Tips On Renting A Villa

Ban Haad Sai - Koh Samui

Ban Haad Sai – Koh Samui

Lounging by your private pool while your personal chef whips up a batch of fresh spring rolls and pours you a cocktail.  Staying in a villa is the height of luxury but the very best bit? It can come to a fraction of the price of staying in a five-star hotel.  Going the villa route is a cost effective way of holidaying in a group, from as little as just the two of you.  Of course it has its pros & cons – if you like a vast, sprawling resort with kids clubs and restaurant choices then it might not float your boat.  But if you want the luxury of things like your own pool, staff, a living area, somewhere for the kids to nap whilst you sit by the pool etc then hiring a villa is for you!  Here are my tips on how to go about booking one, wherever you are in the world:

  • For the best rate, book direct with a villa owner.  They won’t be paying agency fees and are likely to give you a good price.
  • Following on from the point above – ask your friends and online communities for referrals.  You never know who’s ‘uncle’s cousin’ might own a villa they want to rent out
  • There’s nothing wrong with using an agency. We’ve used samuivillasandhomes.com, balivillas.com and asianluxuryvillas.com many times with very few issues.  Regardless of it’s an agency or a villa owner you’ve found online, you need to do your due diligence to make sure it’s not a con!  Does the villa have reviews on Tripadvisor?  Can you google the villa owner?  Can you find someone who can vouch for the agency?  Don’t forget you’ll be giving this company a large amount of money upfront for the villa hire so ensure it’s legit.
  • Consider saving money by choosing a villa that’s not necessarily in your perfect location.  Over Christmas we rented a villa that was inland but far cheaper than a beachfront one.  However, the villa came with a driver so we could escape to the beach whenever we fancied.

    Christmas at Loch Palm Villa - Phuket

    Christmas at Loch Palm Villa – Phuket

  • Ask as many questions as you can to make sure you get what you want.  My family are sun worshippers so I always double-check the pool isn’t fully shaded.  I also check how many sunloungers the villa comes with as we’ve had occasions where 8 of us are fighting over 4 loungers!  Other questions things you might want to find out:
    – can the villa provide a travel cot/rollaway bed for kids?
    – does the villa have a high chair?
    – what are the dimensions of the pool?
    – is a pool fence available?
    – how far is the nearest shop/restaurant
    – how far is the nearest beach?
    – does the villa have satellite TV (important for my football loving husband)
    – do the staff speak good English?
  • If the villa comes with extras e.g. chef and driver, airport transfers then get it all in writing what you are entitled to – i.e. a driver for 8 hours per day.
  • If you are travelling with kids, it’s useful to find out what the kitchen is stocked with e.g. microwave, steriliser, blender.
  • Find out if you will need to pay a security deposit on arrival and if so, how much.  Again, this might be quite a large amount of money in local currency that you haven’t factored into your budget (even though it’s likely to be returned to you)
  • The villa will usually stock the fridge & cupboards with food in advance although you might pay a premium for this.  I usually get them to buy a few essentials e.g. bread, milk, fruit and then do a supermarket shop when I get there.  I also bring items from home e.g. from baby snacks, English breakfast tea to mince pies (it was Christmas)
  • Always ask for a discount!  Many companies offer both early bird, repeat customer and late booking discounts – it doesn’t hurt to negotiate!


For more advice on how to avoid payment fraud with a villa, read this informative article from the Telegraph


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