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Anybody ever rented a villa off the internet?

21 replies

janh · 07/01/2003 20:58

I mean an internet only site, ie something without guarantees like ABTA or ATOL.
We have found some superb villas on "private" sites but are a bit nervous of turning up and finding nobody there...has anybody done it before? (They don't want lots of money upfront but still.)

(We're looking in Costa del Sol.)

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susanmt · 07/01/2003 22:10

Yep, we rented a villa via an independent website in Italy last year and it was a total sucess, and cheaper than all the registered sites. I suppose we are biased in that we are a tourism provider in Scotland, and although we are registered by the STB we have no ABTA regisration and take bookings via our website all the time!
Hope you find something you like.

Tinker · 07/01/2003 23:15

janh - have used Frenchconnections which is just a portal for home owners (its phrase). No probs at all, in fact got Christmas email from people who owned the place we stayed at. You can always strike up an eamil correspondence with the owners to see how you feel about them. Good luck

janh · 07/01/2003 23:27

Thanks, susan and Tinker!

We have already exchanged some emails with some owners (we got messed up by DH's boss, over the weekend we were looking at May halfterm (without checking first, I have to say), had communed with 2 or 3 owners and were practically booked and then discovered his boss had already bagged that week and they can't both be away. Bugger!) and they all seem really sound and nice.

I'm not as bothered as my cousin, who we're going with, she doesn't quite trust the internet IYKWIM! (Doesn't use it as much as me.) Currently we are looking at "costalocs", which is a portal like yours, Tinker, the company is in Estepona but the owners are from all over - the people we were planning to rent from live in Littlehampton and sounded like lovely people - the current one is French and also sounds nice but - you know - .....!!!!!

Thanks for good wishes, I'm inclined to go with the French chap meself but cousin has picked up from Sainsbos a brochure full of other villa websites and because it's Sainsbos that's OK. Good to hear that others have had nice experiences - I will tell her!

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Lucy123 · 08/01/2003 10:17

Janh - I tried to post this last night but the site wasn't working. I've never done it, but I do know a little about property on the Costa del Sol and I do know peo
who have rented flats via the internet (some bad experiences I'm afraid).
Any site should give the full address of the company and the company tax ID (something like x-1234456-A). Even if the company is a one man show he will have a tax id which technically should be given. There should also be a proper phone number - if the phone number begins with a 6 then it's a mobile number and I would be very careful of peopl
o give only a mobile number. Also if the company name ends in s.l. it's a limited company (s.a. is a PLC) and I would generally trust those more.
Having said that though, I've just had a look at the site belonging to some acquaintances of ours and it gives everything listed above except the tax ID. But the other information should definately be there. (if you're interested, the address is I don't think they&
re cheap but they are definately a bona fide company.
Finally it may be obvious but it is definately a good sign if there's a photo of the villa. Some friends of ours fell for the old flat-in-a-building-site scenario from a
without photos.
If you like let me know the site you were interested in and I'll check they're in the phone book.

janh · 08/01/2003 11:14

Oh, Lucy, thank you, I had forgotten you live there!

The website (portal) is and their phone no is given as 34 653 943508 (mobile?) and their address is a PO Box in Estepona.

However the company we are looking to rent from is called Golffit International SL (good!),, their phone no is 34 653 943505 and fax 952 804728. They seem to have a proper address too although there is a Box no in it :

Avda. de España, 70 Box 226
29680 Estepona
Málaga ? Spain

No tax details though.

The villa details have loads of wonderful pictures, the places they rent out look fabulous. (No flats on building sites!)

If you could do a quick check on legit-ness I'd be very grateful! Meanwhile I'll check out your friends' site too.....

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Catt · 08/01/2003 12:05

susanmt - which website did you use to rent your villa in Italy? We're thinking of going there this summer.

aloha · 08/01/2003 13:21

Yup. We went to france last year to a villa with and it was wonderful. Truly lovely owners.

Daffy · 08/01/2003 13:58

Funny that this should come up as we've been thinking about our holidays for this year. Not until October though. But fancied renting a villa in Cala Galdana, Menorca. Any tips or recommendations are most welcome.

susanmt · 08/01/2003 22:23

I think it was Villa Breaks, but can't actually remember. The one we booked was actually an apartment in a house on the ground floor and was great - but way way out in the middle of nowhere and quite basic (because we are very tight!!) - what we like. The owner even babysat for us one night!

