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Tell me about your perfect (luxury-ish) rental villa: what are your must-haves and wow factor draws?

(64 Posts)
entirelyidentifiable Sat 21-Mar-15 13:00:07

We have just put an offer in on a villa in the Algarve (hence the name change as several of my friends and family know about this!)

I want to run it in a business-like way for rentals as well as using it ourselves. So, with this in mind, what are your absolute must-haves for a luxury (think upper 4star/ 5 star equivalent but not rock star type place!) holiday villa and what luxuries/ fripperies/ things for children would win you over to booking mine not someone else's?

It has four bedrooms all ensuite, a smallish garden as well as three terraces, pool (with lowish wooden picket fence around the pool terrace but would help for safety for those with toddlers) and is very well-located (walking distance to gorgeous beach and some restaurants, two spas within a walk, golf and tennis galore, kids' club options, larger communal pool for those who fancy that etc).

The master suite with walk-in wardrobe, seating area and ensuite and a large terrace is on the first floor, with the other three bedrooms downstairs so not sure if this would be a problem for young families? Maybe nice if the grandparents can be upstairs and the others down though for extended families. I imagine this will not suit everyone. I could maybe have an option of a folding bed or travel cot for the master suite if that helps as there is space (just).

I do want to attract families but also adults playing sport and travelling in a group etc. The rental company I am intending to use will provide travel cots, highchairs etc. so no need to mention that but I could provide a microwave steriliser etc.

So far I have the following in mind: outdoor table tennis, basketball net (both out of sight of the pool area and with older children in mind), coffee machine e.g. Nespresso, juicer, hammock or swing seat (stylish) for outside, board games, maybe PS or X Box, big tub of Lego and blocks for younger ones, books for children and adults.

Beach and pool toys, beach towels.

What else? What makes you swoon at a holiday home?!

sleepwhenidie Sat 21-Mar-15 13:07:45

Heated pool is non negotiable for us. As is wifi.

Well equipped kitchen is great.

Garden and BBQ desirable, we have rented places with lovely outdoor kitchen which was fantastic.

Comfortable living area with decent TV - dc's like a break from the heat sometimes and if the weather isn't good then somewhere nice to retreat to is lovely. Nothing worse than being on holiday in rain/cold with an uncomfortable/inadequate living room.

Ideally we like to be in easy reach of a village or town, so that we can pop out for croissants in the morning, DH (less tolerance for poolside lazing than me) can go for a wander or go for lunch without it being a big expedition.

sleepwhenidie Sat 21-Mar-15 13:10:22

We also had a wonderful time in a house which had basketball hoop, garden hammocks, a sauna and various mountain bikes available to borrow. Yy to table tennis for our family too.

Fluffy robes and noshortage of towels and beach towels makes a place feel more luxurious.

sleepwhenidie Sat 21-Mar-15 13:11:52

Oh-not luxury but definitely desirable is washing machine smile

RoadRunner123 Sat 21-Mar-15 13:19:30

A comfortable living area - a comfortable looking sofa so I can read in the evening when kids may be in bed.

Also king sized beds - especially in the downstairs rooms in your villa because you wouldn't want to make the upstairs room significantly nicer than the other rooms (imo!)

FeckTheMagicDragon Sat 21-Mar-15 13:30:05

We've stayed in a fair few Villas in Majorca and Lanzarote. Other than the obvious cleanness the ones that stand out are:

ecant WiFi. TV with english channels. A selection of books.
A really nice welcome pack - best one had wine, beer, juice, bottled water, bread, ham, cheese, bacon, eggs, biscuits, crisps and chocolates - as well as the usual sugar, tea, milk, coffee. enough to last us the first evening and morning. It really made an impression, saved us from having to go shopping as soon as we arrived and was included in the price (which was not cheap)
condiments and cleaning products- having to go buy a huge pack of salt, pepper, wash powder, liquid etc for a fortnight is annoying.
Comfortable beds - very important for me - I've stayed in many a gorgeous place with a rock hard mattress and not enjoyed it due to lack of sleep.
Air con, in the bedrooms if nowhere else - as you can see, sleep is important to me smile
enough large towels, separate for house and pool.
Gas barbecue - all the fun without any of the mess. But my DH would disagree as he likes to do the out door fire thing with cooking

the last place we stayed had all the above and a bit more. It was gthe best place we've ever stayed i'll PM you the link for ideas.

entirelyidentifiable Sat 21-Mar-15 13:39:21

This is brill - keep it coming people!

Yes it has an outdoor kitchen - bbq, sink, work surfaces etc. with a bougainvillea covered pergola (think that's the right name - wooden frame 'roof'?)

