With the world in turmoil, we all need something to look forward to, and what better prospect than an ultra-luxurious socially distant vacation? Upscale Living magazine brings you ten of the most opulent choices for 2021 to start planning now.

Barnsley Resort. Photo courtesy of the resort
Barnsley Resort. Photo courtesy of the resort

Barnsley Resort, Adairsville, Georgia

About an hour northwest of Atlanta lies Barnsley Resort. The 3,000-acre resort-meets-playground is the perfect backdrop to relax and enjoy a COVID-friendly escape. The resort is home to a 55-room Inn as well as a mix of 39 luxurious private and semi-private cottages, which range from one to seven bedrooms and easily allow for safe social distancing with private porches and entrances.

Furthermore, the resort offers many outdoor activities, providing endless opportunities to stay entertained with plenty of space to socially distance. Indulge in sophisticated dishes at Rice House, a beautiful 19th-century farmhouse restaurant that practices a true garden-to-table philosophy, or enjoy elevated southern-inspired cuisine at Woodlands Grill, overlooking the picturesque golf course and surrounding hills. To further enhance guest safety, the main restaurants have reduced capacities and are currently operating on a reservations-only system to maintain maximum capacity.

For the most luxurious accommodations, look no further than the Queen’s Suite on the Inn’s second floor, which was newly constructed in 2018. This suite offers 1,200 sq. ft. of space with a private living and dining room, a separate bedroom with a king bed and soaking tub, and an expansive outdoor terrace overlooking the resort’s grounds. In addition to a dining table set for six, this suite includes a butler’s pantry and powder room.

Grand Universe Lucca, Lucca, Italy. Photo courtesy of Grand Universe Lucca hotel
Grand Universe Lucca, Lucca, Italy. Photo courtesy of Grand Universe Lucca Hotel

Grand Universe Lucca, Lucca, Italy

Deeper into the Tuscan mountains, the medieval city of Lucca will not only welcome travelers looking for an off-the-beaten patch escape but also its first full-service luxury hotel – the Grand Universe Lucca, Autograph Collection. Standing stylishly and overlooking Piazza del Giglio and Piazza Napoleone, the former 16th-century palazzo will debut a masterfully renovated design, fueled by art and music-focused concepts that are beautifully evocative of the city’s past and present.

The hotel’s unique location in the magical city of Lucca offers a unique perspective on Tuscany’s rich historical and culinary culture, as well as an alternative for travelers with a newly developed affection for less-crowded cities with equally enriching experiences. North American travelers anticipating a return to Italy in 2021 can look forward to performances by Celine Dion, John Legend, and Ben Harper, amongst others, during the 2021 Lucca Summer Festival, hosted in July adjacent to the property where a number of guest rooms face the piazza.

Fifty-five elegantly decorated guest rooms and suites reflect a unique blend of timeless elegance and contemporary sophistication, with earthy colors, wooden surfaces, and golden details, combined with lush silk and velvet textiles. Delicate suspended pendant lights made of glass pay homage to the property’s glassblowing history. Music being one of the hotel’s inherent pillars, the name of each room reflects this culture.

Mara Plains Camp, Olare Motorogi Conservancy, Kenya. Photo courtesy of Mara Plains Camp
Mara Plains Camp, Olare Motorogi Conservancy, Kenya. Photo courtesy of Mara Plains Camp

Mara Plains Camp, Olare Motorogi Conservancy, Kenya

One of only five camps in the Olare Motorogi Conservancy, Mara Plains, has unrivaled access to more than 100,000 acres of exclusive land, prime habitat for a vast number of wildlife species, as well as unfettered access to the 375,000 acres Maasai Mara Reserve. Hailed as one of the finest places in Africa, guests might struggle to decide between sightings of lions, cheetahs, hyenas, and leopards.

The design and décor pay homage to the essence of East Africa; Swahili heritage is reflected in large wooden doors from the island of Lamu and accents of red to honor the great Maasai chiefs and warriors. With the rich leathers, copper, and brass used in campaign-style furniture, you have a lavish yet comfortable atmosphere that complements rather than overwhelms the surrounding wilderness. 

