February 1, 2011
During the past five years there has been an increased surge in group travel…from destination weddings to celebrating that special anniversary or landmark birthday to family reunions and couples retreats it seems that going abroad with ones friends and/or family is the thing to do. The desire to spend real, quality time with one’s friends and family along with experiencing some local culture and adventure, and being able to do that over the course of a week or more versus a trying to capture it all in a celebration that lasts just a few hours is the desire that drives this new way of traveling.
The challenge here is in deciding where to go, where to stay and what to do and doing so without breaking the bank. Not a simple task when trying to coordinate a group of 10 or more people.
The best group travel destinations are those where everyone can participate in an activity or stay behind and seek out a beach, a spa or simply relax in the confines of their environment. A city destination where each person must choose between visiting a museum, seeing a particular sight, going shopping or meandering through the streets may not the best choice for a group vacation experience where the goal is to spend quality time with each other. On the other hand, choosing a destination where you share meals and activities along with lounging time is exactly what travelers seem to be seeking.
Luxury vacation villas seem to be the desired way to go but is it the best? (We think so!). Luxury vacation villas in costa rica can be from 1 to 20 bedrooms and usually are staffed with a knowledgeable, dedicated staff, living spaces, fully equipped kitchens, outdoor living spaces, a pool. Here are some considerations for you to think about when planning that great group getaway:
- Choose a resort destination (tropical, snow, sailing trips, rural villages in Europe, small cruises) vs a city
- Rent a large house/Luxury vacation villas (or two) that can accommodate your group comfortably
- Be sure it is staffed with a house manager/concierge, chef and housekeeping so it’s a true vacation; you don’t want to spend precious time on household chores, learning how to use a foreign appliances, figuring out the phone system. It’s nice to have a chef who shops, cooks and cleans up after you and a house manager who oversees a house can help make your stay easy while deepening your insight into the culture and peoples of the country
- Are there local activities that the entire group will enjoy?
- Do they offer pick up and drop off services from a luxury vacation villa?
- Is there easy access to local attractions (beach, shopping)?
- What are the transport options
- How many bedroom, beds, bathrooms are there
- Check out reviews, testimonials, TripAdvisor for the area and for the luxury vacation villa
- Ask to email or speak with a prior guest
Some of our favorite group destinations include Costa Rica (of course, we love Villa Perezoso!), Tuscany, Hawaii, Lake Tahoe, sailing the turquoise waters in a gulet off the coast of Turkey, motoring the Virgin Islands. There are so many to choose from and so many resources. Here are a few resources for luxury vacation villa rentals:
- Luxury Retreats.com
- Villas of Distinction.com
Some additional perks in staying in Luxury Vacation Villa versus a hotel or resort are:
- Superb value—you spend less and receive more
- Personalized attention and service from experienced concierges and chefs (be sure the villa you choose has a full staff onsite)
- More space and privacy (you get a lot more living space for probably less than what you would pay for hotel rooms to accommodate everyone)
- Eliminating high food costs (going out to eat versus having a chef shop and cook for you can be very costly and add thousands of dollars to your bill for a group of 8 or more)
- Kitchens for that late night snack or early morning coffee
- Great for all occasions, from big group gatherings to an intimate getaway
- Allows you to create a unique and customized experience based on your needs
- Many different options – thousands of villas from which to choose
- And as one Villa Perezoso guest described some of their favorite highlights of their stay ..”never having to dress for breakfast or dinner and not having to compete with 24/7 texting, computer and friends and enjoying real time with our 3 teenagers for a whole week”.
So whether you are celebrating your 40th birthday or a silver wedding anniversary or simply want a girls trip in an exotic locale, consider renting a villa but make sure they are fully staffed so that you don’t have to lift a finger.