Mar 21, 2022
SOMETIMES IT’S WORTH spoiling yourself, and the best private pool villas in Southeast Asia (and South Asia) provide ample opportunities for you and your guests to indulge in ways that even a luxury hotel or resort cannot offer.
Across Asia, private villas have become synonymous with a kind of tropical exclusivity that would be the envy of the even the most jaded Instagrammers (think the #villalife crowd). Today, the best villa experiences will start by arriving at a spacious property that guests can call all their own, where guests will often be welcomed by a personal concierge who will be in attendance for the entire stay.
From there, expect the best villas to include beautiful private pools, luxurious interiors that extend into gardens, on-site wellness centers, cinema and game rooms, and in-house culinary services. What’s more, most private villas even come with chefs on call 24/7, ready to cater to guests’ every craving around the clock.
It is this kind of specialized service that draws luxury travelers from across the globe to the best of the private pool villas in this region. Most villa rentals in Asia also offer a menu of immersive experiences to add value to your group vacation—you can choose from special curated options such as private music performances, personal yoga and wellness sessions, culinary classes, trips to nearby heritage and nature sites, outdoor activities like mountain hiking and sea-kayaking, and special gastronomic experiences courtesy of villa chefs.
In this list, we have curated some of the best private pool villas in Ubud, Indonesia; Phuket, Thailand; and Dikwella, Sri Lanka—to name but a few of the wonderful and exotic travel destinations waiting to be known and explored in Asia.
Sun-loving, beach-going tourists who crave an upscale tropical experience agree that Seminyak, Bali, is the Southeast Asian destination for those who love to party; the nightlife is next-level, to boot. While resorts and hotels abound in the area, beachfront villas are still a rarity, making NoKu Beach House by Elite Havens a property to jump at if you get the chance.
Conceptualized by designer Alex Zabotto-Bentley and featured on the Netflix reality series The World’s Most Amazing Vacation Rentals, the beachside residence combines ancient and modern elements to create a lush, contemporary tropical oasis. At NoKu Beach House, guests can take in views of Bali’s famed sunsets, the rocky cliffs of Jimbaran Bay, and the majestic Indian Ocean.
With six luxurious bedroom suites, 25 professional staff and private chefs ready to serve, immaculately landscaped grounds, an a 27-meter-long private pool on the shores of Seminyak, NoKu Beach House is one of the best private pool villas in Bali for family and friends longing for an over-the-top weekend away.
Why your group should consider this private villa: “NoKu is the ultimate party house,” says Elite Havens Indonesia country manager Alan Porteous. The tropical garden makes for the perfect setting to enjoy sunset cocktails, and groups of friends can take advantage of gigantic marshmallow daybeds and a huge covered dining terrace overlooking the pool. For those who prefer to indulge in wellness and pampering, a private spa with multiple massage beds and a plunge pool can be discovered within a serene walled garden.
Group accommodation: NoKu Beach House has six lavish bedrooms (three are oceanfront) appointed with exquisite linens, high-end finishes, state-of-the-art sound systems and connectivity, plus beautiful tropical bathrooms.
If you’ve ever wondered how the rainforested island of Phuket in Thailand came to be globally famous and on most travelers’ must-visit lists, the answer isn’t just smart marketing; this is a lush, large, relatively easily accessible idyll with tons of vacation variety. Backpackers and jet-setters alike flock to its gorgeous beaches for quality snorkeling and scuba diving, visiting high-end seaside resorts and spas, and feasting on delicious dishes in its exciting array of restaurants–they’ve even got Michelin.
On a clifftop on Phuket’s northwest coast sits Villa Praison, one of the best private pool villas in Thailand to immerse in idyllic island living. Split over two levels, this contemporary-Thai luxe villa has space for eight adults and eight children and looks out over a calming vista of green tropical forests and sparkling blue seas.
Villa Praison was designed to invoke a sense of serenity and relaxation, with high ceilings, a wraparound balcony, sliding glass walls that open up to tropical gardens, and a 12.5-meter-long infinity pool that extends past the deck and disappears into the privacy of the trees surrounding the villa.
Why your group should consider this private villa: Groups of friends searching for rentals in Asia should explore Villa Praison because of its perfect location, advantageously situated just minutes away from the breathtaking Banana Beach, with a western vantage point for capturing those tropical sunsets we’re always chasing. The villa has a well-equipped common room with games and a billiard table, promising distractions and delights for friends and families who have fun on the agenda.
