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The travel industry is changing, and so too are mindsets and expectations of the every day traveler. Where the 5 star hotel was once the luxury experience that we all craved, experiences are now edging towards more relaxed vacations where wellness, independence and privacy are prioritized.

So it’s no surprise that luxury villas have become the trend, tempting travelers with offers of exotic locations, private beach access, and personal chefs.

For the traveler eager to avoid crowded swimming pools, expensive food, and the general busyness that a hotel atmosphere brings, here are 5 reasons that should convince you to choose a luxury villa rental for your next trip.

Reasons You Should Choose a Luxury Villa Over a Hotel Room

Hotels Can’t Match the Privacy

One of the biggest perks of staying in a luxury villa is the privacy. And it’s offered at a level that even 5 star hotels can’t beat.

When you book to stay in a villa you have a whole property to yourself, for guaranteed peace and serenity.  The exclusivity of your own residence means that there are no obnoxious neighbors, and no other travelers to share your space with.

If you find a villa with a gym, you can sweat without anyone looking; villa’s are so private that you can swim naked if that’s your thing!

Reasons to stay in a villa over a hotel.

Villa Amy – Bali. Photo courtesy of Eats & Retreats

Hotels Can’t Match the Rates!

One of the biggest misconceptions about luxury travel is the assumption that hotels offer the best rates. But if you’re traveling with a group of people, or booking an extended stay, you’ll probably find that few hotels can compete with the value of money you get from renting a luxury villa.

Whether you’re looking for two bedrooms or twelve, the room rates are often more affordable than a 5-star hotel. And with self contained facilities, like a full kitchen, laundry, and other amenities like a swimming pool and gym, you’ll also save significantly on expensive charges for food, drink, and activities.

Depending on the size of your family or group, a villa could cost as little as $100 per person or couple per night. And that’s for an exclusive property, often with a private pool, beach access, and separate pavilions. Try finding a luxury hotel for the same value!

Reasons to stay in a villa over a hotel.

Villa Galam, Phuket. Photo courtesy of Eats & Retreats

Incredible Locations

A definite perk of booking a luxury villa is ensuring an incredible location. There are beachfront properties, stunning seascapes, and incredible jungle escapes.

And nothing beats the perfection of having the location to yourself, without the crowds. Villas often offer more secluded locations than hotels, a comfortable distance away from the tourist trail. And as an individual property, they are able to secure more exclusive locations, whether that be on a beachfront, or the edge of a cliff.

Of course hotels offer scenic locations too, though the hectic atmosphere can dampen the most pleasant of views.

Reasons to stay in a villa over a hotel.

Villa Baan Arun, Koh Samui. Photo courtesy of Eats & Retreats.

You’ve Never Had So Much Space

When you jump between hotels you’re often moving from one room to the next. But villas have an intrinsic sense of space, which may even be more than you’re used to at home!

Think open kitchens, grand living rooms, and professionally designed outdoor pavilions. “Antique and reclaimed wood furniture, elegant interiors with collectible paintings, tropical gardens with day beds, balconies facing the beach, and spacious bathrooms with baths overlooking nature.” Some even come with cinema rooms.

Ultimately, villas offer more space per dollar you pay. While you might enjoy a spacious suite at a 5 star hotel, villas are far more than hotel counterparts, not only in terms of interiors but also extending outdoors.

Reasons to stay in a villa over a hotel.

Photo courtesy of Eats & Retreats.

A Totally Personalized Stay

Staying in luxury villa means being able to travel to your own beat. There is a level of personalisation with this experience that hotels just can’t match. Essentially, you have your own private hotel, and you can customize your experience entirely to your tastes.

Looking to work out? Find a villa with a state of the art gym. Traveling to unwind? Choose a secluded location with an en-suite spa. Booking a family trip? Choose something with bunk beds, game rooms and a cinema.

As a guest at a private property, you enjoy the freedom to set your own schedule. You don’t have to worry about what time breakfast finishes, or what time the pool opens, everything is on your time.

And then there’s the food. Once you’ve eaten at a hotel for a couple of days, you’ll notice that the food becomes repetitive. But when you book a private villa you can whip up your own feast, enjoy your meals in a new setting every day, or have a local chef peronalize a menu to your exact needs.

This is particularly beneficial for picky eaters or those who travel with dietary requirements; you can eat whenever you want, and control exactly how the food is prepared.

Reasons to stay in a villa over a hotel.

Photo courtesy of Eats & Retreats.

Competition Winner: Ela Teodosio!!

Winning Entry:

I was in Thailand with my travel buddy in November 2016. We almost died at the Kanchanaburi Death Railway, literally.

We loved it so much that we went in too deep into the tracks, we didn’t realize our train to Bangkok was back, until it made that iconic choo choo! The bad thing was, WE WERE ON ITS WAY. The worst thing was that it was the last train for the day and we can’t miss it. I don’t think we ever ran faster in our lives, but still not fast enough.

It was just like the movies. Everything moved in slow motion as we tried to make it to the little space allotted for tourists to watch the train pass by. We can’t see the train behind the mountain wall, but basing on the other tourist’s hand signal for hurry, the train was almost upon us. We made it with barely few seconds to spare.

But that was not the end of it. My friend and I knew we had no other option but to board the moving train, so we did, JUST WHEN THE CAR DOOR WE JUMPED INTO WAS LEAVING THE BEND, ONE MISSTEP WOULD HAVE SENT ME FLYING TO THE RIVER BELOW. But it was so exhilarating that we could just laugh, until we looked up and saw three train officers staring at us with shocked faces. We jumped into the officers’ cars! Of all the train cars!

We had maybe two seconds of stunned silence before they started shouting at us. We couldn’t understand Thai but we got the gist, what we did was prohibited and we could have died. Also, they would have been in huge trouble if that happened. Realizing we didn’t get a word though, they just sent us into the train while scratching their heads.

We spent the five hour train ride worrying that police are waiting for us in Bangkok. We arrived just in time for sunset, it was a beautiful afternoon, and there were no cops. Thank God!

 ➡ 4 night stay at Villa Lamyai for up to 6 people. View website.

Excluded dates:

⥇ Feb 09 – Feb 25 2018.

⥇ Mar 23 – Apr 08 2018.

⥇ Aug 01 – Sep 02 2018.

⥇ Dec 21 – Jan 10 2019.

➡ Bed and breakfast for up to 6 guests.

➡ Option to extend your stay at a 25% discount depending on availability.

