We have been running travel portals for over 12 years now. In some of our channels I find that very best value is often overlooked. Travelers have pretty fixed ideas about what to look for. For instance they will insist on being on the beach - but across the road we often have far better hotels; offering better value and sometimes a far more comfortable and elegant setting.
House rentals is another area that tends to get passed over. There is a passionate following for villas but I am still trying to figure what a villa really is. We have villas that are really apartments or condos, and that to me is wrong. To me, a villa has to have a private front door - not an hallway and elevator. So really a villa is some sort of house. In Roman days it was a upper class country house and through the middle ages it was associated with luxury. wikipedia.org suggest that today a villa refers to a specific type of detached suburban dwelling. I don't think that holds. Settlers Beach Villa complex in Barbados is not detached but it is clearly a Villa Resort of the highest standard and on a perfect beach.
Now I know that holidays are a chance to get away and one likes to go to a hotel where everything is catered for - But golly gee, the Villa-Home complex across the road has better prices, full maid service, a cook you can hire, a pool, a fantastic view and its private - spacious - spotlessly clean with a helpful and friendly family management and staff. Its a whole house with washer, dryer, stove, microwave, a full stand up fridge, iron and board, 3 rooms - kitchen, patio and a garden with fruit trees you are invited to pick from! Why are so many people ignoring houses and settling for a Room. A house is so much more that a room - why settle for less!
I think the holiday home resort vacation is undervalued. If you don't want to cook - there are many restaurants that offer more variety. But part of a real holidays is exploring - shopping - going to the market and buying your fresh fish and local vegetables - experimenting and sampling another culture. Lets hear it for Island house rentals and holiday home living!
An example I like is http://poinsettiaapartments.com. Its a family run complex of 7 villa style homes/apartments, tastefully furnished, fully equipped and on a hill overlooking a lovely bay with a working marina. Its not on the beach and you need a car to get around, but if you have a car its a perfect spot for the more discerning traveler who prefers not to be one of a crowd and have their own space. For the business traveler a Townhouse is the perfect choice; see Town houses and Apartment Rentals - St. Lucia. Poinsettia Villa-Apartment and townhouses can also be rented long term.
Check out the latest webpage dedicated to Island House Holidays in St. Lucia - http://island-houses-for-rent.com - a http://bookingsstlucia.com initiative. Soon to be a Caribbean wide service - if you would like to participate please contact us.