Private Villas

Old Sep 6th, 2004, 01:52 PM
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Private Villas

Has anyone ever rented a private villa/condo on one of the Islands? Seem's like a very, very relaxing vaction, just wondering about any drawbacks, or what you would do differently. Did you have to rent a car?
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Old Sep 7th, 2004, 06:28 AM
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Villas and Condos are a great way to vacation in the Caribbean. The trade off is you give up some of the resort type amenities (on-site restaurants, spa, organized activities, room service, etc.) but you generally get nicer accomodations and more room. You'll find rental villas and/or condos on just about every island. Having a rental car will definitely be a plus - it will allow you to come and go as you please and give you access to everything the island has to offer. For best results, first pick your island, then choose your villa.
 
Old Sep 7th, 2004, 06:35 AM
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We've done it several times in Jamaica, where the setup is a little different than most islands. Most villas in JA come with a staff - maid, cook, gardener/security, the more upscale ones will add butler and/or bartender to those.

The villas we have rented also have a driver available, sometimes for an extra fee, sometimes not. Needing a car or not depends on the location you choose.

Drawbacks can include isolation (if you choose one away from it all and don't bring friends), it feel weird to be waited on, you might miss organized group activities if you enjoy those.
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Old Sep 7th, 2004, 11:16 AM
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Liza, I've been curious about the staffed Jamaican houses. How much privacy do you have and what happens if you want to cook for yourself? I'm tempted by the idea, but not sure if I want to give up being able to walk around naked! ;-)
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Old Sep 7th, 2004, 12:00 PM
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We found that renting a villa on St. John was a great way to get an economical vacation on a particularly expensive island. We enjoyed the solitude of having our own home there. Saved some money by not having to eat out in restaurants for every meal, and on a couple rainy days we were able to rent a movie & relax instead of being stuck in a hotel room. All in all a very relaxing and enjoyable vacation!
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Old Sep 7th, 2004, 12:42 PM
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Peg, you can have the staff NOT hang around if you like, they do things mainly on your schedule. In general they aren't in your living space anyway (exception being a bartender such as Moondance Villas has, who waits on you on the beach or wherever you are), they have their own space to spend their downtime.

I found that the maid would come through sometime after we got up in the morning - often while we were out - and clean. The cook rang a bell each morning for b'fast (at a time we arranged the night before). She'd also shop for (if we wanted) and cook dinner, serve it, clean up and leave. We rarely had our cook do lunch as we were usually either out or just wanting a snack/sandwich, which we certainly could handle ourselves, but that was an option too.

The only thing I would feel uncomfortable asking without giving a hefty tip would be to have dinner at midnight or something - the staff has a life and would presumably like to get home to their own families after a certain time.

But all this is up to you, that's the point. When in doubt about the way a certain villa works, or if you ahve a special request, just contact the owner or person you book with.
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Old Sep 7th, 2004, 04:51 PM
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Villa vacationing is great and relatively less costly than staying in a hotel. You must have a car and of course, there is no room service or pool boys bringing drinks. The advantage is the privacy, less money spent for breakfast and lunch, so you can splurge going out to dinner. The negative, no services. I think it is great when you are traveling with a group - family or couples, IMO as a couple only a little too quiet.
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Old Sep 7th, 2004, 05:24 PM
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We've stayed quiet frequently at villas on St. Bart's, and I strongly recommend it. We often rent a three-bedroom villa with a private pool for the price of a one-bedroom (since it's just my spouse and I), and during the late spring and summer it's particularly inexpensive. We usually have breakfast and lunch at the villa, and dine out at night.
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Old Sep 7th, 2004, 05:40 PM
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When you decide which island you would like to visit, then you need to find a place to stay. I would suggest www.vrbo.com. It lists vacation rentals by owners on most islands in the Caribbean and Bahamas.
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Old Sep 7th, 2004, 06:24 PM
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starstar and PegS, We have finally made the decision to try a villa rental for the first time with all the same privacy concerns that you addressed. While we are looking for the peace and quiet villas seem to offer, we do have concerns with both privacy and being "waited on". Interested to see more input with those more experienced in villa rentals. We have, by the way, settled on Milestone Cottage in Bluefields Bay. Any input specific to this property would be helpfull in reassuring me on our vacation decision. Thanks
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Old Sep 8th, 2004, 03:23 AM
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You call your own shots when you rent a villa. If you want to cook yourself, you can do just that. If you want to go to market with your cook, ditto. If you want 3 meal day/beck-and-call service, that,too. If you want to wake up, stroll out naked to the gazebo and paint or play your guitar for a couple of hours first thing in the morning, why, that as well. Relying on staff means you rely on their inside-knowledge in a country or area where you probably have none. And you gain from that experience immeasurably while you can relax to the utmost. For far less than resort life.
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Old Sep 8th, 2004, 12:56 PM
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Thanks everyone, for the reassurances. The villa idea looks more tempting. GaryandDeb, can't wait to hear your report!
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Old Sep 8th, 2004, 07:27 PM
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ThePhan: Email me privatly if you will. ([email protected])(please NOTE in the Subject LINE). We are a couple of 2 and are looking for a VERY relaxing vacation. Never thought of the "staff/maid". That is not our scene 'cept for a few times a week for the obvious. ALL of you have been very helpful. We would like to do this, but would like to make the right choice.
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Old Sep 9th, 2004, 08:54 AM
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Gary/Deb -- You've made the right choice (assuming anything is left standing after Ivan). The Moncures run a magnficent operation and the setting and accommodations are very nice indeed. The staff will be as helpful or unobtrusive as you desire, just make your wishes clear. Milestone is a bit of a walk to the beach as it is up high a bit, but if you want beauty and peace you will enjoy yourselves very much indeed.
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Old Sep 9th, 2004, 05:39 PM
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Stansoup...Thanks for your reply. Sounds most reassuring. Can't worry about the effects of Ivan, just have to hope for the best. Glad to hear from someone who sounds as though they have actually been to the property. Looking forward to the trip with great anticipation.
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