➡ Voucher valid for 13 months.

➡ The prize is accommodation (bed and breakfast) only.

➡ Photos of the Villa below:

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Villa Lamyai is located in the sought after North East part of Koh Samui, on the private gated and secure Samui Summit Estate. This exclusive gated Estate enjoys a stunning hill location, close to the sea. With an almost continuous balmy breeze the villas are naturally cooled by the onshore breeze off the Gulf of Thailand.

The Estate is just 10 minutes from the rustic airport and beautiful Cheong Mon Beach, and a short drive from Chaweng beach, with its shops and nightlife and Bophut Fisherman’s Village, with its vibrant restaurants and bars.

Open plan interiors and lush gardens

The shared spaces provide the ideal setting for you to spend time with your loved ones; the first pavilion houses an airy open plan living and dining area with high ceilings and fans, overlooking the private swimming pool.

The outside spaces are also abundant; a large grass roofed Sala pavilion and lush tropical gardens finish off the villa, providing a peaceful relaxing environment.

Entertainment in abundance

The villas are Balinese influenced, featuring a lot of natural wood, terracotta tiles and shaded and open spaces. Villa Lamyai also features multi-channel satellite TV, DVD/CD players, telephone and WIFI broadband internet connection.

There is also a tennis court at the Estate which is free to all guests; tennis rackets and balls are available at the Estate office for a small fee.

Indoor and alfresco dining

The living and dining areas incorporate a distinct fully equipped fitted kitchen complete with breakfast bar; it is fully supplied with pots, pans, cutlery, crockery, glassware etc. for 6 guests.

The spacious first villa provides a delightful setting for indoor dining, plus with full length sliding glass doors that open out onto a large terrace, it is also wonderful for alfresco dining. And if you don’t fancy cooking, a personal chef is available at an additional charge.

Swim, sunbathe and chill

The 40 square meter private swimming pool has infinity edges and sandstone sunbathing decks equipped with sun-loungers and umbrellas. It is the central focus of the villa and is fringed with lush flowers and tropical foliage, making it a truly picturesque place to kick back and relax.

Luxurious and comfortable bedrooms

Set in three separate buildings, each villa has three bedrooms, a master bedroom with both an indoor bathroom and a private outside shower, set apart from the other buildings. In another area the two other bedrooms adjoin each other (but not interconnecting) both with en-suite bathrooms, one double and one twin.

All bedrooms are fully air-conditioned and furnished to a high standard and feature full length sliding glass doors opening out onto private verandas looking over the villa’s pool and landscaped gardens.

Click to Scroll Through Photos

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The winner will be prized with a voucher for a 4 night stay at Villa Lamyai in Koh Samui, Thailand. This prize covers bed and breakfast only, for up to 6 guests. Flights and transportation are at the expense of the prize recipient. Travel must occur within 13 months of the awarding of the prize. If unused after 13 months, it will expire.

This prize has been donated by Eats & Retreats who may change the conditions of their prizes at any time. We have done our best to cover all conditions, but ultimately hold no responsibility for any change, interruption or termination of the prizes. No claims on the part of the participants shall arise in these cases.

This is not a game of skill, and a winner will be chosen at the discretion of the team at Eats & Retreats. A winner will be selected based on their comment entry, and informed via the email address they registered. By commenting on this post you consent to having your email address passed on to a representative of Eats & Retreats. Eats & Retreats is solely responsible for prize fulfillment.

Failure to claim the prize within one week of this email may lead to a new winner being drawn. You will receive your prizes directly from Eats & Retreats. All prizes are as stated and no cash alternative will be given or exchange. Competition closes at 11.59pm on Saturday 3 March 2018 GMT-8 Pacific Time (US & Canada).

Participation is free and at the participant’s own risk. All costs, taxes and fees arising in connection with the winning of a prize are in the sole responsibility of the winner. There is no right of appeal. By entering this giveaway you accept these conditions.

Ability to transfer the prize to a family member or friend: The prize must be redeemed by the prize winner. The prize winner may transfer the prize to a family member or friend in the instance that a copy of their photo ID is provided when redeemed.

Excluded dates: The prize may not be redeemed during the following date ranges: Feb 09 – Feb 25 2018. Mar 23 – Apr 08 2018. Aug 01 – Sep 02 2018. Dec 21 – Jan 10 2019.

Eats&Retreats is a Villa Rental Agency in the Asia Pacific region offering over 1000 carefully chosen private luxury villas, with swimming pools, beachfront properties, stunning seascapes, and they are constantly expanding.

They offer the best prices on the market – their properties come directly from the owners, who guarantee them the best possible rates, or they simply wouldn’t list them.

Understanding their guests and respecting their needs is what drives Eats & Retreats. Every single property listed on the site, from a small private island in Sri Lanka to a contemporary private residence in Bali, is managed by trustworthy companies and owners with whom they have enjoyed a long term relationship, which ensures complete confidence in the quality of the property and services provided. For airport transfers, private chefs, or any of the additional local services you may need, their partners are the most recommendable.


Thailand Amazon Guide

Lonely Planet Thailand

Thailand Amazon Guide

Thailand’s Islands & Beaches

Thailand Amazon Guide

 Thai Phrasebook & Dictionary


Megan is an Australian Journalist and award-winning travel writer who has been blogging since 2007. Her husband Mike is the American naturalist and wildlife photographer behind Waking Up Wild; a website dedicated to opening your eyes to the wild & natural world.

Committed to bringing you the best in adventure travel from all around the globe, there is no mountain too high, and no fete too extreme! They haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on their list.

If you enjoy getting social, you can follow their journey on FacebookTwitterYouTubePinterest and Instagram.


  1. I would like to travel to Thailand to get more in touch with my significant others roots. My gf is actually Vietnamese, but is mistaken for other Asian nationalities all the time. The irony is she was adopted by an American family during the Vietnam war as a result of Operation Babylift, and has been unable to accurately trace her roots, or reconnect with her culture. She is now middle-aged, and seeking reconnection. I have sought other means to afford a trip for us to Vietnam, and it is coming one day if I can make it happen for her. I hope that we win this trip, it would be a dream come true.

