1) Aren’t villas more expensive than a hotel?
As you explore the villas we represent you’ll see that most villas are often much less than hotel room rates and don’t compare… even to 5 star hotels. When you factor in many villas include a full private staff along with all of the benefits and amenities that private villas offer, you’ll quickly see that renting a vacation villa offers a superb value for your vacation dollar – not to mention the cost savings of not having to dine out and pay expensive restaurant tabs. It’s a very affordable way to relax, save money, and enjoy wonderful homemade meals. All food and beverage is at cost and is not included in the price of accommodations. The staff will bring back grocery receipts to be reimbursed by the guests after each trip to the store.
2) What are Winter vs. Summer season rates?
Summer season rates generally apply from May through October and most properties have a 3-5 night minimum stay. Winter season rates generally apply from November through April and most villas have a 5-7 night minimum stay. Holidays generally include Christmas and New Years weeks and generally have a 7 night minimum stay each week. Exceptions to minimum stays and discounted rates are often available for last minute requests. Keep in mind many larger villas offer a discount if your reserve a minimum number of bedrooms. For instance, a 7 bedroom villa may offer reduced rates for a private rental of 3,4,5 or 6 rooms. For example, if you rent 5 of 7 total bedrooms, you would be able to choose the 5 rooms you’d like to use and the 2 unused rooms remain closed and are not rented separately. Unless otherwise noted, all stand alone villa rentals are private and do not share common space, pools, etc. Rates are subject to change at any time and are not confirmed until a 50% deposit has been received. Please review specific rate policies as each property is individually and privately owned. Local taxes may not be included. Rates are most often quoted per property per night in USD (although a few villas set pricing “per room” on a minimum bedroom basis. Rates are not priced “per person”).
3) What is the process for reserving a villa?
Once you have decided on a villa, you can call our office at 866-560-2281 or Reserve Online by going to “RESERVE” within the TABS on the property brochure page to review and sign the online rental agreement and your villa will then be placed on a 48 hour courtesy hold. Once you submit your copy of the rental agreement we can extend your hold for up to 5 days pending receipt of a 50% deposit to confirm your reservation. We accept all major credit cards, PayPal, bank wire, or check by mail. Your reservation confirmation will be sent within 24 hours of receipt of your payment. Final balances are due 60 days prior to arrival (90 days for Holiday reservations). Final arrival information (including villa address, map, directions, phone number, and specific property information) will post online to your “My Reservation” account after your final payment has been received.
4) When and how is my security deposit refunded?
Your security deposit will be refunded approximately 2-4 weeks after your departure. We will make every effort to speed this along for you. If you paid your initial deposit by check, bank wire or bank deposit, we will refund your security deposit by check. If you paid by credit card, we will refund your security deposit to the credit card you used for payment.
5) How far in advance should we make our reservation?
Large groups or special events should try to book at least a year in advance. A minimum of 9 months out is wise. If you’re group is smaller, several months beforehand is often enough advance notice. It’s IMPORTANT to note that holiday reservations (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and Easter weeks) require as much advance notice as possible for best selection. Quite often, we have unadvertised “pocket listings” or a new property will be added to our inventory just in time for the holidays, so please ask!
6) Can we request a courtesy hold if we need more time to decide?
Yes, we can place a courtesy hold for 48 hours for you without any financial obligation.
7) What are the services of the full-time staff and how do we tip them?
Most of the villas include a cook, maid, and houseman/waiter to take care of all of the cleaning, cooking, shopping and bartending, unless otherwise specified. They will prepare two meals daily, plus snacks (except Sundays, unless prior arrangements are made two weeks in advance of your stay. Additional fees may apply for Sunday service. Please request a quote if you’d like Sunday service). Guests choose their menu (24 hours prior to each meal) and reimburse the staff for the cost of groceries and cab fare to the store. Receipts can be reimbursed in cash Pesos or USD at the current daily exchange rate. The staff cannot accept credit cards, checks or travelers checks. Generally, the staff arrives to the villa an hour prior to requested breakfast service and leave after they serve dinner (normally service is provided from 8am-7pm, however, we do our best to accommodate our guest’s needs and special requests). Gratuities for the staff are not included in the rental rate and are much appreciated for a job well done. Tip Guideline: $10-$15 US/per day per adult in your group to be pooled and split evenly among the staff when you depart. For example, if there are 10 guests in your group, the approximate tip would be $10 US X 10 guests = $100 US X 7 days = $700 US total tip divided by 3 staff members = $233 US per staff member (local currency or USD). Envelopes are provided at the property.
8) What if people in our group have food allergies or have special dietary needs?