Great Plains Conservation is thrilled to announce the construction of a brand-new villa opening on June 1st, 2021, the Mara Jahazi Suite. This will be an exclusive-use villa residence consisting of a three-bedroom suite, shared lounge, and dining area, including a private game drive vehicle, guide, and chef. The Mara Jahazi Suite will be privately guided and hosted. The new villa in the trees is ideal for group travelers and multi-generational travel and accommodates children aged 8 and up.

Branson's Moskito Island. Courtesy of Virgin Limited Edition
Branson’s Moskito Island. Courtesy of Virgin Limited Edition

Moskito Island, British Virgin Islands, Caribbean

Early 2021 will see the much-anticipated launch of Moskito Island in the BVI’s, situated just two miles from sister island, Necker. Home to the Branson Estate, which is newly available for rental, next year will see the full launch of Moskito Island in what has already been described as ‘the most exclusive homeowners association in the world.’ As the island sets to launch with brand new uber-luxury private Estates for rental, it is most certainly one to watch for 2021.

The privately owned Caribbean island is made up of 10 individual estates, all set within 125 acres of stunning paradise. It is jointly owned by Sir Richard Branson and individual homeowners, who together are creating one of the most exclusive collections of upscale luxury estates in the world. Virgin Limited Edition is responsible for the management of the island, and a number of those estates will be available for rental on an individual basis in the near future.

Many of the Moskito Island estates remain in the early stages of completion. The luxury 11-bedroom Branson Estate, owned by Sir Richard Branson, is one of the first available for rental, with other estates expected to become available as we move through 2021. Moskito Island will go far beyond conventional villa rentals by providing guests with luxury private homes on a privately owned Caribbean island.

Muse Saint-Tropez, St. Tropez, France. Photo courtesy of MUSE Saint Tropez
Muse Saint-Tropez, St. Tropez, France. Photo courtesy of MUSE Saint Tropez

Muse Saint-Tropez, St. Tropez, France

Encapsulating the laid-back glamour of the French Riviera, the MUSE Saint-Tropez is the ultimate secluded retreat. The property is perched atop a rocky clifftop in the picturesque medieval village of Ramatuelle, providing guests with an oasis of serenity amongst a variety of flora and fauna in the heart of an award-winning ecological and self-sustainable garden designed by acclaimed landscape artist Sophie Agata Ambroise.

The chic retreat reflects architectural simplicity with its pure lines, beautiful terraced gardens weaving around the swimming pool, a stylish bar, and a charming reception area. Its fifteen luxurious suites, each dedicated to famous muses and characteristically individual decor and ambiance, lie nestled around the enchanting garden and feature private plunge pools, a private garden and terrace, an outdoor shower, and exceptional bathrooms. During their stay, guests can enjoy sitting by the beautiful main pool on the luxurious cabanas.

The property also boasts La Tente by Spa Village, offering a menu of vitality treatments for guests, inspired by the natural abundance of the landscape, and features vitality treatments that harness the resort and garden’s potent herbs, flowers, and plants. For a truly socially distanced stay, guests also have the option of receiving their spa treatments in the comfort of their own suite, which includes a personal spa service room.

Quasar Expeditions, Puma Tracking, Patagonia
Quasar Expeditions, Puma Tracking, Patagonia. Photo courtesy of Quasar Expeditions

Quasar Expeditions, Puma Tracking, Patagonia

The months of May through November mean one thing in Patagonia: puma season. Although Chile’s largest land carnivores are known to be elusive, Quasar Expeditions offers guests the chance to witness the magnificent creatures through their Puma Tracking Safaris. Travelers have the opportunity to spend their days outdoors observing the wild cats thanks to the expertise of Quasar’s tracking team, trained to maximize chances of seeing the world’s largest mountain lions and assisting guests in discovering a side of Patagonia most travelers never get to see.

Additionally, guests have access to the top highlights in Patagonia, such as kayaking, hiking, and ice trekking, and the freedom to explore the region at their own pace in their very own Jeep Wrangler, either via a self-drive experience (where they are behind the wheel and in complete control) or alternatively on a guided tour where one of Quasar’s expert guides accompanies them throughout the trip in a separate vehicle. 

After exciting days of tracking pumas and zipping around Patagonia in their Jeeps, guests stay at some of the top hotels and lodges in all of South America where they can unwind with a relaxing spa treatment, delicious meal, and luxurious room. Travelers get to experience both outdoor adventure and comfort, creating a best-of-both-worlds vacation.

