in the offing in these altitudes, no matter what the weather. For some explicitly French pampering, make it the Cheval Blanc Givenchy Spa with special treatments centering around Guerlain products. Couples treatments can be managed in the Orchidee Salon complemented by some delicious immersing in the infinity pool with waterfalls and natural stone décor.

Or have those treatments on the privacy of your own terrace, feeling the bracing sting of the cool, fresh air on your skin bolstered by views of craggy snow-capped peaks in the distance as your therapist smooths out any lingering hints of stress. All it takes is one call to Massage Me in Courchevel.

More activities that make Courchevel worth the trip: a leisurely 20-minute trip up Mont Blanc on Europe’s highest cable car located at Aiguille du Midi to get a breathtaking view of France from the heights.


The picture-perfect ski village of Megève, near the Swiss border, has a lengthy history that dates make to medieval times but stands today as one of the swankiest ski spots in Europe backed by the impressive peaks of the Savoie Mountains. In summer, the green meadows make the perfect challenge courses for rounds of golf, starting with the

18-hole Domaine du Mont d’Arbois golf course that was established in the 1920’s and now plays as one of the oldest golf courses in these parts, It offers a quintessentially French style of garden landscaping and coupled with outstanding views of the various mountain ranges.

Perhaps more accessible as a summer treasure in Megève are the more than 100 miles of bike trails with a variety of trail levels and routes for both road cycling and mountain biking. Hikers will explore the miles and miles of mountain trails groomed for scenic and family walks and forest discovery.

Or take it even higher: Megève can be appreciated from above as you paraglide high above the valley with several of the tallest mountain peaks in Europe in audience. Beginners and experienced pilots alike can take in the views, instructors in tow, over the sparkling landscape and luxury chalets. Not up for the lessons? A hot air balloon awaits ready to ascent to nearly 8,000 feet and as the sun sets behind Mont Blanc.

In Spring, check out the Festival International Jazz à Megève in early April. Daytime concerts are offered at the foot of the slopes, as well as in the square and around the village. Three-day passes and single day passes are available for the asking.

Foodies will also find a quantity of fulfillment in Megève. The area has several fine restaurants, including the Flocons de Sel and 1920, both of which have earned multiple Michelin stars. Other ski-to mountain restaurants mean amazing food coupled with exquisite scenery.

Switzerland by Private Villas

Historically, Switzerland has been a place of peace and calm, a refuge from political upheaval (a major headquarters for the United Nations; home of the Red Cross) , if not a land of idyllic beauty. Today, it is still that place of peace, a clean and astonishingly picturesque country and home for some 200 or so nationalities creating melting pot of culture. Yet, some things remain quintessentially Swiss: the chocolate and cheese indulgences, the clocks, the snowy mountain peaks, the wildflower-filled meadows and the glistening alpine lakes.


For those traveling to Geneva, a serene a city on the one hand with its cobblestone streets lined with outdoor cafés and precious notion shops, and a modern and bustling city on the other, replete with designer shopping and elegant restaurants … hubbing here can a lot of sense.

The city is considered the gateway to the Alps, an impressive scene indeed from the shores of snow-fed Lake Geneva – a lake that shares its shores with Evian, the site of some of the world’s most coveted water. A perfect place to take in these waters is from the Jardin de Botanique, an open air museum of local nature in bursts and blooms and heady scents. Of course there are other museums and monuments to Geneva’s history and culture – areas of interest that belong nowhere else. Among them: the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum with photos and life-size exhibits focusing on humanitarian efforts all over the world. Also, an only-in-Geneva moment might be found at the Patek Philippe Museum, for those curious about precision and splendor of time pieces, and the Bodmer Foundation, perhaps as much library as museum, with its extensive collection of rare and limited edition publications and documents.

It’s easy to get lost in history here and Old Town is only too happy to oblige with dining, shopping and sightseeing opportunities. Historical markers and magnificent relics are all around you. If you have only a little time, start at Bourg-de-Four Square and wander over to St. Pierre Cathedral, an architectural marvel that has been there for more than 850 years. Or head to the cool, bohemian streets of Carouge or art galleries of the Bains District.


An easy, and stunning segue from the bustling city life of Geneva is the ride to and then stay in Gstaad. Less than three hours by frequent trains that hug the length of Lake Geneva before heading into the snow-capped altitudes, Gstaad lies in the German-speaking southwest region of Switzerland as a name associated with more than a century of haute living and splendid ski runs. The destination actually dates back to the early 1400s as a farming hamlet and stop along well-used mountain passes but with the advance of rail lines, Gstaad soon became a coveted mountain resort popular with rock stars, royalty and the who’s who of Europe.

Anchored by a sprawling ski area with some 137 miles of slopes, the central village here features the signature car-free promenade filled with the designer shops, restaurants, art galleries, clubs and hotels one would expect to find and a buzzing atmosphere of visitors in all seasons.