    • Thanks for your entry James! I do hope that you have the opportunity to visit Vietnam with your partner to retrace her roots at some stage :)

  2. Awesome!

    • For sure! I’m obsessed with Villa stays, and was really psyched to partner with Eats & Retreats to give this prize away :)

  3. I don’t need to be convinced to choose a luxury villa over a hotel stay, especially not in (most) Southeast Asian countries! I’ve seen some amazing villas, in beautiful locations, so much better than hotels and so much lesser expensive than hotels that are not even half as luxurious! Thailand would make for a great place to stay in a luxury villa. I went there with my husband 7 years ago but at that time, we both were too young to be able to afford even the littlest of luxury, so we ended up staying in very basic places. But I remember we looked at these super cool luxurious villas on the internet and thought to ourselves, we will return one day, when we have more money :) I hope we can go back, we have such beautiful memories associated with Thailand!

    • Fabulous Medha! Sounds like I’m preaching to the choir then haha! Thanks for your entry – I hope you and your husband do have the opportunity to visit Thailand again in the future soon!

  4. I always though villas were much more luxurious than hotels and therefore much more expensive – will certainly look out for this option when booking accomodation for my travels – love the images!

    • Not always the case! Especially if you’re traveling with a lot of people, villas can sometimes be a really fabulous (and surprising!) way to save!

  5. Wonderful! I am planning a two months trip toThailand next year and this post is exactly what I am dreaming of when I’ll go there. I dream of a little hut, made of local materials, overlooking a white sand beach, of course near the sea (a very blue one). I can see the white or straw umbrellas and a hammock hung on the terrace of my bungalow. Not to forget, I must drink a fresh orange juice and eat a slice of coconut. Start dreaming!

    • How Fabulous Iuliana! Thailand is an incredible country, and the villa experience you’ve described definitely sounds like the dream! Thanks for your entry!

  6. I didn’t stay in a luxury place when I went to Thailand, as I was poorer then! However, when I was in Bali 2 years ago, we stayed in a gorgeous luxury villa with private pool and jacuzzi! The experience was so great that I would definitely book a luxury villa again.

    • Fabulous Lisa! So glad you had an incredible time in Bali – I’m obsessed with villa experiences too, they’re so great! Thanks for your entry :)

  7. Villa Lamyai looks absolutely beautiful! I have never been to Thailand, but many friends and family members have, and they always come back with wonderful stories of adventure. I am planning a trip there within the next year, and this luxury villa would be icing on the cake!
    What a wonderful gift Eats and Retreats are giving away with this partnership! I’ve been to Japan and India and have been dreaming of a Thailand trip for a few years now. I love the food (OMG the food!), the culture, the beaches, the jungles!
    My partner is totally into adventure travel and a luxury stay like this would be awesome for the both of us!!

    • Totally with you on being most obsessed by Thai food – and obv nothing compares to Thai food in Thailand itself! Thanks for your entry! Hope you have an amazing time in Thailand this year!

  8. Let’s see…a funny story. Sadly, I’ve never been to SEA, so my story doesn’t take place there. It was my last night during my study abroad in Germany and everyone in my group was heading over to an Irish Pub for karaoke night. They begged me to come and I finally caved (I was going to be leaving for Prague early the next morning and wanted to sleep) and went with them. One of the guys convinced me to sing karaoke with him, but we couldn’t find the right song. We’re both classically trained, so we needed to leave a lasting impression on everyone. We finally settled on “The Phantom of the Opera.” You know, the one with the really high part? Yeah, that was me, screaming it out to a shocked crowd in an Irish Pub. In Germany. The best part? We actually sounded really good!

    • OMG that’s HILARIOUS! Lol I can only imagine two classically trained singers belting out Phantom of the Opera in an Irish Pub!! I actually really love that song though, so would have loved to have seen you! If I ever hear it in Karaoke in the future, I’ll probably swing around to check if it’s you :D

      Thanks for your entry :)

  9. I remember us being on a tiny tiny island in the Togeans islands in Indonesia and one morning we were leaving for another island while a bigger group were leaving for the mainland. We left our backpacks among the other groups and went to eat breakfast. Only an hour later we realised they took by mistake our bags with the other group. Fast we hired a longtail boat to catch the other boat. And 2 hours later we just caught them in time when they arrived on the mainland…and with the same longtail boat we rode another 4 hours to the other island as planned. We were lucky because right by that island it started to rain like there were no tomorrow! That was an nerv wracking experience but all ended well!

    • Oh no!! Sounds like quite the adventure though chasing down your backpacks on a longtail boat through the Indonesian archipelago! I’m glad you got them back, and just before the rain!

      Thanks for your entry :)

  10. These pictures make me so excited about my upcoming trip to Thailand. My bf and I have booked tickets to Thailand this year to celebrate our sixth anniversary however we havent booked an accomodation yet for the duration of our stay, since the trip is still months away. It would be great if we will win a stay at this luxury villa. We are looking forward to see the beaches, food and culture of Thailand from this trip. We’re even planning on enrolling on their Thai cooking lesons so that we could remember our first trip in this country through cooking food inspired by their dishes.

    • Thai Cooking classes are so much fun, you’ll have a fabulous time! My only issue is that I’m never as good as I am in the class when I get back home lol!

      Happy anniversary in advance! Thanks for your entry :)

  11. The joys of having a place to yourself is always so wonderful. Sometimes it’s almost a guilty luxury…almost! These villas look so beautiful. The hubby and I haven’t made it to Thailand in our travels as of yet but it is on our lists of must-see places. And I must admit as much as I love cooking, the idea of having a local cook is always a nice splurge that we use when traveling because it ensures that we try the local dishes at their finest.

    • Absolutely – we’ve come to really value privacy and space on our travels recently – we love finding homes away from home, and a villa is always good for that!

      Thanks for your entry!

  12. Luxury villa, that’s something I hadn’t tried and I willingly to stay while visiting Thailand this summer ❤️

    • If you haven’t yet stayed in a villa you’ll be blown away by your first time! Thanks for your entry :)

  13. I’m also a fan of villas, I’ll always choose them over hotels any day and anytime. Ill love to participate in the giveaway but looks like there will be other people who needs it badly. But it’s enticing. I can imagine what it feels like staying a luxury villa in Thailand. Meg, please do more of giveaways.

    • We think alike :D Have been prioritizing them over hotels more and more recently. Thanks for your comment, even though you’re happy to let someone else take the prize :) Will work on securing more fun giveaways like this in the future!

  14. My dream vacation is to explore the coastal areas of Thailand and Vietnam. And to spend time with locals to learn about their daily life – and hopefully participate in some of their day-to-day activities

    • That sounds wonderful Anne! I love immersing myself into local life when I’m abroad too. Thanks for your entry!