No room for a sauna but we were hoping to get bikes for ourselves anyway so there would be two adults' ones at least and it is perfect cycling territory - flat-ish and quiet roads. The area is fairly spread out so I think bikes would be a real winner when people don't want to take the car and some things are a bit far to walk to. Not sure where there is to store them as can't remember but I guess we could get a little storage shed for them quite cheaply if needed.

That is a really good point about the master suite versus the other rooms. At the moment it is significantly nicer as it is newly done, has the walk-in wardrobe area (sort of walk in anyway) and a lovely circular window seat. I will try and think of ways to combat that although it will be tricky no matter what we do as the other three rooms are just much more normal.

I am thinking zip and link twin beds that can be made up as king size in most of the rooms, although at first we will be sticking with the current owner's furniture assuming that is part of the deal. I want to stay there a couple of times and be sensible about what we change.

Wifi and comfortable sofa are absolute musts for us too. Washing machine and dryer are there in a small utility room.

There is a tiny mini-market nearby for absolute essentials but it is a rip-off. Agent can provide welcome packs and theirs are very good.

Slightly odd but dh's must-have is a piano. I am assuming we can lock the cover and have the managing agents locally unlock it on request if guests want or even pay a specific small deposit for that. I guess for most people it is irrelevant but there might be the odd piano playing family out there!?

entirelyidentifiable Sat 21-Mar-15 19:25:05

Bumping this up as I would love more views and ideas.

cococandyfloss Sat 21-Mar-15 23:57:28

When we look at renting decor is pretty important to us , I like my holiday house to look at least as nice or nicer than my own home! Also people that are slightly deluded in their advertising...the amount of hours I have wasted looking at 'luxury' or 'contemporary' villas, which actually are furnished in the style of the 90's makes me cross!

Wifi is normally a must.
Decent quality towels please and also cutlery, crockery for kids-even if it is just one or two ikea plastic cups and bowls. Don't want to have to give toddlers a glass to drink from with the combination of hard tile flooring! We stayed at a Coastal retreats place in Northumberland once-very luxurious and marketed heavily with families in mind-Only had adult glasses, plates and cutlery -was a bit inconvenient as dc3 was only around 20months.

Maybe this is a bit cheeky on my part but it really bugs me when I have to buy giant sized washing powder/boxes of capsules at the supermarket on holiday and only do a couple of washes. I always think the maids must be left with a surplace of cleaning products!

On that note though ..and slightly contradicting myself I don't like it when the cleaners don't gut everything from fridges and cupboards between lets-I know it is waste but I really don't want to see other peoples half eaten bags of pasta or worse half empty ketchup bottle.

We love a bbq on the terrace too.

I do like a folder with local info, takeaway and restaurant menu's info on nearest markets and beaches.

Would be delighted with a coffee machine also.

Adequate dining and outdoor furniture -eg if your villa sleeps 6 , I would like 6 dining chairs and 6 sunloungers if possible.

Hmmmm-I wonder why it takes me weeks every year to find the exact property for us! I sound sooo fussy in this post however we work very hard for our holiday and the villa is always a big part of that for us -If I pay a fair whack for somewhere I like to have a bit of comfort and luxury.

SwedishEdith Sun 22-Mar-15 00:02:10

I hate seeing other people (the owners/friends of the owners?) in the photos of the house. I'm looking for holidays atm and this always puts me off. It feels like they'll be there when we get there.

cococandyfloss Sun 22-Mar-15 00:03:08

Oh also on rental sites I need to see pics of most rooms -You may have a lovely modern livingroom and outdoor pool furniture and then a really outdated kitchen and bathroom-I want to see as much as I can of the property I'm renting.

Also (good lord I am on a role -honestly I am a very friendly nice person and a lovely rental customer and always send a thank you email afterwards) Saturday night changeovers/14 night stays in peak season-completely understand why people put this is place but a lot of people take a 10/12 day break nowadays and having to arrive and leave on a Sat makes a lot of properties a no go. We also travel from Scotland so It isn't always possible to get Saturday flights to fit in. I think a 7 night min stay in peak season is fair enough but there should be a wee bit of flexibility within reason for arrival and departures.

cococandyfloss Sun 22-Mar-15 00:05:20

Oh yes SwedishEdith I agree-if I am looking on rental sites there is nothing that puts me off more than a pic of someone on their balcony , lying on the bed or their kids splashing in the pool. I don't want a home from home -I would do a house swap if that was the case -i want to pay for a villa stay with no trace of owners/other people being in the house!

entirelyidentifiable Sun 22-Mar-15 00:12:33

Coco, not unreasonable at all and I completely agree and likewise spend ridiculous amounts of time looking for rentals, or have in the past and so very few are what I am looking for. 'As nice as home' has been my maxim too and it is so hard to find when so many people have dated furniture or dreadful beds and naff furnishings. Yes every single room needs a photo or else you wonder why!! I have been known to ask for more photos to check other rooms out.

