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Dining Alfresco: 8 Homes for Entertaining Outdoors

Luxury Defined explores a collection of homes with dedicated outdoor spaces for cooking, dining, and entertaining

Outdoor dining is one of life’s great simple pleasures, whether at a sidewalk café in Paris, a Deep South barbecue, or a clambake on the Maine coast. Midsummer’s long, sunny days and balmy evenings invite dining alfresco, especially in a scenic location. Whether it’s dinner and cocktails at an elegant riverfront restaurant or a picnic for two in the park. And what better way is there to enjoy time spent at home, alone or in the company of family and friends, than in a dedicated dining space outdoors? From enclosed garden courtyards to poolside pavilions and grand waterfront terraces, the homes in this Luxury Defined collection showcase a wide variety of open-air options for alfresco dining in style.

Ranch-Style Retreat on Lake Norman in Mooresville, North Carolina

This ranch-style home in Mooresville, North Carolina, has a private setting on the shores of Lake Norman. Built in 1979, the residence was completely restored and updated for elegant entertaining indoors and out. The great room has a vaulted beamed ceiling, wide-plank wood floor, and monumental fieldstone fireplace. The light-filled, open-plan space includes a living area, chef’s kitchen with breakfast bar and butler’s pantry, and a formal dining area leading out to a covered terrace with a gas fireplace. The billiards room/media lounge has a wet bar and a wall of windows facing the lake. French doors open to another terrace with a built-in grill, ideal for casual lakeside dining. There are four bedrooms, five bathrooms, and two partial baths, including a luxurious primary suite with a private terrace. Beyond the house, a wide, tree-lined lawn leads to a wooden boathouse and a custom-built dock with hydraulic boat lift and an upper-level viewing platform.

The Luxury Villa Sea View in Koh Samui, Thailand

This private freehold villa on the island of Koh Samui, with a secluded, hillside setting overlooking the Gulf of Thailand, is designed in sleek, contemporary style. The thatched pavilion-style home erases the boundaries between indoors and out, with 4,518 square feet of airy, open-plan interiors which seamlessly connect to the tropical gardens. Sliding glass doors on the main level open to a teak deck with a swimming pool, and a thatched, teak-decked Thai-style sala with a panoramic view of the coastline and the sea. A 10-seat dining room and open kitchen enhance the feeling of space. Four en suite bedrooms, configured as either double or twin rooms, have vaulted ceilings and large windows to bring in the light and the views.

Historic Townhouse in Savannah, Georgia

This freestanding townhouse is in the heart of Savannah’s National Historic Landmark District, steps from Forsyth Park and the Downtown Design District. The three-story residence was built in 1913 and restored and updated for contemporary living. The 3,656-square-foot floor plan unfolds across three levels with four bedrooms and three-and-a-half bathrooms, a chef’s kitchen with Wolf stainless-steel appliances and a Sub-Zero refrigerator, an office, and a garage. A front courtyard, three-story atrium, roof deck, and walled brick courtyard at the rear are among the elegant outdoor entertaining spaces. LaCantina glass bi-fold doors bring the outdoors in, all year round. Nine gas fireplaces and designer lighting throughout add to the ambience.

Santa Maria Estate in Mellieħa, Malta

The Santa Maria Estate is a contemporary villa built into a rocky ridgeline to take in the views of Malta’s northern coast and the island of Gozo. The sleek geometries of the living spaces unfold over three levels. The main floor houses several reception areas with a contemporary aesthetic that look out to a pool deck with a postmodern sense of fun. The kitchen opens to a dining area and sitting room with a show-stopping stainless-steel firepit. This floor also offers three en suite bedrooms and three sea-view terraces. The lower level houses a gym, wine cellar, office, cinema, en suite bedroom, and laundry room. An external staircase rises to a beautiful roof garden with a freeform pool, sunken spa, bar and alfresco dining area, and an observation deck facing the sea.

Gated Manor in Sandy Springs, Georgia

This custom-built stone manor house is set within two acres of private, wooded grounds in the tony Atlanta suburb of Sandy Springs. The six-bedroom, nine-bathroom home offers 18,500 square feet of opulent living space designed with great attention to detail. The two-story foyer opens to several grandly appointed reception rooms with antique stained-glass windows, reclaimed hardwood floors, and high ceilings adorned with crystal chandeliers. The formal dining room has a coffered ceiling with tin inlays and a wood-burning fireplace. Adjacent is a gourmet kitchen with dual islands, Viking appliances. a wrought-iron chandelier, and a beautiful stained-glass window. Farther along is a club-style cocktail bar, elegant lounge, and a wood-panelled study with a cozy hearth. The main floor opens to a grand terrace with a vast, lagoon-style heated pool, sunken spa, a cabana with a fireplace, and a summer kitchen. The owner’s suite has a barrel-vaulted ceiling, a fireside sitting area, dual walk-in closets, and an enormous spa-like bathroom with marble floors, steam shower, and soaking tub. A 2,000-bottle wine cellar, movie theater, billiards lounge, exercise room with sauna and steam shower, elevator, and five-car garage are further highlights.

Villa Rosas in Nueva Andalucia, Spain

Villa Rosas is an ultra-luxury villa in Nueva Andalucia, a private, gated community in the heart of Marbella’s Golf Valley on Spain’s Costa del Sol. Inside, an open-concept lounge and dining space with floor-to-ceiling windows and a contemporary fireplace invites elegant entertaining. The modern kitchen has marble and oak wood finishes and high-end Miele appliances. The centerpiece of the tropical gardens is a large Balinese-style pool with integrated sun beds. Poolside is a dining pavilion with a grilling station. There are also several “chill-out” terraces within the grounds. The lower level of the villa houses a media lounge and cocktail bar, and a lavish wellness suite with a fitness center, steam bath, sauna, and full bathroom. The owner’s suite enjoys direct access to the swimming pool, as do many of the guest bedrooms, all en suite with a minimalistic aesthetic. Marbella’s upscale boutiques, restaurants, beaches, and Marina Puerto Banús are just a short drive away.

Villa Guttoso in Porto Rotondo, Sardinia, Italy

Villa Guttuso is one of the finest waterfront properties in Porto Rotondo. This exclusive coastal villa has a dream location on the Punta Volpe peninsula, framed by the breathtaking backdrop of turquoise seas, rocky inlets, and hillsides of macchia mediterranea shrubland. The villa was designed for the privacy, comfort, serenity, and well-being of its residents and guests. The four-bedroom home is set within lush parkland with flowering gardens, a private dock, and a pristine white sand beach. There are numerous gathering spaces for alfresco dinners and events: a professional outdoor kitchen with large dining area, quiet sitting areas, and a roof deck facing the sea. The health and fitness facilities include an outdoor gym and swimming pool.

Minimalist Villa in Gelderland, Netherlands

This minimalist villa in the Dutch province of Gelderland fully integrates the interior with the exterior. The entrance leads through a modern Japanese courtyard and across a flat bridge to an interior mezzanine. Covered terraces adjoin the other three sides of the property and span multiple levels. The lower-level leisure complex, with lap pool, sauna, bar and billiards room, connects to a sunken tiered garden. The second-floor private quarters all have garden-view balconies. The top-floor office flows out to a large roof terrace. The main-floor living room, lounge, gourmet kitchen, and dining room open to covered dining and seating areas and a walkway leading across an expanse of lawn to a natural pond at the perimeter of the grounds.