World’s Most Enchanting Homes You Can Rent

From a castle fit for a fairy tale to a seaside villa with breathtaking views, you can live like royalty anywhere in the world—even if it’s just for a few days.


Westbury Castle, North Wales

You (and 37 of your nearest and dearest) can pretend you are the new royal family when you sleep in this grand castle built by the Mostyns, an historic Welsh family. The gorgeous, antiques-filled space features nine bedrooms with intricately carved four-poster beds, a billiards room, and even a knight in shining armor (literally). Check out more fairy tale accommodations you can spend the night in.

Beachfront Villa, Montego Bay, Jamaica

You won’t have to lift a finger if you stay at this gorgeous Jamaican villa, thanks to the full-time staff—chef, housekeeper, bartender/butler, and gardener—included in the price. The house sits on a swath of private beach with its own thatched-roof bar and in-ground pool.

Oceanfront Estate, Kennebunkport, Maine

Live like one of the presidential Bush clan when you stay at this grand estate with New England flair. Each of the five bedrooms boasts gorgeous ocean views, with your own private beach just steps away. The estate also features a heated pool and private tennis courts, just in case you ever grow bored taking in the view. Check out more incredible and unusual places where you can spend the night.

The Cove, Bali, Indonesia

Get a taste of life in Bali at this luxe villa, built from locally sourced teak, stone, and ironwood. The house includes the services of a private chef who will source local ingredients for all your meals, plus babysitters, masseuses, and yoga instructors, as needed. Amenities include a stone-built infinity pool, tennis court, and gorgeous ocean views from every bedroom.

Pavillon of the Château de Tocqueville, Tocqueville, France

Author Alexis de Tocqueville, a 19th-century French diplomat and author of Democracy in America, once lived in this gorgeous chateau near the beaches of Normandy. You’ll have gorgeous ocean views, Old World splendor, and a chance to stroll around the English gardens that Alexis’ wife designed. Check out the best castles on Airbnb.

Villa Can Nico, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

The owner personally greets you at the airport to whisk you off to this resort—the Villa Can Nico, nestled in the Punta Cana. You’ll be a short stroll from powder-soft sands at one of three private beaches, and have access to the services of a personal chef and housekeeper. The resort also offers several restaurants, a golf course, horseback riding, and other activities if you get bored.

Wine Country Escape, Sonoma, California

A brand new pool with a submerged hot tub is the perfect place to unwind after a day touring Sonoma’s wineries—and at this sleek new luxury home, you can do just that. In between tours, play ping-pong or bocce on their sets or check out the amazing mountain views, then dine under the stars at the teak wood table beneath a canopied gazebo (with plenty of good California wines, of course). You’ll want to avoid these vacation rental mistakes.

Why Go on a Masai Mara Safari?

The Masai Mara National Reserve and its neighbouring conservancies form Kenya’s flagship conservation area and one of the top safari destinations in Africa. Its wide-open plains provide a sanctuary for an abundance of animals like elephant, buffalo, zebra, giraffe, hyena and the Mara’s famous big cats: lion, leopard and cheetah. And between about August and November every year, the Mara is a much-welcomed pit stop for unending masses of wildebeest that follow the rains on their death-defying, 2 900-kilometre (1 800-mile) circular journey.

Thousands of visitors come to the Mara every year to enjoy some of the most authentic safari experiences in Africa. Here are a few reasons why we love a Masai Mara safari:

1. Enjoy Fantastic, Year-round Game Viewing

Game viewing in the Masai Mara is excellent all year round thanks to its varied landscapes, wide open spaces, temperate climate and diverse population of resident game. Its champagne-coloured savannahs are home to safari heavyweights like lion, leopard, elephant and buffalo, plus popular species like zebra, giraffe, hyena, eland and gazelle. Rhino sightings are scarce, but these endangered animals can be spotted – if you’re in luck – in the Mara Triangle.

The Mara is renowned for delivering exceptional big cat (lion, leopard and cheetah) sightings. Cheetahs are particularly well adapted to the region’s flat plains, which makes the Masai Mara one of the best places to see these nimble predators. They often seek vantage points on fallen trees, termite mounds, and even game drive vehicles! It’s a highlight of any Masai Mara safari to watch the world’s fastest land mammal chase down its prey.

  • Rich resident wildlife, temperate climate, diverse landscapes and wide-open spaces make it a terrific year-round safari destination.
  • Incredible big cat sightings – lion, leopard and cheetah.
  • Large concentrations of elephant, buffalo and giraffe.

2. Witness the Great Wildebeest Migration

From about August to November, one of nature’s greatest spectacles reaches the Masai Mara. The sheer number of wildebeest arriving in the area is staggering; the herds are so big they can be observed from space! The Wildebeest Migration is a dramatic mass movement of almost two million wildebeest, zebra and gazelle in a seasonal annual cycle driven by rainfall. To reach the Mara’s fresh grazing from Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park, the wildebeest must make dramatic river crossings, facing enormous crocodiles that lie in wait.

  • Accommodations with easy access to river crossing points.
  • Get a bird’s eye view of the herds on a hot-air balloon safari.
  • Stay in a private conservancy to escape the crowds and enjoy activities not permitted in the national reserve like going off-road, night drives and nature walks.

Note: availability of well-located safari camps in high season (June to October) is limited. If you want front-row seats to the Wildebeest Migration, you should book your Masai Mara safari at least a year in advance.

3. Experience a Hot-air Balloon Safari

You can combine thrilling land-based game viewing in 4×4 vehicles with Maasai-guided nature walks, and crown your Masai Mara safari with an unsurpassable hot-air balloon experience. The best flight paths follow the course of the Mara River, allowing you to peek down into the forests, float past vultures’ nests and observe the early-morning routines of boisterous hippos. After touching down onto the plains, you’ll be treated with a delicious bush breakfast with champagne.

  • Get a bird’s-eye view of the Mara’s breath-taking landscape and even spot wildlife.
  • Watch the sunrise unfurl across the boundless plains.
  • Enjoy a champagne bush breakfast after landing.
  • The perfect safari experience for a honeymoon or anniversary.

4. Meet the Maasai People

The Maasai are a semi-nomadic ethnic group who inhabit most of Kenya and northern Tanzania, and are well-known by travellers for their distinctive customs and dress. Although cattle ownership is still a central aspect of their culture, increased safari tourism has led many Maasai to become expert safari guides and camp managers. While on a Masai Mara safari, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to interact with Maasai guides and camp staff, plus get the chance to visit local villages for a fascinating glimpse of traditional Maasai culture, lifestyle and traditions.

  • Visit local villages to experience traditional Maasai culture.
  • Many safari camps give back to local communities.

5. Stay in a Private Conservancy

A conservancy is a very specific type of land and wildlife conservation area. Landowners enter into contracts with safari operators in return for monetary compensation and other assistance. This could include anything from educational and healthcare programmes to livestock and grazing management. The Masai Mara National Reserve can get crowded during safari high season (about June to October), which is why we recommend staying in one of the neighbouring private conservancies.

  • Enjoy superb, crowd-free game viewing.
  • Have easy access to the national reserve for Wildebeest Migration scenes.
  • Go off-road game viewing, night drives and guided nature walks – not permitted in the national reserve.
  • Contribute directly to local communities and conservation.