Group accommodation: With a pool built for group photos, luxury retreat Villa Praison can house up to eight adults and eight kids with its five bedrooms, four bathrooms, two communal powder rooms, a dining room with seating for 12, and spacious common areas.
Recognized for its waterfalls, mountain hikes and surf beaches, the island of Lombok in Indonesia is a tropical destination that deserves exploring when traversing the incredible and exotic region of Southeast Asia.
On one of Lombok’s most deserted stretches of white sand, Sira Beach, lies a retreat that makes this list of best private pool villas in Southeast Asia on style points alone. The six-bedroom Villa Sapi, designed by Canadian architect David Lombardi, surprises with its funky and playful architecture, creating a quirky, luxurious escape surrounded by palm trees.
Villa Sapi balances tranquility and privacy with the lure of adventure. Scuba divers and snorkelers are in for a treat: the coral-rich Gili Islands, with their incredible variety of marine life, are just a short boat ride away. At the villa, guests can relax in any of the three swimming pools, engage in a lively game of tennis at the courts, learn local cooking techniques, and dine on gourmet cuisine.
Why your group should consider this private villa: “This is tropical living and barefoot luxury at its very best,” says Scott Waters, director of marketing at Elite Havens. A full team of staff is on hand to look after guests’ needs with superb cuisine and service. To make it even more exciting, Villa Sapi is the only private villa in Lombok with its own in-house pastry chef. That’s right—freshly baked goods, whenever you wish.
Group accommodation: Villa Sapi’s six bedrooms, which are opulently furnished and open into grassed gardens, are spacious and spread out over the property, affording guests with a sense of serenity and privacy, not to mention creativity unique among villas in Southeast Asia.
Our exploration of some of the best private pool villas in Asia leads us to the picturesque coastal market town of Dikwella in Sri Lanka. Travelers love Dikwella for its long, sandy beach rich in marine life, its 49-meter-high seated Buddha statue, and its famous shorefront Saturday markets.
Claughton House by Eden Villas in Dikwella is a five-bedroom villa perfectly situated on the beach, designed in the mid-1980s by the late Geoffrey Bawa, a design legend, Sri Lanka’s preeminent architect, godfather of the Tropical Modernism style. The beach-facing property looks out over the surf of the ruggedly beautiful Kudawella Bay on the southern shores of Sri Lanka.
The remote location offers itself as a relaxing getaway for families and friends seeking private time to relax and play. Those with sightseeing activities and adventures in mind can book trips to pay homage to nearby temples, go on nature and heritage excursions, and even improve their outdoors skills with surfing and kayaking lessons in Dikwella.
Why your group should consider this private pool villa: “Recently, the swimming pool, poolside dining and landscaping [have] all been completely upgraded,” notes villa specialist Jack Eden, founder of Eden Villas, adding that the newly-designed pool is “one of the most impressive oceanfront pools in all of Sri Lanka.” Claughton House is serviced by a dedicated team with an accomplished chef ready to delight groups with exciting local culinary delicacies. There’s also a yoga shala and massage room for in-villa wellness sessions.
Group accommodation: Guests will find a comfortable amount of accommodation at Claughton House, which is divided into two parts—the front area has a dining and living room and three master suites, and the rear area, accessed via the kitchen, features two suites designed especially for children, a media room and a large private terrace.
At the southernmost end of Bali, best known for its unspoiled surf beaches, dramatic limestone cliffs and drier climate than the rest of Indonesia lies the scenic Bukit Peninsula. Christened Bukit (“hill” in Bahasa Indonesia) for all its cliffs, this is the location of the famous Pura Luhur Uluwatu temple, an architectural wonder fashioned from black coral rock and dedicated to the spirits of the sea.
It is in this beautiful landscape that Uluwatu Retreat is privately situated on a cliff overlooking the Indian Ocean. Inspired by the owner’s multicultural family and time-honored traditions of craftsmen from Bali and Java, Uluwatu Retreat is an architectural delight, furnished with conversation-sparking international designer elements, such as marble from Borneo and teak from Java.
Away from busier parts of the island, the private, for-hire estate has some of the best private pool villas in Southeast Asia, with eight stunning villa suites scattered over 5,500 square meters. A spacious living and dining room, a professional kitchen, a multi-media lounge, a bar, a gym and a spa are available for guests’ enjoyment, along with the pièce de résistance—a gorgeous infinity pool with magnificent views of the Indian Ocean.
