The ultimate guide to renting Luxury Villas
Introducing our comprehensive guide to renting luxury villas. Find out how to get the best deals, what to expect, how to choose your ideal luxury holiday villa, how to make sure you are securely booking what you think you are and all the tips and insider knowledge on finding the best luxury villa. Continue reading for all this and much more.Find out how our love affair with villas began, who invented the concept and where it all started
The term villa dates back to ancient Roman times when wealthy Romans built large and luxurious country homes outside Rome. It was usually based around a courtyard with rambling farm buildings, guest accommodation and slave quarters or was built to a long low profile from which to best capture the panoramic views of which the site would undoubtedly have.
These villas were a source of prestige and power among the ancients and both the site, the view and the construction of your summer villa was an indicator of the power one wielded in Rome. Hence the term villa became associated with luxury.
Villas were always luxurious, built to impress and showcase the owner's wealth. In ancient Rome where space amidst the narrow streets was at a premium the wealthy merchants and senators used their summer residences to display their wealth. The word luxury also originates from the ancient Latin 'luxuria' which meant an extravagance, something inessential but totally conducive to pleasure, comfort and prestige.
Today the difference between a villa and a house may not be so defined but still we associate villas with luxury, comfort and most definitely relaxing summer holidays.
Yes in St Tropez but not in St Albans, find out what makes the difference
|French Riviera » ... » Eze-Bord de Mer ||380 sq.m. Villa 0657 |
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|»Holiday rental villa|
|»Price per night||:||$1,992.73|
|»Per person (x10)||:||$199.27|
Villa Riviera is an exclusive luxury villa with panoramic sea views, extensive sun terraces, infinity swimming pool, indoor and outdoor dining areas, landscaped gardens, 5 ensuite bathrooms, air conditioning, a garage and internet.
The concept of building luxury villas spread with the Romans. The highest concentration of the original versions were to be found not too great a distance from Rome and around the bay of Naples because of its particular beauty.
The original holiday villas can be found throughout Italy, across France, or Gaul as it was called in those times and even as far North as Britain where the idea of a holiday villa seems like a foreign concept in that cold climate.
The ancient trend has become a modern phenomenon and vast sprawling villas and estates are to be found all the way around the Mediterranean coast and across the world. A villa is an ideal style for a warm and sunny climate as it is an informal style with no rigid architectural demand other than comfort and relaxation and will make the most of any preferential view outside.
France and Italy have the longest tradition of holiday villas and it is in these two world favourite holiday destinations that you will find some of the most desirable villas in the world.
With such a historical commitment to luxurious living these two countries have become a benchmark of splendour that is difficult to find fault with. The French and Italian Rivieras in particular have been the playground of the rich and famous for quite literally thousands of years and both continue to serve the most delicious residences to holiday in that you could wish for.
Of course America and the Caribbean bring a modernity to the idea of a luxury villa. You might for example find a rotating rooftop jacuzzi on the beach in Miami whereas a similar budgeted abode in Southern Europe may place more stock in its 500 year old vineyards and fully stocked wine cellar. The trick is to identify what you consider to be your personal standard of luxury and find the right villas within that ideal.Is it a bigger better dishwasher, a heated swimming pool, or maybe something that's different for everyone.
Luxury, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. For some it might be a bathroom at every turn and a TV over every bed, while for others, like John Travolta or Angelina Jolie, their level of luxury villa requires a runway outside the window and enough rooms to constitute a honey bee hive.
|French Riviera » Cannes ||350 sq.m. Villa 0299 |
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|»Holiday rental villa|
|»Price per night||:||$1,606.14|
|»Per person (x12)||:||$133.85|
“We really loved the villa, which was even better than the pictures ” - vamuir
Ultimate family villa for long hot summers in the South of France, Villa Palais is just walking distance from the centre of Cannes including the beaches, shops and the Palais des Festivals. It's 'the' Film Festival location which exudes charm and style.
Luxury is something that is not a necessity but is highly desirable, to you personally. For most of us, when this comes to looking for a holiday villa, in France, Italy, Spain or more exotic locations, then we are simply looking for something that is more exciting than our own home and everyday living. A holiday is a special event and hiring a luxury villa is one of the simplest ways to live the high life if only for a week or two. While most of us may expect a swimming pool, some will expect a helipad, discover what's normal for a luxury villa.
As we have said before, luxury is something that is largely defined by the individual and can vary from ceiling to floor double doors over looking a fabulous sea view to solid gold taps in the toilet and a helipad on the roof.
