It Takes a Villa…

A villa: Sounds glamorous, doesn’t it? Move into your home away from home, learn the language, shop for local food, fall in love with a handsome Italian …

“Under the Tuscan Sun” is an Italian fantasy, but villas are available throughout the world. You can escape to an island paradise in Mustique, commune with nature in Costa Rica or live on an organic farm in France.

Living in a home lets you unpack once and travel from there. You shop the markets while exploring the area’s history, culture and architecture—you’re a local, if only for a little while.

While it may offer a more authentic experience, it does differ from a hotel stay. If you like twice-a-day maid service, 24-hour room service, high speed Internet and ESPN, then a villa rental may not be for you. But living like a local can still be luxurious. Villas can include staff: cook, driver, concierge and laundress.

And you’re only sharing the pool with your nearest and dearest—not fighting 500 other hotel guests for a towel or a chaise.

The key to planning a successful villa vacation is to know what your group wants and then use a reliable rental agency. After deciding on the basics—where you want to go, when, and how much you’re willing to spend—you can start asking questions to decide if a villa is right for this vacation.

  • Do all rooms need to be equal in size and with similar amenities?
  • What kind of transportation will you need?
  • What’s included in the cost? Food, utilities, staff, gratuities, damage waivers?
  • What amenities come with the villa and what activities are nearby or accessible?

A reputable travel or rental agency will help you answer these questions and find a villa that meets all your requirements. It’s a little more effort than calling the
800 number of a hotel, but when you’re sitting with friends, enjoying the sunset and sipping wine from the Italian vineyard spread out in front of you, you’ll be
glad you did your homework.

For rental agency recommendations, visit the Better List, or try these villa companies:

Abercrombie and Kent

Classic Vacations