  15. The thought of SE Asia brings back a lot of fun memories. Like the time I was waiting for a shuttle pick up in Cambodia, with a friend (known as The Man of Wonders!!), and instead a scooter came to pick me up. I was loaded with a huge backpack, a smaller daypack and what not. Oh and of course there was no helmet. My friend took pictures of me as I left. The expression on my face was priceless!

    • Haha sounds hilarious! It’s always the misadventures which we remember and re-tell the most! Thanks for your entry :)

  16. Personally, luxury travel isn’t my first preference. I like to connect with locals when I’m traveling and find that staying in a luxury villa sort of separates you from people, which is the opposite of what I’m generally going for. Having said that, these pictures are gorgeous, and I definitely see the appeal! It would be fun to treat yourself to something like this once in a while. I think doing a yoga retreat at a luxury resort sounds really relaxing and quite appealing. And having a local chef personalize a menu to my exact needs? Amen! That sounds pretty damn amazing! Gorgeous pictures! Thanks for sharing.

    • We’re very similar in that we love immersing ourselves in the local communities when we’re traveling too. Though I will admit to having developed a penchant for luxury over the past few years! I like to think you can incorporate a balance of both :)

      Yoga though, that’s one activity I haven’t actually tried yet – but Asia seems to be the hot spot for it!

      Thanks for your entry!

  17. This story starts with celebrating my birthday in Xi’an China, when I decided to book a food tour. What made this food tour unique is we hopped from one hole in the wall to the next in our own Tuk Tuks! We had drinks along the way which made it incredibly fun.

    Something I didn’t realize is, depending on how you look at it, Xi’an is the start or end of the silk road. This means that there were all sorts of different cultural influences on the cuisine of this region. Going on this food tour at local little gems, trying truly authentic food from Xi’an was eye opening, all while whizzing around like a local on a Tuk Tuk. I learnt about history and food all in one go!

    Food is one of the greatest things about travel, it symbolizes the history and culture of the place you’re visiting. Getting to experience a villa and having a private chef would be the perfect way to get to know the real Thailand through an authentic gastronomic experience all while enjoying a private scenic paradise!

    • Your food tour sounds like a fabulous experience Jennefer! And a great way to celebrate your birthday – totally agree that food is a fabulous way to dive into the history and culture of a place as well as the tastes, and also a fabulous way of connecting with locals :)

      Definitely can’t beat authentic Thai if you’re a foodie! Thanks for your entry :)

  18. Villas remind me of one of my travel dreams: An overwater villa in the Maldives. Having the chance to jump off my villa deck into the water would make this traveler even happier!

    • Those villas in the Maldives truly are the dream aren’t they! Thanks for your entry!

  19. Awesome giveaway. Funny story is that I once booked a hotel for a trip to New York, but didn’t realize that there was a hotel by the same name in China. Rocked up to my New York hotel with a reservation for a stay in China. Oops!

    • Oh no! That’s no good lol I hope you managed to get a refund from the Chinese hotel! Thanks for your entry :)

  20. Eating grasshoppers in Phuket is the most unusual thing I’ve done in Asia.

    • Haven’t quite worked my way up to eating bugs yet, but that’s definitely something which ranks as unusual! Thanks for your entry :)

  21. I think the closest I ever got to stay in a luxury villa was in Thailand. It was a hotel resort in Phuket. Actually, I wasn’t even staying there. Some of my friends were and I took advantage by hanging out with them at their bar pool.. haha. If I won this prize I know which 5 people I would take for sure!

    • A private villa would be the perfect way to repay the favor of the pool! Thanks for your entry :)

  22. I have to say I’d love a great Villa stay and this looks perfect. Not sure about naked swimming though Megan.
    It was actually on Koh Samui I had my funny (not at the time) experience. I was on Koh Phangan, the next island across when I suffered a hernia getting out of a songthaew at the market. Long story short I went across to the hospital on Koh Samui and they fixed me up perfectly. First class service and surgery and I’m now back to doing Ironman triathlons. It would be great to go back and say thanks to the Dr and team who operated.

    • Oh wow, how scary James! I’m glad to hear though that the doctors were wonderful, and that you came out ok. Hopefully you’ll have the chance to visit again soon, with maybe a tad less excitement this time! :) Thanks for your entry!

  23. My wife and I are budget travellers who usually travel as a couple. So villas are quite likely to be out of budget for the two of us. However, I do see the charm in renting a villa, especially with the space it offers.

    • The fab thing about Asia is that it’s a lot cheaper than most other regions of the world, so if you do find yourself with a bit of extra cash and you’re in the region, a villa could be a fun splurge :) Thanks for your entry!

  24. Beyond awesome Meg. Location is a biggie. I recall spending time at the aquarium in Phuket, loving that quiet, gorgeous part of the island. Then I read how all types of superstars visit a world famous resort in that area. I can see why. Off the beaten path and beautiful.


    • Thanks Ryan! Location is definitely a big one – it sounds like the area around the aquarium in Phuket is a great base :) Thanks for your entry!

  25. Oh man, this place looks beautiful! Reminds me of some of the villas we’ve stayed in in places like Hawaii and Tahiti. We’ve been trying to get to Thailand for years, and even had a few offers from the Thailand Tourism Authority, but just couldn’t make it work with our schedule.

    It’s been a longtime dream of mine to visit the country. 50 years ago this summer my father had to go AWOL from the U.S. Army in order to be there for my birth. My grandfather, who was a WWII veteran, went through official channels to get him from getting court martialled. My dad got to spend about 5-6 hours with me, and then he was shipped off to Thailand, where he was stationed for about a year during the Vietnam War. I grew up hearing a lot of stories about the country, and have always wanted to see the exotic places he described.

    Hopefully I’ll get there someday!

    • Oh wow, what a story Bret – it shows how strongly he obviously cared for you that he went to such amazing lengths to be there to meet you for the first time! I’m glad to hear that he didn’t end up being court martialled.

      I do hope you have the chance to visit Thailand at some stage, especially with such strong family significance. Thanks for your entry!

  26. Wow, this place looks stunning and Koh Samui is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. I dream of going back to an incredible beach where I can stop time and just relax for a little while.

