Most rental properties in Southeast Asia were originally built as second homes with professional management and staff employed to look after the owners and their rental guests. This means the best villa holidays feel like staying at a friend’s or relative’s house, but with the added benefits of hotel style service. Our villa expert, Max Vee offers 5 tips for families, groups of friends and individuals that want to enjoy the best of both worlds.
If, like me, you have a public and
a private side, there’s a special kind of freedom to be enjoyed when you rent your own villa with family or friends for a personalised holiday in the sun.
Even if you normally choose to stay in the best hotels and resorts on your travels, it’s still a challenge to really kick back and be yourself beyond the confines of your room or suite. This is especially true for parents with young children, but can also apply to families or gangs of friends that feel conscious upsetting other hotel guests if they say and do as they please.
At a private villa, such worries immediately disappear. You can relax, be exactly who you want to be, and make the best of your private playground while unobtrusive but helpful staff remain available to remove the slightest hint of stress and strain.
Here are 5 suggestions to help you feel right at home while you’re away.
Private villa gardens and swimming pools not only offer guests a choice of secluded spots to snooze and sunbathe in peace; for families they also mean fun and games galore without bothering other guests. How about organising the family holiday olympics? You can include everything from swimming races to ball games, treasure hunts or hide and seek, while less active members of the family can join the fun with board games, quizzes or even a gentle game of patonque. Kids and adults can also learn something new during the stay. Cooking classes can be arranged right in the villa kitchen and Thai people are also particularly skilled at crafts such as fruit and soap carving, both of which are great fun to learn for young and old alike.
Rekindle the romance
When they stay at a private villa, couples with young children can quickly re-establish their home routine, especially with staff on hand to help entertain and keep and eye on the little ones. Once the kids are asleep this means a candle-lit dinner under the stars or a late night dip in the pool or jacuzzi are easily enjoyed – safe in the knowledge that the kids are tucked up snug just steps away. Baby-sitters can also be arranged for couples that want a night out on the town.
Audio Visual Freedom
Most people live in world punctuated by personal entertainment delivered on small screens and headphones, so it can feel quite liberating to let your music play through outdoor speakers. The latest iPad controlled entertainment systems are becoming a feature in many private villas, which means guests can decide what music to play in which part of the property at which time of the day. TV and movies are also customisable, with TVs and DVD players installed in the living areas, bedrooms, TV dens and even and private screening rooms. This means
Private villas in top Asian villa destinations like Phuket, Koh Samui and Bali generally come with a fully equipped western kitchen that includes a modern fridge freezer. Most villas will also have additional cold storage and some even include a wine fridge or cellar. This means you can nip to the nearest supermarket or imported goods store at the start of your holiday (the manager will know them well) and stock up on all your favourite snacks and
beverages. Thanks to the proliferation of upscale international restaurants and ever growing expatriate communities; outlets on tropical islands now stock just about every global delicacy you can think of – everything from blue cheese to swiss chocolate, caviar and pink champagne.
Private villas in Southeast Asia are increasingly popular venues for weddings and special celebrations, which also means groups of guests and families staying at a villa can make use of the facilities at their holiday home for private parties. Pool decks, terraces and beachfront gardens provide the perfect place for a get together and the villa staff can help source and prepare special drinks, food and even entertainment – from international DJS to traditional Thai dancers. All night noise will not always be appreciated (or permitted), but a little night time fun is fine, and guests with the urge to party on can always call a cab and head to a nightclub or beach party.
by MAX VEE