With so many options available and each equally appealing in it’s own way it becomes harder to determine which property will make the best fit. Not all villas are created equal. Make sure you know all the facts before committing to a vacation rental. I’ll outline the criteria I had in ultimately choosing the villa(s) for our group in Bali. Determine and consider the Wants/needs, likes/dislikes of the group. What’s the purpose of the trip, to hit the city and party all day/nite or a tranquil relaxing retreat style vacation. Knowing this will help narrow down the location of where you choose to stay.
1. Guest Relations
My criteria is somewhat the same whether I’m traveling solo or with a group with a few exceptions. In a group setting I try to understand the personalities of the people in the group. What their likes and dislikes are. Whats important to them ex. Big/Small room, Private bath, pool view etc. All these things matter equally the same when I’m by myself also adding if its a private room in someone’s house requiring the room has its own entry and private key, not to mention private bath.
2. Proximity to attractions
Once the city of choice has been identified, I like to do research as to what attractions are nearby. I plot all the places I want to see in google maps to determine the route. Armed with information on where I want to go and what I want to do I then check for villas central to the 1st attraction trying to keep travel time or distance to 30 minutes or less. Ex. There’s no reason to book a hotel or villa in the Southern part of Bali like Jimbaran when your excursions are mainly in the central Ubud area. The amount of traffic alone would kill your travel time and also make for a very long day. Bottomline… keep things close.
3. Icing on the Cake
Find out what “extras” are included. Ex. full time staff, breakfast, shuttle service etc. When looking on sites such as airbnb where you have the ability to search based on price which renders a host of results you’ll want to narrow down the results based on “bonus” goodies. I chose both villas I picked in Bali based on the host throwing in Free Breakfast, Private driver for a day ( $70 savings) and FREE flower baths ($25 savings). It was those “little things” that set these places apart… not to mention proximity to restaurants and the city. In our case on one evening we were just too exhausted to go anywhere so with a quick call to the manager he arranged for someone to pickup our food from whatever restaurant of our choosing. Going above and beyond is what brings in recommendations and repeat business. Those who know this and strive to satisfy the guest get my vote and forever business.
Checkin/Checkout times matter. In my case I had an early arrival and I wanted the ability to checkin early so I could freshen up and get my day started. Normal Checkin time is after 2 or 3pm which in real life means half the day is gone. A property whose manager could accommodate my early arrival or late checkout quickly rose to the top on the PICK ME LIST. Something else to ask and or consider is maybe you can’t checkin/out early or as late as you’d like but maybe the onsite manager could store your property. What if you have a late arrival. Will someone be there to greet you? Ask the manager to prepare a small arrival meal as I’m sure you’ll be hungry or want a small snack before you call it a night. We made the request at our 1st villa and was pleasantly surprised with the spread upon arrival. You may think to yourself “It’ll be late and I don’t eat late” but let me tell you.. while most of us do think this way.. you couldn’t tell that was the case based on the way we devoured our welcome meal. Change of timezones and long haul flights quickly change the name of the game.
5. Lets Make A Deal
This is a key point ESPECIALLY if you’re with a group so don’t be afraid to ask. On my recent trip to Bali there were 4 people 1 of which was a couple. The property I chose had 3 private villas all situated on 1 property. The original booking only included 2 of the 3 based on the number of people. I wanted the ability to book all three villas as I didn’t wanted a random 3rd party taking the last villa hence interrupting our vibe and flow. I spoke with the property manager who agreed to custom craft a “deal” for all three for only a mere $100 more per night of which in the end meant each solo person had their own private villa and the couple had their own. WINNING! I hope you can apply these tips not only in Bali but to any of your travel destinations. Negotiate Negotiate Negotiate.
I’d love to hear how these tips worked for you or if you have any tips to add. Drop a comment and let us all know.