Dreaming of relaxing by the infinity pool of your palatial vacation home? With new rental companies emerging for today’s travelers, an experience like this may soon be a reality.
As consumers— needs evolve, families, friends, and relatives often choose to spend vacations together at a sprawling locale instead of booking separate hotel rooms. For those seeking a vacation destination that offers extra space, unlimited freedom, and much more privacy, renting a home or luxury villa is an optimal choice.
Experts agree that when searching for a villa or home, potential renters should look beyond the beauty of the property and carefully review all of the rules, regulations, and payment processes—and keep an eye out for extra cleaning fees and other possible hidden costs. Regular, on-going communication with the rental company is a major part of this process.
Eliott Cohen-Skalli, chief marketing officer of luxury rental company Le Collectionist, believes that personal service is paramount to a successful rental. “For high-end vacation rentals, we definitely recommend renting through a validated partner you trust,” he says. “We do not encourage renting a high-end property directly from the owner, because we believe it is too risky for a family traveling in the peak season with kids. If there is any problem with the villa rented, it will be very hard to find other alternatives. Also, it will be easier to find a villa through a professional, because we usually have the best selection and can easily negotiate with owners in each destination. Personalized service is key.”
In recent years, several companies have emerged on the scene with locations across the world, catering to a variety of budgets and price points. Amid a number of high-end rental companies vying for attention, here are five standouts:
Airbnb: A place for everyone
Offering suitable destinations for everyone’s wallet—from modest apartments to lavish castles—fast-growing Airbnb connects travelers with thousands of rental properties in nearly 200 countries. A user-friendly website lets renters see photos, check out reviews and get regular updates about their chosen home away from home. A favorite go-to option among travelers from all walks of life, Airbnb requires direct-to-owner communication before booking a property.
Prices start at $200 per night.
AKA: Sweeping skyline views
AKA’s furnished residences are tailored to celebrities, upscale consumers, and affluent global travelers seeking luxury apartment-style living. The spacious accommodations offer the comfort and privacy of a fully appointed pied-à-terre, infused with the welcoming hospitality of an intimate hotel.
Larry Korman, president of AKA, explains, “It is AKA’s personalized service, resident-focused amenities, outstanding locations, spacious suites, and fair rates that make our properties very appealing to travelers who are looking for long-stay comfort and value.”
Prices vary, depending upon the specific AKA location. For example, in Beverly Hills, the daily rate for a posh AKA one-bedroom suite starts at $435 (based on a seven-day stay).
Le Collectionist: Feel like James Bond
For a true once-in-a-lifetime experience, Le Collectionist offers more than 50 properties throughout several European countries, welcoming jet setters with plenty of upscale perks. All villas have been carefully vetted and offer inviting names such as the “Mr. Branson Chalet” in Verbier and the “James Bond Villa” in Corfu. At each grand destination, Le Collectionist provides the best local foods and wines, as each kitchen is fully equipped and pre-stocked with groceries. Interested in discovering the delicacies of the region? Private chefs can be booked through the company’s free concierge service.
“We really try to personalize each experience and make sure that every client’s wish is fulfilled,” Cohen-Skalli says. “For instance, flying or sailing from Saint-Tropez to Monaco to see an opera, having a private chauffeur picking you up at the airport, or dog sledding to a fine restaurant in Verbier: everything is possible.”
Rates start at 5,000 Euros per month.
Luxury Retreats: Live the dream
Living up to its name, Luxury Retreats has more than 2,000 exclusive locations across the globe. Specialists help customers select the ideal property—from a posh penthouse to a luxurious estate.
“Our company prides itself in creating personalized villa vacations,” explains Jazz Poulin, media manager for Luxury Retreats. “Every guest is unique, and we therefore employ knowledgeable villa specialists who help ensure every guest has been matched with the right villa. After this, our dedicated concierge will help arrange for personal spa treatments, restaurant reservations, car rentals, and even specialty wines. You’re only limited by your imagination.”
Prices start at $2,000 per night.
VRBO (Vacation Rentals By Owner): Budget-friendly destinations
With more than 200,000 global listings at various price points, VRBO’s robust roster of properties ranges from tasteful and cozy to sprawling and extravagant. Distinctive and easy to navigate, the company’s website features an online marketplace with an array of properties. Prior to booking, travelers have access to all of the essential details along with photos and location information. All rentals communicate directly with the owner in advance of renting.
Prices start at $350 per night.