Villa Vacation Guide
Your Guide to Villa Vacations
Villas & Apartments Abroad has created this guide to help you become familiar with the terms we’ve used in our villa descriptions. We hope you will also find this information useful in reminding you of the things you should bear in mind when selecting your villa based on your own personal needs -- those "must haves" that will make the villa experience uniquely yours.
Villa Vacation Planning and Arrangements
Local representative: The local management companies in the various destinations are our partners. The local management company manages and maintains the villa,and is there to assist you while you are on your holiday. Some villa owners also act in this capacity.
Minimum nights stay: Most villas require a minimum seven-night stay. Please ask about stays of less than one week. Christmas/New Year’s vacations in sunny destinations usually require a 10- to 14-night minimum stay; however, there are some destinations that will certainly allow one-week stays if a stay starts or ends on a Saturday or Sunday falling between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Most owners prefer to rent their villas for two-week stays during this time period.
Villa rates: Our rates are quoted for a week’s stay, with some exceptions for nightly quotes. A discounted monthly rate is also possible on request. Some villas and destinations quote a premium price over holiday periods.
Staffing: Most of our villa destinations offer full staffing or, at the minimum, maid service for a few hours per day or week, included in the villa cost. Other destinations may require that you pay extra for staffing your villa.
Car rental: A car rental is an essential accessory to the villa holiday, with the exception of a few villas that are located within a resort, town, or village. Having a car is the only convenient way of getting around private villas that are located in remote areas, in the hills and away from the hub. If you wish not to drive yourself, we can arrange for a car and driver for you or for a taxi service. Just let us know.
Airport transfers: Some villas offer airport transfers or meet-and-greet. For those villas that do not, we can arrange these services to you at an extra cost.
Accommodation: Villa accommodations are based on double occupancy. For example, a two-bedroom villa sleeps four persons maximum. There are some exceptions in which a villa might include rooms with triple beds. We must respect the owners’ policies regarding the villas’ maximum occupancy.
Extra guests: Some owners may allow you to bring extra guests, with advance notice. You may have to pay for an extra person fee, rent an additional bed, and/or hire extra staff.
Air-conditioning: The majority of villas in tropical destinations offer air-conditioning in the bedrooms, with some featuring central air throughout. In some destinations, such as Europe, villas are not usually air-conditioned. Portable air-conditioning units can be rented at cost to you in some cases. If you must have air conditioning, particularly for health reasons, be sure to let us know you are consulting with your Villas & Apartments Abroad villa specialist.
Swimming pool: A “private pool” means that the pool is exclusively for your use, as opposed to a shared or communal pool that is open for others to use. Swimming pools have various shapes and dimensions. Some are accessed by Roman steps or a ladder, or by entering a shallow end. Most swimming pools are close to the villa or right off of the verandah or patio. Some pools may be in a separate area of the garden, with a path leading to it. Many villas often offer pool accessories for your enjoyment, while some require guests to bring their own.
Cocktail or splash pool: This is a small pool for dipping and splashing and not usually for swimming laps. Typically it is shallow and of the same depth throughout.
Pool security systems: Swimming pools at private villas do not have lifeguards on staff. You swim at your own risk. Most do not have emergency pool alarms, fencing, or covers. If you are concerned about pool safety while on your villa vacation, please discuss your concerns with your Villas & Apartments Abroad specialist so that we can provide the best possible solution for your needs.
Shower: Some villas offer showers over a bathtub or in separate stall. Some showerheads are fixed or hand-held.
Living room/lounge: These rooms are one and the same.
Verandah/patio: A verandah is a covered furnished area, usually opening on two or three sides to a garden. A patio can be covered or uncovered.
Kitchen: Kitchens are fully equipped to meet your needs according to the size/capacity of the villa and the number of guests it accommodates. Some kitchens feature an open plan and connect with the dining area and often to a dining patio. Adult guests are welcome to enter the kitchen to fix a snack or to cook for themselves if their villa is not staffed. Children using the kitchen should supervised by an adult.
Summer kitchen: A summer kitchen is usually located close to the dining patio and the swimming pool. It serves as a convenient service area for preparing light meals and is typically equipped with a refrigerator, a small stove, and serving utensils.
Pergola: A pergola is a shady covered area for dining or relaxing. It may either be attached to the villa or to a separate structure, and serves the same purpose as a gazebo.
En-suite: “En-suite” refers to a bedroom with a private bathroom accessed from within the bedroom. Not all bedrooms have an en-suite bathroom.
Child-friendly villa: A villa that is reasonably suitable for children, with minimal dangerous areas where a child could fall, is considered “child-friendly”. Often these include a lawn area for outdoor play. There is no villa that is 100% child-proof, particularly with a swimming pool, the sea, or any body of water present. It is therefore the responsibility of the guest to supervise and watch children at all times, even if there is a pool security device in place. It is not the responsibility of the owner or the villa staff to supervise children. Pools at villas do not come with lifeguards. In some villas, nannies/babysitters can be hired to assist in watching over kids at extra cost to guests. Please let us know if you would like a childcare arrangement for your villa vacation.
Cribs, high chairs, and other baby equipment: Some villas provide cribs and bedding for small children. In most cases, all baby equipment is rented at a fee to the guest.
Bed, bath, and pool linens: In 99% of cases, bed linens and towels for bath and pool use are provided. For those villas in Europe where these items are rented, you will be required to pay the rental fee. Some destinations offer one change of linens per week in the villa rental cost. Additional sets can be supplied on request at cost to you.
Groceries: We suggest that you complete your grocery list ahead of time so that your villa can be pre-stocked for your arrival with the items of your choice. Sometimes a fee is charged by the local shopper to perform this service. If your villa comes with a cook or chef, they will do the daily marketing for you, although in a few destinations you might be required to provide transportation to the staff or pay for the gas for his/her car to do the shopping. You may desire to do the marketing yourself or experience the local market with your cook or chef which can be fun -- even once.
Menu planning: The cook or chef at your villa will meet with you each day to discuss the menu. Some chefs will send a sampling of their menu in advance that includes local dishes to give you ideas.
Cost of food: The cost of food is not included in the villa rental fee. You will be required to either reimburse the cook for pre-stocking the villa with the items you have requested on the grocery list, or send a house account sum in advance of arrival.
Food allergies: Be sure to let us know if there is anyone in your party who might have allergic reactions to certain foods. This is extremely important if your villa comes with a cook or a chef.
Kosher: Please make sure to discuss kosher requirements when you first consult with your Villas & Apartments Abroad specialist. No all kitchens can be made kosher and not all destinations can provide kosher foods or will allow you to bring in kosher foods.If we can help in this area, we are happy to do so.
Internet Access: The majority of villas these days have Internet access. Please inquire before you commit to a villa if you plan to work on your holiday and require Internet access.
Satellite TV: The availability of satellite TV varies according to the location/destination of your villa. Although many villas do have satellite TV, some may offer only local channels in the language of the country. Please verify with us.
Bringing a pet on your holiday: Most villas do not allow pets. Some destinations require that the pet be quarantined for a long period following travel. Please inquire if you are considering traveling with your pet.
Photographing the villa/using it for promotional purposes: This is not allowed without prior approval by the owner. Please let us know in advance and we will take the necessary steps on your behalf to make it possible. Some owners are adamantly opposed to photographing for promotional purpose use. Some owners/destinations (i.e. Mustique Island) require a location fee in addition to a sizeable security deposit.