Villa rentals

Aug 13th, 2004, 04:53 PM
  #1  
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Villa rentals

A question to those of you experienced in villa rentals. Seriously considering trying a villa in Feb. next year and Bluefields in Jamaica is a strong contender. The unease that we still have in this. While the cook/housekeeper etc. is a definite plus in that we are looking for total relaxation without having to dress for dinner or mix with rowdy crowds, we are concerned about the continual presence of the staff. We are not at all used to being waited on constantly and wonder if the staff at a villa are "excused" without offending anyone. Any thoughts on this part of villa vacationing would be greatly appreciated.
GaryandDeb is offline  
Aug 16th, 2004, 04:00 AM
  #2  
 
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I used to feel the same way regarding a staff but have gotten used to it over the years. My experience is they are nonintrusive and have certain times where they serve meals and clean, the rest of the time they generally stick to their quarters or hang in the kitchen. For meals, there's no expectation for you to dress up for dinner...its your villa and you can wear whatever you like, if thats shorts and a t-shirt and barefoot thats fine. Generally with a staff that prepares meals you pretty much stay out of the kitchen, some villas have a set up where you can access your own beverages without having every last thing being served to you...others are more full service, depends on the villa. Keep in mind that this is their employment and they are there to work and earn money. They are paid minimally by the owner of the villa, their real money is earned when guests are there and guests tip at the end of their stay. We generally tip anywhere from $50-200 per week per staff member, it depends on the service they are providing to you. Another tip for cook staff is allow them to be creative and cook what they know, if you ask for things they are accustomed to making and can be very interesting. The local cuisine they are used to making is always best, we mostly just let them surprise us. Also in many places you will need to take the cook to the store to shop, most don't have their own transportation. You pay for the food generally, some villas its all inclusive and food is included in the price and provided so you don't need to shop....depends on the island.
Traveler863 is offline  
Aug 16th, 2004, 05:31 AM
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Speak directly to owner Debbie Montcure and let her know exactly how much privacy you wish;Carmen and the staff at the villas -- tho they play up the white livery/silver salver service --
are country people, albeit service-trained by the owners to high standards -- and you if prefer total privacy or staff only at mealtimes or daily housekeeping service. No one would be offended by your wishes. The point of renting a villa is to call your own shots after all ...
tivertonhouse is offline  
Aug 16th, 2004, 05:39 AM
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I believe Debbie does include a staff gratuity as a minimum percentage rate of total booking -- so your staff are available to you as you wish, when you wish. Unlike the North Coast, the South Coast is simpler country-living and staff live locally in Belmont, Cave,
Mearnsville and Bluefields Bay.
tivertonhouse is offline  
Aug 16th, 2004, 01:36 PM
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I felt odd the first time we were in a staffed villa for that same reason.

But...we found we could let the staff know that we didn't need them during the day for lunch (we asked the cook to make tuna salad and stuff like that the first day then we took lunch from there that week).

I enjoyed getting to know the cook and maid some, went shopping to the open air market with the cook - that was a lot of fun - and sat and chatted with the maid quite a bit.

The maid would do her cleaning thing in the morning then moreor less disappear, the cook would wake us for breakfast, ask us what we'd like for dinner and when....then unless I went into the kitchen to find her to chat, we didn't see her.

Everyone left at night after dinner was cleaned up except the caretaker who again basically stayed in his apartment or walked the grounds.

I didn't find anyone "hovered" at all...we made our own drinks, our own lunch, often went off to do stuff during the day.

We tip 10% of the rental fee and split that among the staff, or if there is a manager, have him/her do the splitting.

Usually this is done at the end but you can certainly do it throughout your stay if you like.
liza is offline  
Aug 17th, 2004, 01:11 AM
  #6  
 
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Liza's tip about going marketing with your cook is a great one. I've been to many cocktail parties at the Montcures where guests didn't venture outside the property -- and thereby lost out on much of what Jamaica's about. Stay at the villas for the privacy and luxury of it all (they're really quite wonderful) -- but then go into Sav on a Fri or Sat morning for the open markets with your cook for a real 'zap' of Jamaican reality. Or have a guide take you up into the bush/the hills on a walk and maybe to his own home. Go horseback riding up at Tony and Busha Clarke's Paradise Point, about 15 min.from the villa. Go to Mayfields Falls, Blue Hole Gardens. Walk from the beach down to Dorritt's Oceanside Pub for some curry landcrab backs and on to Peter Tosh gravesite.
The balance of experience of villa vs.
villages will reward you with a sense of not only how 'lucky' you are but
how vibrant the life of even the poorest Jamaican -- without all the stuff and baggage we have in the States.
tivertonhouse is offline  
Aug 17th, 2004, 05:25 PM
  #7  
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Thanks to those of you who have responded. We are a bit more comfortable with villa rentals now and are leaning strongly to this as an option now. Any other information specific to Bluefields Villas would also be helpful. Thanks
GaryandDeb is offline  
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