Our curated collection in Europe and beyond


by Michelle Snaddon and Amanda Perkins
maison franschhoek blog13 scaled 1

We’ve always said that travel is about tickling the senses… whether it’s through food, wine, inspirational design or simply feeling embraced by a vibrant culture and the romance of a foreign language. It’s about making memories, a complete escape. 

With a firm foothold in South Africa, we are expanding and it’s now time to share our handpicked collection of authentic experiences in Europe … as well as England, Scotland and even the blissful Indian Ocean islands of the Maldives.

Perfect Hideaways, France, Montpellier, Belle Vallee
Perfect Hideaways, France, Cassis,Villa des Calanques

The Perfect Hideaways team have always travelled in search of authenticity. Of immersive experiences where our guests can live like locals, shop at markets and boutiques like locals, where they can discover the country or a village through the eyes of an insider. 

With a strong portfolio in South Africa, we have now launched in over five countries in Europe, are building a collection of Scottish and English country escapes, and continue to expand our island collection around the world. We share some insights to this journey with owner, Helen Untiedt

Perfect Hideaways, France, Côte d’Azur, Cassis, Villa des Calanques
The fairytale Castle Elvira in Puglia: where music, art and whimsy collide. The perfect setting for a special celebration or small wedding.
Perfect Hideaways, Italy, Puglia, Castle Elvira
Life on the French Riviera doesn’t get better than this. Villa des Calanques is a stylish gem in Cassis, France

Q&A with helen untiedt…

Why did you start a portfolio beyond Southern Africa? 

It all started with a trip to Spain and France that ignited our passion again for travel in Europe. David and I have lived in both countries and we love Africa but really missed the culture of Europe. 

Our first trip on the search for new Perfect Hideaways properties in Europe started in Barcelona. We drove up the coast and then took a train into France to see a 16th-century farmhouse near Montpellier and a chateau near Boussac. Did I have a favourite? No, I can’t say which was better. We loved them both: the culture, food, and landscapes. And I’ve never been disappointed with anywhere we’ve travelled so far. It’s interesting … We listen to people, to their stories, to their advice. We only go to the places that come highly recommended by our villa owners and that we’ll enjoy as we know our client base will appreciate them too. 

What’s your future vision? 

Going forward, we’ll be looking at more foodie destinations, more laidback lifestyles, the arts… but we’ll always keep to what we know is right for our clients and, very importantly, we only work with owners we trust. We’ll never suggest a large hotel: instead, we’re looking for big farmhouses and villas for families to get together as well as those charming little four-sleepers in quaint villages or in lesser-known coastal villages away from the crowds. 

Perfect Hideaways is not just one portfolio. Coming from England there’s a huge part of me that I miss about all my travels – Africa is just one of the places I love – but when the pandemic began, we realised we needed to have more properties in all parts of the world so that our business could be stronger. Our clients are now travelling again all over the world, so why not take it global? This international portfolio is all about the things I love and love to share. 

Where are you listed now and what’s coming soon?

Our properties are coming in from current clients or existing owners, many of whom live here in South Africa and have travelled with us here so they understand our ethos. They ‘get’ us. It makes sense to work with people we love to work with. We look for places that are unique and beautiful and special, just as we hand pick our properties and lodges in Africa. We now have listings in ScotlandEnglandFranceSpainGreece, the CaribbeanMaldives and more… Look out for exciting new additions France plus Sweden, Portugal and the island of Zanzibar in Tanzania.  

‘It’s not just about putting bums in beds and not just about a place to sleep. I use other booking portals for a place to sleep en route. Our clients come to Perfect Hideaways to find a beautiful place to stay,’ says Helen.

ITALY

Perfect Hideaways, Italy, Puglia, Villa Cardo
Authentic Puglia with its contemporary casas, ancient castles and restored stone farmhouses set between historic hilltop towns and a rugged coastline.
Perfect Hideaways, Italy, Puglia, Villa Cardo
Authentic Puglia with its contemporary casas, ancient castles and restored stone farmhouses set between historic hilltop towns and a rugged coastline.

Researching the history of travel to Italy revealed this fascinating fact: European aristocrats first began visiting the country as early as the 17th century. They came for the same reasons we do today… to marvel at the ancient architecture, absorb the local culture, and enjoy the incredible natural beauty. Found a stone’s throw from Rome, Tuscany is probably the best-known region, offering as it does achingly beautiful, historical hilltop towns, lush, rolling countryside, and superb, sophisticated restaurants.

