Vacation real estate, including chic villas and lavish homes, has long been a favorite of the rich and famous who want to avoid the paparazzi or other guests altogether. In times of Covid-19, when people are working from home, a private rental provides both security and peace of mind for working (or learning) remotely.
Beyond buying an entire hotel for yourself, vacation rentals and the destination real estate market are hot right now. According to Elite Vacation Club Exclusive resortsDecember 2020 was its best month of sales since 2011. In a survey of its wealthy individual members, almost half said they were willing to spend more on “bigger or more premium” vacation rentals ( more than five bedrooms). More than 90 percent of its members plan to travel the same amount or more after the pandemic.
The vacation real estate market is booming
Instead of hotel stays, some travelers turn to private homes for rental or a long-term investment for future vacations. Destinations accessible by road from major urban centers like the Poconos, the Outer Banks in North Carolina, and many mountainous regions in the west are particularly popular.
Tropical destinations in the Caribbean or places off the beaten track are also in high demand as travelers flee crowded cities and the cold.
Ian Hurdle, Founder and Director of Turks & Caicos Agency, says 2020 has been a banner year with more interest than ever in the rental and purchase of real estate. Many believe that real estate can be a solid investment opportunity when financial markets remain volatile and the potential for inflation is high. Having alternative assets in destinations that are sure to rebound can be an attractive investment strategy.
His agency, specializing in high-end goods such as Seven chamber triton, has a strong presence in the Turks and Caicos Islands with a growing list of properties in Anguilla, Antigua and on the east and west coasts of the United States
Hurdle says he has entered into numerous deals to rent and buy vacation homes during the pandemic.
“We have seen such high demand because people are tired of social and political tensions,” says Hurdle. “They want to come to an island paradise and get away from it all.”
The Turks and Caicos Islands have been hailed as a destination that has kept Covid-19 under control. Visitors must pass a negative PCR test before arriving and have proof of results and insurance. This firm stance has helped tourism rebound while keeping the focus on safety.
Many of Hurdle’s clients come to the islands for an extended period and use it as a workplace or distance learning location. Since personal house visits are more difficult during the pandemic, he says a substantial number of leads have come through his own blog posts and social media, in particular Instagram, where it uploads videos and photos of its tropical properties daily.
While much of his business is vacation rental, he says people are also looking to invest in second homes, especially now. Many were already thinking about buying, and the pandemic has prompted them to finally do so.
“If their children cannot attend school in person, they move to islands where they can stay for long periods and enroll their children in school.
The Turks and Caicos Islands have such a program where foreigners can apply for a status which gives them the opportunity to live (but not do business) and even go to school for a fee.
Tropical destinations become second homes
For those who can afford the investment, there is a wide variety of vacation homes on the market. With eight bedrooms, a beachfront location, private pool and gym, waterfront kitchen and living areas, Impulse is one of the largest vacation rentals in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Cleverly described as a “hotel in house disguise,” the 21,000 square feet of space within the Turtle Cove Marina spans three floors and comes with its own private dock.
Part of the appeal of renting (or buying) a home is that it allows you to stay in your “travel bubble” or hire staff to help with cleaning or cooking.
In addition to celebrities, Impulse has hosted multigenerational groups, couples traveling together, and extended family “travel bubbles”. For those who prefer not to rent, the price is $ 15 million.
Sing a song Villas, also on the Turks and Caicos Islands, is another draw for vacationers seeking privacy. The property is for sale at $ 7.49 million, but welcomes regular rentals throughout the year.
In addition to independent properties, it is also possible to invest in villas that are part of a larger resort complex such as Villas Wymara, which is part of Wymara Resort and Villas (formerly known as Gansevoort). This allows tenants and owners to use the larger facilities at the resort if they wish.
Filippo Brignone, developer of Careyes, resort in Mexico said the demand for private villas was high for the holidays and continues into the new year. They allow social distancing from others, and many come with private chefs who live at the villa, reducing their own outdoor exposure.
“Some clients have rented villas for several months this year to escape city life,” adds Brignone. “Many choose to work remotely from their villas, as most have fiber-optic wireless internet access.”
Urban, suburban and in the middle of nowhere
Arijiju, a private estate on the Borana Conservancy in the Laikipia region of central Kenya, has seen strong demand from Americans and Europeans looking to escape. With five-bedroom suites (including two private villas), a full staff of 14 to cook, clean and run safaris, and an impressive spa, it offers the seclusion many see with the serenity of being in the middle of nowhere. share (albeit with luxury at hand).
All-inclusive rates (starting at $ 9,000 per night for six people) cover drinks, wellness-oriented meals (many ingredients from the property’s garden), game drives, laundry, transfers to the airstrip and five hours of daily spa treatments. Rates vary depending on length of stay and individual preferences. Luxury operators like Micato Safaris can arrange a stay in conjunction with bush flights to the property.
It’s not just traditional real estate that catches the eye. This mirrored house sits on the slopes of an extinct volcano a short drive from the UNESCO World Heritage Site of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. It can accommodate two people in what is billed as a livable art installation. It runs on solar energy, reuses rainwater and was built from volcanic rocks collected from the mountain. Its reflective surface is visible to birds thanks to a patterned UV coating. For those who really want to get away from it all in nature, there is something for every personal style.
New Townhouses in Rosewood Washington DC are adjacent to the hotel, but offer both overnight travelers and extended-stay guests the option of maximum privacy.
They have their own living room and fully equipped kitchen allowing guests to stay in their own travel circle. The four-story townhouses are also ideal for business travelers looking for the comforts and services of a hotel (like daily housekeeping and even turndown service on request) without sharing facilities with other customers in a larger building.
With private entrances, furnished patios, and laundry rooms, there’s little need to interact with other guests. Self-catering accommodation with private check-in is popular these days, according to the hotel.
Earn and redeem points for vacation homes
Jennifer Hsieh, Vice President of Houses and villas by Marriott International, says they have seen a similar trajectory of interest, noting strong demand, particularly in “drive and ocean / mountain destinations” with bookings over the past six months significantly increasing. Marriott Bonvoy members love the ability to rent private property and be able to earn or redeem points for stays.
Members earn five points per eligible dollar spent, while Elite program members earn even more points per dollar spent. For example, Gold Elite members earn a 25% point bonus while higher level Titanium Elite and Ambassador members earn a 75% bonus.
To redeem points for a vacation rental, members must search for a property on the Houses & Villas website. The amount varies depending on the property and the dates.
Despite the impressive measures of hotel brands using both human intervention and robotic efforts to ensure safety and rebuild a recovery plan, having the place to yourself, whether you rent or buy, can be a whole new world.