There are a few things however that most of us can agree on that are standard luxury items and should be what you can expect in a luxury villa. Namely and firstly; space. Having large bedrooms and multiple living spaces in something that you should expect from a luxury villa.
Quite often when you are searching online for your ideal holiday rental it is easy to become very focused on what the interior of your villa looks like. This is especially true when you are living in a cold or wet climate.
It is easy to forget that, if you are specifically picking a sunny location for your holiday, you will live outside for those few glorious holiday weeks.
Life in a sunny climate takes on a different aspect and you will spend all of your time outdoors, almost entirely if things go to plan.
So don't get over focused on interior kitchen sizes or how many sofas there are. Instead check for large outdoor terraces, landscaped gardens, outdoor furniture, summer kitchens, pools, views and play areas if you have children.
Many people apply their everyday needs and wants to their holiday villa and, while of course you want a basic level that you are used to, discarding a fabulous villa with infinity pool and en-suite rain shower bathrooms throughout because it hasn't got an iron could be a terrible shame. More often than not villa owners are happy to facilitate guests if something small but imperative is overlooked and, in reality, how much of your holiday time do you want to spend at the ironing board. Holidays are about rest, relaxation and escape but a luxury holiday villa is also about living a fabulous fantasy life, however briefly it might seem.
We are talking about basic levels of luxury however and you can expect a lot more from your luxury villa. In France, our test location, you will find luxury villas that exceed 500 square metres in size and grow to full estates of more than 10,000 square metres. You will find executive properties with the highest specification of security, parking for fleets of limousines, temperature controlled garages for precious classics and household staff to man it all.
You can have jacuzzis, hot tubs, cascade and infinity pools, lakes, ponds, rivers and waterfalls. Private yacht moorings, hydraulic lifts for a raft of water sport toys, jet skis, bowling alleys and cinemas alongside gyms, tennis courts and even a mini amphitheatre for private concerts.
You can ask for a luxury villa with library, music room, billiard table, ping pong, hammam or sauna. Guest houses, boat houses and staff quarters. You might want a beach, an olive grove, a vineyard, lavender fields or an orchard outside your windows. You can have butlers, haute cuisine chefs and silver service waitresses. If it can be imagined then it can of course be found.Tips on making a list of your personal 'must haves' that will save you lots of time
So when it comes to choosing your ideal luxury holiday villa there are a few suggestions that can help you narrow down your search and hit on the right place for you and your family. Naturally the weather and the climate help identify the country. So let's say you have decided to rent a luxury villa in France. Where do you choose, what are you looking for and how will you find the best place to go?
France is a vast and, touristically speaking, wealthy pot to choose from. The regions are well researched and well trodden before you with great information and many guide books. You might be looking for a countryside idyll, quiet and far from urban life, perhaps along the wild North Atlantic coast in the green midsts of Brittany or you may choose the rich vineyard regions of your favourite wine in Bordeaux or along the Rhone. Provence with its lavender scented hills and decadent sea side resort towns is the most popular region of France, it is known for being the place where the French choose to holiday, jokingly referring to the notion that it is too good to desert for a holiday abroad.
Before you start scanning long lists of holiday villas in France it is a good idea to have a list in your head of things that are absolutely imperative for you to have in your holiday villa and things that you would like to have but are not going to spoil your holiday if they are not there.
Depending on the budget there are certain things that you can take for granted. If, for example, you are looking at a luxurious villa for a rental budget of around 10,000 per week then you can be sure that it will have basic necessities like dishwashers, washing machines and irons. These are the items that, when you are sitting at home browsing through your list of ideal holiday homes, that you may tend to over focus on. It is a good idea to remember that once you arrive on holiday, ironing your crisp white linens may not actually be your biggest holiday priority.
Yes the details are important but, in most situations the key holder or caretaker will help you facilitate the small stuff if you arrive and find that it is missing, it is far more important to work out if you'd like the pool heated or there is a hot tub on your private terrace. This is your holiday after all and roughing it in an outdoor kitchen after a midnight poolside BBQ is a lot more fun than stacking a dishwasher in a perfectly fine kitchen. Don't over focus on the run of the mill everyday things, dream a little bit big and have a more expansive holiday experience.Selecting a rental by guest numbers can cut down the price and leave lots in the budget for a week long family party.
How to ask the right questions, check you are dealing with a reputable company and how to exercise caution when dealing direct with 'owners' Luxury villas in France vary in size depending largely on the landscape. Villefranche-sur-Mer, for example, is one of the world's most expensive private property markets in the world. It is home to superstars, billionaires and royalty but it is also a small seaside enclave perched on the side of one of the most scenic bays in the world.