Bordering Tuscany is Umbria, a smaller region to traverse but with similar attributes, and it’s easy to experience both on a two-week itinerary. If you’re keen to hit the beach, you could also head to the rugged coastline of Puglia towards the end of your trip. Puglia may be less well known but we love this region for its down-to-earth, laid-back authenticity.

Perfect Hideaways, Italy, Umbria, Reschio
Reschio Hotel: by far the most enchanting stay in Italy, beginning with a transfer through the estate by Land Rover on arrival, to be greeted by staff dressed in period costume…
Perfect Hideaways, Italy, Umbria, Reschio
Reschio Hotel: by far the most enchanting stay in Italy, beginning with a transfer through the estate by Land Rover on arrival, to be greeted by staff dressed in period costume…

Rome to the Baroque city of Lecce takes around six hours, which broken up with an incredible lunch and at least one gelato stop, is totally doable. Naturally, a trip to Italy is foodie heaven. This is truffle and wine-tasting country, a place where a simple Caprese salad is made with sun-ripened tomatoes exploding with flavour, and pesto pasta is elevated from a quick supper for the kids to a transcendent taste experience.

Last summer, we explored the Italian island of Sardinia, and have recently launched our first two villas, Casa Gallo and Casa Pantaleo up on the hillside above the pretty coastal village of San Pantaleo. With crystal-clear waters and idyllic coves, Sardinia is loved by the jet-set who moor their luxury yachts here every year and by bohemian travellers who pack their kaftans once a year for their annual pilgrimage to this laid-back Italian island. 

Visit Italy once and you’ll be hooked… and with so many contrasting regions, each with their local cuisine, there are plenty of compelling reasons to choose a return to la dolce vita! 

Our Italian collection is the largest by far, and spans Puglia, Tuscany and Umbria. Browse our collection and email [email protected] to book. 

Perfect Hideaways, Italy, Umbria, Reschio
Perfect Hideaways, Italy, Umbria, Reschio
Perfect Hideaways, Italy, Umbria, Reschio
Perfect Hideaways, Italy, Umbria, Reschio

Reschio Hotel, the darling of Umbria but with classic Tuscan views, is one of the hottest addresses in Italy. Not only is its food superb but guests can stay in its extravagant yet understated suites in the restored castle and farm houses dating back to the year 900.

Perfect Hideaways, Italy, Umbria, Reschio
Perfect Hideaways, Italy, Umbria, Reschio
Perfect Hideaways, Italy, Umbria, Reschio
Perfect Hideaways, Italy, Umbria, Reschio

Reschio Hotel, the darling of Umbria but with classic Tuscan views, is one of the hottest addresses in Italy. Not only is its food superb but guests can stay in its extravagant yet understated suites in the restored castle and farm houses dating back to the year 900.

FRANCE

Perfect Hideaways, France, Cassis, Villa Cala Blanca
Glamorous Villa des Calanques in the quaint fishing village of Cassis on the French Riviera is our newest addition to the French collection of hideaways.
Perfect Hideaways, France, Cassis, Villa Cala Blanca
Glamorous Villa des Calanques in the quaint fishing village of Cassis on the French Riviera is our newest addition to the French collection of hideaways.

After a first foray back in France, a country they have loved visiting over the years, Helen and David set their sights on country escapes, but this year they discovered yet another gem – this time, they chose the coast. 

Holidaying on the Med, cushioned between Marseilles and St Tropez, in an oceanside villa that’s an extension of a ritzy 1920’s boutique hotel may sound super glamorous… and it is. Our first Perfect Hideaways villa on the French Riviera takes you along the windy road to Cassis, where you’ll discover an authenticity in this old-fashioned, picturesque fishing village that keeps you grounded amid the villa’s luxury.

At the delightfully private and unashamedly romantic Villa des Calanques a friendly, discreet concierge team are at the ready to fulfil your every whim. With a traditional hammam, two heated swimming pools and cosy cabanas for late afternoon snoozing, you’ll want for nothing, and will spend lazy days in the balmy heat, with lots of time on or in the water.

A boat is always on standby to visit this region’s infamous calanques – the French version of fjords. These narrow, steep-walled limestone or dolomite inlets lead to staggeringly beautiful coves, often only reached by private boat and where swimming is heavenly in warm turquoise waters.

As with any French holiday there’ll be drowsy hours by the pool soothed by the sound of crickets, visits to the local boulangerie for opaque paper bags filled with buttery, flaky croissants, the pungent smell of sun-warmed brie spread onto fresh baguette, and of course the most delicious wine.