    • Definitely one of those places which calls you back time after time! Thanks for your entry :)

  27. Funny story….I have plenty, but the one that sticks out in my mind is when I was traveling in Scotland and had to go #1 and #2 and could not find a blasted bathroom. I was planning on visiting Urquhart Castle and would use the bathroom there. I miscalculated the closing time and the next town was 20 minutes away, I didn’t have 20 minutes before my entrails were going to become my entrails, I had about two seconds! So I did what any good camper/trekker would do— I decided to go bushwhacking. The problem was, is that side of the hill near Loch Ness is very steep & covered in moss. I was able to scramble and claw my way up the hill just enough to be able to look at loch ness and sit on the nice soft moss and relieve all the pressure I was under. Then I realized my second problem when I went to stand up, I sat on a sticky sort of moss that had little thorny things that attaches to your skin. So basically I became a human porcupine and drove back to my B&B as a stickered Bum, laughing at the odd situation all the way home.

    On a less embarrassing note, I would love to go to Thailand ;) I feel it has become a right of passage for all bloggers. In a way, you aren’t really considered a blogger until you have been to Thailand, lol.

    • Oh no!!! Lol though I almost thought your story was going to end that you slipped on the moss and fell down onto the road in front of everyone with pants down!! Yikes though – duly noted if I end up in Scotland haha I’ll try and keep more of a squat :D

      Thanks for your entry! Made me laugh :D

    • Shared on : FB, Twitter, Pinterest, Stumbleupon, Flipboard, and Reddit

    • Shares noted Janiel – thanks! :)

  28. I’m a huge fan of staying in luxury villas for the independence it gives me to come and go as I please, always returning to relaxing luxury. As far as a funny travel story, I’m not sure being stalked by a moose is funny but it certainly was scary. My husband and I were hiking in Montana when we saw a moose up ahead on the trail. We stopped, then decided to back up a bit to give the moose space. The moose headed for the woods then stalked us as we hiked back down the trail even coming out onto the trail to follow us. She always kept a good distance but we had enough hiking for the day at that point. Moose are grumpy and can be mean. And this one was definitely curious.

    • The independence really is huge – I love having a home away from home. And OMGoodness on the Moose!! I think I would be petrified too! At least this one was curious though instead of mean :D

      Thanks for your entry!

  29. Agreed, luxury villas as opposed to hotels can be the way to go!

    My funny story involved my first experience with an overnight bus in Asia. I was in Cambodia in 2013, and bought a ticket for one of those fancy VIP buses from Sihanoukville. It was a 10 hour bus, and as soon as I got on, I realized I had been scammed. The bus looked nothing like the pictures – there wasn’t even a bathroom on the bus for a 10 hour sleeper journey! To make matters worse, my travel partner and I had to share the tiniest compartment to sleep in. I’m a fairly tall person, at 5’10, this compartment was maybe 5.5-5.6 in length, so I had to scunch up into a little ball for the journey. A few hours into the trip, I realized I had to go pee, and not in that ‘oh I kind of have to go’ kind of way, it was the painful kind where I was probably going to pee my pants if I didn’t find a bathroom in the next 10-15 minutes. So, I go up to the three drivers (why were there 3, I have no idea?!) and try to explain that I have to use the bathroom and asked them when/if we were stopping at any point. None of them spoke English (and I unfortunately didn’t know more than hello and thank you in Cambodian), so here I was trying to gesture going to the bathroom in the middle of the night at the front of this sleeper bus. They finally get the hint, pull over, and point to the side of the road. Of course, there are no bushes or covers anywhere, we’re near the edge of some sort of cliff or steep hill, and I can’t see anything besides around the lights of the bus (I forgot my phone in the compartment). So, what can I do but pull a squat right near the lights of the bus and go pee pretty much right in front of the three drivers, who were cracking up this whole time. It was humiliating at the time, a hilarious story after the fact, and I definitely learned my lesson about a) always checking if there’s a bathroom on an overnight bus b) never trusting the pictures of what the bus will look like, and c) never drinking more than a few sips of water, especially on overnight buses. Haha, never again!

    • Oh no!! And OMG no bathrooms for 10 hours :O! I’ve taken three very valuable lessons from your story though if I ever do an overnight bus myself (I’ve done one or two in the past, but must have gotten very lucky!!) At least they pulled over for you lol I’ve read horror stories about how buses refuse to stop so guys have peed into drink bottles lol no idea what a girl would make do with though!!!

      Thanks for your entry!!

  30. I love luxury villas and they make you feel like you are always waking up in paradise and not wanting to return home. Beach Front Villas are definitely are my favourite with infinity pools, I could staying in them forever and swim naked like you said :-)

    • Absolutely! It’s a home away from home … but usually better than our home back home lol

  31. I would take luxury villas over regular hotels any day if the price tag was no issue. I had a blast in Cuba at a villa and that was heaven on earth.

    A funny story – well it isn’t funny, but the most memorable experience in SEA I have had was when I went on a snorkel trip in Koh Tao and was hit with a hail storm out in the middle of the Siam sea. It was scary, but I laugh because I went during rainy season and should have been more prepared for the conditions!

    • Oh wow! Being stuck out at sea during a storm would be crazy indeed!! Reminds me of the story I heard of scuba divers during the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami – they went out that day, but because they were so far out at sea, and underneath the ocean, they had no idea what had gone on that day. They came back up to find total devastation.

      I’m glad you came out ok! Thanks for your entry :)

  32. I got marriage proposals as I was making my way around SE Asia – I thought that was quite amusing!

    • Haha did you accept any? :)

  33. Translation fails are probably my funniest stories from Asia. I saw a sign once in a gardens which had an English translation which said “Do not disturb. Tiny grass is dreaming”. Might have been trying to say keep off the grass?!

    • Translation fails are the best! So many amusing internet memes I’ve seen from these. Yours is a funny one for sure! Thanks for your entry :)

  34. I’ve never even stayed in a luxury hotel let alone a villa. So that would be a cool upgrade from hostels.

    • If you’re traveling with a big group of people, villas can quite often be cheaper than hotels – Might be a fun splurge on your next trip :)

  35. Now, this is what I call ultimate luxury!! What an amazing opportunity to stay in a luxury villa…we all hear about those breathtaking overwater bungalows in the Maldives or Bora Bora but why not consider visiting a place like this…I know I’m convinced that this is a place we need to experience sooner rather than later.

    Ok…now for our real entry, I’m going to go with an unusual and somewhat crazy travel experience (our only prior visit to Asia included 72 amazing hours in UAE and 24 hours in Singapore – both went smoothly, so no crazy stories to share on that one!).

