Best Villa Rental Agencies
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Best Villa Rental Agencies

Villa Rentals

Courtesy of Paris Perfect 

Villa Rentals

Courtesy of Paris Perfect 

These days, many villa rental agencies double as personal concierges, organizing private tours of museums, hands-on cooking classes, and more. These experts have you covered.

Few travel decisions are as fraught as finding the right vacation rental. (Will it look like the pictures? Who do I call if the bathtub floods?) Fortunately, the world’s best residential specialists, agencies and club managers expertly navigate these waters -- and some provide five-star hotel-worthy services and amenities like complimentary airport transfers, 24-hour concierges and bespoke excursions. Here are some of our favorites.

Europe

United Kingdom and Ireland

London Perfect: Each property in this collection is located in a prime central London neighborhood (Kensington, Notting Hill, Chelsea) and comes with high thread count linens and chef-worthy kitchens. Upon check-in with a local host, guests receive neighborhood guides to the area’s best shops, restaurants, supermarkets and public transportation links, and staffers provide on-call support throughout stays. 888 520 2087

Adams & Butler: Siobhan Byrne Learat’s nine-person team manages a private portfolio of aristocratic castles, country homes and mod estates throughout Ireland and the United Kingdom, plus select listings in more than 10 African countries like Kenya and Botswana. Experts (including in-house genealogists) arrange bespoke itineraries on themes such as gardens, antiques, whiskey, golf, ancestry. 800 894 5712

Spain

El Sol Villas: Founder Mary Vaira, a former U.S. government intelligence analyst, turns her discerning, detail-oriented gaze to impeccable Basque Country estates, Ibiza villas, Costa Brava haciendas and Madrid apartments. Her collection also includes hand-picked listings in Italy, France, Latin America and Southeast Asia. 800 474 5765

Spain Select: Local property managers oversee check-ins, departures and more at 300-plus properties spanning chic Madrid apartments, Mediterranean villas and Balearics estates. Spain Select also arranges a la carte services such as babysitting, pre-arrival grocery shopping and airport transfers. +34 915 23 74 51

France

Guest Apartment Services Paris: This stylish collection spans affordable studios and five-bedroom apartments in prime Parisian neighborhoods Ile St Louis and Notre Dame, as well as the occasional, exceptional countryside manor. Multilingual concierges can secure opera tickets and restaurant reservations, and the company also arranges fee-based extras such as limousine airport transfers. +33 1 44 07 0620

Ville et Village: Caroline Grote personally visits all of the listings in her collection, from Parisian apartments to Loire Valley chateaux to Provencal farmhouses and Riviera villas, and can provide detailed destination recommendations such as which farmers’ market has the best olive oil or where locals go for antiques. The agency also has listings in Italy (Florence, Rome, Tuscany and Venice) and Barcelona. 510 559 8080

Haven in Paris: Greeters welcome guests to every listing in this collection, which includes Haussmannian duplexes near Canal Saint Martin,posh flats in Central London, Provencal farmhouses and Tuscan palazzos. All are stocked with high thread count linens, computers or tablets with free wifi and detailed neighborhood guides. 617 395 4243

Paris Luxury Rentals: These city specialists represent 20 swank residences, from a balconied three-bedroom overlooking the Seine, to an art collector’s triplex flanking Luxembourg Gardens. Local guides provide personalized check-in, daily housekeeping, concierges with tips on neighborhood attractions (that Seine-facing apartment, par exemple, is a short walk from Viviani Park, home to Paris’ oldest tree), and VIP airport transfers -- including priority immigration. 415 851 1000

Paris Perfect: Part of the “Apartment Perfect” family (which also includes London Perfect, Italy Perfect and Bali Perfect), this collection has studios, two- and three-bedroom estates and long-term rentals, all located in chic Paris neighborhoods such as St Germain, Ile de la Cite and the Marais. A local management company oversees personal check-ins and pens destination guides; additional services such as refrigerators loaded with local delicacies (we call dibs on the macarons) are available on request. 888 520 2087