Summer brings a multitude of happenings, from sports competitions and marathons to symphony concerts to balloon and cheese festivals. Winter is just as packed with snow-biking races and Christmas markets.

In the warmer months, Gstaad is the right spot for adventurous hiking, featuring more than 200 miles hiking trails. For those who prefer to move like the wind, hot-air balloon rides are all the rage with silent birds’ eye views of the Alps from an elevated basket.

Golf is also on the menu in Gstaad with greens in the heights surrounded by snow-capped mountains. And, of course, the ahhs of spas are everywhere in Gstaad, with its plentitude of palatial hotels featuring tony treatment options for body and soul.


Not far from Gstaad in the French-speaking lands of Valais, the centers of Crans and Montana combine to bring six villages together (Chermignon, Icogne, Lens, Mollens, Montana and Randogne) that form the Crans-Montana Resort.

The area offers a huge diversity of natural scenery that makes it a magnet for walkers and hikers with its rolling landscapes of vineyards, green prairies, divine forests, ancient villages and dazzling mountain chalets, passing glacial mountain lakes and under eternally snowy peaks. A maintained network of nearly 200 miles in well-marked paths bring all the sunshine and panoramic views over some of the world’s most glorious landscapes.

For families, the area is replete with places to see films, bowl, play golf, try various forms of bicycling, even visit museums and workshops. Wellness wallowers will love the plethora of public and private thermal baths, such as Leukerbad Therme, the largest thermal bath in the Alps. It features 10 pools, sauna and steams, indoor baths, hydro massage and water jet baths, even air bubble bed. A phalanx of Swiss clinics around Crans-Montana offer a variety of medically-based beauty treatments in calm and contemporary surroundings.

Dining out is always in season in Crans-Montana as well. Find two Michelin-starred establishments, Franck Reynaud‘s l’Ours, and LeMontBlanc from LeCrans Hôtel & Spa with creations that retain a hint of the south and can be enjoyed with a fine Valais wine. Gastronomes will find an eclectic list of choices in Crans-Montana with bistros that focus on dishes from Lebanon, Japan, Portugal but always willing to oblige with raclette or other Valais specialties.

Three thousand square miles in the red heart of Italy find the foothills of Umbria, brimming with historic treasures and precious food gems. The landscape tells tales of Etruscan conquerors and patron saints amid forests of cypress stands, hidden Neolithic cave shelters, lakes and undulating wine fields. You can forage for truffles, taste fine Italian wines, and uncover much of Italy’s storied history here as you meander village to village, each with its own reasons and unexpected experiences to offer.

Italy by Private Villas

Turn back the centuries at Reschio, a castle keep at the northern end of the Umbria and put yourself in the Dark Ages that saw hills of castles, manors and feuding tribes well before the Renaissance years of religious paintings and iconography that still allows Italy to take your breath away. The meadows and forests and old farmhouses here have been here for too many years to count and are reborn again as vacation villas with all that history intact.

Venturing out means visiting walled cities and walking along country paths that have known everything from Roman soldiers to real estate agents. Each hamlet brings a cascade of stories. The hilltop town of Todi, for instance, presents a 12th-century Cathedral that was built on the ruins of a temple dedicated to the god Apollo. Or the find the town of Narni that overlooks the Nera Valley and ogle at its spectacular sunsets over the lush Umbrian countryside. There you can explore the Narni Sotterranea – an incredible underground metropolis discovered in 1977 where it is possible to wander a 13th-century Benedictine church covered in frescoes, as well as Roman cisterns, a Holy Inquisition courtroom, and a haunting prison space.

The towns and villages here have yet to be stars on the tourist trail so lines, crowds, throngs of trinket sellers will not be part of the experience.

Those who want to immerse in the woods and country paths of Umbria can check out Marmore Falls, one of the tallest human-made waterfalls in the world inside Nera River Park. It was built by the Romans in 271 BC. The waterfalls can be accessed along five trekking routes available for various levels of fitness with travertine grottoes and scenic nooks along the way.

Wend through the Apennine Mountains to Monti Sibillini National Park with its own offerings of medieval villages, lakes, and legends. Naturalists and adventurers will enjoy the hiking, biking, rock climbing, and canyoneering as well as wildflowers and wildlife. But according to medieval legend, the Sibillines is also the land of witches, necromancers, and fairies. Hike to the Cave of Sibyl, a sorceress said to have lured fearless knights into a life of damnation.

And of course, a visit to Assisi will be on the list, with its medieval streets, sacred shrines and captivating castle. It was the city where Italy’s Patron Saint, St. Francis, lived and prayed, and it remains a pilgrimage destination today. Leave plenty of time to explore the Roman ruins and medieval sites and walking trails, with a special focus on the 13th-century ‎Romanesque and Italian Gothic Basilica of St. Francis, the saint’s final resting place.

