The Design of the Villa Vacation, Part 1
In a recent NY Times article ( April 10, 2010), entitled The Well Off Are Spending Again, But Carefully, a high end Manhattan travel agent was quoted as saying, many of her high end clients are returning, but they don't want Italy 101 anymore. They want more exotic destinations. The high end villa rental business reflects this kind of optimism, as well as availability of many elite, exotic locales. The result is the luxury villa rental business is doing very well, apparently better than many, even in this is still unbalanced economy.
One of the most successful travel brands Is Abercrombie & Kent Villas, part of the 1/2 century year old Abercrombie & Kent Luxury Travel company, that includes luxury travel to just about anywhere in the world the Villas component, and an equity-based, member-owned residence club, Abercrombie & Kent Residence Club.
Recently, it was announced that A&K Villas recently opened seven new villas on the Greek island of Mykonos, making their Villa residence count to over 150.
"The Villa vacation experience is a good value, because it can create the best memories," said Charlie Stephenson, Director of A&K Villas Europe, " and a great way of seeing Europe in a leisurely, elegant and often in a multi-generational way. Yes, we had a standstill in 2009, but we did not deflate. But this year, 2010, we are up dramatically! Since January 2010, our volume has increased about 25%. Our opening of the seven Mykonos villas in the Cyclades in Greece, reflect our growth, defined by the interests and the requests we have from our clients. And each of the Mykonos villas has its own design and personality."
Here is what Charlie means :
(all Villas below have between 3-5 bedrooms, and sleeps 6-10)
Villa Grace -- Overlooking Mykonos beach , close to the town of Mykonos.
Villa Olive Garden - In the middle of an olive grove overlooking
Mykonos Harbor $9736.00 per week
Blue Living --Villa on three levels, overlooking adjacent islands of Delos and Rhenia
$14,749.78 a week
Les Soleil de Rhenia
views of south side of Delos and Rhenia
Villa Asteria and Villa Artemis - sister properties both $11,471.00 a week, each.
Villa Artemis - an original stone country Villas
renovated, featured in Elle Decorator magazine, on the Southern peninsula, on a hilltop, and Villa Artemis adjacent, can be rented together for larger groups.
on a hilltop on 5 acres, facing the Aegean. This villa has four large suites enclosed within it.
As can be seen from above Villa rental is not cheap, but for those who can afford it, it is an addictive way to travel, very much like private jets. Once experienced, it is hard to return to stuffy hotel rooms and packed commercial airlines.
Gallery: Abercrombie & Kent Villas Mykonos
"Both the American and our European Villa guests often travel in groups: with nannies, grandparents, in-laws, and children's friends -- so they are always are very appreciative of the expansive nature of our Villas,"comments Charlie."If a family stays with us once, they will never want to stay in a hotel again. We have child friendly properties, professional child care people and nannies, child friendly touring ideas and holidays. And no child is confined to a hotel room and with us, they can make all the noise they want to! Some of our villas have Nanny apartments also."
"But our services move beyond children! We can of course hire private chefs, sail and yacht charters. A&K is, after all, a high end travel company so from these Greek villas, or from any of our villas, we can put together one day to five day tours of areas fairly close by. For example, if you are staying in a Villa in Venice, we can arrange a trip to Dubrovnik, which is right across the Adriatic. or, if you stay at one of our Villas at St. Emilon, we can do a vineyards/wine cave tour, no problem. This differentiates us from many other high end villa rental companies, and probably one of the reasons for our continued success."
Another variable for the continued villa rental success may be the deflation of many of the high end destination clubs that bankrupted in the past few years: Solstice, The Lusso Collection, High Country Club, to name a few. Members of those clubs sampled the life of high end residences and villas, and became acclimated to exceptional space, location and amenity.
It is interesting to note that the most expensive A&K Villa at Cap Ferrat on the French Riviera, which rents for about E50,000 (about $67,000) a week, has been sold out , according to Charlie, until the end of the year.
Gallery: Abercrombie & Kent Villas Mykonos