The flavors of the local wine dance on your tongue as you watch the sun set over the rolling landscape. Friends and family gather on the terrace of your villa to relive the day spent shopping at the local market and exploring the picturesque countryside. After the sun slips beyond the horizon, the conversation moves inside over a home-cooked meal of local ingredients. Everyone agrees: This villa stay is the most authentic vacation experience you’ve had in years.
Some of the most popular villa destinations in Europe are France and Italy where the rolling vineyards or fields of sunflowers are an exquisite setting to celebrate a reunion of friends or a romantic anniversary. In the Caribbean, Jamaica and Barbados are favorites for families with children who love the sun and water, while couples relish the cool ocean breezes of sophisticated St Barts.
Renting a villa gives you the freedom to set your own pace for vacation. You set the tempo: wake up early for a morning run or sleep in late; take a dip in the pool or a walk in the hills; visit the local sights or linger over a meal in an intimate restaurant. You can arrange outings based on a common passion like food and wine, golf or art, or just relax with a book. A villa gives you your own space to reconnect and enjoy the company of friends whether you set an active agenda or no schedule at all.
When you rent a villa you are able to slow down and appreciate the local culture because you become a part of it. Shopping for fresh local ingredients and preparing native dishes in your own kitchen opens your eyes (and palate) to the unique gastronomic characteristics of the area. Of course, you can also supplement your home meals with eating out or have a cook come in to prepare meals, to the same end. In a villa, you feel more like a resident than a guest. A villa host or caretaker will be available to give you an insider perspective on the area or suggest day trips so you can truly engage and immerse yourself in the way of life of your destination.
That said, expect some things to be different from home or a hotel stay. In Europe and the Caribbean, villas may not be air conditioned or windows might have louvered shutters instead of screens. Typically, maid service is only mid-week and only one towel is provided per person. In Europe, electric usage may be closely monitored because of government policies; so most villas have washing machines but not dryers. These things are the norm, but not absolutes, so be sure to mention your specific needs and there is probably a villa match for you.
Villas vary widely in size, style, location and amenities, just as our individual homes do. A couple might enjoy a flat in Florence or a one-bedroom cottage in St. Martin, while a multi-generational family of 12 would need more beds and space to gather. Many villas are rented to one party exclusively, although at some, multiple guests have individual rooms but share common facilities. Features like a pool, en suite bathrooms, bedding configurations, TV, internet and view differ from one to another. Options may include having groceries pre-stocked, a cook or additional housekeeping services. There are so many variables that there is no “standard” villa vacation. We recommend first choosing the right location to match your interests or focus for the vacation, and then pick a specific villa in that region.
Villas can be rented for a few days up to several months. Six to nine months advance reservations are a good idea, although think even further out for popular regions and holidays.
A villa vacation is one of the most authentic, engaging travel experiences you can have. Villas give you time to slow down, gain a sense of place and live like a local. You can reconnect with your loved ones, be it an intimate honeymoon, a girlfriend’s getaway or a family birthday celebration honoring Grandma. Let Covington arrange a villa vacation for your next important milestone and it is guaranteed be a memory maker.