When you’re planning a holiday trip and it’s time to look for accommodation, you might automatically think of a hotel. It’s just what’s always been done, right? Well, not anymore. In recent years, renting a private villa has become legitimate option to staying in a hotel.
So which one should you choose, hotel or villa? Whether you’re trying to decide between a hotel and a villa or simply feel a little confused as to what’s the difference between the two, we’re here to help. Here’s what you need to when deciding which one is right for you: hotel or villa.
We all know the basic layout of a hotel room: A bed, TV, bathroom and perhaps a balcony, some closet space and a mini bar. For families, extra beds are usually available and some hotels offer rooms with interconnecting doors. Typically, the layout of a hotel is that of an apartment building: rooms occupying one floor after the other, with each room surrounded by other guests’ rooms. Depending on the hotel’s rating, there might be shared facilities like a pool, gym and restaurant on the premises.
If a hotel resembles an apartment building, then a villa is like a private standalone home. This means a villa is completely self-contained: it includes a living room, dining room, kitchen, bedrooms – basically, everything you’d expect from a home. Practically all villas in tropical locations like Bali or Koh Samui have a private pool. In addition to these basic comforts, luxury villas can include everything from a private home cinema to a gym and from a massage room to a sauna. Villas come in many sizes. A villa can mean anything from an intimate one-bedroom villa for couples to a large mansion with 15-bedrooms accommodating up to
Generally, the staff at a hotel is serving all guests as opposed to being dedicated to any specific party or guest. This includes the front desk staff and concierge assisting you in the lobby and the chefs and spa therapists working in the hotel’s restaurant and spa. Same goes for the housekeeping and security. Some high-end hotels also offer personalised butler service. Many people enjoy staying in hotels precisely because of the services provided: it’s nice not having to clean up after yourself and having someone to ask help from at the lobby.
In a villa, you have the staff all to yourself. You will get to know the staff and they will get to know you, meaning there will be a friendly face to greet you every time you return to the villa. The core of the villa’s staff is made up of the villa manager and housekeepers. The villa manager welcomes you in and introduces the villa to you and oversees the overall operations in the villa.
Some villas also offer butler service. Housekeeping is pretty self-explanatory – you won’t need to make up your own bed in a villa, either! Some villas also include a personal chef and a chauffeur, or they can be arranged at your request. You can also request for spa services and babysitting to be arranged at your villa. Ministry of Villa also offers a concierge service where our team will help you with organising car hire, baby sitting, spa services and more.
Most travellers feel safe and protected inside a hotel’s walls and in general, hotels are safe. Though the use of electronic key cards (which track who enters each hotel room) has helped reduce thefts, a hotel is no fortress and occasional crimes do happen.
It’s hard to get statistics for how many thefts and other crimes happen in hotels as hotels don’t understandably disclose these numbers and police don’t usually sort crimes based on property type. When booking a hotel, it’s good to check that your room has a safe – and then remember to use it. Never leave your valuables unattended in your room and remember to keep all doors locked, including the balcony.
Is staying in a villa safe? This is one of the most frequently asked questions from people considering booking a villa for the first time. Most villas are staffed with security guards, who are at the villa’s entrance either 24 hours a day or during the night. This doesn’t mean the surrounding area is particularly unsafe – it’s simply a precaution that helps put guests’ minds at ease and something most travellers expect.
It’s also possible to hire extra security to your villa. Most villas have in-room safes and you can lock the bedrooms form the inside. If you want to feel extra safe, you can choose a private villa housed in a secure complex. Whether you’re staying in a hotel or villa, always remember to organise travel insurance prior to your travel.
When staying in a hotel, the dining options are basically to dine at the hotel restaurants, order room service or head out for dinner. Many hotels have fabulous and often multiple restaurants, but dining at the hotel can get pricey really fast. Most hotels don’t offer cooking facilities, which can be tricky especially if you’re travelling with kids. Room service is another fun option, but again, the cost of ordering in might add up.
One of the best things about staying in a villa are all the options available at your fingertips. There’s a full kitchen available at the villa, so you can prepare meals and snacks whenever you feel like it as well as being able to store cold drinks in a full-size fridge. Many villas include a personal chef who can prepare meals for you at the villa. This could be anything from a simple family lunch to a lavish BBQ feast. Villas with a chef usually provide a priced suggestion menu and the chef is happy to discuss any special requests you might have. If you’re looking for variety, you can head out to dinner in a nearby restaurant. The villa’s staff knows the locale and can recommend nice restaurants close by.
A hotel can be a great option for families, but you need to make sure you’re choosing a child-friendly hotel. In extreme cases, a hotel might have a no-children policy but even a seemingly neutral hotel might be designed with business travellers or couples in mind rather than catering to parents travelling with kids. The best family-friendly hotels offer kids clubs and fun activities for the kids, as well as featuring kid-friendly design like interconnecting rooms.
If you’re travelling with the extended family, it can be a real challenge (not to mention costly) to book a large number of rooms in the same hotel, let alone on the same floor. There’s also no communal space where everyone can hang-out together as a family without feeling obliged to order drinks or food at a restaurant.
A villa offers many advantages for families. For one things, there’s plenty of space and privacy, meaning you don’t have to worry about the kids getting bored or bothering other guests staying in the next room. Many villas also have purposefully designed child-friendly features, including bunk beds, adjoining bedrooms, wading pools, toys, baby cots, high chairs and pool fences. Ministry of Villas’ concierge team will help you hire children’s equipment if it’s not already available at the villa.
You can prepare snacks and meals in the villa’s kitchen and request baby-sitting services for when the grownups need a little me-time. A private villa offers plenty of space for extended families. Just like in your own home, everyone has their own personal space, but there’s also plenty of communal areas (including your very own pool!) for enjoying your time together.
Budget is of course a big factor in deciding between a hotel and villa. Many people automatically assume that a hotel is more affordable and indeed, if you’re travelling solo, staying in a hotel is more cost-effective.
That being said, hotels don’t offer great value for groups, as booking several rooms can really add up and finding availability for the whole group might be challenging, especially during high season, which is when most people are booking their family holidays. As you can’t cook your own meals in a hotel, you’ll probably be eating out at restaurants which can also really hike up your budget.
Booking a private villa might seem like an extravagance, but at a closer look, staying in a villa is often more affordable than staying in a hotel. If you’re travelling with family or a larger group, staying in a villa means simply booking one property and splitting the cost, as opposed to everyone booking their own room in a hotel.
To give you an idea: you can book Villa Alea, a five-bedroom villa for up to 11 guests in Bali for USD $430 per night. That comes to just $39 per person, which is unheard of in a hotel of equal standards. In other words, a villa can offer terrific value for money, especially considering many of them include services like a private chef or a driver. As you have access to a full kitchen, you can prepare meals at the villa when you don’t feel like eating at a restaurant, which will help slash the overall cost of your trip.
Ministry of Villas offers hand-selected villas in Bali and beyond. Our service goes beyond what you see online. Our team is on the ground with in-depth knowledge of the villas we offer, ready to assist you before and during your stay. Contact our villa specialiststo find out more.