This is an updated version of the second of a 2-part series that I first published in the Make It Jamaica Ezine in 1999. If you have not yet read Part 1: Eight Reasons Why Renting A Villa May Provide the Perfect Vacation Escape, you will want to do so. Click here.
With the wide variety of villas in Jamaica from which to choose, selecting the right villa can seem like a mind-boggling experience. Finding the Jamaica vacation home that is just right for you depends on what you want and expect from your vacation. You must know what you want from a Jamaica villa vacation before you begin the selection process.
Be honest with yourself. If you rent too expensive a house, you may have vacation that is memorable for having not enough money to buy food for your group! Trust me. We have seen this happen and it is not a good scenario.
On the flip side, the old saying, “You get what you pay for,” often holds true with vacation rentals in Jamaica. Prices can vary widely for villas with the same number of bedrooms, with much of the price difference being related to location, proximity to the sea, design and quality of furnishings, staffing, amenities, and services offered.
What do you think is a reasonable per-person price to pay for the quality vacation experience that you desire and expect at a staffed Jamaican villa? Multiply that price by the number of individuals in your group. This figure will give you a ball-park estimate of what budget you are working with for the rental of the villa.
As you continue to research Jamaica villas to rent, you will see whether or not this budget to reasonable and achievable.
Beware of supposed low-priced luxury villa rentals. Luxury is a very overused term in the villa rental industry. Lower priced homes are often basic with fewer amenities. Additional services, if they are available, often cost extra, or are simply not available.
Read this blog post to help you figure out your budget: So what’s the damage? What’s your Jamaica villa vacation going to cost you?
A group of 5 couples may have different needs from two families traveling together with four children and two elderly grandparents from 10 women on a girl-friends’ getaway. The three groups may have 10 people but each needs different bedroom configurations and maybe even number of bedrooms.
Couples more likely would appreciate king or queen bedded rooms. A group with children may appreciate rooms with multiple beds. The elderly or the infirmed may want ground floor accommodations. Single travelers would most likely appreciate two beds in each room to not have to share beds.
If you need 2 bedrooms, don’t spend much time looking at 6 bedroom villas. It is unlikely that you will get a competitive rate. But, if you need 4 or 5 bedrooms, by all means, look at 6 bedroom villas. So, do not automatically exclude homes larger than the number of bedrooms that you need. Some Jamaica villa rentals, but not all, do offer pro-rated rates.
This deserves its own special consideration. Are you traveling with children?
Do you require a child proof or child-friendly property? What are your expectations in this regard? If the property does not have what you need, what can be rented or what can you bring with you?
Do the furnishings seem child-friendly? Children and white couches or antiques, for example, just don’t seem to go together in my mind.
A beachfront villa may sound nice but you will have to keep an even closer eye on the kids if you are not able to close off the access to the sea. Don’t forget that similar considerations and safety precautions must be maintained if the property has a pool.
If someone in your group is in a wheelchair, make sure you ask about wheelchair accessibility and ADA compliance. This is not the norm in Jamaica. Does someone have knee problems which will make climbing stairs every day a problem? If so, make sure the villa that you choose has at least a ground floor bedroom and bathroom.
Do you want a simple cottage with just the basics? Or, do you want a home with many special amenities and features?
Even though you may think you want to “do nothing”, you don’t want a situation where you may be bored. Rain falls even in Jamaica! The more amenities that a home has to offer, the more choices you and your guests will have. If curling up with a good book is your criteria for “doing nothing” you will appreciate a home with multiple private spaces where you can hideaway for some “me” time.
Most villas have a manager/cook, housekeeper and gardener or some combination. Larger and more expensive villas tend to have more staff. Some have butlers. Do you require a butler? Bartender?
What kind of staff to guest ratio do you expect? Less expensive properties will have 1 staff member for every 4-5 guests. More expensive and “higher touch” properties have a 1:1-2 ratio, or at a minimum 1:3. Are you expecting true white glove service or are you more interested in more laid-back, caring, friendly service?
What are your must-haves versus your would-be-nice-to-haves? Would you like a swimming pool, Jacuzzi, television? Come up with a list of requirements and/or special needs. The more detailed your list the better you will define the Jamaica vacation home of your dreams; but… the harder it may be to find such a house. The more extensive your list, the higher the price you can expect to pay.
How close do you want to be to different activities and attractions? Do you want to be in town where you can walk to various places or do you want something a little more private and out-of-the-way? Or, do you want to be in a central but private location which provides you the option of touring most of the island?
Do you want a property that is part of a hotel resort complex or would you like an independent property to give you a little more local flair?
Do you crave nightlife and so want to be in town in the thick of things? Or do you want to be close but not too close to nightlife? Or maybe, you are looking for a totally family-friendly environment.
If you are a golfer, would you want a villa rental on a golf course? Or, how about a villa that is close to several golf courses so you can sample each one?
If you know what you want, you can pick the perfect location. If you’re undecided or overwhelmed with choices, this exercise is exactly what you need to help you decide.
Do you want to be directly on the beach or have the sea a short walk away? Or, do you want to be on a hillside looking out at the ocean? Or does proximity to the beach not matter to you? Note that, generally, the closer you are to the beach, the higher the price. You get the most bang for your buck by choosing homes that are close but not directly on the water.
If you are staying for a week or two, this may not matter; but, if your visit is short, you may or may not want to spend several hours getting to your villa. A central location will give you a good balance between distance from the airport and proximity to a wide array of things to see and do on the island.
So, it should be clear by now that price should not be your only concern. Think about these questions to help you make sure that you pick a property and a location that is the right fit for your group. Picking the perfect Jamaica villa rental and having a memorable vacation … priceless.
‘Til next time.
Think and dream Jamaica!
Sherry, Darrell, and Darrian
Considering a visit to Jamaica with a group? 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 and groups, retreats, and intimate destination weddings and vow renewals.
Visit our website: http://www.MakeItJamaica.com
Give us a call: 866.624.7684 (toll free) or 914.709.0457
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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!