Holidays France Rentals: The majority of this boutique company’s listings are in Parisian neighborhoods like the Marais and Rue St Honore, but it also has villas, farmhouses and riads in France, Spain, Turkey and Morocco. Concierges and one-way limousine airport transfers are complimentary, and the company also provides walking tours, babysitters, language tutors or excursions to Brussels, Amsterdam and beyond on request. +33 1 5537 9736

Italy

Homebase Abroad: Director Mara Solomon has deep roots in Italy, and can advise on small-town logistics (which village ferry is the most reliable?) and arrange everything from kayaking in Lake Como to private Super Tuscans tastings. Her hand-picked collection spans rustic Umbrian farmhouses, seaside Amalfi estates and off-the-beaten-path Dolomites chalets. 781 639 4040

Villa Europe: This company has a strong portfolio in Italy, plus select listings in Greece. Agents can arrange everything from truffle hunting expeditions to opera tickets, and have relationships with area vintners, babysitters, private chefs, chauffeurs and language instructors. 207 200 2255

The Best in Italy: Countess Simonetta Brandolini d’Adda has more than 80 fully staffed villas on offer -- many are owned by Italian aristocracy, many of whom are her friends and relatives. She can also open up her little black book to create superlative a la carte experiences, such as behind-the-scenes access to the Palio di Siena horse race or a private tour of the Vatican. + 39 0 5522 3064

Italy Perfect: Sisters Lisa and Pat Byrne personally inspect (and usually stay in) all of their apartments, villas and cottages in Rome, Florence, Tuscany, Venice and the Amalfi Coast. Best for independent travelers, Italy Perfect (part of the Apartment Perfect family) provides multilingual greeters and can refer guests to concierge services, chefs and chauffeurs. 888 308 6123

Think Sicily: This London-based agency represents nearly 200 exclusive listings in Sicily, Puglia and the Ionian Islands. Many include kitchen and housekeeping staffs, and all are serviced by dedicated concierges (referred to within the company as “talking guidebooks”), many of whom are based locally. 800 490 1107

IC Bellagio: Andrea Grisdale has intimate knowledge of each of her listings, and works closely with owners to maintain quality control. More than 40 staff members are at the ready to arrange activities such as an aperitivo crawl through Venice in the company of a Venetian countess, or a private viewing of the Vasari Corridor in Florence. +39 031 95 2059

Dream & Charme: The Milan-based agency has more than 500 listings, spanning sleek Milanese apartments, an 11th century Tuscan castle and an Elba Island beachfront retreat on a nature reserve. Many villas have live-in staff, and Dream & Charme doubles as a tour operator, so booking flights and rental cars is seamless. The company even has a tiered e-commerce platform in which guests, hosts and public users can purchase monogrammed linens, luxury fragrances and Dream & Charme-approved caviar. +39 02 8050 3457

Croatia

Croatian Villas: Family-friendly hilltop homes, city-center apartments -- some with pools -- and lavish sea-facing villas comprise this U.K.-based agency’s comprehensive Croatian collection. Agency partners can provide airport transfers, travel insurance, ground transportation, and and even airfare. 800 093 9495

Turkey

Simpson Travel: Founder Graham Simpson represents an array of Mediterranean listings that encompass contemporary apartments in Istanbul, beachy Kas villas and Bozburun Peninsula chalets overlooking the Aegean Sea, as well as select residences in the Greek Islands, Corsica, France and Spain. Some properties, such as an impeccably restored, historic stone farmhouse in Corfu, are exclusive. + 44 20 8392 5858

Greece

Five Star Greece: Ileana von Hirsch, founder of specialist supergroup UltraVilla, and Eva Aidonopoulou personally inspect all of the beachfront estates, hilltop villas and luxury apartments in their portfolio. The majority of their listings are private, and agents can orchestrate everything from daily fresh bread delivery, to a trip to the Turkish coast via gulet, or traditional sailboat. + 44 20 8422 4885

White Key Villas: This Athens-based agency canvasses Greece, representing properties in the Cyclades, Peloponnese, and Ionian islands, as well as the less-visited Saronic Gulf. Bookings come with multilingual concierges who arrange bespoke experiences, such as private helicopter tours, or island-hopping in the Aegean Sea. +30 21 0721 5530

