The term villa has been used to refer to an upscale holiday home for centuries. The wealthy citizens of Rome used the term to describe the countryside residences they built to reside in for part of the year, and although villas have also been used for a variety purposes – from farms to monasteries – throughout history, the concept of a comfortable retreat has survived to the present day.
"A villa, by definition, is a place to escape to and enjoy a little peace and personal luxury"
In modern Europe and the US, holiday villas were long known as the exclusive reserve of the privileged few. Opulent residences in upmarket resort areas like the South of France, Tuscany or Florida were used by royalty, celebrities and wealthy entrepreneurs as vanes for vacations or celebrations and featured in magazines and gossip columns.
Small World, More Villas
As the growth and reach of international fights made the world more accessible for everyone, the popularity of private villas and holiday homes quickly grew, with new locations emerging beyond the more traditional upscale destinations. Countries such a Greece and Spain became popular with European holiday makers, while the Caribbean attracted North Americans in search of a tropical home away from home in which to enjoy an indulgent family vacation.
"Villas are now available for rent in a wide range of locations in Asia"
Southeast Asia has in recent years become a prime choice for people from around the world looking to rent a private villa, particularly guests looking to escape to a tropical island such as Bali in Indonesia or Phuket in Thailand. Smaller islands such as Koh Samui in the Gulf of Thailand have also attracted large numbers of private villa guests, prompting a swift increase in the number of rental properties being built and offered around the island.
The Villa Experience
Although a good number of resorts in popular holiday destinations across Asia offer their guests luxurious beachside accommodation with ocean views, the exclusivity and privacy of a villa is what gives them the edge for many visitors, even over the most luxurious of the region's beach resorts. Thanks to progress in construction techniques and technology, many private villas have been built in some of the most spectacular island locations imaginable, offering guests a truly memorable stay.
" Location, privacy and an appealing range of facilities make villas a favoured choice"
No matter the location, once ensconced in the holiday villa, guests have access to a choice of attractive and often exclusive amenities. In Thailand and Bali, facilities generally include a private swimming pool, often with an attached jacuzzi and sometimes even also a dedicated kids' pool. In terms of design, open-plan layouts and an abundance of glass and sliding doors allow for an easy flow of movement between the indoor and outdoor spaces, including options for outdoor dining. Most villas also include high-end audio visual systems for the latest in home entertainment.
In most locations around Europe it is not generally standard for holiday villas to come with staff. Even daily cleaning services are often outsourced and therefore incur an additional fee. In Asia, however, villa owners and management companies have refined the concept of personal luxury beyond simply providing top end facilities. Almost every villa on Phuket, Koh Samui or Bali comes with a manager and housemaid as standard, and the more upmarket properties come with an entire team of hospitality staff to take care of everything from pool maintenance to daily meals.
"Full staffed villas allow guests to totally kick back and enjoy the stunning location."
At some villas in Southeast Asia, having staff to take care of guests means much more than a daily cleaning service. The villa concierge can help make local recommendations for trips and excursions, book a rental vehicle, reserve a table at a nearby restaurant and re-confirm onward flights. For larger groups or those renting a villa for a private celebration or wedding, professional planners and additional service staff can also be arranged to ensure the event runs smoothly. The famed service culture in Thailand and Bali means many villa guests, especially children, become friends with the staff during their holiday and even stay in touch after the vacation.
Will all the benefits and advantages of a private villa it is little wonder that these properties are becoming the accommodation of choice for families and groups all over the world. In most Asian destinations villas also compare favourably with hotels and resorts in terms of price, especially for larger groups or families and definitely with regard to food and beverage costs, which are generally charged at the local market rate with a small service fee.
Key benefits of a rental villa:
• Spectacular location and views
• Private facilities including swimming pool
• In-villa hospitality staff
• Privacy and freedom
• Ideal wedding or party venue
• Affordable alternative for families and groups
Posted by Wayne Hue