Few pleasures in life compare to the feeling of renting a fully-staffed luxury villa. Knowing that all your cleaning, meals, and more will be attended makes unwinding easy – plus, if you’re a Fresh Prince of Bel-Air fan, you’ve probably always dreamed of having your very own Geoffrey (and maybe your own Uncle Phil to foot the bill!).
Of course, not all luxury villas have butlers – some don’t, but many have a butler leading a staff of 8 or more, dedicated to making your vacation a dream come true. Ultimately, your villa staff can come in a variety of forms.
Since a housekeeper is par for the course in a luxury villa, when most people think of staffed villas, they immediately think of in-villa chef services. While chefs definitely deserve the attention they get, a fully-staffed villa is often more than the sum of its parts.
You might not think having a laundress or garden attendant is necessary, for example, but that is until you get used to having your underwear ironed every morning and having the gardener take you on tours of the grounds, identifying every exotic plant, flower, and fruit on the way.
That said, some destinations are better than others when it comes to getting staffed villas. Here are our top 5 best places to rent a staffed villa, based on the quality of service relative to the cost:
5. Mayan Riviera
Unlike other picks on this list, Mayan Riviera, a stretch on Mexico’s Caribbean coastline, isn’t a destination where you can expect luxury villas to be staffed. But from the white-sand beaches and clear water of Playa del Carmen to the exciting nightlife of Cancun, having a staffed villa can be a welcome addition to a rental.
Although less common, luxury rental villas like Hacienda del Mar are designed to offer guests the utmost comfort during their stay. Butler, housekeepers and gardener services are included and optional gourmet chef services for breakfast, lunch and dinner are possible, too.
How often can you really have a Michelin-star chef come to your luxury villa for a private preparation of both local favorites and classic dishes?
Before escaping to paradise, see our luxury villa rentals available in Riviera Maya!
4. Punta Mita
The beauty of the staff at Punta Mita’s many luxury villas is that they’ve often been trained at nearby resorts like the Four Seasons and the St. Regis. The result is a level of professionalism you may expect to see in a 5-star resort, but not necessarily within the walls of your (temporary) villa.
Like in Saint Martin, this training also really highlights the distinction between cooks and chefs, which is much more than a semantic difference – a cook will certainly cook well, but a chef will prepare restaurant-caliber meals, so be sure to pay attention to how the staff is billed.
Discover everything Punta Mita has to offer while staying at one of our luxury villa rentals with staff!
3. Punta Cana
The great thing about the staff in Punta Cana is their cost and, especially for the chef, the access to ingredients they have. For $150/day or less, you can have a private chef make breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks for you using local, high-quality ingredients, especially fresh fish, seafood, goat meat, and fire-roasted pork.
Not only does this end up being cheaper than going to restaurants, but it’s also much more convenient, which is why it’s not unusual for guests to start out by hiring the chef for only a few days, then booking the chef for every day of the entire trip after they get a taste for the experience.
Enjoy your holiday at one of our luxury staffed villa rentals in Punta Cana!
We’re now getting into the fully staffed options, and Caribean villa rentals with staff are hard to ignore.
The west coast (i.e. Platinum Coast) of Barbados is known for having a high number of luxury villas that come complete with a butler (who usually also functions as the head of the staff), chef, multiple housekeepers, etc.
Best of all, the staff is usually included in the cost of the villa, especially in places like Sandy Lane. Sometimes guests don’t even realize that the luxury villa is staffed until they get a call from a concierge to talk about their favorite meals -a most pleasant surprise indeed!
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This one wasn’t even a close call. With its high standards for food, funny and friendly locals, and a long-standing tradition of amazing hospitality and service, the Caribbean island of Jamaica is the undisputed king of the luxury villas with staff.
In Jamaica, it’s not unusual for villas to come with six or more staff, including a chef, butler, babysitter, laundress, gardener, security guard, driver, and more. Because the staff is so fun and friendly, they often end up becoming the highlight of the trip, with guests often commenting that they felt like the staff was actually part of the family (or that they were part of the staff’s family).
We also consistently hear stories about how the staff went above and beyond on a nightly basis, surprising them by, for example, removing a stain on a shirt that they swore was permanent, serving every meal in a different part of the villa, taking guests on grocery trips to ensure that they only make meals that the whole group will love, and much, much more.
Explore the island while staying at one of our luxury villa rentals in Jamaica!
A Final Word on Staffed Villas
While all of these destinations handle staff slightly differently, they all have one thing in common – the staff’s compensation is tied to their tips. Unlike in most of Europe, tipping in the Caribbean is customary, and staff often depend on the tips to survive. The alternative to tipping would just be to have a gratuity fee added to the cost of the villa, however, instead the tipping system incentivizes good service.
This system depends on travelers making good on the unspoken agreement that excellent service will be compensated at the end of the trip. So rather than seeing it as just another travel expense, take it as an opportunity to show your appreciation to the staff.