Continent-Wide

Loyd & Townsend Rose: Headquartered in Scotland, this agency specializes in castles, mansions, country cottages and ancestral homes in the United Kingdom and Ireland, and has select villas and chalets in France, Italy, Spain and Greece. All listings are fully staffed with butlers, chefs and property managers. Well-connected agents can arrange incredible, a la carte destination experiences, such as private rounds at St. Andrews, or grouse and pheasant shoots in the English countryside. +44 1835 824 642

Hosted Villas: All of this agency’s villas, castles, chateaus and apartments in France, Italy, Spain, Mexico and beyond come with a local host who can offer insider tips on the best tables to book at the hottest new restaurants or the ideal time to visit the local market. Listings are cleaned daily, and agents are candid about what’s not shown in photos, such as nearby church bells that chime on the hour. 800 374 6637

Unique Properties & Events: Equal parts luxury concierge, party planner and villa specialist, this London-based agency represents a largely exclusive list of ultra-stylish chalets, estates and mansions in France, Spain, Italy and beyond. No request is too obscure or service too extravagant for founder Cedric Reversade’s well-connected team -- think after-hours tours of private art collections with a BBC documentarian, or barefoot cooking classes in your villa kitchen with a Michelin-starred chef. +44 20 7788 7815

Dominique’s Villas: When this agency acquired Greek specialists Elysian Holidays in 2013, it combined both companies’ French, Mediterranean, Italian, Spanish, Caribbean and Moroccan expertise -- and streamlined its portfolio to include only the best in each market. In 2016, Dominique’s Villas began collaborating with Simpson Travel as well, sharing listings across both portfolios. +44 15 8076 6599

Abercrombie & Kent Villas: The veteran tour operator has villas in Italy, France, Greece, Croatia, Portugal, the United Kingdom and Spain, plus ski chalets in Switzerland, France, Italy and Austria. Tapping into its extensive ground network, AKVillas specialists can organize a range of activities and excursions, such as driving through Monaco in a sparkling new Bentley, yachting along the Cote d’Azur, or home cooking classes with a local nonna. 800 652 8413

Carpe Diem Luxury Travel: Marina Gratsos lists villas, chalets, chic apartments and private islands around the world, but the majority of her 50-strong private collection are in tony European destinations, such as a 16th century Tuscan castle owned by an Italian count and American ex-model. +44 20 7402 5330

North America

Beautiful Places: This Sonoma-based agency specializes in northern California’s wine country, where experts can arrange personal wine tastings or “terroir treks” through Napa vineyards. The global portfolio spans Mexico, Costa Rica, Brazil and the Caribbean; Italy, Portugal and several European countries; and other North American destinations including New York’s Hamptons. 800 495 9961

InvitedHome: More than 200 listings in nine glamorous American destinations (Vail, Breckenridge, Maui, Lake Tahoe) comprise the mountains-centric portfolio of this Colorado-based company, which provides local expertise and 24-hour concierges for all bookings. 855 978 7627

Hawaii

Hawaii Hideaways: Helmed by Hawaii expert Ann Pawsat-Dressler, this agency features family-friendly beach houses, Gold Coast penthouses and honeymoon-ready estates. While agents’ knowledge of the islands is limitless, there is an hourly fee for the 24-hour concierges to arrange whale watching excursions, scuba diving instruction or private luaus (from $30 per hour). 866 962 5642

Tropical Villa Vacations: A former Four Seasons concierge manages guest relations at this Maui-based agency’s 50+ ultra-luxurious villas and private homes throughout the islands.  Agency owner Irene Anne Aroner, also formerly of Four Seasons, handpicks listings like a three-bedroom penthouse at Maui’s award-winning Montage hotel, family-friendly Maui beach house, or a palatial, 34-person oceanfront estate. 888 875 2818