SofiaAmes · 08/01/2003 23:29

I rented a house in jamaica once through the internet which was a bit of a disappointment (it was a lot prettier in the pix). But my mother owns 2 houses in Tuscany which she rents out almost exclusively on the internet and has never had anyone complain about the places except some Americans who objected to there being scorpions around, (as if somehow the insects in the Tuscan countryside were under my mother's control!).

Tinker · 08/01/2003 23:32

Sofia - what is your mother's site?

bunny2 · 09/01/2003 00:46

We have 2 properties on the Costa del Sol which we rent via Many of our customers have used the site in previous years and all are very positive about it. Our phone no is on the site and we always chat to people about the accomodation and resort. So far we have had no complaints and many recommendations. I suppose there is always an element of risk but if you can strike up a rappor over the phone you may feel a bit more confident about renting a place.

SofiaAmes · 09/01/2003 11:50

Tinker, thank you for forcing me to figure out how to do the links....My mothers website is:
Sure hope that works.

janh · 09/01/2003 22:38

bunny2, thanks for ref to your site, have found lots of lovely villas and my cousin is v happy because it's a personal recommendation!

We may well end up getting one from there, do you get commission?

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susanmt · 10/01/2003 12:59

We find that almost all of the people are 100% happy with the cottage we rent when they have booked over the internet. We do give lots of detail - any website that doesn't show you inside and out and give loads of info is a bit suspect in my opinion.
We had some Americans complain once about the fact it was a single track road running past our house (because, of course, we built it!! ) and another lot of Americans complained that to get to our house (clearly stated to be in the middle of nowhere) that they had had to hire a car and ....drum roll... drive on the left !!! And one german lady said the mountains were 'too close' ?????? But most people are satisfied with the service, or at any rate are so afraid I will set my dd on them to play Mummies and Babies ad nauseum that they don't complain!

Lucy123 · 12/01/2003 11:39


sorry for taking so long to get back to you. Been busy! Golffit international are in the phone book - they seem to have two offices in Estepona (although I guess one could be the director's house). They also have two registered phone lines so why they give a mobile number I don't know. I wouldn't worry about the tax reference thing - they are supposed to do it but it seems English companies never bother.

It's possible they've given a mobile number so that you can reach them wherever they are. So I think on balance I would go for it! (but if you like bunny2's villas go for one of those - better we mumsnetter stick together!) If you're still worried I can give you my phone number and in case of any problem I can help you get alternative accomodation (I live in Granada now, but still have contacts on the coast and speak Spanish). My email is lucy at (in spam-spider proof form that is).

helenmh · 13/01/2003 12:21

We have rented a villa in the algarve and two places independently on the gulf coast of florida.We were very pleased with the standard, the prices and the flexibility. One cheats way of checking they are ok is to use places the quality operators (eg simply travel use) and contact them the directly. In turkey this summer several people went back to places they had booked through simply or tapestry but booked direct with owners at a much cheaper price

bunny2 · 18/01/2003 11:09

Hi Janh, glad you used the site - I dont get any commission unfortunately! But if you pick our place then lots of lovely money coming my way! Have a fab holiday.

jac34 · 18/01/2003 12:09

We have used, and were very pleased.We also coresponded with the owners, we wanted the villa in a spesific location, as we knew the area.
We were also impressed with variety of accomadation and different countries on offer.
Theses sites are especially useful if you know an area and want to stay in a particular village etc.,or, as in our case you have family or friends there and want somewhere near by.

janh · 19/01/2003 20:24

Hi again Lucy, thanks for reassuring reply! golffit are reliable enough not to let me give credit card details in an email, when it was looking as if I couldn't fax it he said he would ring and get the details on the phone, but then gave me another fax number that worked.

We have their villa for second week and one from bunny2's site for first week - suspect not bunny's though unless she is Irish and called Linda??? (Sorry, bunny!)

Also have rented cars via, very nice and obliging even though we didn't get a villa from them - the cars are supplied by Europa, more or less new and all insurance included etc, 106GBP a week for a Ford Focus with AC. I expect there will be cheaper places but there are definitely loads of dearer ones.

Anyway thanks everybody for all the help, keep your fingers crossed for us for fine weather at Easter! (It usually is down there, I keep checking on the BBC`internet weather forecast, mostly sun and 16-17 degrees at the moment.)

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bunny2 · 19/01/2003 21:16

Jahn, Not Irish and not Linda but glad you found something,

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