There’s something innately satisfying about shopping online for a holiday villa rental. You can let your imagination soar as you peruse the pages of various websites extolling the virtues of various luxurious looking homes with their sea views, infinity pools and cool, marble interiors.
Unfortunately, most of these are beyond the budgets of your average holiday maker, but that doesn’t mean to say that you shouldn’t have certain standards when looking for a villa.
Is the website genuine?
How easy would it be to download some fancy pictures of beautiful houses and create a website advertising holiday properties. It has been done. The internet is awash with stories of people flying out with family, friends, children, piles of luggage, all excited for a fortnight in a beautiful property, only to find another family staying in your dream house. The booking you made was with a villa scam website and the villa details were lifted and copied. To protect yourself and your money (and your sanity) make sure you check the following details:
- Is the website registered with ATOL or ABTA?
- Is the website https encrypted?
- Is there a landline telephone number, and does someone knowledgeable answer when you ring it?
- Does the property have a number of verifiable reviews?
- Can you find the property on Google maps?
- Do they take credit card payments?
- Is the villa advertised on other websites? If it is then be wary.
Once you are satisfied that you have found the right villa providers, now you can start digging down into the nitty gritty of what you need your chosen destination to give you.
Does it have the right combination of rooms?
It is not simply a case of having enough beds, but are those beds dispersed in the right way to accommodate the combination of people staying. Is there enough seating for meal times, are there sufficient sunbeds around the pool?
Health and safety
Is the villa suitable for children, or people with mobility issues? Do the balconies have height restrictions and are they enclosed with the correct type of balustrading? Are the tiles around the pool non-slip? Are there grab rails and other safety accessories fitted in the bathrooms? Is there a medical kit kept in the villa at all times?
Does the outside space accommodate your needs?
It’s one thing having a pool to languish by, but does the surrounding area meet your expectations? Is the pool big enough, or is it simply a token plunge pool? Is there space for outside dining? Is there a shady area finished with artificial grass for young children to play safely away from the water? Is the pool area overlooked by neighbours or does it give you a good deal of privacy?
Location of the villa
Is the villa in a residential area with other villas nearby, or is it is a more rural and isolated location? Can you be guaranteed some peace and quiet if there are other properties around? Is it within walking distance of shops and restaurants, or will you need to hire a car? Is there a beach nearby? Is there really a sea view, or is it simply a partial view which you can spot if you stand on your tiptoes and peer over the top of other rooftops?
Does the rental include any cleaning during the course of the week, and if not can you book and pay for additional cleaning? What time does the pool maintenance team service the pool? Is there Wi-Fi at the villa?
You will no doubt have a myriad more questions, but we hope that this initial check list puts you on the right road to booking your next dream family villa holiday.