5 Reasons You Should Book A Vacation Rental Over A Hotel

Book Vacation Rental Over Hotel

For my 40th birthday, I booked a vacation rental vs a hotel—and I have no regrets. In fact, I had the joy of celebrating my big 40th birthday in a private, 10-bedroom villa in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, with 11 close friends, and we saved thousands of dollars, had a butler, a private pool and became closer as friends.

Despite the fact I usually shack up in hotels and resorts (I’ve stayed in more hotels than anyone on this planet: Over 650 hotels and resort), I know there are plenty of great reasons to book a private vacation rental in certain situations. For my big party, fate had determined my stay would be at Villa Mandarinas (which was an unforgettable experience).

Villa Mandarinas, Puerto Vallarta. Photo: Jimmy Im

For a big celebration, like a landmark birthday, an anniversary or a wedding, it makes sense to book a villa, and I experienced all the benefits. It was cheaper for everyone, and we had a lot more freedom. We also had a personal chef, a private balcony for every room, a private pool and many other perks.


Here are 5 great reasons why you might want to book a vacation rental over a hotel for a special occasion or big group of travelers.

5 reasons to book a vacation rental vs hotel!

1. A vacation rental is much more intimate.

When I was scouting for birthday properties, I knew it had to be perfect… and special. I had friends flying in from London, Los Angeles and New York City, friends I don’t see that often. I wanted us to be in a space where we could wake up and see each other right away (as in, no walking long hallways, different towers, etc, as you would find in a hotel or resort).

I also didn’t want anyone annoyed with resort woes, like big families sitting in the hot tub, rooms that may have not been luxury enough or noise complaints.

I wanted a kitchen where we could possibly make our own quesadillas, a private pool where we could catch up and hang and all the other intimate perks you receive with a private vacation rental, especially a villa in Mexico.

This is us at lunch, being relaxed and casual!

This is us at lunch, being relaxed and casual!

2. Everyone will feel completely pampered in an exclusive way.

I celebrated my 40th in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. When you book a private villa rental in Puerto Vallarta, you typically get your own dedicated staff, including a property manager, a chef, housekeeping and more. This also applies to many other villa vacation rentals around the world, depending on where you book.

The staff at our villa included a private chef, housekeeping, a villa manager and even a day-and-night bartender. We didn’t lift a finger, and everything was included in the rate, which brings me to number 3.

Book a vacation rental over a hotel.
Villa Mandarinas, Puerto Vallarta. Photo: Jimmy Im

Look at the view from our main living room.

3. Villa vacation rentals are typically all-inclusive (depending on the location).

In Mexico, it’s typical for a vacation rental to include private staff, and this applies to other destinations, like Thailand, Bali, places in Canada and more, which makes you feel like royalty.

Not only did we get the luxury of private staff at Villa Mandarinas in Puerto Vallarta, our gourmet Mexican food (cooked up by our private chef) was included in the rate. There were no hidden fees or resort fees, and all cocktails and beverages were included (pre-arranged), as well as WIFI and tips.

We paid for our food in advance (which the team stocked up on before we arrived), and it’s a lot cheaper than eating out. This is one of my top reasons to book a vacation rental vs a hotel.

Included in our rate was amazing, home-cooked gourmet Mexican dinners.

Included in our rate was amazing, home-cooked gourmet Mexican dinners.

4. With a vacation rental, you have tons of privacy and don’t have to share resort amenities with strangers.

At our private villa in Puerto Vallarta, as well as many private villas I’ve stayed at, you have the privilege of arranging private, ocean-front massages (which are more than half what you’d pay at a resort), have the pool to yourself, recreations to yourself and bar to yourself.

It’s the perfect set up if you’re with an intimate group of friends or family. There was no stress with planning activities (thanks to our concierge) or staying quiet for other guests. We had a private yoga instructor come for a class right on the lawn, and anything we needed was delivered. We never left the property because we didn’t have a reason to (of course, we went into town at night for shopping and partying).

This is just one of TWO pools we had all to ourselves.
Villa Mandarinas, Puerto Vallarta. Photo: Jimmy Im

This is just one of TWO pools we had all to ourselves.

5. A vacation rental is typically a lot cheaper than a hotel (for big parties). 

For the five nights at Villa Mandarinas with 11 guests, it worked out to about $360 a night, which is substantially cheaper than the hotels I was looking at (average $500 a night, and not all inclusive). Remember, we had everything included in the rate.

The beauty of private villas is the high level of value and how you end up saving a lot more money than hotels if you have a larger group. Doesn’t that give you reason enough to book a vacation rental over a hotel? You save so much money! It seems like a win-win for everyone, and I’ll definitely book a vacation rental again for my next birthday.

Reasons to book a vacation rental over a hotel. Private space!
Villa Mandarinas, Puerto Vallarta. Photo: Jimmy Im

We arranged a ton of special things, like this sunset meditation. It was amazing, and honestly a great reason why we booked a vacation rental vs a hotel.

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Jimmy Im has traveled to 113 countries, stayed at over 600 hotels and clocked millions of air miles. He currently lives in New York City.

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