Canada

Entrée Destinations: This Vancouver-based tour operator arranges customized itineraries throughout Western Canada, Alaska, the Pacific Northwestern United States and Ontario, from dogsledding excursions to hikes with a helicopter drop-off. In addition to remote cabins and ski in/out chalets in the Canadian Rockies, Entree partners with leading hotels and resorts in the region, such as the Four Seasons Vancouver and the Fairmont Chateau Whistler. 888 999 655

Mexico

Cabo Villas: From a five-bedroom private home with a Pacific-facing infinity pool, to luxury suites at the One&Only Palmilla, all of this agency’s Los Cabos listings come with airport transfers, rental car delivery to your door, and welcoming margaritas, chips and salsa. Hoping to arrange a reservation at celebrity chef Enrique Olvera’s chic Manta restaurant, or charter a speedboat to El Arco? Local concierges are on call 24 hours per day. 855 745 2226

Journey Mexico: Handpicked villas, haciendas and Spanish colonial mansions in eight prime Mexican destinations -- think Tulum, Riviera Maya, Los Cabos and Puerto Vallarta -- dominate the residential portfolio of this guide-owned luxury operator with more than 30 years destination experience. Its deep local network includes experts who host a la carte expeditions such as touring the Palenque Mayan ruins in Chiapas or surf lessons in Baja. 800 474 1629

Caribbean

Villas by Linda Smith: All of the nearly 100 listings in Linda Smith’s portfolio come with staff -- chefs, butlers, laundresses and housekeepers -- trained by Smith herself. She also inspects every property, and has personally renovated several. Most listings are located on a tony, 10-mile stretch along Montego and Discovery Bays on Jamaica’s northern coast. 301 229 4300

LaCure Villas: Based in Canada, this agency’s global portfolio includes nearly 450 properties in the Caribbean, all of which are serviced by 24-hour concierges. There are also hotel-style luxury packages (called Secret Escapes), such as the four-night James Bond Beach itinerary that includes jet skiing, unlimited spa treatments, and accommodations at a fully staffed Jamaican estate located on the beach where 1962’s Dr. No was filmed. 800 387 2726

McLaughlin Anderson: Specializing in Grenada and the British and U.S. Virgin Islands, this agency represents more than 125 listings in seven Caribbean destinations. Listings include private beach houses as well as fully serviced Four Seasons residences, and all bookings include personal greetings on arrival, introductory house tours and on-call service from local Island Managers. 800 537 6246

St. Barth Properties: Founder, owner and part-time resident Peg Walsh has been renting vacation homes on St. Bart’s since 1989. She and her staff regularly inspect all listings, which provide concierges, destination wedding planners and VIP services such as custom-stocked refrigerators upon arrival, plus meal or spa packages with luxury resorts on the island. 800 421 3396

Central & South America

Brazil

Brazilian Beach House Co.: Founded nearly a decade ago by Steven Chew, a contributing editor at U.K. and American travel magazines, this Uruguay-based company represents more than 120 staffed beachfront villas, mod penthouses and private island estates in Brazil and Uruguay. All bookings include a locally based concierge service, plus daily housekeeping and kitchen staff. +59 8 2605 6913

Costa Rica

Mead Brown: Concierges and daily housekeeping come standard at nearly 50 listings along Costa Rica’s Pacific coast, including a Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired Guanacaste estate with ocean views, horseback riding trails and a regulation tennis court. Local experts can arrange bespoke experiences like treks in the Herradura highlands or whale watching excursions out of Marina Ballena National Park. 888 744 6599

Continent-Wide

Oasis Collections: Founded in 2009, and equally beloved by Google executives and Kylie Jenner, this Miami-based company has glam apartments and estates worldwide, including nine Latin American destinations such as Buenos Aires, Bogota, Cartagena, Rio de Janeiro and Jose Ignacio. All listings are personally vetted by Oasis staffers, and the company’s stellar local connections can secure prime reservations at the hottest restaurants and access to private parties. Members’ clubs in Rio and Barcelona are open to all Oasis guests and host social events, private exhibitions and tastings; the company also operates a by-application Clubhouse in Buenos Aires. 855 686 2747