Come evening time you’ll wander through the busy streets of Cassis, alive with restaurants whose tables line the streets. Sitting outside late into the night feasting on hearty bouillabaisse and rich confit of duck, washed down with some Provençal Rosé, this is a holiday you’ll never want to end. In the words of poet Frédéric Mistral, “Qu’a vist Paris, se noun a vist Cassis, a ren vist” – One may have seen Paris, but if one hasn’t seen Cassis, one hasn’t seen anything. 

New properties will be added soon in Provence and the Luberon. Until then, browse the rest of our collection and email [email protected] to book. 

Perfect Hideaways, France, Cassis, Villa des Calanques
Perfect Hideaways, France, Cassis, Villa des Calanques
Perfect Hideaways, France, Cassis, Villa des Calanques
Perfect Hideaways, France, Cassis, Villa des Calanques

Villa des Calanques is a contemporary gem named after the beautiful coves or ‘calanques’ near Cassis on the French Riviera.

Perfect Hideaways, France, Cassis, Villa des Calanques
Perfect Hideaways, France, Cassis, Villa des Calanques
Perfect Hideaways, France, Cassis, Villa des Calanques
Perfect Hideaways, France, Cassis, Villa des Calanques

Villa des Calanques is a contemporary gem named after the beautiful coves or ‘calanques’ near Cassis on the French Riviera.

SCOTLAND

Scotland, Scottish Highlands, Castle Aldourie, Loch Ness
Live like a king in the romantic 300-year-old Castle Aldorie set on the shores of Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands.
Scotland, Scottish Highlands, Castle Aldourie, Loch Ness
Live like a king in the romantic 300-year-old Castle Aldorie set on the shores of Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands.

While co-founders Helen and David were reviewing potential new hideaways in the Scottish Highlands they bombarded us with pics of them living it up at an assortment of magnificent castles. We couldn’t help but get excited… especially as the pics were accompanied by rhapsodic voice notes; the oysters were heavenly, the whisky smooth, the hospitality next level, the Scottish dancing SO much fun and a dip in the lochs ‘exhilarating’ (David) ‘not happening’ (Helen!).

The first of their finds was Aldourie Castle. Settled on 500 acres of untamed wilderness in one of the most beautiful destinations in Scotland, its 300-year old Baronial bones rest on the banks of the legendary Loch Ness, setting the scene for you to live like kings. Aldourie lends itself rather marvellously to extravagant celebrations, so gather 24 of your favourite folk for an extended stay. The team on the ground are masters at tailoring a packed itinerary of novel experiences; on the activities front there’s falconry, archery, clay pigeon shooting, wilderness walking, fishing, swimming, SUPing, and of course, messing about in boats. Back at the castle, enjoy a billiards and snooker tournament or relax with some yoga and massage. As night time falls, the whisky tasting begins, then some Scottish dancing accompanied by bagpipes and raucous laughter. The resident chef works with guests to create five-star feasts, and when not dining or ‘oot and aboot’, there’s ample time to simply sit still in the drawing rooms, the languid lounging spaces, or gently stroll around the abounding gardens.

You will leave Aldourie Castle with authentic, lifelong memories of your time in Scotland, and a longing to return, and who knows… you might even spot the Loch Ness Monster!

Browse our collection of Scottish hideaways or email [email protected] to book.

Perfect Hideaways, Scotland, Highlands, Loch Ness, Aldourie Castle
Perfect Hideaways, Scotland, Highlands, Loch Ness, Aldourie Castle
Perfect Hideaways, Scotland, Highlands, Loch Ness, Aldourie Castle
Perfect Hideaways, Scotland, Highlands, Loch Ness, Aldourie Castle

A romantic retreat on the banks of the legendary Loch Ness, Aldourie Castle is a dream hideaway for anyone who loves the wild Highlands of Scotland. With 500 acres to explore, gourmet meals and a roaring fireplace to look forward to, this is a year-round destination, especially for multigenerational gatherings or special celebrations.

Perfect Hideaways, Scotland, Highlands, Loch Ness, Aldourie Castle
Perfect Hideaways, Scotland, Highlands, Loch Ness, Aldourie Castle
Perfect Hideaways, Scotland, Highlands, Loch Ness, Aldourie Castle
Perfect Hideaways, Scotland, Highlands, Loch Ness, Aldourie Castle

A romantic retreat on the banks of the legendary Loch Ness, Aldourie Castle is a dream hideaway for anyone who loves the wild Highlands of Scotland. With 500 acres to explore, gourmet meals and a roaring fireplace to look forward to, this is a year-round destination, especially for multigenerational gatherings or special celebrations.