A huge yes too to the over-use of luxury!!
As much as my budget will allow, this is going to be stylish and lovely. The current owners have a rather interesting idea of colours that go together so it needs some addressing! Red and green?!!

Good point about plastic crockery and it's useful by the pool for grown-ups who are clumsy as well...people like me. Cheap to sort that out.

entirelyidentifiable Sun 22-Mar-15 21:10:29

Any more ideas welcome.

Would it put you off that the master bedroom is on a different floor to the other three if you have young children?

sleepwhenidie Sun 22-Mar-15 21:31:50

I think if it bothered you you would just sleep on the same floor as the dc's? If the rest of the villa met requirements it wouldn't stop me renting it.

sleepwhenidie Sun 22-Mar-15 21:32:41

It's a good reason to make the downstairs double as nice as possible though smile. Zip up king bed definitely.

entirelyidentifiable Sun 22-Mar-15 23:13:15

Such a good point about the other master bedroom. Also nice if we have another family to stay for the parents to have a decent room.

So I'm thinking of the three downstairs bedrooms, set one up as a master with the ks zip and link and as many luxury touches as possible (ideas please...) The other two would probably have two twin beds each but ideally with the flexibility of the beds being together or apart, depending on whether they are for children or adults.

sleepwhenidie Sun 22-Mar-15 23:27:20

I don't think its unreasonable to have separate twin beds in two rooms if there are two double/king beds in the other two. Great if you had zip and link option but not a priority (and it will mean even more bed linen, another extra cost) If you have a budget I'd look at maybe doing that later.

Re luxury touches in the bedroom - the best quality mattress, pillows and white bed linen you can stretch to. Extra pillows and a soft blanket in wardrobe (or a throw on the bed). Scented candles nice (be prepared for them to 'walk') but for me, simplicity and good quality all the way, A nice comfy but stylish chair, decent hanging space and plenty of hangers plus drawers for clothes (such a PITA when these are lacking), good lighting in the bathroom and a full length mirror. Easy to reach switches for bedside lights. Decent handsoap (or a nice dispenser) in the bathrooms.

Apple device chargers with foreign plugs would also be appreciated, we never seem to have enough chargers+adapters for this hmm - again, be aware that they may walk (mention in deposit wording?), could be an idea to wrap coloured tape on the cable so that they can easily be identified and not taken by mistake?

Sonos or at the least the ability to plug in a phone and play your own music with decent sound would be good.

Oh - as well as the child/pool friendly crockery, provide little IKEA Spoka nightlights for kids!

PingPongBat Sun 22-Mar-15 23:38:40

Air conditioning - we won't go anywhere that doesn't have it as we find it hard to sleep when it's hot / humid. Decent lighting in the bedrooms & mirrors! So many villas have no full length mirrors, and single overhead lights in bedrooms.

Reliable WiFi and a good music system. Multiple device chargers is a great idea - we end up packing so much electrical stuff it would be good to know we don't have to.

Huge american style fridge with ice maker. Decent coffee maker - we had one villa with a coffee maker which used whole coffee beans & filled the kitchen with wonderful smells smile but if you have this make sure there are fresh beans in the fridge for the guests!

For outdoor seating I swoon at the really posh cushioned outdoor corner sofa type things, for lounging around on in the evenings with a glass of chilled rose...

Make sure that there's plenty of shade for eating outside - too many times we've been to villas where there have been a couple of flimsy sunshades which didn't quite cover the area we sat in, and we ended up moving them around during lunch. A really big (or 2 really big) sturdy shades in heavy fabric.

Lovage Mon 23-Mar-15 09:15:57

A large trampoline, if there's room in the garden. That and a pool are the things my kids spend hours on, giving me some peace. One place we stayed at had the trampoline with the surface at ground level (so they'd dug out below it) which was fantastic - hugely increased the number of games the kids could play on it because they could do jumping on and off. And meant you didn't need ugly safety nets and the trampoline wasn't an eyesore in the garden.

Fancy bathrooms with lovely sleek sinks and taps.

Lovely views from the terrace. Plenty of shade on the terrace.

