The self-catering version of holiday has rapidly improved over the last twenty years or so, whether you are holidaying at home in the UK or on the continent. Villa or cottage holidays can offer a greater prices, flexibility and privacy than hotels or B&B accommodation. Quality of accommodation is now generally high, both at home and abroad. The rise of “all inclusive” hotel or resort packages, may, however, be challenging the villa holiday, so what are the pros and cons, and how do they measure up to inclusive packages.
- One of the biggest advantages to villa holidays are the flexibility they can offer. You can eat “at home” economically, or eat out if you choose. Inclusive packages are equally good value but don’t necessarily offer the same flexibility.
- Villas are priced on a per villa basis. For large families or groups this can be attractive, again it’s flexible, and means that you’ll not have to book a family room, giving everyone a bit more privacy. Generally, you will get more for your money in terms of space on a villa holiday, although inclusive packages can compete well on this element.
- On the continent most villas will include a private pool, while at home some will include this or other features, such as steam rooms or Jacuzzi. This comes back to privacy again, no more fights over the sun-loungers in the early hours of the morning! Keeping an eye on the kids amongst a crowd of strangers can be daunting, and in a villa or cottage holiday the security aspect can make all the difference.
- The actual costs of an all-inclusive package can be tempting, but a reliable villa provider will normally compete well. A larger villa for a family holiday with other relatives, or another family, can work out competitively, plus cooking, childcare and other domestic tasks can be managed to save yet more money and give all of you some time off.
- Self-catering means, more or less, just that. In a villa you still get to do at least some of the housework and if this is not your idea of fun in the sun, then inclusive packages may appeal. The main problem with this is that you may be limited for choice in where to eat and it may feel like a waste of money eating elsewhere.
- Hotel pools are often crowded, but there are lifeguards keeping an additional eye on the kids. In a private villa the phrase “home from home” means all the usual responsibilities! The downside, mentioned above, is simply that you never quite know who’s who around the hotel pool which, lifeguards or not, might have you worrying over the kids anyway!
- Costs on inclusive deals often seem attractive and they can be good choices for those on a budget. Extras that are included, like services, can make all the difference. Having said that, you tend to get what you pay for, and generally villas will compare well on overall costs. The biggest advantage of the all-inclusive deals is generally that you don’t have to lift much in the way of fingers, which means more time to relax.
Thanks to the struggling economies in a range of European countries, hotels and villa providers are keeping their costs down, with a whole range of attractive deals. The pound is strong against the euro, and that situation should remain for the foreseeable, meaning that a European holiday will be cost effective. With the buying power of the pound, the advantages of villa holidays are, at the moment, pretty competitive, making them a consistently popular choice for British tourists.
Villa holidays remain a popular choice for British families and compete well with all-inclusive packages. With the euro weak against the pound both types of holiday should remain competitive for British tourists for some time to come.