England

Perfect Hideaways, England, Cotswolds, Ebrington Manor
Rambling roses, lavender and wisteria scent the spring gardens at Ebrington Manor, set in the heart of the Cotswolds.
Perfect Hideaways, England, Cotswolds, Ebrington Manor
Rambling roses, lavender and wisteria scent the spring gardens at Ebrington Manor, set in the heart of the Cotswolds.

Back in England, where Helen’s unbridled passion for travel started, the first manor house to join the collection was Ebrington Hall in the charming Cotswolds, belonging to lovely Perfect Hideaways clients. ‘The English countryside is where my heart is, it’s home,’ says Helen. ‘My childhood summer holidays were all about exploring the countryside… that’s how I grew up. We used to go to Cornwall, the Cotswolds, to Wales, all over… so I wanted to bring this typical English lifestyle to our portfolio. 

The quaint village of Ebrington is within walking distance of Ebrington Hall, where you’re immediately immersed into the antiquated charm of its local community. Award-winning gastro pubs, superb butchers, bakers, jam and cider makers… you’ll find them all here. Walk a little further along narrow lanes flanked by Cotswold Stone cottages and discover quaint bookstores, collectables and boutiques.

Take part in country sports – clay pigeon shooting to archery to golf to horse-riding and even art classes – or head off on an abundance of beautiful walking trails criss-crossing hill and dale, join a history tour, visit museums or public gardens, castles and wildlife parks. The Cotswolds offers families the opportunity to lose themselves in the country lifestyle, at a pace that hasn’t changed in hundreds of years. 

Browse our collection of English hideaways or email [email protected] to book. 

SPAIN

Perfect Hideaways, Spain, Gerona, Las Heras
The 13th century farmhouse of Las Heras in the rolling hills of Girona, just 45 minutes from Barcelona, Spain.
Perfect Hideaways, Spain, Gerona, Las Heras
The 13th century farmhouse of Las Heras in the rolling hills of Girona, just 45 minutes from Barcelona, Spain.

When asked what she loved about Spain, Helen recalled her first trip there – flying into Barcelona and heading up the coast towards France. ‘Each place was so special, but there’s a different energy in Spain… it’s the sheer exuberance of the warm-hearted and fiery Spanish who invite you to embrace their culture with open arms.’ 

So, whether your memories of Spain are of the tastiest tapas you’ve EVER had, of a glass of ice-cold sherry being handed to you as you walk to a restaurant through an ancient pebbled passageway strewn with fresh mint, you will recall them forever. In Spain, you’ll discover bursts of flavour – sun-ripened tomatoes, delicious anchovy stuffed olives, and thinly sliced Jamón that’s so good that you’ll order it time and again.

Las Heras, our historic farmhouse near Gerona will soon be joined by coastal gems and hideaways in little villages  where time has stood still, where the unmistakable rhythms of flamenco and the click of castanets draw locals to dance in the square, and where the ritual of tapas begins early and everyone spills out onto the street to promenade… babies beautifully dressed, doting grandparents enjoying family time, and kids meeting friends. This is the Spain we love…

Browse our collection and email [email protected] to book. 

GREECE

Perfect Hideaways, Greece, Corfu, Kalami Bay, Koloura House
Koloura House on the north-eastern corner of the island of Corfu, Greece, is the newest Greek villa to join our collection.
Perfect Hideaways, Greece, Corfu, Kalami Bay, Koloura House
Koloura House on the north-eastern corner of the island of Corfu, Greece, is the newest Greek villa to join our collection.

Perfect Hideaways’ first foray into Greece was off-peak, just before the intense summer heat. Excited by the fact that no ferry rides were needed to get to Evia, the second largest island in Greece (and the third-largest in the Mediterranean), and that it was an easy two-hour drive from Athens airport, they set off en-famille. Evia is reached via a bridge over to the island, so there’s no need to wait in queues.

Helen’s gut feeling was right… tourists don’t seem to have discovered Évia yet as they only met island locals or Athenians and loved chatting to families who all come together to run their tavernas in summer, but head back to their farms in the hills in winter. Macrame-style beach umbrellas and four-poster sunbeds beckoned at the nearest taverna, also reached on the SUP if anyone fancied heading off from the very beautiful private beach shaded by olive trees at Perfect Hideaways’ first Greek find: Three Stone Villas.

