03/06/2013 07:51 am ET | Updated May 06, 2013

Dream Villa Vacations Worth The Splurge (PHOTOS)

Staying in luxury hotels is one of the great privileges of travel, but it isn't the only high-end way to shack up while on the road. Renting properties is getting more and more popular among travelers who want amenities and independence. These properties provide not only a luxuriant place to take a load off after a day of sightseeing or splashing about but also a chances to see a place from a locals perspective -- a very lucky locals perspective anyway.

Here is an especially beautiful selection of the dream houses (and castles and cottages) at your favorite destinations worldwide that may make you reconsider that hotel reservation.

Dream Villa Vacations

-- Kathryn Maier, Condé Nast Traveler