Blue Parallel Villas: This Buenos Aires–based operator has villas and penthouses in Uruguay, Brazil, Argentina, Guatemala and Ecuador that are available to guests who have booked its exclusive, a la carte itineraries, which might include Patagonian trekking or guided dives amongst sea turtles in the Galapagos. The company recently expanded to the Mediterranean as well. 800 256 5307

Africa

Blue Views: This South African operator owns and manages 29 luxury apartments and villas within walking distance to choice Cape Town beaches Camps Bay and Bakoven. All bookings include personal greeters, concierges, babysitting services and daily housekeeping, and many listings have pools and gyms. +27 21 438 0032

Explore, Inc.: Founder Cherri Briggs, who spends half the year in Africa, and co-operates a conservation and community organization in Zambia, creates custom itineraries throughout Botswana, South Africa, Zambia, Kenya, Tanzania and the Seychelles. Her residential portfolio, which can be booked individually or as part of a custom itinerary, includes fully staffed, privately owned villas, luxury safari camps on remote game reserves, and a penthouse at the One&Only Cape Town. 970 871 0065

New Zealand

Touch of Spice: Personal “Travel Curators” provide one-on-one concierge services to guests in beachfront estates on the Bay of Islands, luxury Queenstown lodges and penthouse apartments in Auckland. Custom itineraries might include tee times at private golf courses, or helicoptering to a private beach for stargazing a deux. +64 3 450 0855

Global

Villas & Apartments Abroad: Sylvia Delvaille Jones’ collection of nearly 900 properties are situated around the world and encompass everything from rambling Scottish castles to a Gaudi-esque Barcelona apartment to a four-acre private island off of Bora Bora. Most residences are fully staffed, and all are serviced by local management companies. Jones’ regional teams can pull off impressive feats, such as private concerts or last-minute opera tickets. 212 213 6435

Ultravilla: A specialist supergroup connecting several top-tier agencies with different geographic concentrations, Ultravilla was founded by Ileana von Hirsch of Five Star Greece, Madelyn Byrne of Paris Perfect, Andrew Loyd of Loyd Townsend Rose and Marina Gratsos of Carpe Diem. For users, the Ultravilla network serves as a pre-vetting measure, not an aggregate, since member agencies are carefully scrutinized by Ultravilla before they can join.

Red Savannah: Founded in 2011 by a former Abercrombie & Kent director, this bespoke tour outfitter and rental company has private homes, villas and estates in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. The company specializes in bespoke experiences as well as luxe lodgings, connecting travelers with local experiences like croissant-making with a French baker in St.-Remy or snowmobiling over Arctic fjords in Norway. 855 468 5555

Time & Place: From red-carpet access at Cannes, to a private masala chai tasting in Kolkata, the concierges at this global agency can make it happen. Listings are divided by beach, ski and leisure, and canvas estates, villas and luxury lodges across the Caribbean, Asia, Europe and the Americas. 866 605 3542

Kid & Coe: Parents hoping to travel en famille without sacrificing style look to this chic global collection of child-friendly apartments, sea-facing villas, ski chalets and cottages. Handpicked listings might be located in central London or on a remote Brazilian beach -- but all are stocked with high chairs, cribs, toys and sitter recommendations. 212 905 6065

Eleven Experience: Founded by a Blackstone Group exec (and fly-fishing enthusiast) in 2011, this small, swanky collection of chalets, mansions, beach homes and landmark lodges are all fully staffed. The company creates customized, adventure-focused itineraries for every booking. Want to try your hand at Alpine heli-skiing, trek across glaciers in Chilean Patagonia or kite-surf in the Bahamas? You’ve come to the right place(s). 970 349 7761

One Fine Stay: If Airbnb’s community were entirely populated by urban sophisticates with five-star-worthy homes, the result might resemble One Fine Stay. Since launching in 2009, the U.K.-based company has maintained a curated portfolio of high-end apartments and residences in major international cities—London, Paris, New York, Rome and Los Angeles. Fine linens, bath amenities, and an iPhone loaded with insider tips are found in every rental, and personal greeters and an on-call support center provide dedicated service. 917 383 2182

