Category Travel Tips

The pros and cons to help you choose the perfect accommodation

The clear sky, the warm sun and the beautiful coast might be the same, but your holiday vacation in the Algarve can really take a different direction depending on the accommodation you choose.

It is no secret that this beautiful region is more and more popular among Portuguese, European and International travelers; while this is helping the development of the area and improving both local economy and touristic facilities, it can sometimes get pretty busy around here, especially during the summer months.

Following the increasing demand, a great variety of accommodation is now available for a luxury vacation, ranging from resort residences to hotel suites to villa or home rentals. But might a private villa rental be a better fit for you than a traditional hotel stay? Let’s break it down together!

Why book a villa?

If you want a relaxed and hassle-free holiday, this is the way to do it. Villa rentals combine all the best parts of your favourite holidays and we know that, when you've tried a villa holiday, going back to a hotel just won't be the same. Villas are private residences made available by their owners as holiday accommodation. Generally villas cater for every budget and, whilst villa rates vary, depending on the number of guests in your party, the final price will be split between you, making it a more economical option.

Villas are quieter and are more private

Villas are usually in residential parts of town away from main streets, with no hotel or street noise. This means of course that you might not be able to rely on public transportation to get around, but you can easily fix this issue by renting your own car.

And how important is privacy for you?

Luxury rentals are normally located in closed properties, surrounded by gardens that preserve your own spaces and moments.

Private accommodation is as easy to book as a hotel room

Forget the times when choosing to stay in a villa or house meant no ending research and hassle. Without mentioning the risk of becoming the victim of a rentals scam! Seriously, your perfect holiday villa is now just a click away, worry-free.

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Villas are more private and might not offer the facilities included in a large hotel complex

When renting a villa, you are probably ready to renounce the spa, the beach bar, the restaurant. Or not? While many villas in the Algarve are located in beautiful secluded locations (for the times when you feel like getting away from society), many self-catering options are available inside the most renowned resorts: Quinta do Lago, Vale do Lobo, are perfect compromises between privacy and action.

No 24 Hour Room Service
You will probably have to raid your fridge or go out for a midnight snack. Or you can request your own personalized concierge service! The best management companies are now providing customizable services that offer services from full-time nanny to private chauffeur, beauty treatments, catering and organized day trips.

Luxury rentals offer a better value for money

Holiday villas are cheaper because they are rented weekly instead of per day. In both high and low season, this makes all the difference! Moreover, they are much more spacious than the equivalent 5-star hotel room or suite, while offering similar amenities. Imagine a family of four, in a family room with two double beds as is common in a hotel or in three different bedrooms as if renting a house. We believe the difference speaks for itself!

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Villas are family friendly

A villa rental feels more like a home away from home, so it is easier to spend quality time with your loved ones; here children can play safely in the garden and pool. Most accommodations provide cots, highchairs, safety gates, inflatable toys and many other items for a family friendly holiday. All villas have outdoor BBQ and fully equipped kitchens that are perfect for dinner parties with friends. It makes meals easier for the younger ones as well: eating out regularly can be difficult and costly, especially in case of food allergies.

Private Pool Anybody?

Forget about scrambling for sun loungers or waiting for your turn at the jacuzzi for a hydro massage. In a luxury holiday villa rental you have it all for yourself - you and your personal internal competition, of course!

What styles of villa are on offer?

In general, the majority of the villas are privately owned and, whilst they are well-equipped with most of the modern conveniences and ‘home comforts’ you’d expect, it should be noted that their interiors are usually a reflection of the owner’s personal taste and guests are asked to respect any personal possessions left by the owner for their enjoyment during their stay. By contrast, a resort villa has all the benefits of a private villa, but with the added advantage of being part of a five-star hotel or resort, including all the facilities available for use, including spas, restaurants and bars, kids' clubs and sports facilities.

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How can I choose a villa?

Luxury rental villas are chosen with the utmost care, for their individuality and services available. However, standards differ from country to country and not all properties are necessarily highly sophisticated – some have been selected for the natural beauty of their location rather than their amenities. Choosing a property that is right for you is a very personal decision, but let your travel specialist know your requirements, who you are travelling with (couples, family and ages), your likes, dislikes and interests, they will be delighted to assist you and they will try to match your villa to your exact wishes and happily give you their personal recommendations.

What does the villa price include?

Typically villa rental price do not include flights, transfers, food costs (unless there is a meal plan included), activities or gratuities.

Can you arrange my flights and transfers to the villa?

Travel specialists can assist you with all your requirements, including flights and transfers to and from the airport.

What additional services do you offer?

Travel specialists will happily try to arrange any additional services you may require, booking of tickets, concierge facilities, private chefs, extra cleaning, equipment for children etc.

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Would it be possible to add extra guests at a later stage?

You will need to check and confirm with your travel specialist for the terms and conditions of booking each villa. And of course if there are sufficient bedrooms. However, most travel specialists, booking companies or owners management companies will ask to be notified as soon as possible they cannot accommodate any more guests than the property’s maximum occupancy. Reservations will only be held for those clients detailed in the original reservation. Travel specialists must be advised of any additional guests not included in the original reservation and these will be charged as extra. Only the guests named at the time of booking may occupy the property that you have booked. Most companies have a strict policy, and advise if they, or the villa supplier, are made aware of additional guests occupying the villa, not named on the reservation, they will be asked to leave.

Do the villas have any restrictions regarding children?