Pichet Mon 23-Mar-15 21:25:12

entirelyidentifiable, congratulations on your soon to be holiday home. We have a holiday home in France these past 10+yrs and agree with much of the feedback you are receiving.

We have had so many lovely guests who have respected our property and return again and recommended us to their friends and family. Of course you may get the odd one or two who are guests from @ell :-) If I may add a few further comments which I have experienced over the years which may be of use to you. We have fabulous managers who are the go-to for our guests for all sorts of things.

Welcome packs are well received go a little extra with the contents. We leave red white and rose wine, beers, bottled water, soft drinks chilling in the fridge for guests arrival, some nibbles, if its a special occasion champagne. Also ask if they require a shop for arrival. Information folder advising how to work - washing machine cooker etc you wouldn't believe the call outs our managers received. Tourist's leaflets restaurant business cards, taxi firm cards etc more importantly emergency numbers in case medical attention is required.

Good quality beds, linen, (white) towels (suggest white as they can be washed at a higher temp to remove stains) lighting, baby monitor, supply all baby equipment FOC. Any baby/toddler toys i.e. Lego etc. should be disinfected after each guests use. Wi-Fi a must nowadays, better to have a Wi-Fi booster whereby your guests can surf out on the terrace, ours really like this. Be prepared for any bathrobes to be severely stained. Covered outdoor eating area with lighting for lovely evenings outside.
Plenty of crockery usually 3 sets for your occupancy, lots of glasses, champagne glasses,plastic plates bowls etc. for young children, plastic wine & beer glasses for adults to take to pool area. Safe to secure important valuables passports etc

Agree that all traces of previous guests should be removed. Leave your guests consumables - hand soap, good supply of toilet rolls, kitchen roll, cling film, tea bags, sugar, milk, coffee, dishwasher tabs, bin rolls, bbq coals/plenty of gas, dish cloths, salt, ground pepper mill, box of tissues in each bedroom, hairdryers in each bedroom, hair straighteners, washing powder is too risky due to allergies let them know if you don't supply it.

Any outdoor play toys i.e. climbing frame trampoline etc should be checked regularly for wear and tear.
Bikes can be a lot of work - who would fix punctures, what size of helmets required- who will do repairs-ensure they are safe to ride- do you require insurance/waiver for your guest in case of accident?
Trampolines can be a great fun for children, if not in-ground fitted nets require to be in good condition also soft material surroundings.

I suggest you have a look at 'laymyhat' dot com for hints and tips for rental owners. Hope it's ok to mention them, if not please delete Admin.

Didn't intend for such a long post, got carried away a little.
Good luck in your new venture and all the very best.

entirelyidentifiable Tue 24-Mar-15 13:51:22

This is fabulous! Thank you so much!
Especially good to get your experienced view Pichet. The three times occupancy for crockery is great. I hate that as a renter when there are about 6 glasses and that's it.

Not sure how much we could rely on the managing agents to check and replenish dishwasher tabs, tissues and all that but I would hope to supply some. I wonder if I could make up little bags each time I am out with essentials for each week's arrivals to start them off with the things you mention e.g. dishwasher tabs, hand soap and then the housekeeper would just have to put a bag out for the guests in the kitchen. Ditto wine - I could get a case sent now and then and ask them to always leave a bottle or two in the fridge at changeover. Wine out there is absurdly cheap and very drinkable!

A trampoline isn't going to work due to there not being a suitable place for it and also it's another thing to clean. Yikes re Lego - that is a bit offputting.

With bikes, sounds like we should lock them away in a storage unit in the garden out of sight and keep them for our own use as it's more trouble than it's worth. Or ask for a deposit.

The agency we are looking at provide welcome packs (at a charge) and having used them as renters they were pretty good. Definitely tided us over until we could go to the supermarket with fairly decent quality items.

Oh yes baby monitor! Good one. I happen to have one I could take we don't need upstairs anyway.

Still negotiating with the vendors so it might not happen anyway!!! Argh!

HazleNutt Tue 24-Mar-15 14:00:34

Oh I want to rent that place already smile

Main thing for me is that everything works, I don't want to get to villa and then discover that you need to go through 101 complicated steps to get hot water, or to lock doors.

Pichet Tue 24-Mar-15 14:54:21

Hoping your negotiations go well. I would say that your buying at a good time with the exchange rates as they are at the moment.

entirelyidentifiable Tue 24-Mar-15 14:57:34

I hope so Pichet although the Euro is up a shade today. Let's hope that doesn't carry on (not that I'm being selfish or anything!)

Vendor does not want to budge on the price he wants. We would meet in the middle. Let's see...

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