Villa Charlotte, Mauritius. Photo courtesy of Anahita Private Villas Rentals
Villa Charlotte, Mauritius. Photo courtesy of Anahita Private Villas Rentals

Villa Charlotte, Mauritius

Located within the prestigious and highly sought-after Anahita Golf and Spa Resort on the East Coast of Mauritius, Villa Charlotte combines luxury living with exemplary architecture and design. With 9,730 ft2 of living space, comprising six bedrooms and a spectacular, landscaped private garden with a stunning 25-meter pool, the villa offers the perfect space for rest and relaxation.

Positioned next to the stunning swimming pool, the large open-plan kitchen and living space is the heart of Villa Charlotte. Each of the rooms has been individually decorated and features custom-made, locally-made furniture throughout. Uniquely, Villa Charlotte boasts superb sea, golf, and mountain views, collectively showcasing the panoramic backdrop of this stunning piece of the island. The generous master bedroom offers complete privacy with its own expansive terrace benefitting from the trio of outstanding views.

Part of Richstone Collection’s private luxury villas and manors available for selective private rentals and secluded vacation bookings, this pristine property encapsulates the ultimate in bespoke high-end service Richstone Collection is renowned for. The newest addition to the Richstone Collection, Villa Charlotte is a breathtaking property within the Anahita Resort, home of the Four Seasons Hotel, on the paradise island of Mauritius. Putting guests’ minds at ease, Richstone Collection takes considerable measures at each property to ensure proper sanitary precautions to protect guests during their stay. 

Villa Fos, Corfu, Greece. Photo courtesy of Villa Phos Corfu
Villa Fos, Corfu, Greece. Photo courtesy of Villa Phos Corfu

Villa Fos, Corfu, Greece

New to the rental market in 2021, Villa Fos is a beautifully refurbished luxury villa nestled above Kalami in the sought-after north-east of Corfu. Up to ten adults and two children can enjoy the property’s expansive yet private setting, the private chef, heated infinity pool, and uninterrupted panoramic sea views.

The villa has been cleverly designed to capitalize on its spectacular location: expect immaculate views across three floors, and verandas where you can enjoy mealtimes and sunset viewing. Villa Fos also boasts an elevator that connects all three floors, as well as providing access to anyone with wheelchair specifications. On the ground floor, two en-suite bedrooms have access to a large canopy veranda, in addition to a fully equipped modern gym. The middle floor has three en-suite bedrooms; two double bedrooms and a master bedroom with a double bed, an open-plan bathroom with a free-standing bath, as well as access to a large balcony.

The top floor consists of a fully equipped open-plan kitchen, dining, and lounge area with a beautiful veranda that has an outdoor BBQ area and a large dining table that comfortably seats twelve guests. It’s easy to spend the whole day outside at Villa Fos with plenty of options on where to soak up the sun, lounge in the shade, or cool off in your private pool.

Villa La Vigie, Monte Carlo, Monaco. Photo courtesy of Villa La Vigie
Villa La Vigie, Monte Carlo, Monaco. Photo courtesy of Villa La Vigie

Villa La Vigie, Monte Carlo, Monaco

Villa La Vigie is one of the most iconic villas on the French Riviera – a property regularly visited by Karl Lagerfeld between 1986 and 2000 and a home he held so dear to his heart. Located on the cape of Monte-Carlo Beach and set amid a tree-filled private estate, Villa La Vigie offers unparalleled views of the Mediterranean, the Principality, and the bay of Roquebrune-Cap-Martin.

Acquired by Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer (SBM) in 1952, “La Vigie” was rented year-round to Karl Lagerfeld. In return for a rather modest rental price, Lagerfeld undertook extensive restoration work in the villa, ensuring that its exotic garden and panoramic terrace overlooking the sea retained its neoclassical charm.

Spread over three levels and offering 6 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, 2 dressing rooms, high-end appliances, and discreet and elegant décor, it also boasts a superb 237-square-meter terrace. Marble, columns, fireplaces, parquet flooring, and high ceilings create a modern and sophisticated ambiance. The villa has its private road and is surrounded by a tree-covered park so you can arrive by helicopter and be whisked off in a luxury car transfer and arrive at the villa in minutes! This glamorous and modern beachside hotel, designed by renowned architect India Mahdavi, excludes elegance.