Before long, the daily dip at the hot springs nearby became a delightful ritual and then heading out to explore little villages like Illya and Limni’s great beach cafes and tavernas, all reasonably priced. Day trips to the north of the island took them past untouched villages to the monastery at Galatáki, and it is possible to book a ferry ahead to Alónissos, Skópelos or Skíathos but it was tempting to simply stay put! 

Our next find was Villa Koloura is in Corfu, the island so loved and romanticised by the Durrells, and there are more to come! Here’s a quick peek: we’re loving the fresh, soothing colour palettes for those sizzling summer days…

Browse our collection and email [email protected] to book. 

Perfect Hideaways, Greece, Ionian Islands, Corfu, Koloura House
Perfect Hideaways, Greece, Ionian Islands, Corfu, Koloura House
Perfect Hideaways, Greece, Ionian Islands, Corfu, Koloura House
Perfect Hideaways, Greece, Ionian Islands, Corfu, Koloura House

With hilltop views stretching up and down the pretty coastline of Corfu and all the way across the sea to Albania, Koloura House is a dreamy Greek hideaway.

Perfect Hideaways, Greece, Ionian Islands, Corfu, Koloura House
Perfect Hideaways, Greece, Ionian Islands, Corfu, Koloura House
Perfect Hideaways, Greece, Ionian Islands, Corfu, Koloura House
Perfect Hideaways, Greece, Ionian Islands, Corfu, Koloura House

With hilltop views stretching up and down the pretty coastline of Corfu and all the way across the sea to Albania, Koloura House is a dreamy Greek hideaway.

MALDIVES

Perfect Hideaways, Maldives, Ithaafushi, Waldorf Astoria
Honeymooners paradise: Waldorf Astoria on the private island of Ithaafushi in the crystal-clear waters of the Maldives
Perfect Hideaways, Maldives, Ithaafushi, Waldorf Astoria
Honeymooners paradise: Waldorf Astoria on the private island of Ithaafushi in the crystal-clear waters of the Maldives

Ask anyone who’s stayed in the Maldives and you’ll hear the same cliched phrases… ‘Heaven on earth’, ‘Paradise’, ‘Utopia’… yet please don’t let the cliches put you off! Your holiday starts with a staggeringly beautiful journey to your island… by speedboat, seaplane, or, in the case of Ithaafushi, by private yacht. Once there, utterly immersed in a tropical landscape of turquoise and blues, and taken care of by your genuinely warm, friendly hospitality-focused hosts, days unfold just as you wish.

Partake in the exceptional snorkelling and scuba-diving; night-dives in the Maldives are second to none. Take a mid-morning sojourn to your own private sandbank, where a lavish lunchtime feast is laid out under shade. Back at your villa, soak in the year-round sunshine at the poolside or on powder-white sands before heading to the spa for some indulgent pampering.

To work up an appetite, hit the surf or simply take a swim, marvelling at the prettiest winged flying fish and cruising alongside teeny black-tipped reef sharks. Sundowner in hand, wander to the beach to watch the nightly ritual… feeding of the manta rays. Then meander to your own dining table for a fabulous array of world cuisine.

With over a thousand islands to choose from, fear not… at Perfect Hideaways we’ve done our homework and bring you three of the absolute best. Ithaafushi Private Island in the South Male Atoll offers exclusive use for you and your twenty-three most loved (and luckiest!) people, while the Conrad and Waldorf Astoria work wonderfully well for a romantic escape or a bucket-list family holiday. ‘The most beautiful place on earth’ is another of those cliches… go see for yourself if it’s true!

Browse our collection and email [email protected] to book. 

Perfect Hideaways, Maldives, Ithaafushi, Waldorf Astoria
Fall asleep to the sound of the ocean lapping beneath you in Waldorf Astoria’s double-level Stella Maris overwater villa, one of the most luxurious in the Maldives.
Perfect Hideaways, Maldives, Ithaafushi, Waldorf Astoria
Wake to a floating breakfast in the pool at Waldorf Astoria’s Stella Maris overwater villa, one of the most luxurious in the Maldives.

‘As our children have grown up, we’ve grown our children with us through travel,’ says Helen, ‘and now we meet them wherever they are living when we travel. In the same way, the growth of the company has changed, and we’re adapting to the needs of our guests who love booking our hideaways.  They know they will find our signature style – a personally vetted, handpicked gem.’ 

Start the Conversation

Please pop an email to our hideaway consultants with full details of your ideal holiday…  
















    We are available from Monday to Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (GMT +2)

    Or Contact us at anytime