Many of us enjoy an annual “staycation,” that sees us remaining at home and visiting lots of local restaurants and sites we might not normally enjoy. The urban resident might head to a handful of museums, a new neighborhood to find the different shops or attractions, or an array of new restaurants. The rural resident may head to natural sites, land preserves, beaches, and so on. This year, with the novel coronavirus outbreak creating a global pandemic, most vacations are likely to be staycations.
However, a recent article from Bloomberg pointed out that a lot of high-end travelers are making plans for the year’s end and (as the article noted) “yachts and private villas are in; skiing is out.”
What that subtitle says is that staycations, upgraded staycations, are now the trending way to get out and explore the world a bit, without the risks.
The Allure of Private Villa Rentals
For many decades the allure of a private villa has been undeniable. You have a private, estate-like setting from which to familiarize yourself with a popular region. The Caribbean, Tuscany, Provence, the Alps, tropical spots like Fiji or Hawaii, and many other beautiful destinations are also home to amazing luxury rentals.
Booking a private villa in a coveted locale means you get immense privacy and the ultimate form of social distancing. You enjoy a full gourmet kitchen, lots of indoor and alfresco living spaces, services as you deem necessary (or none at all), and direct access to the setting. Whether it is a beachfront villa in the Caribbean or a mountaintop retreat typically reserved for skiing holidays, the private villas are the ultimate in a home away from home and upgraded staycation.
Easily Avoid Crowds
While that same article from Bloomberg had this to say of the coming months: it is “still unclear when shuttered resorts, airports, and borders will reopen. But [jetsetters] are betting that by November or December, travel will be somewhat normal…” it also notes that savvy travelers understand that opting for a luxury accommodation, such as the private villa is a way to ensure optimal safety once they arrive at their destination.
Not only is it the most appealing way to remain isolated, but you easily avoid crowds. As a simple example, let’s say you book a villa in Turks and Caicos or on Barbados. You can find many with a private waterfront along the gorgeous sands. You may find that there are docks for boats, large gardens and grounds, lots of terraces around the pool, and an interior designed for luxury and style.
Inside a private villa, you will find everything from home cinemas and fitness centers to gourmet kitchens and immense bedroom suites that are retreats of their own.
If you have to be vigilant about exposure to groups and crowds, it is tough to beat the appeal of a large and private home of this kind – one that allows you to explore the area, but from a safe social distance.
The Hot Spots
Where are these savvy travelers booking their staycation upgrades? The range of locations is not at all surprising when you consider the time of year that travelers are preparing to visit. They include:
- The Caribbean – While the smaller and more private islands like the Grenadines are gaining attention, many of the larger waterfront villas in St Barts, Turks & Caicos, St Martin, and Barbados are also drawing bookings.
- Los Cabos – This Mexican luxury destination has been gaining in popularity for many years and it is anticipated to be a choice location for lots of end of the year, luxury staycations thanks to its great array of private villas.
Note that any of the locations above are going to emphasize the rural setting over a potentially crowded urban one. Additionally, resorts and cruise bookings are likely to continue to decline until the coronavirus is more under control. As the Bloomberg article also said, whether travelers are “staying in the U.S. or venturing overseas, one thing is clear: Travelers are not booking urban breaks…[opting for] spread out, wide-open spaces, privacy, and avoiding anywhere with density unless it’s brief.”
This is one reason behind a surge of interest in visiting remote spots like Iceland can be seen, but also areas like “Cabo, Hawaii, the Caribbean, and the mountains—places that are removed but not too remote for American guests. The Maldives has rarely been more in demand,” say the experts.
Some resorts are allowing “buyouts,” in which a single guest or family group books an entire destination. This is the ultimate in luxurious staycations and is not to be overlooked. For example, Necker Island may not be a resort but is the private retreat belonging to Richard Branson and which may become entirely bookable before the year’s end.
While this approach is bound to bring plenty of social distance and privacy, it is also a way for extended families to spend time together during the holidays. Many families have been forced to remain apart during this period and a private villa (once social distancing guidelines are eased) is a way to all get together for a joyous gathering.
Because the travel experts expect things to ease up only towards the end of 2020, it is a good idea to think of a private villa (and the many destinations where they are found) as a way to do a quick 2020 do-over. The missed graduations, birthdays, annual celebrations, and other major events get a second chance when you can enjoy them in a private retreat. A luxury villa in a gorgeous setting may be just the upgrade that everyone’s first holiday deserves once the pandemic and its travel restrictions and social distancing rules come to an end. Start to explore your options now, however, because experts say they are booking quite quickly!