Extraordinary holiday homes of the year

7 newcomers that scored top marks

Brexit, the presidential elections, Bowie, Prince and Princess Leia… 2016 has definitely been a year we’ve wanted to escape. This new crop of 7 modern architecture rentals were built in the last 12 months, offering a place for quiet contemplation, creative energy or somewhere to simply leave the world behind.

Here’s where to recharge your batteries.

A modern farmhouse retreat in Puglia, Italy

Holiday home for rent: Masseria Moroseta in Puglia, which sleeps up to 8
Courtesy of Welcome Beyond

Designer Andrew Trotter riffed on Puglia’s traditional farmhouses – or masseria – for this holiday home close to the town of Ostuni. Masseria Moroseta’s stark white walls and crisp geometric forms have been offset by an eclectic mix of vintage furniture sourced from local flea markets by Trotter. The four-bedroom Italian B&B threw open its doors in July, and can be rented by room or in its entirety via Welcome Beyond.

Treehouse living in Dorset, England

Holiday rental: treehouse in Dorset
Courtesy of Mallison

We’ve always said treehouses aren’t just for kids, and we’re not the only ones who think so… Guy Mallinson and Keith Brownlie created this handmade Jurassic Coast getaway, which sits high among the trees of an ancient woodland in Dorset, with couples in mind. The holiday home is a series of stacked timber boxes, each of which has its own texture and patterning thanks to oak shingle cladding, sweet chestnut log stacks and oak laths.

WWII bunker loft in Hamburg, Germany

Holiday rental: WWII bunker loft for rent in Hamburg
Courtesy of Welcome Beyond

This holiday apartment for rent in Hamburg’s Ottensen neighbourhood started life as an impenetrable WWII air raid shelter, built in 1939 to protect the nearby maternity hospital. ‘When we found the bunker it was a complete mess,’ says its owner. ‘It needed a lot of phantasy and ideas to imagine what it could be like.’ Now, the concrete bolthole is full of light thanks to its oversized windows and crittall walls. You can rent it via Welcome Beyond.

A creative getaway in the arctic archipelago of Fleinvær, Norway

Holiday rental: Fordypningsrommet artists' retreat
Photography: Kathrine Sørgård

Musician Håvard Lund founded Fordypningsrommet, which is said to be the world’s northernmost artists’ retreat, sited within the Arctic Circle. He enlisted TYIN Tegnestue Architects and their mentor Sami Rintala to design the nine Norwegian holiday homes, which sit atop angled steel feet and are clad in Kebony wood. Among them is a sauna, kitchen house, studio, bath house, sleeping houses and a ‘tower for big thoughts’. Artists can stay for free (in exchange for exhibiting their work or giving a lecture), but civilians can also rent the retreat, in groups of up to 12 guests.

Bucolic minimalism in Llanibster, Wales

Holiday Rental: Life House by John Pawson
Photography: Gilbert McCarragher. Courtesy of Living Architecture

It’s been a big year for designer John Pawson. Not only did he mastermind the Design Museum’s new Kensington home – and turn a former WWII bunker in Berlin into the Feuerle Collection’s new gallery – he also found time to design this minimalist holiday cottage in Wales for Living Architecture. Tŷ Bywyd, or Life House, as the architect-designed vacation home has been dubbed, is conceived as a place for quiet contemplation with minimal distractions, constructed using 80,000 handmade Danish bricks.

Villa Mravljevi in Branik, Slovenia

Holiday rental: Villa Mravljevi in Slovenia
Photography courtesy of Villa Mravljevi

Old and new collide inside this Slovenian holiday home, reborn from the shell of a 19th-century farmhouse. Practice Vodusek and Dolecek installed a glass wall in the property’s open-plan living room, offering views of the surrounding Karst Plateau. Elsewhere, traces of its rustic past can be seen in exposed stonework and raw plastered walls.

Rent an island retreat in Skye, Scotland

Holiday rental: Fiskavaig Studio is Skye
Photography: David Barbour

With its corrugated steel facade, the Fiskavaig Studio doesn’t look much like a traditional cabin, but its tough exterior belies its surprisingly snug interior… The holiday home – whose form evokes the shape of an oversized boulder – has a wood burning stove, timber walls and walls, and huge windows that frame impressive views of the island’s rugged landscape.

See more of our favourite holiday rentals



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