Last updated: 03:30 PM ET, Wed May 20 2015

Opinion Home | Making Lasting Impressions

  • Su-Jit Lin-DeSimone | May 20, 2015 3:30 PM ET

    Not Sure if Villa Vacations Are in Budget? Think Again.

    Not Sure if Villa Vacations Are in Budget? Think Again.

    PHOTO: Bring the whole entourage and split the tab for an unforgettable, glam getaway that won’t break the bank. Courtesy Travel Impressions.

    Say it with me: “We’re renting a private villa.” Don’t you just want to add a trailing “dahhling” to that? It just sounds like one of the most glamorous things in the world, an exclusive experience for the crème de la crème, celebrities, the elite and owners of jets and small islands. But do you want in on a little trade secret? It’s actually totally affordable.

    Are you shocked? I was, too, when I first looked into the pricing. I expected to have my jaw drop from the extravagant price tag, but, instead, I was pleasantly surprised — and got entirely too excited — to find that a regular working Jane like me could afford a family vacation in one of our Villa Experience properties. For a group, some of these properties actually work out to cost less than an upscale hotel, while providing all the resort amenities and then some.

    Ideal for multiple travelers, splitting the cost of a villa is really pretty reasonable. How reasonable? How about as little as $295 per night for three bedrooms in St. Lucia in a gorgeous townhouse or $400 per night for three bedrooms on the beach in Jamaica with a private cook, gardener and laundress at your service? You don’t have to be a mathematician to know that $219 a night for a three-bedroom penthouse or a nightly rate of $253 for an oceanfront resort residence in Costa Rica is a steal.

    Great value isn’t limited only to sun-and-sand destinations, either. With a competitive and strong U.S. dollar, now is the time to head abroad to experience Europe. By choosing one of the private properties in our portfolio, it’s your chance to do it like a native, getting a real, immersive, and authentic experience. The only thing better than living like a local in Spain’s Costa del Sol is knowing you’re only paying $215 per night for it with three large bedrooms and a private pool. Or double the fun on Italy’s Amalfi Coast with six bedrooms in a gorgeous split villa with sea views for as little as $717 each night. Split between 12 people, the savings are substantial.

    Of course, that’s not to say that these properties are all budget. There are certainly countless homes among our more than 1,350 villas that cater to the exceptionally privileged. For instance, Jumby Bay Island. A 300-acre resort enclave on an island so private that not even one staff member lives there, this secluded strip just two miles off Antigua was featured on the AWE (an acronym for A Wealth of Entertainment, focusing on lavish lifestyles) channel as well as Travel Channel.

    On the other side of the world, you can also rent a whole manor home in the stunning Irish countryside, right in the heart of Kildare on the grounds of the famous K Club. Straffan House, a 34,000-square-foot, 10-bedroom residence, runs for a cool nightly rate of $26,000 per night during high season and $16,000 each evening any other time but includes royal treatment that earns its price tag. Unlimited use of two Arnold Palmer-designed courses, private fishing along the River Liffey, a private chef, indoor pool, gym, cinema…hold on while I wipe the drool off my chin.

    And, of course, everyone’s fantasy since one particular movie came out is to discover oneself in the Italian countryside…under a Tuscan sun. You can do it on a grand scale at estates of up to a whopping 99 bedrooms at the Fattoria Santo Stefano. Yep, you read that right. Ninety-nine.

    But not everyone knows that many people, and if you find yourself hard-pressed to rustle up 150 guests, consider the *slightly* smaller Coselli Villa Estate, with 51 bedrooms and 45 bathrooms. You can also dial it back a notch with the Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco, whose 32 bedrooms are nestled among rolling hills and sweeping vineyards, or Villa Mangiacane Estate, a 28-bedroom 15th century estate just outside of Florence.

    Coming back from this tangent, though, I also want to point out that soul-searching in Tuscany and Umbria is usually much more affordable…and much better done with a more intimate group. Romance in this region is well within reach at $85 a night for a romantic stay for two in Chianti countryside, and family vacations at three-bedroom farmhouses are easily doable at rates that can start at $174 per night for the entire home.

    What I’m trying to say is that if you believe it, you can achieve it. If your bucket list — or that of your clients, for that matter — looks anything like mine, there’s a whole lot of things to check off. That dream of staying in a luxury villa? Well, that doesn’t seem so far off anymore, now does it?


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Su-Jit Lin-DeSimone Making Lasting Impressions

Su-Jit Lin-DeSimone With experience in both advertising/marketing copywriting and editorial journalism, multiple-award-winning writer Su-Jit Lin-DeSimone’s passion for words is exceeded only by her love of travel. As communications manager for Travel Impressions, she uses that diverse background to create a unique bridge between marketing and storytelling, whether it’s used to share her excitement for Travel Impressions’ latest deals and agent-oriented programs and incentives or for new destinations and suppliers that inspire.
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