Take Five: Last Minute European Villas
Summer might be drawing to a close, but it's not too late to find the perfect villa holiday.
Why: This stylish and contemporary villa (pictured above) is a million miles from the high rise apartments you might associate with Mallorca. With a terrace running the full length of the villa, a crescent shaped infinity pool and amazing views over Formentor Bay, Canderosen is certainly built to impress. Kids will be happy with the fully stocked playroom, but will also be kept busy with the on-site nanny. Meanwhile, your own private chef will cater to any whim, meaning you'll barely need to leave the villa at all. As well as the pool, there's a Jacuzzi on the terrace, and tiny stone steps lead directly down to the sea. Or you can just stay on a sun lounger and watch the yachts cruise into the bay. If you do want to explore, this corner of the island is one of the most stunning, with blue flag beaches and dramatic look out points.
How: Scott Dunn currently has a week from 19 - 26 August from €2,206 per person on a full board basis for 5.5 days per week. The price includes return flights from Dublin to Palma, and is based on a full occupancy of 12 people.
Villa El Cano
Where: Marbella, Spain
Why: If you're harbouring fantasies of living like a millionaire, then Villa El Cano might just let you live out your dream (for a week, at least). This impressive villa sleeps 20, has a sauna, Jacuzzi, gym and both an indoor and an outdoor pool. From the terrace and huge windows you're greeted with panoramic views of the Mediterranean coast, from the rugged mountains to the sea. Your chef will prepare a sumptuous breakfast each morning, and there's also daily housekeeping included.
How: A week from 23rd - 30th August is currently available at a 50% discount, for €12,500. Fly to Malaga with Aer Lingus (aerlingus.com) or Ryanair (ryanair.com).
NB: All prices subject to change/availability.
Where: Dordogne, France
Why: Nothing beats a rambling stone house in the French countryside for a picture perfect holiday. Mornings are spent stocking up on croissants and baguettes in the nearest boulangerie, afternoons are for poolside lounging, and the evenings are fuelled by rosé and the sound of crickets. Pure France has a wide selection of villas around the country, but this 18th century chateau is a beauty. It sleeps 14 and there's a private pool with an outdoor BBQ and kitchen, and the interior has all the period features you'd expect. There's eight hours of maid service included too.
How: A week in August costs €5,850, dropping to €3,940 in September. For a Saturday arrival in August, fly to Rodez with Ryanair (ryanair.com). The villa is about two hours and forty minutes away. In September, when arrival days are more flexible, you can fly to Bordeaux with Aer Lingus (aerlingus.com).
Why: The island once known as the perennial party haven is starting to draw a whole new set of holidaymakers. People take to the hills to unwind in chic villas, far from the clubs and bars down on the coast. Villa Escandell sleeps seven, and has everything you'd need (including a hefty discount for August). There are incredible views over pine forests and olive groves, a private pool surrounded by greenery and a shady terrace. The expansive gardens are both beautiful and convenient - nothing beats plucking a lemon straight from the tree to garnish your evening gin and tonic.
How: Seven nights from 24th August now costs €3,544 (saving €844) and a week from August 31st is reduced to €3,368 (saving €675). You can fly to Ibiza with Ryanair (ryanair.com).
Where: Tuscany, Italy
Why: There's no shortage of beautiful villas in Tuscany, and Il Molinaccio is certainly one of the prettiest. The traditional stone house has been carefully preserved, maintaining original terracotta floors and a handmade stone staircase. The vaulted ceilings create a light, airy feel, and there's a living area with a huge fireplace for cooler evenings. Il Molinaccio is hidden among five hectares of trees and gardens, with a tiny river running through the grounds. There's an L shaped pool, set in the secluded woodlands, and plenty to see (and drink) in the Chianti region. There'll be no arguing over shower times either - there's a bathroom for each of the five bedrooms.
How: There's currently good availability for the end of August and most of September. You can get a week starting 23rd August from €4,299, including a 25% discount. Fly to Pisa with Ryanair (ryanair.com).