best of both worlds Though they may have balked at the idea at first, Caribbean resorts today recognize the value of villa vacations, particularly when it comes to attracting upscale travelers. That’s why so many of them have added villas to their own room itinerary as a new category of stand-apart suite. And that, in turn, has added a new dimension to the villa vacation experience.
“Villas in a resort setting are great for families,” Griscavage explains, “because you have privacy and space and a staff, but also a restaurant and resort facilities.” And that’s particularly ideal for high-end travelers, Scully adds, because luxury clients want to feel more pampered on vacation than they do at home. “People with money to spend are often people who work really hard and they want to get away from it all. They don’t want to share a pool, but they want all the amenities of the hotel—the fine dining options, the spa. They want what they have at home or better and at home, they’re used to having their families in their own private pool. They’re used to having people come in to massage them or do other spa treatments in their home. They’re used to personal trainers.” So a villa at a resort becomes a home away from home for those travelers, and the resort itself still has the opportunity to wow the client with over-the-top gourmet restaurants, serene and unique spa facilities, and other new and innovative amenities.
Jamaica’s Half Moon, another of Scully’s big sellers, is a perfect example. With villas ranging from four to seven bedrooms, all beautifully designed in British colonial style and many featuring private pools, large families or couples traveling together have access to gorgeous, spacious accommodations. Personal butlers, housekeepers and cooks attend to any wants and needs clients may have within their villas. And when they leave the resort, there’s a world of upscale enjoyment just steps away. Tennis courts day and night, an 18-hole putting course, fine dining at the scenic Sugar Mill restaurant, the Caribbean’s largest spa facility—these are things you probably won’t find in your clients’ backyards. And what’s more, rates at Half Moon’s villas start at $1,175 per night for a 4-bedroom villa. Split among its maximum eight inhabitants, that rings in at less than $150 pp per night.
Even at resorts where the pricing is more expensive, Scully says, villa vacations are one of the best investments a couple or family can make. “Villas bring families together. They bring friends together. And they let people do some extraordinary things for great value. People look to cruises for value, but the real value is in villas,” she says. After all, a vacation should be about reconnecting with your loved ones. And when it comes to villas, she says, “It’s time to invest in each other.”