I’ve had 4 or 5 people message me recently and ask about my thoughts on which is better – villa or hotel?
The short answer is that I don’t really know and I think it depends a lot on you as a family, if you are travelling with other people and where you are going. That being said, the following list might help you when making your decision if you bear the various factors in mind:
Base case accommodation –There is no doubt that a villa is doing to be more affordable on a pure accommodation only basis. I mean a super luxury villa vs a super basic budget hotel will probably be the exception to this rule. If you are looking at reasonably like for like standards you will save money.
Other factors – Added to this are other factors such as your ability to buy and make your own meals and snacks which will definitely save you money. If you drink alcohol then it will save you even more!
Facilities – There are often private facilities such as swimming pools that you can use whenever you want rather than only at the opening times dictated by the hotel. Such areas will be uncrowded rather than you having to share with all the other hotel guests.
Bad days – It’s not unheard of for Things to have a bad day on holiday… The privacy of a villa gives you the ability to ignore a tantrum or to discipline them without a well-meaning stranger offering them a sugary treat to help calm them down.
Spacious – villas offer you more space and areas such as living rooms, kitchens as well as sometimes patios or balconies. They may well also have additional facilities such as washing machines, dishwashers and multiple bathrooms.
Schedules – you have the ability to your own schedules. We have found this particularly useful when the Things have been very little and needing to nap. Even now it is great as our Things need to eat pretty early so it is easy to accommodate their needs. We often find that in hotels dinner doesn’t start until 7pm which is too late of them or they might wake early with jet lag and have to wait hours for breakfast to open.
Rooms – there are much more flexible sleeping arrangements open to you in a villa. You don’t have to rely on (not guaranteed!) interconnecting rooms (we’ve learnt this the hard way). Not do you have to hang out in a bathroom while the Things go to sleep before reading your books or having a glass of wine in complete darkness.
Large groups– we generally find that villas are better for large groups particularly in the evenings when you the Things may have gone to bed and you all want to hang out together. Even during the day, Things can entertain themselves much more easily while you are getting ready for a day out it there are other Things and grown up friends around.
Facilities – You will get a much wider range of facilities such as gyms, swimming pools, spas, etc at a hotel plus they will be much bigger than you would get with a villa.
Easy – there’s no need for cash since you don’t need to go shopping or even leave the resort if you don’t want to. Everything you need is available 24/7 and accessible by walking. You don’t need to worry about losing keys or forgetting your towels.
2. Less Pressure
A total break – It’s all very well going away on holiday but it isn’t really a break if you have to cook and clean all the time! At a hotel someone else does all the cooking and cleaning. Someone else makes your bed and someone else tidies up the communal areas every day. Someone else brings you a drink by the pool and someone else can look after your Things in Kids Club if you want them to.
Sociable – if you are travelling on your own, there’s loads more potential for your Things to socialise with other kids e.g. in communal areas or at Kids Club. Kids Club will also have activities planned as well as toys, games and activities to do in your own time (no need to carry lots of things with you).
Activities – not just kids club, lots of hotels have activities for adults too such as watersports in beach resorts or wine tasting in an evening, etc. One place we went to had a sunset wine tasting on the beach which we took the kids to and just played in the water with them. A few days later they had a Kids Club sandcastle building activity right next to the beach bar… Perfect!
3. Other Considerations
Less risk – hotels tend to be more established businesses rather than Airbnb’s which are owned by individuals. Reputable hotel brands also tend to have photos on their websites that you can rely on!
Safety – hotels and resorts have to confirm to legislative building codes. In a hotel there are usually lifts rather than steep stairs to fall down and it is harder to walk out of a room and fall into a pools in the middle of the night. Hotels are also required to be more accessible for handicapped people.
The Verdict : Which is Better – Villa or Hotel?
As I said before, I honestly don’t think there is a good or a bad way to have a holiday. The main thing is that you choose an option that works for you and the people you are travelling with. If going off schedule is likely to create havoc for you all then maybe a villa is a better option. On the other hand, if you are going to end up as stressed on holiday as you are at home about getting meals cooked and cleaning up kids toys then a hotel / resort might be a better option. And of course the cost is always a huge factor in all of this. Given the choice between a cheaper holiday and no holiday at all I would always choose the latter!
Figure out what works best for you and go and enjoy yourselves!