Design transcends the look of a stay. It is a philosophy, translating ambiance and environment into a tangible feeling, and evoking lifestyle possibilities that resonate with guests. Imagine a beachfront stay with an open-plan, modern coastal design or a forest retreat where classic architectural flourishes inspire a sense of tradition.

Welcome to the wonderful world of luxury villa and chalet design in Phuket and Koh Samui in Thailand, the beautiful Indonesian island of Bali, and Niseko on Japan’s stunning Hokkaido Island. We’ve paired 8 outstanding examples of modern versus traditional design from our luxury holiday home collection.

Villa Mayavee – Phuket
Geometric and Ultra-modern

Villa Mayavee’s stunning architecture seemingly blending into the lush landscape it sits on
Villa Mayavee’s living room opens out to its bar area and lounge

Created by multi-award-winning Tierra Design in 2009, an architectural and design specialist that takes a minimalist approach, Villa Mayavee is a Zen-inspired marvel. The dramatic look of the property is a true standout among the luxury villas in Phuket. Its bold geometric lines and fashionably grey façade creates a stunning contrast against the gorgeous green peninsular setting and blue sea.

The four-storey property encompasses a Z-shaped design with the main living areas surrounded by glass to let in light and honor the beauty of the natural surroundings. An artistic spiral staircase leads down to a walkway that seems to float on water, while the contemporary layout separates the master suite from guest bedrooms to create privacy and a sense of inner calm.


Villa Yang Som – Phuket
Palatial, Traditional Thai Elegance

Villa Yang Som in all its grandeur
Elegant furnishing can be seen throughout Villa Yang Som’s living area

While the facilities may be absolutely the latest in luxury vacation expectations, such as an infinity pool, whirlpool, and a high-tech entertainment system, the architectural design and décor at Villa Yang Som is pure traditional Thai elegance. The five-bedroom stay exudes a homely feel that is grand and somewhat palatial, with splendid sea views from each of the three levels. The standout features are the Thai-styled pavilions with their iconic gabled roof design, each with ocean and sunset views over Surin Beach.

A classic sala is perfect for massages, while the bedrooms and living spaces feature glossy wooden floors and ceilings to give rooms a smart, formal feel. The furnishings are recognizably Thai in design, while being understated to present a more luxurious and less country-house atmosphere.


Villa Anavaya – Koh Samui
Chic and contemporary

An aerial photo of Villa Anavaya’s pool area
Villa Anavaya’s master bedroom utilizes bold red accents that stand out from its mostly monochrome color palette

Cool, glamorous, and totally A-list celebrity style Villa Anavaya is less about being showy than showing how sleek, clean lines create a stylish stay. The white walls, large rooms, and open spaces give the six-bedroom east-coast villa a natural charm. Meanwhile, flashes of burnt orange and large, colorful artworks boost the aesthetic beyond simply upscale to being hip too.

Built in 2015, the design philosophy is to create the ultimate villa for some chilled-out relaxation with sea views. The outdoor dining and lounge look out over the infinity pool while the beach is within reach too along with a beachfront eatery. A rooftop lounge and an in-villa cinema, plus the open-plan feel enhances the luxury vibe.


Villa Akatsuki – Koh Samui
Japanese and Thai Fusion

Villa Akatsuki’s cascading pool structure looks out into the sandy white beach
Beautiful timber provides a warm hue across the living and dining area of Villa Akatsuki

While numerous villas in Koh Samui feature traditional architecture, Villa Akatsuki is a fine example of how traditional design aesthetics can still be brilliant and innovative with a five-bedroom villa beauty that is an architectural masterpiece in the art of Japanese and Thai fusion. The Italian-Australian architect Riccardo Tossani, who is based in Tokyo, views design challenges as unique opportunities for, “invention and expression”, and this is evident in the way in which the artistic villa imbues a relaxing sense of Asian hospitality.

From the cascading trio of breathtaking infinity pools to the pavilion designs, the villa exquisitely complements its picturesque setting right by the island’s glorious Lipa Noi Beach. The interiors boast wooden floors using recycled timber, beams, and vaulted ceilings, with screens for shade and privacy. Meanwhile, a spa room boasts a hot whirlpool, reflecting Japanese bathing rituals.


Villa Noku – Bali
Avante-Garde, Modern Zen

Villa Noku as seen from the edge of its 27-meter pool
Exquisite wooden elements are spread out across Villa Noku’s living area

The retro elements of Villa Noku on the beachfront at Seminyak, with a living room that feels part of the garden, add a contemporary design aspect while at the same time adding a nostalgic element of seaside holidays from another era. The effect of the indoor-outdoor design and modern-vintage style is to create a unique six-bedroom stay.

The standout feature is the 27-meter long swimming pool that runs down from the property to the beach and a lawn with loungers. The overall effect is of an elegant almost enigmatic ambiance; an avant-garde Zen space outdoors that is exotic and extraordinary. Meanwhile, two raised decks look out over the ocean to the cliffs of Jimbaran Bay.


Villa Tjitrap – Bali
Javanese Plantation House-inspired

A wooden pool deck surrounds Villa Tjitrap’s pool area, right in front of the main villa structure
Villa Tjitrap’s living and dining area opens out to an outdoor water feature adorned by a large Buddha head

A stay at Villa Tjitrap is like stepping back in time, with a design narrative that is reminiscent of old Javanese plantation houses. The six-bedroom house is discovered within walking distance to the beach in laid-back Seminyak.

Traditional artifacts and open-air outdoor spaces covered by a grand Balinese style roof, plus bales next to the pool, ensure that the design and décor stay true to the rich culture of Bali. There is also a covered verandah too. Meanwhile, the dining room with its white walls, locally inspired artwork, and grand wooden table shows how classic themes can be translated through a modern prism to give a contemporary twist. Trjitrap is truly a gem among the many holiday homes in Bali.


Chalet Mukashi Mukashi – Niseko
Modern Industrial

Chalet Mukashi Mukashi’s architecture stands proudly under Niseko’s powder show
A warm and cozy atmosphere emanates from Chalet Mukashi Mukashi’s living area

Industrial design defining a family stay with a sense of personal space, Chalet Mukashi Mukashi is based on a design concept that mimics the area’s rural sheds that jut out of the snowy landscape. With a brief to the architect to create a funky Japanese stay, the six-bedroom property in Lower Hirafu Village was built in 2016 and remains to be one of the most outstanding vacation chalets in Niseko.

The full-length glass facades frame stunning views, while the ultra-trendy fire feature and dark interiors contrast against the white backdrop outside in winter in an almost fairytale, theatrical way. The overall impact is magical, cozy, and otherworldly.


Chalet Zekkei – Niseko
Ski-lodge, Log-Cabin Vibe

From the outside, Chalet Zekkei is of a rustic wooden ski lodge
Glass windows make up most of the walls in Chalet Zekkei’s master bedroom, allowing for wonderful views of the snowy yonder

In the style of a log-cabin, Chalet Zekkei also combines the comfort of a family lodging with splendid views through big windows individually framed with wood to stay true to the design purpose. The effect is a six-bedroom, Hirafu Village stay that is understated yet luxurious, with a marble fireplace and heated timber flooring.

Guests can soak after a day on the slopes in any one of the three Japanese Hinoki bathtubs, while the ski lodge also takes experiences outdoors with a balcony and a barbeque with forest vistas.


For more articles about villa design and architecture, visit the Home Designs section of our Magazine.

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