    Anyway, back to our story. Our European Eurail adventure was going perfectly smoothly and we had explored some amazing countries. Our itinerary saw us travel as far east as Budapest, Hungary with our plan to head down to Zagreb, Croatia before heading west to Italy. Everything was going perfectly well as we boarded the train, despite the snow en route to Zagreb. 2 1/2 hours into the train, an inspector comes by to check out tickets and ask our final destination and when we mentioned Zagreb, in a mixture of Hungarian and broken English he informed us that the trains no longer crossed the border between Hungary and Croatia.

    Our only options were to arrive at the final station and then take a taxi across the border and to Zagreb (would have cost well over 120 Euros) or hop off at the next stop, the option we chose. What we didn’t realize is that we were stranded in the middle of Hungary at a random small town train station with only one other train heading back to Budapest that night…needless to stay, we stood there for around 2 hours listening to random locals speak Hungarian and probably making fun of us for being “stranded”.

    So yeah, a luxury experience in a villa in Thailand after that experience sounds very appealing indeed :)

    • Glad we could convince you!! And oh no!! Lol that’s the worst – never amusing at the time obviously, but funny how our misadventures become the stories we retell the most!! I’m glad that you made it to Croatia in the end, and nothing truly bad went down like having to sleep overnight type of stranded. Thanks for your entry!

  36. Vila living is the life!!! I totally agree with all of your reasons, and they are why I also usually will always try to book to stay in a villa. The level of privacy is high on the list, especially if you can get your own private pool. There’s nothing better than to have the pool all to yourself and not have to share it with anyone else. And the space you’ll get is awesome too!

    • Totally agree – you can’t beat a private pool, or the space that you get with a villa. It’s the ultimate way to retreat :)

  37. Hi Megan, wow, the villa looks so inviting, I’m intrigued! Here’s my entry:

    Back in 2009, I was in Bali and climbed Mount Kintamani. It was my first mountain climbing experience and I was very nervous because I was afraid of heights. At that time, I hardly exercised, thus didn’t train for this climb. I struggled to climb Kintamani, it took me 1.5 hours to reach the summit whereas my fitter friends took only 30-40 minutes. I made it to the top of the mountain and enjoyed the spectacular sunrise views. And then it was time to come down from the mountain which I had thought would be much easier but there were loose rocks and I nearly slipped. All of a sudden, I had images running through my mind about falling off the mountain! As a result, I froze and could not move. But I had to come down or else I would be stuck up in the mountains. Then my guide offered to piggyback me down the mountain. He said, “I carry you and you give me big tip, ok”? Immediately I agreed and as soon as I hopped onto his back, he ran all the way down the mountain. But halfway he stopped to rest and I joked with him, “I’m too heavy, right?”. While panting, he nodded.


    • LOL OMG that’s too funny! Thanks for sharing your story Kat; congrats on getting to the top; similarily with Mt Kilimanjaro, it took us 7 days to climb to the summit, but only 1 to get back down, and I swear it was harder coming down because you went so fast down an almost 90 degree slope, and it REALLY took its toll on our knees!

      Thanks for your entry :)

  38. My story takes place in the Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud – I got attacked by monkeys and they tried to steal my handbag! Though I guess I’m lucky because I’ve heard stories since of other tourists being bit :S I hope I wouldn’t get attacked by animals in Thailand!!!!

    • Oh no!! I’ve heard of many tourists getting attacked by monkeys in Thailand and Bali actually lol hopefully it was playful though :D Thailand has a wonderful wildlife scene which I think you would really enjoy :)

  39. My favorite thing mentioned in the article is the privacy that villas give travelers so if they wanted to swim naked they can! What a freeing experience – with no judgement! Since I’m always on the go, my dream trip would be lounging around, nibbling on fruits, sipping on a refreshing beverage and watching a fiery sunset each and every night. I’d love to win this trip and have a moment to myself during my first time in Asia.

    • Haha everyone seems to be amused by my swimming snaked example lol! But yes, villas are amazing for the privacy – it’s the ultimate retreat :)

      It sounds like a relaxing holiday would be a great way to chill out if you’re always on the go. Thanks for your entry!

  40. I’d love to win a luxury stay in Thailand! Last year I was in Thailand and had a tiny miscommunication with my mini van driver and he ended up dumping me next to a veggie vendor in the middle of no where! Finally a small truck showed up and the guy decided to latch my suitcase to the back of the truck with string, while he loaded the bed of the truck with eggs. I don’t think it was an ‘official’ public transportation but beggars can’t be choosy when dropped off in the middle of nowhere. Of course arriving at my (future) luxury villa stay via egg truck might be pretty funny. :D

    • Oh no!! Lol at least you got a funny story out of the deal :D And I’m glad that you made it back alright :)

      Thanks for your entry!

  41. My favorite funny travel story was one I heard about the guy who broke up with his girlfriend but already had a round the world trip booked, so he took a stranger with the same name on the holiday instead!

    • I heard about that too – very clever way to avoid paying the change of name fee!! Thanks for your entry :)

  42. Hey Meg! Not gonna lie, I didn’t realise there was a difference between a fancy pants hotel room and a luxury villa. Though a luxury villa sounded boring, but with the right crew it’d be sweet.

    Would be slightly different to a lads trip in Vegas a few years back. 6 of us reunited, flying in from NZ, Aussie, and the UK. We rented two twin rooms in the Flamingo, there were some cozy nights. Twas a good incentive to get back to the rooms first so you could choose the bed you wanted, but then the last soldier would have to choose who they’d be snuggling with eventually.

    Sensational times.

    • Glad we could give you an overview of the differences :) The social scene of a villa is definitely a lot less than a hotel, but as you said, with the right group of people it would make for a fabulous holiday.

      Lol and sounds like a great way to bond re your lads trip to Vegas!! Thanks for your entry :)

  43. This villa looks gorgeous! It’s always a challenge to stay in hotel rooms as a family of four and this villa meets all the family-friendly check boxes. My unusual story (though not in Asia) happened last month. We were about to zipline in Kauai when we all got a text alert of a missile heading to the Hawaiian islands and it was not a drill. With the political situation between North Korea and the US, it was easy to believe.

    Our guides rushed us out and asked them to follow them in our cars. We were scared and drove as fast as we could through a jungle not knowing where they were taking us. The radio was telling us to go inside asap and stay away from windows. They eventually took us to a lava tunnel where we waited until it was confirmed it was a false alarm. But, in those 20 minutes or so, many of us thought the worst and ever prayed so hard. Needless to say, it was the start of an unforgettable zip line adventure. It kinda makes me wish we were going back to a beautiful villa like this after that ordeal.

