by: Heather Warburton
Going on vacations with friends was one of those “adult” things I couldn’t wait to do when I was younger. It was one of those rites of passage that I dreamed of. I’d see groups of couples on vacation together in St. Barths, a table for eight at Maya’s filled with handsome men and sun kissed women, laughing and looking like they never wanted that week to end. I thought that was di rigueur for life as an adult. I realized later on, that getting to spend time with great friends even just once a year is such a treat.
I emailed my sister—an expert vacationer herself—about her experience renting a villa with friends, having done so in St. Barths, Mykonos, and St. Tropez. Her response: “Renting a house with friends is SO MUCH FUN.” All caps…this girl doesn’t mince words! “You just have so much freedom to design the trip as you want. You can make yourself at home and enjoy lots of living space, but you still have the comforts of a hotel: daily maid service, arranging a chef, getting massages in the afternoon. And the concierge is a call away.”
While I am all for the hotel life, one of the great benefits of the villa experience is that you end up getting to bond more because everyone doesn’t retreat to their own hotel room at the end of the day. There’s also no need to plan to meet up. It can be refreshing not to have rigorously plan dinners and just let them happen a bit more organically. My friend Jenny often rents Villa WV ADO in St. Barths with friends and laughs over the impromptu parties they hold. “We cook elaborate dinners, have cocktail hour, invite people over we know and have met on the island, and lay by the villa pool. There’s nothing better than living in paradise with your best friends.”
When you’re sharing a villa with friends, it also becomes easier to take advantage of some of those luxurious extras, like hiring a personal trainer, or arranging a chef. Not only is it more economical with a group, but it’s also more fun—a dinner at home becomes more exciting than a dinner out, and that Pilates class becomes a bit more bearable when you have a partner in pain. As my sister says, “We had a great Greek chef that WIMCO organized. He cooked breakfast every day for us and then one other meal (either lunch or dinner). I loved that when we woke up the coffee was already brewed, the pastries were on the table, and as people came up at their own pace he would cook eggs. It became one of the most fun parts of the day because it was this rolling breakfast, and no one had to deal with the cooking and clean up.”
I have a deep affection for vacations that bring friends together; they create the kind of memories that you laugh about years and years later.
So in that spirit, here’s a few pieces of advice for renting a villa with friends:
Not necessary tips, and definitely personal preferences, but some more ideas:
Related: Discover 9 Mykonos beaches for every type of sun-worshiper!