Why your group should consider this private pool villa: “The view alone” is worth it, says Chris Laugsch, founder of Welcome Beyond. Lounging in the infinity pool offers an uninterrupted vista of the Indian Ocean. “Staying at Uluwatu with a group of friends is like taking over a luxury hotel,” Laugsch continues: Guests can enjoy their personal space, and a professional host, private chef, driver, and mixologist are on hand to ensure that the party continues on without a hitch.
Group accommodation: Uluwatu Retreat has eight stylish independent villas on offer—four independent villas with private gardens in the upper terraces, two master suites next to the ocean, and two family suites in the main estate gardens. The entire property is offered as a package deal for 8 to 16 people.
The riverfront Siri Sala Private Thai Villa is one of the newest additions to the Bangkok luxury hospitality scene, and making such waves that it is already considered by those in the know one of the best private pool villas in Southeast Asia. This property feels like a proper Thai home, albeit a super fabulous one, with rich cultural details and contemporary touches, in a historic district in Bangkok.
Founded by a couple with a passion for old Thai homes and serviced by committed personal staff, the restful Siri Sala is made up of lovingly restored wooden Thai stilt dwellings that showcase old-world charm and mix understated luxury with modern comforts.
From Siri Sala’s location, guests can explore all the dualities of this great city—the historical and modern, the urban and rural, and the fast and slow paces of authentic Thai living. Meals are prepared to order, and cocktails can be sipped poolside, on the terrace, and in the gardens. Siri Sala can also arrange tours and excursions for knowledge-hungry folks who want to soak up some heritage in the nearby historical area.
Why your group should consider this private pool villa: “Guests can be assured of absolute privacy,” say owners Irma Go and Kirati Thepsoparn, because “Siri Sala will entertain only one group at a time.” Groups will enjoy the exclusive use of the 1,670-square-meter property, which features tropical gardens, an inviting saltwater swimming pool, and The Heritage Bar, which is stocked with the finest selection of Thai spirits. Dedicated on-property staff will be on hand to organize personalized, memorable experiences such as canal boat tours, mural viewings, private jazz bands, curated culinary tastings, and much more.
Group accommodation: Siri Sala Private Thai Villa, which can accommodate groups of up to 10 guests, has four bedrooms, two “flexi-purpose” rooms, a fully-equipped open kitchen, library, workout space, roomy dining and living areas, and a spa suite.
An exotic tropical beach escape with a rip-roaring nightlife, Seminyak in Bali, Indonesia, is home to some of the most gorgeous villas in Southeast Asia. Private luxury retreat Villa Amita invites families and friends to relax and unwind on its tranquil grounds, which are hedged in by verdant tropical trees and feature a 25-meter swimming pool for guests who want to engage either in rigorous exercise or complete relaxation.
One of the best private pool villas in Seminyak, Bali, Villa Amita is a cluster of four pavilions that proudly highlight an aesthetic blend of traditional architecture and contemporary rustic touches. Spread out amidst rice fields in neighboring area Kerobokan, Villa Amita presents privileged vacation living with an exotic and quiet vibe.
Villa Amita offers hotel- and resort-quality amenities and combines them with the familiar comforts of home. The focal point of the sprawling garden’s well-maintained lawn is the large private pool with its glassy waters, ready for groups of families or friends to revel in, and spacious umbrellas over lounge chairs on the poolside deck beckon invitingly.
Why your group should consider this private villa: A favored villa in Bali with a sizable private pool, Villa Amita is popular with big groups of families or friends. From the villa’s easily accessible location, you can tour nearby rice plantations, take surfing lessons, and join yoga and meditation classes. Gastronomically inclined groups will be thrilled to know that the villa comes with an on-site chef who is ready to provide guests with a personal culinary experience of authentic Balinese cuisine and Western staples.
Group accommodation: Villa Amita features seven well-appointed and air-conditioned bedrooms, a dining area in the main pavilion with a wooden table fit for a hungry group of 16, airy common areas, a billiards table for friendly matches, and lots of space on the poolside deck for endless lounging.
Koh Samui is Thailand’s second-largest island but has a homey, small-town feel, making it one of the best and most popular places in Southeast Asia to snuggle up in private pool villas. With its palm tree-lined beaches, mountainous rainforests, beautiful resorts and spas, and an abundance of nature and adventure activities, was recently ranked 7th among the top islands in the world.
