Why Your Next Hotel Booking Could Be . . . a Villa Rental

More hotels than ever are offering villa rentals that pair ultra-private experiences with resort-style amenities.

Coral Hill villa at Bequia Beach Hotel overlooks the turquoise  Caribbean Sea.

Coral Hill villa at Bequia Beach Hotel is a sprawling 6,000 square feet.

Courtesy of Bequia Beach Hotel

Private villa rental bookings soared during the COVID-19 pandemic, becoming havens for people who were eager to travel but who also wanted to stay within their social distancing bubbles. As travel continues to return with a vengeance, the villa trend is here to stay—and more hotels are rising to meet the demand by launching villa rental accommodations. According to data from luxury travel advisor network Virtuoso, villa stays remain popular, with 2023 sales already amounting to 30 percent over last year. Villa guests have their own private spaces, plus access to hotel amenities like fitness centers, activities, different dining options, and world-class pampering—which often includes a private concierge.

Hotel companies like Oetker Collection have noted a soaring interest in their new villa rental offerings. Oetker launched Eden Rock Villa Rental (ERVR) on the island of St. Bart’s in 2012. What started as a small collection of properties for traveling groups who needed 4 or more bedrooms has now become a portfolio of 200 villas with up to 11 bedrooms across the destination. “We created ERVR to be able to offer private villa rentals when the hotel suites are full,” says Anne Dentel, head of ERVR. “It has exceeded our expectations in terms of numbers over the past two years.” Case in point: Since the 2020 launch of Villa Nina and Villa Rockstar on the grounds of the Eden Rock — St Barths, the accommodations have seen an average occupancy of more than 80 percent.

Check out some of the newest hotel villa offerings around the world, from a sea-facing retreat on the shores of Bali to a tented camp in the Costa Rican jungle.

Nayara Casa Paloma pool with view of the Arenal Volcano

Nayara Casa Paloma has views of the Arenal Volcano.

Courtesy of Nayara Resorts

Nayara Tented Camp Private Residences

  • Location: Arenal Volcano National Park, Costa Rica
  • Book now

Located on the edge of a regenerated rain forest in northern Costa Rica with staggering views of the Arenal Volcano, Nayara Tented Camp has become one of the country’s most sought-after places to stay. The 37 tents are like glamping on steroids, with enormous soaking tubs and private pools fed by natural hot springs. In August 2022, the hotel unveiled two new villas, Casa Paloma and Casa Dana, connected by a central terrace with a plunge pool and set on the highest point of the property. Both have four tented bedrooms with four-poster beds and wallpaper with green leaf patterns, along with a kitted-out kitchen and dining area.

The sprawling, volcano-facing terraces are surrounded by jungle, with those same plunge pools fed by natural mineral water. Guests can expect private concierge service, plus all the bells and whistles of the hotel, such as dining at one of the three on-site restaurants (look for traditional Costa Rican dishes like rice with black beans, fried sweet plantains, and fresh cheese). There’s daily yoga and access to the property’s reforested rain forest, where sloths and more than 900 species of birds, such as toucans, await.

Uluwatu Estate, Mandarin Oriental Exclusive Homes

In 2022, Mandarin Oriental Exclusive Homes launched its first villa in Asia as part of its growing portfolio of 18 stand-alone villa accommodations in Europe, the U.K., and Bali in partnership with StayOne, a high-end home rental platform. Uluwatu Estate, set on Bali’s tropical southern Bukit Peninsula, sits on a cliff with views over Nyang Nyang beach. The wooden Balinese-style house has eight minimalist bedrooms with dark wood four-poster beds and wooden shutters, an infinity-edged pool, covered patios, and manicured gardens. While this property is not linked directly to a hotel, it has all the perks of staying at a Mandarin Oriental, including a round-the-clock staff that offers daily housekeeping, driving services, and butler and concierge support. There’s also a chef who can whip up nasi goreng (fried rice) and a bartender who will shake anything from a classic martini to an Arak Attack (Balinese rice wine mixed with orange juice and grenadine syrup).

Interior at Villa Rockstar, one of the more popular accommodations at Eden Rock — St. Barths.

Villa Rockstar is one of Eden Rock Hotel’s more popular accommodations.