It all depends on the villa owner and the villa location. Some owners may have age restrictions, require a nanny or ask for liability waivers.

Is it possible to get married, renew our wedding vows or hold a private party at the villa?

Guests intending to use the villa for a private party or wedding must inform their travel specialist, who will seek any necessary permission required. Insurance cover is not included for private parties or weddings, and you will be required to sign a disclaimer accepting responsibility for any damage caused. Properties that are happy to host weddings or events can be selected via the search panels on websites.

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Noise Disruptions

While many properties are located in quiet grounds or in countryside areas, each location experiences different types of noise and at different times of the day – anything from agricultural sounds to traffic. As everyone has their own idea of what constitutes ‘noise’, your travel specialist will assist in advising you, should you have any concerns (in addition, they will inform you, to the best of their ability, of any known scheduled works or events due to take place in the local vicinity).

Villa food and drink arrival packs

If not included in the price, most travel specialists can provide details of food packs and, in fact, we highly recommend that you request one to be placed in Villa Cascata. A standard arrival pack includes drinks and food items suitable for your first dinner and breakfast, although groceries can easily be provided for weekend and holiday arrivals. Payable locally, prices do vary and full details will be given to you at the time of booking.

Is there a minimum night stay requirement?

Yes there is. During high season, the usual minimum letting period most properties is one week typically, Saturday to Saturday (with the usual changeover day being a Saturday). During peak holiday periods, such as Christmas, the minimum letting period is usually between 10 to 14 nights. However, this may be more depending on the destination, so do please check with your travel specialists. During other seasons, there may be more flexibility, so shorter stays and different start days may be available, upon request.

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What are the check-in and check-out times?

As with most hotels, villas have a standard check-in time (usually from 4pm to 7pm) and check-out time (usually between 10am and 11am). However, depending on whether or not the property has been occupied by other guests prior to your arrival, an early check-in may be available. Similarly, if the property is not expecting guests on the day of your departure and your flight isn’t until early evening, arrangements can be made for a later check-out. Usually, extra charges will apply.

What is a villa manager?

This is usually a representative who resides in the destination and will be on-call to answer questions you may have. Villa managers very rarely live on the property itself but are always available to help you during your stay and will leave a contact number for you.

 Who cleans the villa?

Most, if not all villas have the services of a maid included in the price. The days and hours worked vary from property to property. Minimum duties include cleaning the kitchen, bathrooms and communal rooms, though not always making the beds. Most maids can be hired for extra hours and for laundry services, payable locally. Generally, maids do not work on Public Holidays.

What is the difference between a chef and a cook?

A villa that includes the services of a chef usually refers to someone who is professionally trained and whose job it is to prepare sumptuous meals for guests. Cooks, on the other hand, can often double as housekeepers and usually have no formal training. As a general rule, their dishes are local specialities.

Meals and meal times

If you have any particular dietary requirements, such as vegetarian meals, you will normally let your travel specialist know in advance. Otherwise, they would recommend that the morning after your arrival, you discuss your dining preferences, including preferred mealtimes, with either with the housekeeper or cook. Most menus tend to be planned around local produce and the staff are best placed to know which shops and markets are suitable for such purchases. In some cases, the housekeeper or the cook will do your shopping for you, however, please note that you may well be responsible for their transportation to and from the supermarket. Food and drink can either be paid for at the end of every shopping expedition, on a weekly basis or at the end of your stay. To prevent any unwelcome surprises, though, it is always a good idea to keep track of amounts spent. Supermarkets will accept major credit cards, but please note that if you are paying the staff directly, only cash or traveller’s cheques are accepted.

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Staff tipping

Tipping the villa staff is always welcome, although not always mandatory. However, as is customary in the travel industry, recognition for a job well done is very much appreciated. Gratuities are normally calculated as a percentage of staff salary. Further details and guidelines on tipping can be advised to you at time of booking/quoting.

Rather than taking our baby equipment, would any be available to rent?

Where possible, arrangements can be made for the rental of cots, highchairs, car seats, playpens, pushchairs and most other infant equipment. Whilst you can expect items to be clean and checked for damage where available, such items may not always conform to British Safety Standards, therefore we advise that you inspect the items before use. Charges for cots include delivery and collection, check on whether they include/exclude bedding. We recommend bringing your own travel cot/s if possible.

Can I rent a car?

Typically you can hire at the airport most sizes of vehicle, from a Mini Moke to a fully loaded 4x4. For your convenience, it is better to pre-pay for the vehicle, and if requested these can  be delivered to your villa to coincide with your arrival.

Are luxury villas equipped with air-conditioning?

Some villas are fully air-conditioned, whilst others only have air-conditioning in the bedrooms. Please ask your travel specialists to enquire on your behalf.

Is there internet access?

Most luxury villas have internet access, however the connection speed, costs and equipment available varies from property to property. Ask your travel specialists to enquire on your behalf.

Is there cable or satellite television?

Television connections and channels vary depending on the location. If the information is not available on the appropriate villa page or on websites, please ask your travel specialists to enquire on your behalf.

Are there any cats/dogs (pets) on property grounds?

A few villas in condominiums may have either a resident cat or dog. If the property has, it is generally noted on the appropriate villa page on websites. If you suffer allergies triggered by animals, please discuss this with your travel specialist at the time of booking.

Can I bring my pet to the villa?

Pets are generally not permitted in most villas - check with your travel specialist at the time of booking.

What about you? Will you opt for a villa experience this year?

If you are still in doubt, feel free to contact us at [email protected]