As a consequence it does not have vast flat land on which these most luxurious properties in the world can be built. So while you can enjoy the company of the world's most illustrious neighbours and partake of one of the most wonderful views you will struggle to find a garden large enough for a tennis court and a swimming pool. You can estimate that most villas in this area will have from 3 to 4 bedrooms and sleep no more than 10.
So knowing your area is important, the Var and Saint Tropez, on the other hand, occupy a large, flat landscape sweeping back from a large bay. The luxury villas in this part of France are more likely to be sprawling estates from 4 to 8 bedrooms sleeping 8 couples all the way up to 20 bedrooms. Although prices can be high in the heart of St Tropez, you can find properties that will swallow more than 20 people with ease, like this palatial sea front villa, Villa Majeasteux, in Saint Raphael over looking the Golfe du Saint Tropez.
Inland you will always find more bedrooms for less money, a small Chateau on the edge of the Verdon lakes will cost the same as a 4 bed luxury apartment with a sea view - however you will have 8 bedrooms and thousands of hectares of Provence to yourself. Sleeping 18 for a very modest fee, this is a super way to organise a family get together without breaking the bank.
Once you have defined your own personal level of luxury that fits within your budget - then begin the search. There are any number of holiday rental websites and any number of horror stories to go with them.
Finding your luxury villa online is the best option but there are certain things to look out for to ensure that your villa actually exists and that you are dealing with the correct representative.
Ask questions. Enter into a dialogue with the online representative, even if this is just by email. The more questions you ask about the property the more likely you are to understand what it is that you are renting. Also what you are looking for is detailed knowledge, not just of the villa but also of the area. Does the person you are speaking with know the area? The more communicative and knowledgeable they are the more likely that it is all genuine.
Check the payment methods. If you are asked to pay by bank transfer then ask for an invoice. Check that the company you are dealing with is properly registered. Read the 'about us' sections on the website, check the company address and read their 'terms and conditions'. Holiday rentals are governed by law so you can check that the conditions of rental are in compliance with European standards.
Ideally you should be able to pay by credit card. In order to process credit card payments a company has already been subjected to rigorous checks by the financial service provider but, more importantly for the consumer, you have the added protection that your own card provider gives.Most luxury villa rentals are for regular families, find out some of the celebrities who have been there before us
So now you have a list of 'wants' and you should make it as fantastic or as ridiculous as possible. At worst you will find out that you can not afford a week in the villa with the helipad and the infinity pool but at best you will find that your ideal luxury item has been someone else's personal folly and you may just end up sipping champagne in a hot tub easier than you might think.
We all know by now that the Jolie-Pitt's have 35 rooms and are planning a runway at their Provencal villa, that Kate Moss might buy a St Tropez vineyard or that there is a villa on Cap Ferrat with a private zoo in the garden. You may come across the villa near Cannes where F. Scott Fitzgerald penned some of his elegant prose, the infamous Villefranche luxury pad where the Rolling Stones composed their album 'Exile on Main Street and wreaked havoc on the sleepy seaside town or luxuriate in the same splendourous surroundings as Simon Cowell while he deliberated on his 'X-Factor' acts.
While you may not be in this kind of league, financially speaking, it doesn't mean that you are not keeping good company. Very often a glimpse through old guest books can reveal superstars of yesteryear for whom your holiday villa was perfectly luxurious enough; the Queen's Mum, Charlie Chaplin or an Errol Flynn might lurk on the pages of faded guest book memories.
The things to look for, apart from opulent interiors, are the surroundings. Is your holiday villa close to some local wonder, is it an older property with fantastically mature gardens or ancient olive groves? Not all luxury villas carry a heavy price tag, we offer advice on using location and timing to get a bigger more luxurious rental for your budget
The lasting pleasures are often simple beauties and a wonderful environment can make up for all the shortcomings in your budgetary restriction.
