As travel styles grow and evolve, what was once the norm for a luxury vacation is changing. Some travelers are opting to forego the 24-hour pampering at the push of a button and are now renting private luxury villas where they can cook and entertain friends and family.
If you're planning a luxury vacation and are torn on whether to rent a luxury villa or stay in a posh hotel, here are some things to consider:
Depending on the destination, in some cases you can get a huge multi-room villa for not much more than a weeklong stay at an ultra-posh five star resort. Many luxury villas rent by the week, and if you hit off-season then you may see a considerable drop in the rate. Even better, if you're traveling with a large group the per-person rate can drop significantly.
In many cases, the villa you are renting is a very expensive home that, let's face it, many of us could not swing the mortgage on. It's a chance for you to live a fairytale - in some cases since you can actually rent a French chateau in wine country or a private island in the Caribbean.
Read the fine print on the villa to understand what amenities come with the rental. If you're booking a beachfront rental in Central America, you may find it comes with paddleboards, kayaks, bicycles, and more. In most cases, villas include Wi-Fi in the rental price, an expense that many luxury hotels are still tacking on daily and can add up quickly.
Is there a facility fee at the hotel you are looking at? Some luxury villas have beautiful pools that you don't have to share with 200 other hotel guests and an in-home gym, which means you can work-out at 3 am if you want and forego the daily resort/facility fee.
However, loyalty points also factor in some travelers decision to continue booking at hotels. Diamond status at the Hilton means a room upgrade, late checkout, lounge access, and additional points towards maintaining next year's status.
If you want a luxury spot to get away and not be bothered, a luxury villa rental might be right for you. Do you prefer to shop the local markets and cook every night? Or, do you want to push a button for a change of pillows or 24-hour room service? Some luxury villas do include chef services and limited house keeping, so it really depends on your travel style and the villa you book.
Some travelers may be intimidated to book a villa from a private rental company or website versus the luxury hotel brand or travel website they use regularly. There are some companies that specialize in luxury villa rentals, so do a search for these companies to guarantee a worry-free booking process.
The deposit. Once again, read the fine print to ensure you are comfortable with the deposit amount and the terms under which it is paid. You may need to bring a hefty sum in cash with you upon arrival.
Unlike hotel check-out counters where there is someone at the front desk at all hours or express check-out is offered, you will need to meet with the villa contact person before you depart, so factor in enough time in case they are late or unable to meet you at your specified departure time.
Another factor to consider is transportation costs. If you hadn't planned on renting a vehicle, it's an expense you may need to consider if the villa is in a remote location outside of town, with no public transportation options. In many cases, luxury hotels have shuttles and complimentary airport transportation included. Be sure to ask, and if there is nothing included, price out the rental car first.
At the end of the day, the decision to rent a luxury villa or book a room at your favorite five-star hotel brand is truly a personal one and a luxury villa may not work for every traveler's situation. However, if you've toyed with the idea of renting that private villa and thought it was too expensive, a little research may show you the vacation of your dreams is not out of reach.
Have you ever used a short-term vacation rental? Where was it?
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Erin is a travel and food writer who currently splits her time between the Netherlands and Belize. She's traveled to 60+ countries on 5 continents with a passion for culinary travel, luxury hotels, and all things Disney. Her writing has appeared in numerous online outlets including Gadling, BootsnAll, CNN, Art of Backpacking, TravBuddy, CBS, and more. She was the major author of Belize's official visitor magazine, Destination Belize 2013; wrote the official AFAR Guide to Belize; and is also AFAR Magazine's local Belize expert.. In addition to writing for other publications, Erin maintains several blogs, Our Tasty Travels, No Checked Bags, Pooh's Travels, and the brand new Caye To Belize. Follow Erin on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google Plus.
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