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Life for rent

March 16, 2004
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Elounda Gulf Villas, Crete

Some of the most luxurious and sophisticated villas in the whole of Greece, let alone Crete, these dazzling white properties subtly combine contemporary and traditional design. There’s everything here for anyone who wants to hole up in style: large private terraces with pools, his-and-hers Jacuzzis with breathtaking views over the Gulf of Mirabello, and hi-tech toys such as VCRs and internet link-up. Each bedroom (the villas sleep from two to eight) has its own marble bathroom with hand painted ceilings and goodies galore. There’s a small children’s playground, bar, restaurant and mini market on site, which is a five-minute drive from Elounda. And if you don’t ever want to leave your Cretan home-from-home, a chef will prepare meals to be served by a butler in your villa.

Goldeneye, Jamaica

Alas, Agent 007 never did slip between the sheets at Goldeneye, but this is where he was conceived – by the owner, Ian Fleming. And Pierce Brosnan does appear in the visitors’ book, along with such celebrities as Harrison Ford, Ralph Lauren, Elizabeth Taylor, Yoko Ono et al. Ian Fleming came to the island in 1942 and wintered there until his death in 1964, writing every day – as well as carousing with neighbour Sir Noël Coward and swimming nude from the beach at sunrise. Though modern features such as a swimming pool have since been added, there’s still plenty of memorabilia for wannabe Bonds, including an alfresco clawfoot bath and the desk where Fleming penned his plots. If you want to bring friends or family, there are four more villas in the grounds, one of them named Honey Chile. Remember Ursula Andress in Dr No? How could you forget?

Villa Mafalda, Capri

High up in the village of Anacapri, this villa was built in 1950 for Princess Mafalda, daughter of the Italian King Vittorio Emanuele III. It’s a pristine Mediterranean villa set among olive and lemon groves, with sensational views over deep azure seas that even former Capri resident Emperor Tiberius might have coveted. Sparkling-white with coloured-tile floors, a curved marble staircase and a series of secluded terraces, Mafalda remains aloof from the madding crowds that besiege the island each day. Day-trippers leave in the afternoon, however, so guests can descend from their own private eyrie to Capri’s magical little piazzetta for a tranquil cappuccino, Martini or the local tipple, iced limoncello, a lemon liqueur. Don’t miss out on exploring Capri. Its sheer beauty has been attracting visitors since Homeric days when sirens reputedly lured sailors on to its rocky shores. Since then, Roman emperors, American presidents, Winston Churchill, Lenin and Trotsky, to say nothing of Gracie Fields, Maria Callas and a host of writers and royals, have all been ensnared by the island’s charms. But don’t go to Capri if you’re a beach bum– there aren’t any beaches.


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There’s everything at Elounda Gulf Villas for those who want to hole up in style, including large private terraces with pools and his-and-hers Jacuzzis with breathtaking views over the Gulf of Mirabello
At Goldeneye guests can snorkel the reef or paddle to private beaches by kayak
Simple luxury at the island hideaway built by writer Ian Fleming
Villa Mafalda is located in Anacapri, away from the day tripping crowds of Capri town

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