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Luxury Villas - How the Other Half Lives

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Villas are large vacation houses – really mansions – characterized by privacy and luxury. Some wealthy families just keep them for their occasional trips to Acapulco, but many others can be rented to groups of friends and family members for special holiday experiences. Most of them are set into the hillside overlooking the ocean or bay. Usually they are of contemporary design, decorated with objects of art and other design features, like a waterfall or fountains. Access is had either through the villa's own secure entrance, or through a gated community, or both. Villas have anywhere from five bedrooms and baths, up to as many as 12 accommodations. They will offer guests a "great room" for parties, which blends into a large dining area. This space will almost certainly opens out onto a large, fresh-air terrace. Some villas specialize in hosting special events, like receptions, business retreats and wedding celebrations, involving many invited guests. All are air conditioned. Villas have one or more private swimming pools, whirlpools, and kids' pools. Some have their own tennis court, squash court or platform tennis facility. The pools are often shaded by palapas, where drinks can be served. A few, near the waterfront, provide mooring facilities for yachts. It is common for villas to have a game room, perhaps with a billiard or pool table, and often a separate entertainment room with a large screen TV or home theater. Usually music can be piped to selected areas of the villa from a central system. Many provide wireless Internet service throughout. Some even provide the computer. Operating a villa requires a staff. Minimally this will consist of a cook and chambermaid, but may also include a pool man, gardener, bartender, waiter and butler. When villas are rented, the price includes the staff, but tips are extra (and expected). The staff stays in special service quarters, usually accessed through a kitchen, laundry room or maintenance area. Villa rentals can run from several hundred dollars a day to several thousand, depending on the size and appointments. If a large group is booked into a villa, the cost can compare favorably with the price of several different rooms in a first class hotel in town. Premium rates and minimum stay requirements are enforced during high holiday times like Christmas-New Years and Holy Week.