Top 10 Villa Rental Companies

Posted by Fodor's Guest Blogger on January 24, 2012 at 3:00:00 PM EST | Post a Comment

By Suzanne Bopp

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We travel for many reasons, not the least of which is to experience a new way of life. Whether shopping for groceries at La Boqueria in Barcelona, or taking an evening stroll through Puerto Rico’s Old San Juan neighborhood, it’s thrilling to blend in with the crowd and live like a local—if even for a moment. And there’s no better way to immerse oneself in a destination than by renting a private villa or apartment.

A villa rental or house swap offers three major advantages over a hotel: space, privacy, and value, says Stiles Bennet, president and COO of villa rental agency Wimco. Consider a family of four in a hotel: parents in one room, kids in another. "They meet in the hallway, or hang out by the crowded pool," he says. "They’re not really having a family experience."

Whether you’re looking for a self-service rental company or a full-service booking agent that can arrange every detail, these are some of the top rental providers in the industry. You'll also get the best villa with our tips on how to rent a villa.

Wimco

This full-service company specializes in the Caribbean, where they offer about 800 villas on 14 islands. Wimco regularly inspects all the properties it lists.
Properties: About 1,450 in the Caribbean, Europe, and Nantucket
Weekly Rates: From about $3,000
Book It: Wimco.com

Villas of Distinction

The properties in this full-service collection range in size from one to 20 bedrooms (and include Necker Island, Richard Branson’s private island); most come with butlers, maids and chefs. The company will arrange everything from your car rental to pre-stocking your villa with groceries.
Properties: More than 2,500 in the Caribbean, Europe, Mexico, and the U.S.
Weekly Rates: From about $3,000
Book It: VillasofDistinction.com

Only Provence

This full-service company was founded by an American family who lived for several years in Provence and knows the villa owners personally. The website offers extensive regional information, from suggested travel itineraries to the resumes of local private chefs for hire.
Properties: About 100 in Provence, France
Weekly Rates: From about $2,000
Book It: FranceVacationVilla.com

Villas of the World

This full-service collection features inspected and rated properties—based on amenities and services—from two to five stars. The site’s search function allows you to search villas by parameters including price, which is handy if you know your budget but not where you want to go.
Properties: More than 3,000 worldwide
Weekly Rates: From about $2,000
Book It: VillasoftheWorld.com

Villas International

This full-service vacation rental company has been in operation for nearly 30 years. The website allows searches not only by location but also by number of bedrooms, or the presence of a swimming pool or a piano, or other popular keywords.
Properties: Over 25,000 worldwide
Weekly Rates: From about $750
Book It: VillasIntl.com

Villa Europe

This award-winning, full-service booking agency is known for its deep range of rental properties and extensive local knowledge, and offers personal consultations to match a renter with the appropriate rental.
Properties: About 550 in Italy and England
Weekly Rates: From about $800
Book It: VillaEurope.com

Villa Luxe

This full-service company specializes in luxury beach vacations and provides local contacts at every destination. Villa Luxe donates a portion of its proceeds to charities that support the local communities.
Properties: About 500 in the Caribbean, Mexico, and Costa Rica
Weekly Rates: From about $1,500
Book It: VillaLuxe.com

Italian Vacation Villas

This full-service company is owned by an American couple who have been traveling around and living in Italy for over 30 years. They have visited every property and can offer advice on local restaurants, cooking schools, and wine tours.
Properties: More than 450 across Italy
Weekly Rates: From about $600
Book It: VillasItalia.com

HomeAway Vacation Rentals

The self-service website allows you to view available properties, then puts you in touch with the owner to work out the details. After your vacation, you can post a review of the property to help other renters.
Properties: More than 260,000 worldwide
Weekly Rates: From about $500
Book It: HomeAway.com

TripAdvisor Vacation Rentals

The self-service rentals website has acquired or partnered with existing companies like FlipKey.com to offer a worldwide rental stock. The site features reviews from renters, and connects potential renters with property owners or management companies.
Properties: More than 100,000
Weekly Rates: From about $500
Book It: TripAdvisor.com

Photo Credit: Christian Wheatley Media, Inc./iStockPhoto

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