Food here is a treat, if only for its paisan authenticity. Umbria is known for its meat dishes, mostly lamb, pork, and game – often grilled over the fire or cooked on the spit with plenty of herbs. It is most famous for its roast suckling pig, all on the menu after an exhilarating day of hunting for black truffles and tasting the local wines.

Corfu by Private Villas

A holiday on the Mediterranean can be larger than life on Corfu, an island of gods and the home of Greek mythology. An easy jaunt off the coast of Thesprotia, Greece near reaches of Albania, the island tells the story of ancient battles and conquests, from the Battle of Sybota, considered the catalyst for the Peloponnesian War, to later conflagrations against Venetians, French and English. Medieval castles along various strategic points around the island bear the scars and tell the tales.

But Corfu also brings a clear vision of the good life that can be lived by today’s island conquerors – visitors that can explore the island’s exquisite beaches, meander ruins that mark humanity’s first glimmer of modern civilization, wander the whitewashed alleys of Corfu Town and dip into some of the gastronomic ventures that can only be experienced on Corfu.

A villa vacation in Corfu gets the best of all worlds – the private moments gazing over the Med from contemporary clifftop digs, watching a world that is as ancient as time proceed in the diurnal rhythms of overlapping centuries. Then there is the buzzing between notion shops in search of a stunning ornament of jewelry or eye-catching fashion design; or catching the colorful nightlife that abounds.  A private yacht exploration around the island offers access to hidden coves empty of people that reach back to eras of pirating, battle-making and trading among the empires.

Among the top things to do in Corfu would be walking the alleys of old Kerkyra, visiting the magnificent walls of the Old Fortress, Statue of Georgios Theotokis, and the church of Saint Spyridon, the patron saint of the city.

The Old Fortress of Corfu, originally a Byzantine fortress, stands as a Venetian castle on a promontory overlooking the sea. For a glimpse of a more contemporary and magnificent castle, the Royal Achilleon in Gastoruis was originally built to house Austrian Royals who once lived on Corfu and its gardens are well worth the visit. Then there is the site of Paleokastritsa, a traditional settlement on the northern end of the island along the Paleokastritsa coast, believed to be the site of Scheria, the last place that Odysseus visited before making it back home. The Paleokastritsa Monastery brings views of the beaches and tastes of a delicious extra virgin olive oil produced by the monks.

For those in search of odd museums, the Banknote Museum of Alpha Bank on Corfu is truly an original. Find here the most complete collections of Greek currency, as well as the first treasury bonds issued by the newly independent country in 1822.

Dining in Corfu can also be a trip through time. Naturally, traditional Corfu Food is an international affair with Greece and Venice holding the strongest influences, but spices from the east and cooking methods from France, Britain and various parts of the Mediterranean bring their mark to Corfiot cuisine. Dominant will be the use of wine, garlic, olive oils and eastern spices.

Nouboulo, also tabbed as Corfiot prosciutto, is a must when made by the traditional method. The pork loin is smothered with coarse salt and infused with black pepper and oregano. The meat is stuffed inside a pig intestine and smoked over a fire made with pennyroyal, sage, oregano branches, myrtle, laurel branches before being left to age in a desiccated environment.

Also in the gastronomic mix of island culture is Pastitsado, a hearty red wine stew made with rooster or beef and served with pasta. Then there is Sofrito, ubiquitous island dish of Venetian influence with ingredients that are slowly fried doused with a lot of Garlic. Finally, fish are always in season and often served up in the form of Fish Bourdeto, a dish originates from days of the Venetian controlled Adriatic ports. Sweet and hot paprikas, white wine, olive oil and whatever was yesterday’s catch are the key ingredients in this spicey, pungent and hearty meal.

Start the day with one of the simplest of farmer foods on Corfu: pies made with herbs and seasonal vegetables – with or without that delicious pastry shell. These can be vegan with zucchini, and include savory pumpkin pies, onion pies, cheese pies, and any other staple ripening in the local fields.

For those wandering the island in search of restaurants in Corfu with ambiance and flavor, be sure to stop at Toula’s in Agni Bay. The seafood restaurant on the northeast coast has had its share of celebrity and British royalty sightings and is a spot popular with the yachting crowd. Toula’s is a favorite for fisherman’s daily catch, and offers a lobster giouvetsi that can easily be paired with local Greek wines.

For a more casual fare try Sirens Beach Bar on Marathias Beach, serving up mythic walnut and chocolate-doused fluffy pancakes. Or try the café’s proprietary concoction of sourdough bread topped with scrambled eggs, salmon and avocado. Of course there is a sizeable Sirens burger that can be ordered and served on sweet brioche dusted with oregano.


For availability, reservations, villa information, booking queries, or anything else relating to your trip, get in touch with our dedicated team of specialists by filling in the form below. Let’s start planning your private getaway.

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