|Start looking early|
|Find your ideal luxury villa, set your sights a little higher perhaps than your budget allows and then make contact. Owners love early bookings, they like to know that their premium dates are filled and they can relax for the summer. So book early and you are more likely to get a good deal.|
|Ask for a good deal|
|Remember that there is always room for negotiation. Ask for the price for your holiday dates and when you get a figure, look on it as a starting point. Go back and ask for something a little better. You may not get a discount, especially in prime location like the South of France or Italy, but you may get some other incentive, a free airport transfer perhaps or tickets for a local attraction.|
|Especially if you are booking early, ask if there are dates available when the same property is cheaper. Very often by sliding your holiday back a week or bringing it forward you can make significant savings.|
|As we have mentioned before, join forces with another family or friends. More people plus a bigger villa equals better value and more often than not more holiday fun, especially if you have children. Remember it will split all your bills, including shopping, halve the work around the villa if you are cooking at home a lot and mean that you can take advantage of each other for romantic nights out if you both have children that need babysitting.|
Find out how to spread the cost over a year or more and among all parties, to make the rental costs insignificant and simple to manage
|French Riviera » Antibes » Juan-Les-Pins ||180 sq.m. Villa 0795 |
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|»Holiday rental villa|
|»Price per night||:||$356.67|
|»Per person (x10)||:||$35.67|
“I would just like to say how much we enjoyed our stay at the villa in Juan Les Pins everything was fantastic” - cleopatra
Homely family villa with private pool in Juan Les Pins that is a fantastic summer beach rental only a few minutes stroll to the sandy beaches of Juan Les Pins. It sleeps 10 and with a layout that suits families, it is perfect for a French villa holiday.
To secure any holiday villa for the dates that you want you will be asked for a minimum of a 30% deposit. This guarantees that the villa is yours and that it can not be double booked by the owner. On Riviera Rental Guide you have the option to pay by credit card either in full immediately, a 30% deposit or a monthly instalment payment plan. This serves to break down the payment over a period of time and make it financially easier for you by spreading the payments into manageable amounts.
If you are travelling with numbers of people who are sharing the cost then there is the 'VillaShare' payment option whereby the individual payments due are managed so that you are not hounding your friends or family for money. Riviera Rental Guide will take care of the administration of shared payments and keep you up to date with the status at all times.Tips and tricks you can use to live like the stars on a fraction of the published rate.
Rule number one is: to ask. You will usually find a list price quite easily but think of that as a guide line. Many people will simply ask the price and then retreat at the first answer. Take a leaf out of other cultures and try a little bargaining, at the very least it may bag you a few bottles of welcome champagne.
Make a reasonable counter offer if it is somewhere that you and your family have your heart set on. Also ask if there are different rates for different times of year. The rental rates vary according to the season but there may also be big local events that can affect the price from week to week so check that your dates are not in conflict with that.
Try looking off the beaten track. A 5 star villa on the edge of the beach in one of the most glamourous holiday resort towns is going to have a price tag to reflect as much and it can be difficult to know where to start looking for a more affordable option if you are not familiar with the area.
Many of those in the know don't in fact opt for these 'front line' luxury holiday villas at all. Johnny Depp lives in the little known inland village of Plan de la Tour - close to fabulous Saint Tropez but certainly not in it. The smaller, less glamourous villages are often cheaper but no less gorgeous.
Once again the internet is your friend and take a look at some online maps. Spot the luxury location, for example Cannes, Monaco or Saint Tropez and then have a look at the areas surrounding. The hill tops often offer glorious views, more spacious villas and better value prices.
If you are worried about driving in a foreign country then find the train lines and look at the villages dotted along them within an hours journey of the coast. In France almost every village has its own local tourist office so finding out about where you are will be easy.Riviera Rental Guide
is your ideal partner for securing your luxury villa rental in France or Italy offering comprehensive area guides, local support, checked and verified luxury villas, flexible and secure payment options and every commitment to ensuring that you have the best holiday rental experience possible.
Once you've rented the villa, we offer advice on what to bring, and what's best to leave at home
|French Riviera » ... » La Colle sur Loup ||650 sq.m. Villa 0771 |
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|»Holiday rental villa|
|»Price per night||:||$996.91|
|»Per person (x8)||:||$124.61|
A superb, well appointed luxury villa with 4 double bedrooms with en suite bathrooms. On a quiet hillside with charming views of the rolling hills, St Paul de Vence and all the way to the sea at the Isles des Lerins. This villa has a heated pool.
In a luxury villa you can expect to find all the beds made and ready with freshly laundered linens, towels in the bathrooms, soap at the sinks and usually basic cleaning items in the kitchens. Many places will offer a provisioning service but only if you have arranged it prior to your arrival.
You should have basic household items like hair dryers, irons and ironing boards but if you find that they are missing then ask. In many cases if there are small things missing then the owners will be happy to provide them.
Before you arrive at your luxury villa, you should be able to check all these details online and you will find more detailed descriptions of rooms and facilities under 'feature' lists.
It is also a good idea to research where the nearest shops are or if there is an online shopping service with delivery service from nearby supermarkets. Of course part of the fun of holidaying abroad is exploring local markets and shops but for every day heavy items then these services can be very convenient and leave more time for perusing luxury items and searching for your favourite bottles of wine.