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The best rooms at the world’s top resorts are not rooms at all, but instead lavish villas, chalets, and even castles that offer everything from theaters to private beaches and spas. Here, we present 20 of our house favorites.

The Resort: Eichardt’s Private Hotel dates to 1859, when William Gilbert Rees, cofounder of the city of Queenstown, New Zealand, renovated the woolshed on his lakefront homestead and opened it as an...
The Resort: Modeled after the villages of northern Thailand’s Lanna kingdom (13th–18th centuries), Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi is a 60-acre compound of tropical gardens, working rice paddies,...
The Resort: Several of the 34 guest rooms, suites, houses, and cottages at Eden Rock on St. Barts are named and themed after past guests of the 60-year-old resort. Howard Hughes and Greta Garbo are...
The Resort: In the 1960s, Norwegian businessman Torolf Smedvig built a series of A-frame chalets on his 1,800-acre Caribbean isle and opened the property as Peter Island Resort. Smedvig’s exclusive...
The Resort: A fixture on the French Riviera for more than a century, the Grand-Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat sits on the tip of a towering promontory between Nice and Monte Carlo. The 74-room resort—which...
The Resort: Black lava rock blankets the landscape for miles along the Big Island of Hawaii’s Highway 19, and the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai at Historic Ka'upulehu—located just off the highway on a...
The Resort: No one will oblige you to do much of anything on North Island. The 519-acre private-island resort—reached via a 20-minute helicopter ride from Seychelles International Airport—immerses...
The Resort: Pezula Private Estate may be off South Africa’s standard tourist path, but this sprawling resort and residential community generously rewards those who make the detour. The 2,500-acre...
The Resort: "No problem" is the response to most requests made at Laucala Island. From coconut-milk baths to midnight tee times at the David McLay Kidd–designed golf course, the more than 300 staff...
The Resort: The blue of the Indian Ocean appears even brighter against the volcanic stone walls of Bulgari Resort, a strikingly contemporary 59-villa property set along 492-foot-high cliffs on...
The Resort: The Palmilla was one of the first hotels in Los Cabos, and it remains among the few authentically Mexican properties on this now-touristy stretch along the Sea of Cortez. Reopened as a...
The Resort: Twin Farms’ ostensibly endless list of activities (skiing, tobogganing, ice skating, snowshoeing, swimming, fishing, canoeing, hiking) has prompted many a guest to describe the 300-acre...
The Resort: Guests of Soneva Gili quickly adapt to the "no news, no shoes" policy at this private-island retreat in the Maldives. Butlers attend to their barefoot and blissfully unplugged charges by...
The Resort: The grande dame of Italy’s Lake Como waterfront, Villa d’Este opened in 1873 as a retreat for Milanese aristocrats. The 152-room resort’s centuries-old structures and gardens set a...
The Resort: A 90-minute drive northwest from Los Angeles, Ojai Valley Inn & Spa offers solace for city slickers amid 220 acres of oak trees, golf course greens, and herb gardens. The resort’s 308...
The Resort: Pink lounge chairs and umbrellas dot the crescent-shaped beach at Sandy Lane, a 113-room Barbados resort that dates to 1961. In addition to a beach club—which offers kayaking, banana-boat...
The Resort: Designed to resemble an opulent Polynesian village, the St. Regis Bora Bora Resort consists of 100 over-water and beachfront villas surrounded by a turquoise-blue lagoon. Bora Bora’s main...
The Resort: The six guest lodges at the &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve in South Africa range from a glass-walled house built on stilts to suites perched on the side of a rocky cliff to...