Hawaii, the Hamptons, and the New England coast have become as popular with renters as the hills of Tuscany. The new territory: Whistler, British Columbia, and California's wine country. Domestic rentals used to be a straightforward business facilitated by local real estate agents, but new villa companies are stepping in and offering concierge-based services. Summer is obviously the key time to visit coastal destinations. But if you book in early September, when school is back in session, you'll find better rates. For ski properties, January (following the holidays) and late spring are the best times to find deals.
The Regional Players
Time & Place, which features houses that are architecturally or historically significant in its portfolio, has properties in Nantucket, Palm Springs, and Washington, D.C., as well as New Zealand.
BeautifulPlaces and its sister company, Country Sojourns, are relative newcomers, but in just three years they have developed a stable of impressive houses throughout Napa and Sonoma (and France).
Tropical Villa Vacations is one of the premier agencies for Hawaiian villas, though their inventory is based primarily on Maui, with a sprinkling on other islands. l Villazzo, the brainchild of Christian Jagodzinski, an Internet mogul with exacting standards, works with a dozen multimillion-dollar properties in Aspen, Miami, St.-Tropez, and Marbella. Each is run by a manager located nearby.
Related: U.S. + Canada Travel Guide
Entrée Canada has cornered the market on luxury rentals up north. The company can also arrange just about any service or side trip, from a last-minute dinner for 20 to cleaning a 15-room house for allergy-sensitive guests.
Also worth a look Pure Kauai, Villas of Distinction, and Carpe Diem Luxury Travel
Under $5,000 a week
The Longhouse, Kauai Secluded year-old one-bedroom house built with imported hardwoods and set high on a hill; comes with ocean views, soaking tub, large lanai, and outdoor Jacuzzi. Ka Hale O Luina; $4,500 a week.
Bella Luna, Bennett Valley, California Private three-bedroom estate with manor house and cottage, six miles from Santa Rosa; includes outdoor pool and sleek kitchen; concierge service available. BeautifulPlaces; $6,500 a week.
Entrée Canada Exclusive, Whistler, British Columbia Luxe log cabin with four bedrooms, an outdoor hot tub, and large fireplace; set in the woods, minutes from the ski resort; staff included (chef, driver, housekeeper). Entrée Canada; $21,315 a week.
Windmill Heights, Nantucket Shingled six-bedroom house on a hill near town with 360-degree island views; comes with wine cellar, outdoor pool, art gallery, and five fireplaces. Time & Place; $28,000 a week.
Sky's the Limit
Casa Contenta, Miami Beach 11,000-square-foot, six-bedroom Spanish colonial manse on exclusive Palm Island; includes a home theater, heated pool with waterfall, two outdoor Jacuzzis, beach volleyball court, full gym, private dock, and floating deck. Villazzo; $70,000 a week.