This article was true in 1999 when I first published it and is still true today. Read on.
The Villa Alternative – Jamaican Style
Part 1: Eight Reasons Why Renting A Villa May Provide the Perfect Vacation Escape
Does the idea of renting a villa sound like an option only for the rich and famous? Well, the villa alternative is probably the best-kept secret in Jamaican travel today – and you don’t have to be rich or famous to enjoy the experience.
Who is the typical villa guest? You are! There is no such thing as the typical villa guest. People choose villas for different reasons. Budget-conscious people may choose to stay in a villa because it is cost-effective for groups. Adventure seekers may choose a villa because they feel that this option gives them more opportunity to explore as they see fit. People with more disposable income may choose villas for the privacy, service, and luxury that comes with villas in their price range.
Almost all villas in Jamaica come staffed with a cook, housekeeper, and gardener. You’ll have no dishes to wash, no beds to make, and no meals to cook – just like at a hotel. So, why choose a villa over a hotel, especially an all-inclusive hotel where everything is included? Read on. We’ll show you 8 reasons why a villa vacation may offer you a welcomed vacation alternative.
At a hotel you are assigned to a room and share public spaces with all the other guests. Finding a quiet area may be a chore at a hotel but not at a villa. At a villa, you have run of the house and grounds. Imagine you have a group of 10 people travelling together needing 5 hotel rooms. If you rent a 5 or even 6 bedroom villa, you will have all the bedrooms you need plus all the space you need to enjoy each other. Imagine sitting around together chatting away in the living room or eating together at dinner time, talking and laughing, without worry that you are disturbing your fellow guests.
At one hotel where we stayed, we had to reserve a space on the beach. If we left to get a drink, we had to mark our spot so it wouldn’t be taken when we got back. Not so at a villa. Even if you have a shared beach, it is unlikely to be crowded. Likewise, the swimming pool is usually private and only used by you and your guests.
Unless you are renting a villa for just one or two people, a villa vacation is often less costly than a hotel. A villa is most cost-effective if rented by a group – the more the merrier and the cheaper too! A week’s stay in a luxury all-inclusive hotel during the peak season may cost US$1500-1700 per person excluding airfare. Renting a comparable villa may cost $1000-1200 per person or less *after* adding in accommodation, meals and the shared cost of renting a car or van. The savings are more dramatic with large groups. For smaller groups, the dollar cost may be more but this may be balanced by the more personalized service and attention that would be possible.
Will you miss out on the amenities provided by hotels? Not necessarily. Some villas have tennis courts, gyms, or access to beach clubs for watersports.
Extras at hotels such as service charges for telephone calls, both local and long distance, can cost you plenty. At a villa, however, you only pay for the actual costs of these services.
Meals, for example, cost less at villas since the rental fee includes the staff’s salary. Your costs for meals represent the cost to purchase food and supplies. The prices that you pay are what locals pay. Some villas include laundry service but most don’t. Even so, you aren’t paying a per price charge like you do at hotels. Likewise, charges for room service are unheard of at villas.
Often, you are able to get more luxury at a villa than at a hotel of comparable price. Villas tend to reflect the style of their owners. They tend to have more character than nondescript and predictable hotel rooms.
The same staff typically attends to your needs for the duration of your stay. They get to know you and you get to know them.
A villa experience is usually less canned than a hotel experience. You have more freedom to be yourself and to pursue your interests.
Seize the opportunity to have a relaxing and memorable vacation tailored to your needs – Jamaican style. A villa vacation is within your grasp – especially if you split the costs with a group of friends.
‘Til next time.
Think and dream Jamaica!
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Sherry & Darrell, owners of Mais Oui Tenis & Spa Villa in Discovery Bay, Jamaica, consider themselves unofficial ambassadors for Jamaica. They look forward to using their insider knowledge to help guests create priceless vacation memories. Feel free to say hi!