Extra large groups of friends searching for stunning villas in Southeast Asia to vacation in together can look no further than Sangsuri Estate in Chaweng, Koh Samui. Specializing in large holiday getaways and a favorite for destination weddings, Sangsuri Estate is one of the best luxury cocoons in Asia for those looking for a pool or four in their own private neighborhood of villas. It is built over a series of wide, beautifully landscaped terraces that step down to a secluded stretch of beach with breathtaking sea views.
Sangsuri Estate comes with stylish lounge spaces, a large dining area and plenty of alfresco spaces to explore. Guests can catch-up on films in private cinema rooms, and those fancying an outdoor cinematic experience can make use of a complimentary pull-down garden projector screen. Folks wanting to de-stress can do so at the newly opened beachside spa, which offers local rejuvenating Thai treatments. Cooling off is a breeze in any one of the retreat’s four swimming pools, and guests can make use of kayaks and paddleboards.
Why your group should consider this private villa: Sangsuri Estate invites guests to experience tranquility in the beachfront residence, which sits on thoughtfully designed grounds—concealed sky gardens provide privacy, and cozy sun terraces envelop guests in nature while allowing for outstanding views of the ocean. With ample bedrooms, a game room with table tennis, cinema rooms, media rooms and a spa, the retreat is equipped to accommodate a large group of holidaymakers who are ready to revel.
Group accommodation: With a total of 21 bedrooms featuring their own ensuite bathrooms spread across three gorgeously furnished villas, Sangsuri Estate is built to handle large parties of families or friends and is excellent for hosting private special events.
Situated in a secured estate with panoramic sea views from every room, the award-winning, architectural gem that is Villa Amanzi Kamala in Phuket, Thailand, offers guests indoor and outdoor living for a natural immersion into island life.
One of the visually best private pool villas in Southeast Asia, Villa Amanzi Kamala’s infinity pool is the star of the show. Nestled in a dramatic tropical setting of steep rocks facing the ocean, guests can watch incredible sunsets while lounging in the 15-meter pool as it reaches out into the horizon and overlooks gorgeous blue-green waters.
From Villa Amanzi Kamala, Phuket’s many attractions—such as nightlife and shopping—are not far away. Guests who do not wish to leave the island retreat’s beautiful grounds will have everything they need provided by the villa’s attentive manager, chef and staff, in the signature style of Thai hospitality.
Why your group should consider this private villa: In Villa Amanzi Kamala, expansive living and dining areas encourage guests to lounge and relax in style. “With the modern kitchen, dining and barbecue areas, this is a warm, luxuriant space inviting carefree celebration,” says Femke Beekers, Elite Havens’ Thailand country manager. Beekers also promises that the stunning villa and location are “sure to inspire a thousand sun-drenched ‘Yes, we’re here! #nofilter’ Instagram posts.”
Group accommodation: Guests can arrange themselves as they prefer in Villa Amanzi Kamala’s six bedrooms—one is a master suite with panoramic ocean views, a wraparound balcony and a terrazzo bathtub; the other five bedrooms also offer superb sea vistas and private or shared balconies.
The hunt for the best private pool villas in Southeast Asia takes us to the heart of Bali, where a traditional village in the culture-rich town of Ubud awaits. The Sankara Resort, surrounded by exotic plantations of Balinese frangipani, red palm, coconut and mangosteen trees, is luxuriously outfitted with a 15-square-meter infinity pool as well as multiple private pools.
The Sankara Resort, with its beautiful Balinese-styled rooms and villas with pools and walled gardens, is a peaceful retreat where guests can unwind and relax together in an atmosphere of tranquility. It is also a mere 15 minutes away from the center of the island’s culture capital of Ubud, where the old and new of Indonesian heritage, art, music and food are waiting to be experienced.
One of the best private pool villas in Ubud, The Sakara Resort invites guests to partake in healing and wellness treatments in their in-house spa, Radha Spa. A curated Balinese cooking experience is also an exciting offer—start by shopping for herbs and vegetables in the local market, and learn to prepare special recipes from the resort’s in-house chef.
Why your group should consider this private villa: The Sankara Resort’s focus is ushering guests into an experience of peace and tranquility. Perfect for families or groups of friends, the private pool villas are designed with traditional Balinese architecture, showcasing natural finished teak woods, Indonesian stones, and the colors of nature.
Group accommodation: With a combination of nearly 30 Balinese rooms and private pool villas (in one- and two-bedroom options), The Sankara Resort has the capacity to host big groups of vacationers seeking the type of tranquility for which Southeast Asia is beloved.