This is a very common request and the cook can prepare alternative meals and accommodate special dietary needs upon request. Please let us know when you submit your pre-arrival form so that we can communicate your needs to the staff.
9) Can you give an idea of approximate costs for food and beverage?
An approximate guideline to help budget for food and beverage while staying at a staffed villa is between $20-$30 US/ per day per person for breakfast and dinner, including some basic national beer and liquor. Keep in mind, this guideline may be higher if you request steaks, seafood, fine wines/liquor, etc. for your meals. TIP: It is easier to keep track of costs if you pay receipts after the staff makes a trip to the store, rather than looking through a stack of receipts before you check out. The staff normally shops every other day or every day if necessary and receipts can be reimbursed in CASH – Local currency or USD at the current daily exchange rate. The staff cannot accept credit cards, checks or travelers checks.
10) What if we don’t need the staff every day?
Think of a villa rental as your home away from home. You can give the staff a day off or request that they come in later to better suit your schedule, keeping in mind that most take a bus home in the evening, so they should leave no later than 7pm. If special arrangements are made for the staff to stay later, guests agree to cover their cab fare home.
11) Are your properties child friendly?
Yes, most villas allow children and many have porta cribs and high chairs. Some villas are better suited for children than others and we are happy to help narrow down those options for you. Please let your concierge know 2 weeks in advance if you need baby items so that if they are not available at the villa, we can arrange a rental for your stay.
12) What time is check in and check out? What if our flight arrives early and/or departs late?
Check in is at 3:00 pm and check out is 11 am. We will do our best to accommodate you and an extension may be requested one week prior to arrival if needed. You may also store your luggage at the villa before or after check in and check out if you have an early or late flight.
13) How will we get from the airport to the villa?
You can take a taxi van or cab from the airport or we can arrange for you to be picked up by a private transportation company in an air-conditioned van. The rate for a private pick up is approximately $15 US per person with a minimum $60 US one way transfer. The driver is to be paid in CASH when services are rendered – Local currency or USD at the current daily exchange rate (credit cards are not accepted in most locations). Rental cars are not usually necessary since taxis are inexpensive and readily available in most areas.
14) What can we expect at the villa when we arrive?
Your staff will greet you with light appetizers and requested drinks upon your arrival. Normally, guests specify in advance of their first night meal request and first breakfast request when you submit your pre-arrival requests 2 weeks prior to your stay. Grocery shopping is usually arranged before you arrive, so food and drinks will be stocked. If your staff is off on Sunday, you can request certain items such as fresh sliced fruit, veggie plate, salsa, and guacamole be left in the fridge to have on hand for snacks on their day off. We can also assist you with many other special arrangements beforehand… such as birthday surprises or special celebrations. Please advise the staff with 24 hours notice of your meal plans so that they are able to plan and prepare accordingly. The villas are always stocked with bath towels, linens, dish towels, etc. They have everything you need for a weekly rental.
15) Is the water purified?
All of our properties have either purified water systems and/or purified bottled water available. The staff uses purified water for ice, cooking, and food preparation. For international travel, we recommend eating yogurt or taking a probiotic every day for a couple weeks prior to travel to prep your stomach for the slight changes in food. You can also purchase acidophilus tablets to aid in the restoration of normal, healthy, intestinal bacteria at any local drug or health food store for approximately $5 US for 100 tablets.
16) Do my accommodation have high-speed internet access, wireless internet access, TV, TV cable or satellite service, Stereo/IPOD connection and DVD player?
Most of our accommodations have these amenities; however, if these are important to you, please confirm with us at the time of booking that your accommodation has the amenities you desire.
17) Can you provide references from previous guests?
Yes, simply ask for references and we can put you in contact with guests who have rented with us before. We are licensed Travel Agents and are Members of IATA (International Air Transport Authority) and ASTA (American Society of Travel Agents). We have been featured in numerous publications, such as SmartMoney magazine, Travel and Leisure, Fodor’s Travel Guide, and Forbes magazine.
18) What type of travel documents do we need to bring?
For all international travel, you will need a valid passport. Children under 18, traveling without both parents, will also need a notarized affidavit for permission to travel. You will be given a tourist card by the airlines, which will need to be completed prior to arrival to your international destination and must be turned in to the airport upon departure from your international destination.
19) What if we have to cancel?
We strongly suggest purchasing a trip cancellation policy to protect your vacation investment. We recommend www.travelguard.com. Each property is individually and privately owned, so please review specific cancellation policies in your property rental agreement. In general, full refunds (less a 30% facilitating fee) will be made only if we are able to re-rent the property for the originally booked rate, exact dates and number of bedrooms. Holiday reservations are non-refundable.