Perhaps the most common question we get asked about renting our villa is, “How much does it cost to rent a villa in Jamaica?”
What we have realized over all the years that we have been renting our villa, is that people who have never rented a villa in Jamaica before do not have a frame of reference and so, for many, having a Jamaica villa rental experience seems expensive and out of their reach. If this is what you think, read on. It’s a lot more affordable than you think.
You may choose a Ford, another person a BMW, and yet another might choose a Bentley.
Even after you have chosen the type of car you want, you still have to choose the model and decide if you want upgrades. Some people go for all the bells and whistles – leather interiors, heated seats, back-up cameras, built-in GPS, and extended warranties.
Why do they spend the extra money? Peace of mind. They want to know that they will have a comfortable and reliable vehicle that will make them happy. They don’t want regrets.
In the same way, when you go on vacation, especially as part of a large group of friends and family, you want to make sure that you made the right choice for your lodging. You want to make sure that the place you are staying is clean, comfortable and will please everyone in your group. You don’t want your highly anticipated vacation to turn into a week of regrets because your only focus was on finding the cheapest place.
Villa rental prices vary widely in Jamaica. You may find that one villa might cost $3000, another $8000, another $20,000 and yet another $55,000 for the same number of bedrooms and the same length of stay.
What makes the difference? How can there be such a wide range in prices?
The answer is the same for any major purchase that you make. It depends. It depends on what you are getting.
High season, December 15 – April 15, is the most popular and most expensive time to visit Jamaica. Rental rates are at their highest during this time with the highest rates seen over Christmas and New Years. Low season offers significant savings and is a common secret among savvy travelers to Jamaica.
Most Jamaica villas offer weekly rates by default. Shorter stays often attract a surcharge of about 10% of the nightly rates. Some properties offer discounts for stays longer than 2 weeks.
Certain areas cost more than others. In general, Jamaica vacation rentals or villas on the North Coast cost more than those on the South Coast. The North Coast has the popular tourist resort towns of Ocho Rios, Runaway Bay, Discovery Bay, Falmouth, Montego Bay and Negril. The South Coast, which has towns such as Treasure Beach, has much less tourism development and tends to be less expensive.
All things being equal, beachfront costs the most, period. Rental prices decrease the further you are from the sea. Prices decrease based on proximity to the sea is in this order: beachfront with beach, beachfront but no beach, beach adjacent or short walk from beach, hillside with ocean view.
SECRET HACK: Most people don’t realize that many beachfront properties, especially the older properties, tend to have comparatively fewer amenities because their biggest draw has always been the beach. If you are traveling with a group, having choice amenities is key to keeping the group entertained and happy. You get more value for your money if you pick a place with many amenities as long as you are fairly close to the beach. This gives you the best of both worlds.
There are properties of all different service levels in Jamaica – budget, standard, superior, superior plus, deluxe, super deluxe – corresponding to 1-star through the new 6-star rating.
HOT TIP: The word “Luxury” is overused in the vacation rental industry. As you evaluate so-called “luxury” properties, make sure that you have the same definition of “luxury” as the person from whom you will be renting.
By default, the more bedrooms a property has, the more people can be accommodated and therefore the higher the price tag. It is especially important with these properties to not get sticker shock at the total price but to figure out what the per-person cost will be. In general, even though larger homes cost more per week, the per person cost, at or near full occupancy, is usually less than what it would be at smaller homes and is surprisingly reasonable.
Homes with larger square footage and on more land space cost more. There is a big difference between a 4,000 and an 8,000 square foot 6-bedroom house. The former is likely to have very small bedrooms and less space for a large group to be comfortable. You would expect the 4000 square foot home to cost less than the larger home.
Renting a villa in Jamaica is similar to renting a vacation rental in the US but with one key difference – Jamaica villas come staffed! You are not just renting a house. There is a team of people who are there to support you throughout your vacation and their services are included in your rates. Short of renting a condo, it is next to impossible to find a villa in Jamaica that does not have staff.
Some properties have a cook, housekeeper, and a gardener. Other properties have a manager, chef, butler, multiple housekeepers, laundress, groundsman or gardener, security. The size of the staff influences the rates and also the level of support that you will have. Higher end properties have more staff.
Villas with more amenities command a higher price. Don’t just pick a house with a pool. You will love a property with more amenities because you and your group will have more options of things to do on property which translates into more value for money. As much as you may think you want to go to the beach every day, you probably won’t. You will want other options to keep you and your group entertained.
Some properties advertise bare bones rates to attract guests. Others include more offerings to create a better overall guest experience. One example is airport transfers to and from the villa. If you are outside of Montego Bay, you could be surprised with a $200 bill to get to your villa depending on how far you are staying from the airport. Make sure you are comparing apples to apples, and not oranges, when you compare prices.
Here is how you can figure out the price range in which you should be looking for a villa in Jamaica.
Imagine that you and your group were going to stay at a hotel as opposed to a villa. Ask yourself these 4 questions.
For simplicity, if for example you had a group of 16 people, needing 8 rooms, staying 7 nights, at a 3 or 4 star property and you were willing to pay $150-210 per room per night, your budget would be $1200- 1680 per night or $8400 – 11760 for the week for the group.
At a hotel, you would have your lodging and city and state taxes and maybe resort fees which would be additional. These extra fees would essentially be about what you would pay for staff gratuities at a Jamaica villa rental, which would be an additional 10-15% of the cost of the rental.
KEY MESSAGE: Don’t let the weekly prices of villas shock you. If you do, you will automatically start looking at lesser quality properties that might not give you the best overall value for your needs. Do the math first to see the per person price. A $10,000 per week deluxe villa that sleeps 16 costs about $90 per person per night. The $10,000 investment now seems more reasonable, especially if the cost is being shared by members of the group.
Now that you have a good idea of the price range that you can afford, let us show you how to pick the perfect villa for your needs.
So what’s the damage? What is your Jamaica villa vacation going to cost you? Other than your airfare and the cost of the villa rental to consider, what else is there to think about for your Jamaica villa vacation? To prevent unwelcome surprises, think about your budget for when you are actually on the island. How much extra money will you need once you get there?
‘Til next time.
Think and dream Jamaica!
Sherry, Darrell & Darrian
Considering a visit to Jamaica? Contact us today for more information about, Mais Oui Tennis & Spa Villa, our boutique 8-BR ocean view Jamaica villa rental experience in beautiful Discovery Bay, Jamaica. Perfect for multi-generational families, groups, and intimate destination weddings.
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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!