UltraVilla is a new “little black book” of five-star holiday homes, listing just the top five per cent of independent villa specialists from around the globe.

Not a booking engine in itself, UltraVilla – which launched in July – is a portfolio of more than 30 independent rental companies, whom customers can contact to arrange stays.

UltraVilla added three new members in September: the Small Maldives Island Company, which has a collection of four to eight-bedroom residences on the island of Baa Atoll; Ultimate Luxury Chalets, which features 100 top-end ski chalets in the Alps; and Luna2, an exclusive-use private hotel in Bali with five bedrooms and support from a team of chefs, waiters, barmen and drivers.

UltraVilla is tapping into an emerging trend dubbed “selfish catering”, which is seeing a rise in demand for luxury holiday home rentals, often with added hotel-style perks, facilities, technology and services.

According to a poll published in January of 3,000 people in the UK, booking site uguest.com found that 60 per cent of respondents would be more likely to book an independent property than they were five years ago.

They would also spend up to 120 hours searching online for the perfect place to stay.

Co-founder of UltraVilla, Ileana von Hirsch, said: “We created UltraVilla because we could see there was a genuine need for a website that brought together the very best of the world’s villa and lodge specialists.

“This is not a website with a million listings, but a refined directory that offers remarkable properties from companies we trust and who we can confidently declare are ‘the best’ at what they do.

“It used to be that there was a lack of content for consumers looking for special properties; now we are finding that people simply don’t have the time to search and sift or visit multiple sites for inspiration.

“By creating UltraVilla, we are not only giving very special operators another way to reach people but providing consumers with an easy ‘one-stop’ solution for finding a truly special holiday rental.”