Courtesy of Eden Rock Hotel

Eden Rock—St Barths

Eden Rock—St Barths is a collection of villas launched by Oetker Collection’s famous Eden Rock — St. Barths, which has for more than 50 years lured discerning travelers to glimmering St. Jean Bay in St. Bart’s with its sea-facing guest rooms and relaxed vibe. The hotel’s oceanfront three-bedroom Villa Nina and six-bed Villa Rockstar, fresh off a 2020 refurb, have spacious, airy living areas ideal for entertaining, while the contemporary bedrooms are decorated with splashes of red and white. They’re perfect for guests who want a residential place to stay, with a private pool and dedicated staff, while also having access to the hotel’s restaurants and spa, limited to guests staying on property.

If they’re booked up—which is highly likely, given their popularity—the other 190 off-site villas across the island offer various styles and designs, from gleaming white mansions located near Gustavia to low-key wooden slatted houses on hilltops. All have the same hotel perks, such as 24-hour concierges, private chefs, butlers, and access to the hotel.


Despite being located on the bustling island of Mykonos, Katikies is set on a quiet part of Agios Ioannis Bay, a sand-and-pebble beach with azure waters. The property now offers 12 villas with private pools and views of the Mediterranean Sea near Elia Beach, a 20-minute drive from the hotel. All the houses feel true to the island’s style, with stone and white walls, wooden terrace overhangs, white-washed interiors, and turquoise pools that face the sea. Guests can preorder groceries and arrange chefs through the resort’s Katikies Club Service. They also have all the trimmings of a hotel, such as 24-hour room service and daily breakfast. And guests have access to the Katikies Mykonos hotel, with priority reservations at the popular new seafood-forward Botrini’s Mykonos restaurant from Michelin-starred Greek Italian chef Ettore Botrini. Shuttles whisk guests back and forth every 90 minutes.

The Esencia Mansion offers plenty of outdoor spaces.

The Esencia Mansion comes with private helicopter service.

Courtesy of Esencia Mansion

The Esencia Mansion

  • Location: Playa del Carmen, Mexico
  • Book now

The Hotel Esencia sits on a pristine tropical white-sand beach outside Playa del Carmen. Owned by media mogul Kevin Wendle, the resort has become popular among art and design lovers for its suites, which feature midcentury-modern furniture and artworks by renowned designers like Le Corbusier and artists like Picasso. A short walk from the hotel, the new four-bedroom villa—which is surrounded by jungle and overlooks the sandy Xpu-Ha beach from the rooftop—might be the resort’s most sumptuous addition yet. There’s a private screening room, a fitness studio with virtual personal trainers, an underground speakeasy, and three pools, one of which is covered in tiles designed by Marcel Dzama in collaboration with Guadalajara-based Ceramica Suro.

Four Seasons Private Residences Mauritius at Anahita

Four Seasons launched its Private Residences collection in 2019, and it has since grown into a global portfolio of 750 luxury vacation homes in destinations from Miami (at the Surf Club) to the Seychelles and Mauritius in the Indian Ocean. At the Four Seasons Resort Mauritius at Anahita, the private retreats range from two to five bedrooms, with plenty of indoor-outdoor living spaces, covered patios, modern glass-fronted rooms, and infinity pools. Guests have access to a wealth of hotel amenities, including a lap pool and resident fitness trainers, a tennis court, and complimentary water sports such as kayaking and SUP. Golfers also get complimentary green fees at the Ernie Els–designed championship golf course and the Bernhard Lander Signature course, both on the nearby Ile aux Cerf.

Outdoor dining at Villa One comes with views of the Caribbean

Villa One offers plenty of outdoor spaces for dining and relaxing.

Courtesy of Grenadine Hills

Grenadine Hills at Bequia Beach Hotel

  • Location: Bequia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Book now

On the less-trodden Caribbean island of Bequia, the second-largest island in the Grenadines, Grenadine Hills launched in 2022 as a collection of villa rental properties at Bequia Beach Hotel, a family-run property with 60 sandy-toned rooms and suites, some of which have private pools. There are two ocean-view villas with one more in the pipeline. Villa One offers six en suite pearly and lightwood bedrooms, an outdoor dining gazebo, and a private Jacuzzi. Set on a hilltop above it, the five-bedroom Coral Hill has a master suite that takes up an entire floor. Both accommodations have dedicated butlers and private chefs at the ready. With limited flight schedules into Bequia (around five a week, depending on season), accessing the island can be tricky, but the hotel solves for that with its own flight service, Bequia Air, which whizzes travelers from Barbados (35 minutes) and St. Lucia (15 minutes).

Mary Holland is South African writer based in New York. She has written for WSJ Magazine, the Financial Times, HTSI, GQ, Condé Nast Traveler, and W Magazine. She is the New York correspondent for Monocle Magazine.
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