With thousands of holiday homes available to book via Airbnb and specialist websites, it takes more than just striking interiors to stand out above the crowd. This cache of architect-designed holiday homes is making a splash with their instagramable swimming pools, designed for drinking in the views or as secluded spots to unwind.
Casa Luum in the Algarve, Portugal
4 bedrooms; via The Perfect Hideaway from $1,400 per week
Architect Pedro Dominigos has put a fresh spin on the traditional sugar-cube Mediterranean home with Casa Luum. The four-bedroom Portuguese holiday home has large windows and doors that open up to the surrounding Portuguese countryside, as well as rooftop terraces and patios.
But at the heart of the Algarve compound is a private courtyard with a semi-enclosed plunge pool. It’s not the biggest pool in this group, but is striking – and is well-positioned for post-dinner dips from the alfresco dining area. See more.
Syros Hideaway, Syros Island in Greece
4 bedrooms; via Off-Grid Hideaways for €8,650 – €13,100 per week
The infinity pool at this Greek holiday home on the island of Syros blends seamlessly with the horizon – a continuous ribbon of blue sea. Athens-based duo Sotiris Tsergas and Katja Margaritoglou of Block 722 Architects designed the island home, which is a modern take on traditional Cycladic architecture.
Interiors pay homage to craftsmanship: polished concrete floors and rendered walls are offset by stone fireplaces, hemp rope lanterns and wooden furnishings. Get a closer look.
Villa Atlas, an hour from Marrakech in Morocco
5 bedrooms; from €1,250 per night via Welcome Beyond
Desert and mountain views are on offer from the 30-metre-long aqua swimming pool of this earthy Moroccan adobe, designed by Studio KO. Dubbed Villa Atlas in honour of the nearby mountain chain, the Berber bolthole blends contemporary and traditional building techniques and materials.
Floor-to-ceiling sliding glass windows open the villa up to the elements, while interiors have raw plaster walls, wicker furniture and a spattering of design classics.
Umamma urban loft in Tuscany, Italy
1 bedroom; via BoutiqueHomes from €295 per night
Creative director enlisted architect Gabriele Evangelisti to design this industrial loft in the medieval Tuscan town of San Miniato, which takes over the former stables of a 16th-century palazzo. As well as preserving its historic brick arches and pebbled floors, Evangelisti has turned the cellar into a secret swimming pool, accessed via a trap door in the living room.
The serene space has scooped a clutch of awards for its simple but sleek design – explore its cavernous spaces.
Villa Agaves near Marrakech, Morocco
4 bedrooms; via Le Collectionist from €940 per night
Belgian architect Quentin Wilbaux crafted this contemporary Moroccan riad, which is set around a tropical courtyard and pays homage to rationalism. Rooms have towering windows that peek on to the central plunge pool.
Inside, Corinne Bensimon’s interiors channel Modernist overtones thanks to a Le Corbusier and Charlotte Perriand inspired colour palette. Take a spin inside the Moroccan holiday home.
Villa Mura Mura in Noto, Sicily
3 bedrooms; via The Thinking Traveller from €3,550 to €6,190 per week
Built with local stone found within a 1km of the Sicilian holiday home’s site in Noto, Villa Mura Mura deliberately blends into its rocky hillside site. Architect Gladys Escobar and Andrea Rogora collaborated on the rugged villa, which comprises three simple interconnected concrete volumes.
The largest is the lofty timber-beamed living rooms, whose monochrome interiors have been crafted by interior designer Carlo Pintacuda. Each segment of the house opens onto the wraparound terrace – complete with a concrete swimming pool that appears to jut into thin air. Guests can enjoy views of the Arcadian Hills and the Ionian Sea in the distance from its cooling waters.
Maison Oliviers in Noto, Sicily
5 bedrooms; from €8,500 per week direct
Born from the bones of a 17th-century monastery in the foothills of Noto in Sicily, Maison des Oliviers is part of an ambitious rehabilitation project spearheaded by architect Jacques Garcia. He’s steadily reviving the estate’s dilapidated stone buildings and turning them into holiday homes that showcase the area’s fascinating history.
Interiors of Maison des Oliviers have a museum-like feel to them thanks to eclectic antique furniture and artworks, as well as archaeological elements including a chunk of mosaic floor from Pompeii, set beneath glass and carved stone columns with lions’ feet.
Best of all is the villa’s landscaped grounds, designed by Patrick Pottier, and filled with cacti, vibrant birds of paradise and delicate succulents around a shaded lap pool. Find out more.