10 tips when renting a family holiday villa

With only one month left of winter, thoughts are turning to lighter nights and holiday sunshine! To please all the family members of varying ages, a villa might be just the ticket. Holidaying with grandparents, another family or just the teenagers? Nadine Mellor from i-escape explains why a villa is a great solution. Over to Nadine…

Looking to arrange a family celebration or reunion? Want to holiday with grandparents? Or to vacation with another family or two? And to do so with your own dedicated space and the flexibility of self-catering? Not only do we have a super family-friendly villa collection, we have plenty of top tips to ensure your get together is memorable for all the right reasons!

1. If you’re travelling with babies and toddlers, make sure your rental property is within easy access of the airport or railway station, and has useful kids’ kit such as black-out blinds, cots, baby monitors, stair gates and age-appropriate toys and games.

2. Assuming you have children who are not yet confident swimmers, you’ll also need to look for a villa whose swimming pool has a shallow end, is gated with a child-proof lock, and ideally has space for grown-ups to lounge around in style, too!

Villas on or near the beach are the Holy Grail of family holidays. And they work for all ages.

3. Self-catering certainly provides flexibility and is more cost-effective; it gets around the fussy-eater issue, too. Check whether there is a good selection of grocery shops nearby for purchasing provisions, and whether a welcome basket of supplies and / or a shopping service is offered. Bonus points if you’re renting in a region renowned for gastronomy!

Of course for a big celebration you may want to get outside caterers in or use the services of a private chef, so choose somewhere special whose owners can put you in touch with such suppliers.

4. There’s a useful new trend for micro-resorts (also known as mini-all-inclusives), where a kids’ club, amazing activities and lots of facilities for families are on tap. Many offer plenty of scope for parent pampering and babysitting, and some arrange communal meals a couple of times a week to give you a break from cooking.

Or take a rental property which is one of a family-friendly cluster – the playground is for all to share, so you’ll get guaranteed playmates for the kids.

5. For those with plugged-in teens, you’ll need a property which has good WiFi and ideally a games room. Many rentals nowadays offer such delights as a pool table, a cinema room and table tennis – also invaluable if the weather turns inclement.

6. Teenagers can be prevailed upon to emerge blinking into the sunshine from your villa especially if there are exciting activities nearby such as watersports, zip wires, horse riding, quad biking, kiteboarding.

7. Grandparents are actually a useful asset on holiday: think of the advantages of having babysitters on tap and an extra pairs of hands! They may want to stay in an annexe to the main villa for a bit more peace and quiet, or perhaps need to sleep on the ground floor to avoid stairs. Mobility issues should be taken into account when finding the perfect property.

Some well-equipped villas also come with staff, which does make for a relaxing break!

8. If you’re travelling with another family, you may want a place which has accommodation over two floors or in different wings, or offers two adjacent cottages.

9. If you can’t get through the winter months without a dose of Vitamin D, there are some great winter sun destinations with beautiful rental properties. Mexico and the Caribbean aren’t too far-flung, and South Africa is in the same time zone as western Europe (no jet lag!) Closer to home, you could try Cyprus, the Canaries and Morocco.

10. And if you’ve a specific interest such as wildlife-spotting – or if you want to learn a new activity such as diving – there are places which can connect you to local tours and operators.


Nadine is the Kids Collection Editor at i-escape – those purveyors of stylish hotels and rentals worldwide, whose pioneering collection of family-friendly hideaways is now 900-strong. All are visited and reviewed in-depth with signature highs and lows, as well as details of what kids’ kit, activities and facilities are in place, any hazards to look out for, and which rooms are best for children. Nadine has an adventure with her family every month come rain or shine – the last one Oxfordshire, the next in Australia! Learn more at www.i-escape.com or Twitter

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