Private Residences by SLH: Small Luxury Hotels manages this collection of chalets, villas, mansions and yachts in 15 countries worldwide. Properties include standalone residences and developments located alongside brand hotels, and are equipped with chefs and concierges. Best of all, bookings automatically guarantee guests top-tier status in SLH’s loyalty club. +44 0 203 308 9006

Preferred Residences: The 80-plus villas, bungalows, condominiums and penthouse apartments in this portfolio are serviced by Preferred Hotel Group, a global collection of independent luxury hotels. Most are rentable residential units on hotel grounds that come with guest perks, such as complimentary massages, a fully stocked refrigerator and airport transfers for guests in a two-bedroom oceanfront bungalow at Hawaii’s Mauna Lani. The company also operates a membership-based residences exchange club for owners at eight resorts. 855 384 7242

BeMate: If the idea of giving up a concierge, daily housekeeping, and 24-hour luggage storage is too much for you, consider booking one of these hand-picked apartments in six global capitals (New York, Miami, Malaga, Amsterdam, Madrid, Barcelona, Istanbul, Florence). Hand-picked by Room Mate Hotels, each private home in the collection is walking distance from one of the brand’s hotels, and provides guest status and services, plus a 3G Internet mobile device for local connectivity.

Welcome Beyond: Berlin-based brothers Oliver and Chris Laugsch share a passion for architecture and design, and personally inspect every listing in their stylish, quirky portfolio. Properties that make the cut are alternatively unusual (there is an entire residential category “Yurts & igloos”) and high-end (e.g., a modernist chalet in South Tyrol, Italy).

Natural Retreats: Retreat Managers serve as personal concierges at lodges, country cabins and lush manors in more than 30 destinations in North America and Europe, arranging excursions, delivering breakfast hampers and planning special events. Listings span a luxe log cabin in Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountain, and mod two-bedroom bungalows at Castlemartyr Estate in Ireland. +35 30 1513 5986

Spaces 42: “Rustic” is a four-letter word at this U.K.-based company representing a curated collection of sleek, contemporary private homes around the world. In addition to a cluster of designer digs in Ibiza, the portfolio spans Europe, North America and Australia, with additional listings in Thailand, Indonesia, Brazil, Mexico, Kenya and Morocco.  +44 0797 354 8099

Club-Based Rentals

Joining a membership-based company requires a considerable down payment—but the payoff can mean a personal vacation advisor, 24/7 on-the-ground concierge service, and even savings. Three we love:

Inspirato with American Express: This membership-based private club leases residences in glam vacation destinations (Vail, Riviera Maya) and renovates them to the tune of $50,000 - $70,000 before exclusively renting them to club members. The company also partners with luxury hotels such as St. Regis and Belmond to offer members sole use of suites in Bali, Aspen and beyond. Initiation fees start at $4,200, plus $275 monthly dues (reduced to $50 per month for Amex cardholders) and entail unlimited access to listings in 500 destinations worldwide; plus VIP experiences such as members-only Silversea Cruises or Antarctic expeditions; and elevated status and benefits from partner companies Avis, Peloton and Regal Wings.

Getaway 2 Give Collection: Half of the $15,000 initiation fee to this membership-based, philanthropic travel community is a tax deductible donation to the nonprofit of your choice. Members pay rates reduced by 30-60% to stay at villas and yachts in 30 countries worldwide. Five percent of bookings costs goes to their preferred charity. The company has raised more than $4 million to date for organizations such as ALS, The Adoption Exchange and American Diabetes Association.678 506 2700

Exclusive Resorts: Tiered enrollments in this private club require a $70,000-$220,000 activation fee, after which members can travel 20 days per year, for a period of five to 30 years. During their memberships, nightly rates at 400+ luxury residences are fixed annually ($1250 per night in 2016). Residences span 70 destinations, ranging from a three-bedroom beach house in San Sebastian to a family-friendly, ski-in/-out chalet in Deer Valley, Utah, to a four-bedroom estate with a private hammam outside of Marrakech, Morocco The company provides five-star-hotel-style services, such as Vacation Ambassadors to help plan customized itineraries, on-site concierges and housekeeping staff, and pre-stocked cupboards upon arrival.

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