The number of people booking luxury villa rentals has dramatically increased over the past year. Many are new to the market and are planning their first premium vacation, while others are seeking out evermore privacy and luxury in their favorite destinations.
Whether it's your first or fiftieth time, renting a private villa can be a tricky process and it requires many more steps than booking a hotel room. Without a thorough understanding of how the market works, it can lead to being taken for a ride—or at the very least, having problems with your booking and experiencing unwelcome surprises during your stay.
Thanks to many years in the luxury travel industry and working with some of the most exclusive properties in the world, we know all the ins and outs of villa rentals. Here, we've mapped out the ten essential steps for successfully securing your dream villa rental. Follow them to a tee and your trip will be everything you want it to be and more.
Every luxury vacation or getaway begins with a purpose. Defining the purpose of your trip significantly speeds up the rest of the process and helps ensure you find destinations and villas that are in line with your plans and needs.
The types of purposes of a trip are endless, from bonding with your family to a romantic, secluded retreat or decompressing from a busy period at work. A few of the common purposes for booking a luxury villa rental include:
Beach & sun-soaking vacations
Family celebrations & reunions
Exploring & discovering nature
Engaging in outdoor activities
To define the purpose of your luxury vacation, consider what kind of experiences you want to have, how you would like to feel after the trip, and what you value most from a break or getaway.
Choosing the destination of your luxury villa rental narrows down your choice of agents as different companies specialize in different destinations and types of properties.
For example, if you're looking for a relaxing and safe beach vacation with the kids, destinations such as Punta Mita, Turks & Caicos, & St Barts are fantastic options. If you are seeking a fun ski-in/ski-out vacation with friends, then France and Switzerland will be high on the list.
Some of the most exclusive luxury travel destinations include:
Turks & Caicos
Once you have your destination, you need to consider which region within that country or island has everything you need. For instance, do you want to be close to the water or near a busy town, on a hill or tucked away in the jungle? Considerations include the language, culture, food and entertainment options, the weather, level or privacy, and the kinds of views you want.
Finally, when picking a destination for your luxury villa rental, it's important to keep in mind COVID regulations. Some destinations require travelers to be fully vaccinated, some require specific insurance policies, and some may not allow travelers from particular countries.
Most luxury villa rental agencies recommend locking in your dates around ten to fourteen months ahead of the time of travel. The earlier you book, especially for high-season periods and particular events, the more rental options you will have and the more likely you are to secure your ideal luxury villa. Having some flexibility on your dates will also increase your chances of landing that dream property.
If you are traveling during off or low-season, you will likely be able to find villa rentals at cheaper prices and discounted rates. Keep in mind that although you may also benefit from cheaper airfare and transfers, the weather may affect your trip and some tourist attractions, events, and outdoor activities such as scuba diving may not be available or possible.
Unlike booking a typical vacation rental, luxury villa rentals often come with additional services and a concierge. This ranges from full-service villas that include all staff, catering, and housekeeping services to solely the property with the possibility of adding on services.
The types of services and level of care you require depend heavily on the purpose of your trip, how many people you are traveling with, and how much time you expect to spend inside or outside the property. When going full-service, it's important to check if there are any additional costs, for instance, groceries, pool heating, spa services, and equipment rental.
The types of services you can expect when booking a luxury villa rental include:
Porters & bartenders
Car & yacht rentals
Personal training & yoga classes
Activity & event booking
Once you've determined the purpose, destination, season, dates, and level of service of your trip, it's time to think about the layout and style of your luxury villa rental.
A good way to get started is to list all your must-have amenities, making sure not to skip any details such as the size of the pool, the proximity to neighbors, and the distance to local restaurants. Drilling down on the fine details will help ensure there are no unexpected surprises during your stay.
If you're unsure or flexible regarding the style and layout of the luxury villa rental, you may want to ask yourself the following questions:
Do you prefer a modern villa or something older and more traditional?
Is it more important to have more indoor or outdoor space?
Do you want all bedrooms in the main house or a separate guest house?
What entertainment options and activities would you like to have on-site or close to the property?
How far would you like to travel to the nearest town, restaurants, beach, or bars?
Do you need the luxury villa rental to be safe for children or accessible for the elderly?
It’s common to have a property in mind only to discover later that it is way out of budget. It will save you a lot of time and hassle if you first have a clear idea of what you are looking for and then review options to see how they compare to your budget.
Once you know how your budget matches up to what’s on offer, your booking agent will be able to work with you to either negotiate or select other appropriate options should your number one pick not be available.
Your choice of booking agency for your villa rental can make or break your trip. When you book through an established agency that specializes in luxury villa rentals, you're far more likely to have a smoother stay and avoid hidden policies and charges.
The booking agency you choose will depend on your budget and the type of experience and service you're looking for. Working with a specialist agency may appear more costly than going directly to a property owner. However, many luxury villa rental agencies provide an additional level of service and security that is not possible when going direct, including:
Personal vetting of every property
Pre-trip planning and itineraries
Reviews & testimonials from previous guests
Additional services such as transfers and kitchen staff
On-call concierge services
Quality guarantees & cancellation policies
Once you've selected a few properties that meet your preferences, the next step is to ensure they’re available on your requested dates. If you have flexibility regarding your date, there's a much higher chance you will secure your desired property.
Ensuring the property is available on your requested dates will save much time and stress and the potential of losing your top destination. Overall, the more you have prepared before sending your initial inquiry and the more scrupulous you are with the details, the quicker the whole booking process will be.
Booking with a reputable agency will help avoid hidden surprises and costs in the contract. However, no matter who you book with, it’s important to review the terms of your rental contract carefully before signing and to question anything you are unsure about upfront.
The key points you need to look out for on a rental contract include:
Cancellation terms, ensuring if the property is not as described that you are protected
COVID provision, ensuring that if the country closes you may get credit or refund
Payment policies and property damage
At EliteLyfe, we make sure all the owners we work with are under contract and that the policies are followed.
Rules and regulations
Bills including electric, heating, gas, and internet
Departure fees and taxes
If you secure your desired property and have booked with a reputable agency, the last thing to do is to enjoy your vacation.
If you're booking a luxury property rental, our highly experienced and professional team can help you land your dream villa and plan everything from pre-arrival itineraries to luxury transfers. So you can sit back and make the most out of every single moment of your trip.