For those looking to have a break in the Mediterranean sun the choices are never as simple as they could be. Which destination? Where should we fly to/from? How many nights? What are we going to eat? And perhaps the biggest question of all: where are we going to stay? While it seems sometimes that hotels can be found in almost every village on every island, many people are choosing to shun the large modern complexes. Rather than sharing their summer break with hundreds of others they are seeking their own private home from home for their hard-earned holiday.
So what is the attraction of a villa over a hotel; and for those who haven’t tried this option, is it worth considering?
Let’s look at hotels first. When I’ve have stayed in private apartments and villas, the first thing I’ve noticed is the absence of a team of service staff on arrival, meaning that I have to carry my own bags to the room. It’s not a problem for me as I prefer to carry my own bags in any case.
The main advantage of a hotel is the service on offer. You can call down for a sandwich at midnight, you can use the services of the concierge at any time, go to the gym or the sauna, and have a meal or a drink in the bar without having to leave the building.
But that’s where the advantages end for me. So what do villas offer that makes them so different from a hotel?
First and foremost I like the privacy: no maids knocking on the door to clean the room before we’ve even managed to surface for breakfast, no need to remember the Do Not Disturb sign when we get up late, and no-one spying on how I use my fridge.
You invariably get a lot more space for your money than you would in a hotel. It is a villa after all, and you can expect a living room, kitchen an outdoor area along with your bedroom and bathrooms. We rarely use the kitchen area to actually cook but it’s good to have the sink, a decent fridge and a good kettle at your disposal. In most places you even get a washing machine which always comes in handy.
It is also a lot more relaxing to spread out in your own living room to read or play cards or watch TV in the evening after dinner, rather than use the bed in a hotel room as a sofa/armchair/snack table (the tables and sofas in a hotel never seem to be in the right place, or particularly designed with comfort in mind).
The bathroom and kitchen are usually fitted as a regular home would be fitted; nothing fancy but instantly usable. This is quite unlike those crazy hotel designs where each shower should come with a user guide, and the number of light switches you have on offer is roughly equal to the number of dollars spent on the room.
Last but not least, full service villas are exactly that: all service is included. No confusions or irritations surrounding who to tip or how much. You’re left alone unless you need specific help; and that’s ok with me.
by Andy Jarosz
For a selection of quality villas in the Greek Islands take a look at the dedicated Greek Islands Club Villa Collection site.