    • Oh wow! I remember hearing about that on the news, though how scary to have actually been caught up in it!! I’m so glad that you’re ok, but obviously, so terrifying at the time!

      Thanks for your entry … travel safe!

  44. I have always liked the thought of staying in a villa on a holiday, but being a budget traveler that’s usually out of bounds for me. I am not a sea person maybe mainly because of not typical white sand beaches in India(sadly I’ve never been to any gorgeous beach outside India). So yeah. this Eats and Retreats is like a dream villa for me, hope I get selected through my entry –
    “I was in Prague, staying in a cheap smelly Airbnb apartment, so I stayed out most of the times. Out wandering I entered into a typical Swarovski souvenir shop, where I wasn’t planning to buy anything ;) I was just admiring those beautiful souvenirs when the sales guy came to me asking me if I need anything. But seconds later he recognized I’m from India and we got to chatting. I have heard people say India is a cheap country and so affordable, but this guy told me that he loves Indian food – yes the typical spicy Indian food and the deserts. He also told his girlfriend didn’t like spicy food, but he still manages to convince her to travel to India. That did make my day, I felt so good knowing there are people who love India not only for being cheap but for other things too! I still have this memory fresh with me, even I remember the guy’s face vaguely as well.”
    I would love to have more memories like this, and Thailand is famous for stunning white sand beaches, so in my dream travel places!!

    • sounds like a wonderful memory Shivani! I always find that the people I connect with on the road make the most lasting impressions, and are the biggest highlight.

      Thanks for your entry!

  45. My story is from our last visit to Bangkok when hubby and I decided to take a boat ride to Chinatown. Hubby didnt realise at the time, instead of tickets on the local ferry he purchased tickets on a traditional long boat which due to low tide sit much lower in the water. With instructions of ‘put your hands here, feet there’ I managed to get onto the boat, but when it came time for us get off, the jetty was way higher than before and I couldn’t climb up. My hubby was having a quiet chuckle watching these two tiny Asian men pulling me up onto the jetty. But it was my turn for a belly laugh when it turned out, he also couldn’t manage to get himself up onto the jetty designed for larger vessels. Yep, the two slender Asian men had to hoist my not so small hubby back to terra firma. Needless to say we both caught the ferry on our return trip.

    • Haha oh no!! Defnitely sounds like karma turned around on your hubby for him having laughed at you lol! At least you got the proper ferry on return :D

      Thanks for your entry!

  46. Yes, travel doesn’t always goes to plan and reading peoples stories here prove that. It sounds like many awkward moments for lots of people. But I think these are the moments which people remember most.

    • Absolutely Ian, our misadventures are often our most cherished adventures!

  47. I was on a British Airways flight a couple of years ago, and I kid you not, it turned around just 30 minutes into the flight from Heathrow to Dubai because of … a smelly poo! The plane literally turned around because the smell from the toilet was so unbearable. So that’s my unusual story for you :)

    • Are you kidding?! OMG that’s a little crazy … trying to imagine how bad it must have been to have had to turn the plane around – my gosh!

      Thanks for your entry!!

  48. Thailand is still on our list. Can’t believe we haven’t made it there yet. The Villa sounds fabulous. Shhh… You had me at swimming naked in privcy. We once had an apartment in China, Beijing. The idea of being able to prepare her own food was something we were looking forward to as we’d already been traveling for quite a while. However when we went to the grocery store, we didn’t know what anything was.

    • Haha I always find visiting a local grocery store in a new country an adventure in itself – especially when there’s a language barrier! I agree though, cooking for yourself is often a treat when you’re overseas :)

      Thanks for your entry!

  49. One of my favourite travel memories was from when my husband and I went to Orlando. We went for a day at the Wet N Wild water park before it closed and was trying out the rides. There was one that we nicknamed the Mega Wedgie as that is exactly what it gave you lol. I can’t remember the real name of it but it was basically a huge slide that was more or less and straight drop down and we both ended up with our swim outfit riding up. I went first and it felt like I was a block of cheese getting cut up with cheese wire. I got off the ride and composed myself before my husband took his turn as I wanted to get a picture of him. His face said it all lol.

    • Oh no!! Lol you did well though to compose yourself to take a photo of your hubby’s reaction!! At least though, your trunks stayed on lol I’ve seen a couple of Youtube videos where rides like that take loose bathing suits straight off!

      Thanks for your entry!

  50. This looks like a great prize. I have never stayed in a luxury villa, my only villa stay was with a large group for a wedding in Malta, most of which (including the bride) came down with food poisoning the day before the wedding. Not the greatest timing, and not the greatest villa experience.

    This on the other hand, looks fabulous. Luxury, privacy, being close to the beautiful beaches AND the option of a private chef. I am SOLD!

    Oh, also, I have never been to Asia. I know, I know. There are many places on my bucket list but I never quite made it. Yet!

    • Oh no!! Sorry to hear that Dylan. I actually escaped a similar sounding story at my own wedding – we got married in Hawaii and a mad gastro bug was sweeping through the hotel a couple of days before – half my wedding party weren’t well for the days leading up to it … always difficult when one person in a group catches something and then passes it onto the rest!

      Thanks for your entry! Hope you have the chance to visit Asia soon :)

  51. We rented a luxury villa in Orlando, Florida, and just like you said, it’s perfect for when you want some privacy and peace. It’s a great option for the crowded places or the relaxing trips! Also you’re right that hotels can’t match the prices!

    • Glad to hear from another fan of the villa over the hotel! I’m a bit obsessed with the villa experience at the moment – Orlando sounds like a great place to get a villa!

  52. Myself and my girlfriend visited Iceland last year and she insisted on buying a Gopro to film the trip. She made such a fuss about it, though in the end it turns out that she didn’t know how to operate it properly, and had it on when it was supposed to be off, and off when it was supposed to be on! The footage we got amounted to literally nothing … some of us snoring throughout the night, but otherwise, nothing!

    • Haha oh no!! Guessing she’s had her filming privileges revoked now lol!

