Villa Holidays Vs Hotel
Having been on my share of all-inclusive holidays it is only now that I may begin to appreciate a self-catering villa holiday and the benefits it would bring. I have a large extended family and we often holiday together, all we’ve ever known is hotels, without even looking into the other types of getaways available.
Villa holidays are a great example of the type of holiday we have tended to subconsciously avoid without any good reason, just many assumptions. One assumption being that villa holidays are expensive and the other being that we wouldn’t enjoy planning/preparing our own meals and even if we did; we could end up spending a fortune on food alone all week.
So eventually we sat down and calculated the cost of our last all-inclusive holiday (earlier this year) to a future villa holiday and the advantages this could bring. The results Left us wondering why we hadn’t considered a villa escape any sooner!
Assumptions Vs Reality
Expectation... We thought: no time spent on preparing food just eating food
Reality: Low quality food – all you can eat? Yes, but how much of this could you eat? I was often hungry after mealtimes on our last holiday, usually having to go out to dinner to a local diner at the end of the day. Not so convenient.
Villa: If we hired a villa we would only pay for the accommodation (split between 8-10 people this isn’t as much as you would think) Check out villa options at Solmar Villas. The remainder of our budget could be kept aside for food over the course of the week. You may well end up spending the same amount as an all-inclusive break but for a better quality holiday!
Expectation… We thought: We could schedule tours/excursions around our set mealtimes. Ideal for a group of people who wanted to cram everything into the week – compelling us to make time for loads of things and run by a somewhat tight schedule so everything seemed doable… not exactly.
Reality: We couldn’t have been more wrong – I spent most of the holiday tired and exhausted from the excursions and sightseeing. As for set mealtimes; I think I made it down to breakfast on time only one of the mornings out of the whole week due to late nights as days were spent on excursions/activities. So the only time we had to actually go out and explore ourselves was in the evenings which often meant late nights (with a 14month toddler who had just learnt to walk this was taking its toll on my sleep and sanity).
Set mealtimes hadn’t liberated us, it had in fact constricted us as we had to be at the hotel at particular times to eat otherwise we would need to make our own arrangements (when you’ve paid for all-inclusive its off-putting to then spend most of the week eating out and spending even more)
As for the excursions; we had crammed way too much into our week and soon realised that a few days with nothing to do but relax by the pool would have been bliss (we were initially concerned that we would get bored, couldn’t be further from the truth)
Villa: If we had opted for a self-catering holiday we would have had the luxury of time. In a villa we could be up as early or late as we wanted (when you go on holiday in a group of 10 you soon realise that not everyone wants the same from their holiday). You can roam around the kitchen, make your own breakfast in your own time and relax by the private pool …Pure bliss. You can follow a programme/schedule and this could be as tightly/loosely followed as you choose and it’s your schedule tailored to you! You can eat out on the days and times of your choice and you have the option to cook or BBQ back at your villa too. You can purchase snacks at the local store for those late evenings when you’re feeling peckish. The best thing is that you get a full size fridge/freezer as opposed to the tiny alternative you would usually get in a standard hotel room (My son would drink a lot of milk and he loved yogurt - we found it difficult to fit a large enough bottle of milk and pots of yogurt in our fridge back at the hotel).
Expectation… Most resorts usually have a couple of pools that all residents can share which we have always enjoyed and made use of on holiday.
Reality: However, during our last holiday I found that I was more body conscious than ever before as a first time mum (being on holiday with younger sisters who’s bodies hadn’t been through the rigours of carrying a baby I did feel somewhat unattractive and out of shape compared to how I’d felt during my previous holidays) So I wore leggings and a t-shirt in the pool! Not very flattering I know but I just couldn’t bring myself to reveal my post baby body to all of the strangers in the resort.
Villa: Although sharing a pool isn’t the worst thing in the world, a private pool would appeal so much more. Not only because of my body conscious self but because of the absolutely crazy things the rest of my family found themselves doing in the shared pools (you often find people staring profoundly when they see a bunch of people trying to play a serious of made up pool games for example; how many people could we get on this pool float!) yes a little embarrassing at the least. You can also benefit from the more convenient bathing and changing facilities at a villa after your dip as opposed to the seemingly long walk up the stairs/standing in the lift in your dripping wet bathing suit trying to get back to your room at the hotel. 100% of villas available at Solmar Villas has a private pool.
Hotel… We found ourselves having to leave our group each day for my sons scheduled nap in the hotel room which lasted 2 hours. And in the evenings we would often have to be back in our room earlier than most due to his bedtime routine. I could have left him with my parents who often stayed back at the hotel with aunts and uncles in the evenings but my room was the only room with a travel cot so it would have meant moving it from room to room and disturbing his sleep as well as my parents when we came in late. Not convenient at all.
Villa: A villa would have certainly been convenient as you wouldn’t need to wait in the bedroom during nap times and evenings would have been easier for grandparents to babysit whilst we got to enjoy being out past bedtime.
I hope this list of experiences prompts fellow holiday goers to explore their accommodation options thoroughly upon deciding on their next trip. I think overall holiday satisfaction should be is a must for everyone as opposed to leaving your chosen destination with a slightly bittersweet view and feeling like you’ve spent more money than you would usually spend in a week only to feel unfulfilled at the end of it.
If you’re currently searching for your next self-catering villa holiday; Spain and the Algarve are excellent value with plenty of choice for food shopping. Solmar Villas has plenty of destinations and great value villas to choose from, you might just surprise yourself at the affordable prices and superb villas available.
Search for your dream villa holiday today here