How Holiday-Villas came to be?
“Holiday-Villas” refers to the letting out of furnished houses on a temporary basis to vacationers as an alternative to hotels. The term holiday-villas or holiday homes is widely used in Europe, whereas in the US the preferred term is vacation rental. Apartments, or flats, let out on a short-term basis for touristic reasons are generally referred to as holiday apartments in Europe – in the US the more generic vacation rental also applies to apartments.
Holiday villas are an increasingly popular holiday accommodation option, due to the key advantages of villas over hotel accommodation, namely the increased space they offer, privacy, and lower cost per person.
Villas are particularly attractive for families. Young children and babies can be more easily accommodated in holiday villas due to having the entire property at one’s disposal. The proximity of rooms and limited space at hotels, coupled with the hundreds of hotel guests moving about in the hotel can create pressure for families with children – as well as for the other guests who may not be sympathetic to noisy children. Large villas are therefore ideal for large families or groups of friends accompanied by their children.
Holiday Villas in their current shape and form have a history of several decades, particularly in Canada and the UK.
However, the practise of going away for a period of time – it could be for the summer, the winter or for a particular activity e.g. hunting – to a different residence from one’s formal or usual residence is a very old practice indeed.
Royalty through the ages would typically have a summer, or winter, palace, castle or grand estate in the country. They would spend most of the year at their principal place of residence, perhaps in, or close to, the major hubs of power, commerce and politics, and travel to their seasonal or occasional residence, for a few weeks or months during the year – typically with a large contingent of their courts in tow.
In the more recent centuries, with the rise of commerce and industry, wealthy individuals not connected to royalty also began dividing their time between primary and secondary residences. These where either directly built, or acquired from declining aristocratic families.
Today the seasonal or occasional home custom is widely spread: from the “Sommarstuga” (summer house) in Sweden to the “Exohiko” in Cyprus (country house), to the “Dacha” in Russia (in archaic Russian dascha means something given – the first Dachas where houses given to persons loyal to the Tsar as second estates).
But how did the practise of renting out one’s second home actually start?
It would seem that at some point in time, due to changing fortunes and as a way to keep the personal (and usually hereditary) badge of a family that a stately country house is, an owner, unable, or unwilling, to pay for the considerable year round maintenance of the property decided to explore the route of letting the property out when they were not using it.
This of course also required a change in attitudes, where letting out one’s second home (or primary home even– with the owner then moving into a smaller less expensive residence) is considered an acceptable necessity, and not gauche pursuit of money.
This change in attitudes happened largely in the 20th century – and very likely accelerated after World War I, and particularly after World War II. It is thus a relatively very recent phenomenon.
Today the custom of villa holidays is fairly well established, although there is still considerable scope for growth, as more and more people come to appreciate the uniqueness of the experience in renting luxurious fully-equipped holiday-villas for their holidays – which is also a far more affordable experience than renting a single small room in a hotel.