villa rental tips: sun setting over water behind modern glass home
One of the most important villa rental tips: decide on a location

Nothing will make you feel like an A-lister quite as much as your own villa. Besides the considerable glamor factor, renting a home away from home has several advantages. Depending on the size of your group, a villa may be better value than other types of accommodations. With your own villa, you’ll have more privacy. You’ll have the run of the house, so no hunting for a poolside lounge chair or squeezing into a crowded hot tub.  You’ll also have a more authentic experience in your destination as you’ll be living in an actual home.

Add all that up, and it’s easy to see why villa rentals are growing in popularity. Everyone from multigenerational families to groups of friends are opting for villas to enhance their quality time together. As you look for the perfect home for your trip, keep these eight villa rental tips in mind.

Choose a location

Are you looking for privacy and seclusion? Want to be on the beach – or perhaps a mountainside? Or is being a short walk to town most important?

Some travelers have been disappointed when they discovered their countryside villa was a half-hour drive to the nearest restaurant. Or that their water-view property was more like a long hike than a short stroll to the beach.

The first step in deciding on a location is to target the activities that interest you. If your goal is to sight-see, your villa should be striking distance to attractions. If you want to relax and cocoon, an out-of-the-way location may suit you.

The next villa rental tip: Find out exactly where the property is located. Look at both maps and pictures to get a feel for the setting. And ask questions about the villa qualities that are most important to you.

Decide on look and feel

Contemplating a rustic farmhouse surrounded by fields? A cottage fronting directly on a white-sand beach? Or a modern glass structure in the heart of the action?

The types of villas are incredibly diverse. Ensure you book exactly what you’re envisioning for your villa experience.

villa rental tips: traditional stone italian villa with pink roses in foreground
Are you looking for a traditional villa, such as this quaint Italian home?

Review size and layout

One of the most important villa rental tips is to ensure the home has enough space for everyone. The number of bedrooms is critical for larger groups. Villa listings specify the number of people who can sleep in the home, but don’t always explain whether the sleeping arrangements consist of sleeper sofas or other less desirable options.

Similarly, scope out the bathroom set-up. Is there a low guest-to-bathroom ratio to avoid morning congestion? Are they full baths, powder rooms, or in between? Does each bedroom have an ensuite?

Examine the floor plan as well as photos to decide if the villa has the right stuff for your group. You may want a master suite separated from other bedrooms. Larger groups and families will seek plenty of space in common areas such as a living room and den/media room.

Confirm services

With a luxury villa rental, pretty much any service you desire can be yours. Before your trip, find out what’s offered, decide on which you’ll need and make advance arrangements:

  • If the villa mentions chef availability, is it really a private chef, or a housekeeper who creates basic meals?
  • Do you even want a chef, or will you do the cooking yourself (or go out)?
  • How frequently do you want housekeeping?
  • Is a handyman nearby for quick repairs?
  • For groups with children, is a babysitter available?
villa rental tips: Sunset at a luxury villa in Mexico, with lounge chairs and infinity pool
Is a pool – especially one with a view – on your villa checklist?

Build a feature list

One of the key villa rental tips is to create a checklist of features you desire, and questions to clarify exactly what you’ll get:

  • Pool (Salt water or chlorinated? Private or shared?)
  • Media room (Size of TV? Other features?)
  • Game room
  • Wi-Fi
  • Air conditioning
  • Fireplace (Wood or gas?)
  • View (Of what?)
  • Patio or deck (Large enough for the entire group?)
  • Barbecue
  • Dishwasher
  • Laundry facilities

If you have a specific aim for your trip, such as lots of gourmet cooking, ensure the kitchen is up to your standards. Does it feature the appliances you need? Delve into details to ensure you’re receiving exactly what you want.

Know what’s included

Some villas may not even provide basics, such as linens. At the opposite end, some come with a well-stocked kitchen. Those are just two examples of why it’s critical to discover what will be included with your villa rental.

Also, examine the fine print. Are taxes, utilities and cleaning included in your fee? Those may be charged on top of the rental amount.

Book early

Hoping for a week over Christmas in Hawaii? Or spring break in Mexico? If so, one of the most crucial villa rental tips to avoid disappointment is to book early. Villas in popular destinations at peak times of the year tend to rent at least six months out.

villa rental tips: open air living room with pool, water view and greenery in background
A travel advisor is the best resource you’ll find for helping you book the villa of your dreams

Partner with a travel advisor

Booking a private home is significantly different than reserving a hotel room. As you can see from these villa rental tips, travelers need to consider multiple factors.

A travel advisor – particularly one who specializes in luxury travel – knows the ins and outs of booking villas. They know which companies excel in the area. They keep tabs on which villas their clients rave about. They’ll offer you villa rental tips culled from their extensive experience. You’ll save time and lessen your stress by having an advisor do the heavy lifting.

Advisors will provide you with a wealth of information on the villa and the surrounding area. They’ll know if extras such as the use of a car or chef services are included. As well, they’ll decipher contracts and book activities for you. With an advisor as your advocate, you’ll have a worry-free experience before, during and after the trip. If you don’t have an advisor and would like to find one, take this simple, fun quiz at virtuoso.com and receive suggestions tailored for your preferences.

Two worldwide villa companies offer exclusive extras to travelers who book through a Virtuoso advisor. Villas of Distinction represents luxury homes with one to 42 bedrooms in popular resort destinations such as the Caribbean, Hawaii and Tuscany. It provides a $100 credit for services such as grocery pre-stocking, a private chef or a car rental.

Onefinestay focuses on upscale properties in the world’s greatest cities, including New York, London and Paris. Receive ultra-luxe his-and-hers cashmere slippers when you book with your Virtuoso advisor.

Once you get used to the A-lister villa lifestyle, you’ll be hooked. You may even join the ranks of the many villa veterans who love the experience so much they return to the same home year after year.