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Blithe Spirits: 5 Homes with Cocktail Bars

Luxury Defined spotlights a collection of fine properties in which to enjoy cocktail hour

In The Hour: a Cocktail Manifesto, litterateur Bernard DeVoto famously wrote, “There comes a pause in the day’s occupation that is known as the cocktail hour.” Thus, because it’s always five o’clock somewhere, Luxury Defined presents a collection of homes with elegant spaces devoted to the refined consumption of spirits. Consider the wraparound poolside bar of a lavish villa in Thailand, or the Viennese-style café-bar of a country estate in the Netherlands. Then there’s the safari bar in a grand manor in Virginia, with animal murals and a club-style lounge for quiet conversations at cocktail time, that magic hour when, as DeVoto wrote, “the shadows deepen along the edge of the forest and we believe that, if we watch carefully, at any moment we may see the unicorn.

Rural Retreat in Maasmechelen, Belgium

The idyllic rural retreat is set on wooded grounds in the Belgian province of Limburg, close to Maastricht. The main house, built in 2007, is a timeless, yet contemporary four-story farmhouse built in 2007. The façade is paepe stone, the chimneys are Burgundian stone, and the door- and window sills are bluestone. There is a thatched barn; a wine cellar, and a cozy Viennese café replica with a wooden bar, bar stools and banquette, beer taps, and full refrigeration. Another charming feature is the Art Deco-inspired cinema. The accommodations are luxurious: five spacious bedrooms in the main house include a master suite worthy of a five-star hotel. Belgian landscape architect Jan Joris designed the parklike grounds, which border the forests of Hoge Kempen National Park.

Villa Ola in Pattaya, Thailand

Villa Ola is a luxurious contemporary home in a lush tropical setting, 15 minutes from Pattaya City and under 90 minutes southeast of Bangkok. The eight-bedroom, eight-bathroom property underwent an extensive renovation by one of Bangkok’s leading design firms. Completed in spring 2019, the villa provides 11,754 square feet of interior space and 19,676 square feet of outdoor space. Handcrafted finishes and furniture grace the indoor and outdoor living spaces. An alfresco bar and lounge are the perfect place to relax and unwind. Steps away is a beautiful pool. A pool house and Thai-style sala lend to the resort ambience as do the lush gardens, graced with tropical plants and flowers, and cascading waterfalls.

43+ Acre Family Compound in Mahwah, New Jersey

Encompassing more than 43 acres along the Ramapo River, bordered by a further 9,000 acres of preserved land, this extraordinary English-inspired sports and recreational family compound offers an incomparable lifestyle less than an hour from Manhattan. The main residence is a beautiful stone mansion with 10 bedrooms, 10 full- and four half-bathrooms. Indoors is an authentic English-style pub. It is complemented by several sport lounges, a wine cellar, home theater, and lap pool with spa, massage room, gym, and padded recreation area. The outdoor spaces include a three-tiered stone terrace with outdoor kitchen and an infinity pool, perfectly positioned to take in vistas of the countryside. There’s also a soccer field; basketball court; and an equestrian facility with a 20-stall barn, 14,000-square-foot indoor riding arena, five paddocks, and private riding trails.

Constantia Estate on the Western Cape, South Africa

This palatial residence on 2.5 acres of magnificent grounds is in the Constantia neighborhood of Cape Town. Encompassing 15,349 square feet, the living spaces are grand in scale, yet warm and inviting. The double-height entrance hall, with sweeping staircase, opens to grandly scaled interiors and alfresco spaces designed for entertaining. The outdoor braai (barbecue) area has a wooden bar, seating area, surround-sound system, and fireplace. The wine cellar has a multi-bottle storage area, whisky display area, and tasting table. Upstairs is a fully equipped cocktail bar with seating for eight. The eat-in kitchen is a chef’s dream with top-of-the-line appliances, custom cabinetry, and a large center island. The formal dining room has a stone fireplace and opens to a terrace. There are five bedrooms, all en suite, and many have breathtaking views of the mountains and the vineyards of the Constantia Valley. The grounds include formal gardens, a pond, and a spectacular resort-style pool with a wraparound sundeck.

Stately Manor House in Great Falls, Virginia

This grand mansion occupies nearly 5.5 acres on the crest of a hill in Great Falls, Virginia. The entrance gates open to a tree-lined drive which arrives at the circular courtyard with its fountain. The main residence encloses 7,600 square feet of luxuriously appointed interiors. The foyer is a grand affair. A mural depicting the Italian countryside adorns the double, Charleston-style staircase, which rises to an upper gallery with a mural of the Grand Canal. A safari-themed mural is the focal point of the club room. This lavish entertaining space also has a custom-designed cocktail bar, lounge, and recessed lighting to highlight the gallery niches and trophy cases. The family room overlooks a grand portico, resort-style pool, waterfall and cabana. The kitchen opens to a glass-enclosed morning room facing a courtyard garden. There are five en suite bedrooms, including two master suites (one on the main level and another on the second floor). Further appointments include a library/office, billiards room with bar, and a six-car garage.