      Thanks for your entry :)

  53. That does look quite amazing. I’ve stayed in luxury villas in Italy – and I love the freedom it gives you. Strangely I’ve never thought of doing it in Asia…

    • Asia is one of the best places for it, mainly due to the exchange rates and value for your $$. They have some of the most incredible properties, in some of the most stunning natural locations. Can highly recommend it if you find yourself in Asia in the future :)

  54. It was in Ao Nang, Thailand, my husband thought it may be a good idea to rent a scooter to get around this cute beach town. Except the scooter was more like a motorcycle, two very different things. To the locals’ amusement and dismay, we were constantly backing up by accident into their open-air restaurants and stores. Thankfully, we didn’t break anything or hurt anyone.

    • Ah yes I’ve heard that the terms scooter and motorcycle are used quite interchangeably in different parts of the world!! Glad you didn’t have any accidents! Sounds like you put on quite the show for everyone though :D

      Thanks for your entry!

  55. I think Villas are perfect for a group stay, especially family outings when you do not want any interference from other guest or a restricted space or spread across floors in a hotel. Villa can be your own luxury in a destination. However, for solo or couple travel, I would still stick to hotels both for the price and for security.

    • Totally perfect for a group stay, and usually a lot cheaper in this instance. And you’re right about it becoming your own luxury destination. If you’re a fan of the security and social atmosphere when you travel solo hotels definitely win from that standpoint :)

  56. Once me and my wife were lodging near Yosemite National Park. After dinner, with a juicy steak, American style, we were walking back to our room, while we heard a strange noise near the stairs. It was pitch dark so we had to use our cellphone light to see what was it all about. It turned out it was a pretty big raccoon trying to find his dinner in the trash. When he saw us, he started slowly approaching. I yelled at him to stay away, so every few steps, in stead than running, he stood on his back legs and raised his front paws in the air. Then kept advancing. My wife stood still, not knowing what to do. He approached her, bit a little of her mountain boots, as if he wanted to sample her, and then walked away. Even today we have no idea if it’s normal behaviour for a raccoon or not!

    • Oh no!! Lol I actually have no idea if that’s normal behaviour either – I would have thought yelling at it would for sure scare him off! I guess if they’re used to human contact / interaction though they’re probably more ballsy in their approach! Would have still been terrified!

      Thanks for your entry :)

  57. I would really prefer to stay in a luxury villa over a hotel room and exactly for all the reasons you mentioned in your post. Also, I don’t think a hotel is that pretty and nice and the ones in the post. Wow, those views are just amazing. I love the fact that you can choose to eat wherever you want and are not obliged to a time and the type of food they serve. You can choose the place to eat or even cook something yourself. And above all, I love the fact of having a private pool.

    • I agree that villas usually outrank hotels in terms of the luxe factor. There are some pretty incredible villa designs out there!

      Food is definitely a major perk too – I love hotel breakfasts but hate that I have to be up before 10am for most of them – I’m on holiday, sometimes I want to sleep in and eat at 12 lol!!

      Thanks for your entry!

  58. This looks amazing! I’ve never been to SEA, but it’s on the list!
    Sight seeing in Paris with a baby in a carrier on my back, I startled many security officers who were annoyed I wasn’t taking off my backpack for inspection, only to laugh when I explained it was a bebe. Every time there were lots of laughs…it was my own repeated prank. :)

    • OMgosh that’s too funny! Lol I hope they didn’t scan him through the conveyor belt :D!

      Thanks for your entry!

  59. I love villas for exactly the reason you stated: privacy. There are so many gorgeous ones in east Asia. I’m eyeing a few right now! Thailand is my fave — they know how to build memorable accommodations. Great giveaway!

    • Glad you enjoyed the post – if you’re heading through Asia soon definitely check out the collection of villas at Eats & Retreats :)

  60. The Curious Explorers are off to hawaii this summer and we are thinking about looking into a luxury villa instead of paying over the odds for a luxury hotel. This post has probably pushed me to look into this idea a bit more (need that private pool lol). Fantastic post and great giveaway. :)

    • A luxury villa in Hawaii would be an amazing way to enjoy the islands – definitely check out the price difference – you might be surprised! Happy travels :) Glad you enjoyed the post!

  61. I completely agree with you here – especially in Asia! I had an amazing stay at a villa in Bali with my family a few years ago. We had huge bedrooms, two swimming pools and staff taking care of all our meals – all cheaper than staying at a luxury hotel!

    • Sounds amazing Anne! Definitely a good choice for a memorable family break. Thanks for your entry :)

  62. What a beautiful villa! We have a lot of great memories from Asia, and some colorful ones like the time we were chased by a water buffalo. My husband and I had our first long trip together through Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Cambodia and Taiwan. Such a beautiful part of the world. I think it’s time that we take our kids to Thailand – it’s such a beautiful and interesting corner of the world!

    • Aren’t they! The whole Eats & Retreats collection is stunning! Chased by a water buffalo??! OMG! I would have been terrified lol!

      Thanks for your entry :)

  63. I learnt quite a bit about making sure to properly do your research before a trip when I went and stayed at The Farm in the Philippines. This is a gorgeous resort about 2 hours outside Manila. I intended to be healthy during the trip but planned to do lots of exercise and not drink alcohol. That was enough for me. Anyway I arrived and found out that the whole place was vegan only and most of the food was raw food. It was ok the first couple of days but I was there for a week! And there was no dairy so I could only have black coffee. I got the driver to take me to McDonalds on the way back to the airport at the end – best cheeseburger ever!!!!

    • Oh wow, research is definitely key!! I don’t think I would have lasted for a full week lol – I can only imagine how good that cheeseburger would have been!

      Thanks for your entry :)

  64. The place of my dreams was Dominica – which was funny because I had no idea! I didn’t even know the island existed before I went to Martinique. It’s only a ferry away so when a friend invited me I said “sure, why not”? I went and had the time of my life! Lush nature, warm people, great weather! Not unlike Thailand I imagine :)

    • How fabulous Francesca – I’ll have to add Dominica to my bucketlist, thanks for the tip!

      Thanks for your entry :)

  65. Well right off the bat you get me interested because I can’t stand busy hotels! When I booked a vacation rental instead of a hotel, I was surprised that it actually ended up being cheaper. I totally agree with you about the interiors being awesome. Ours had a ukulele and piano to play, a kids cupboard with art supplies and games, plus wonderful art works and a garden with fresh fruits and vegetables. We really just wanted to be able to cook our own food, which was why we rented the place. The neighbor came over and brought a dozen fresh eggs for our family to eat, something that never would have happened at a hotel. Our experience with a villa was just as you described and we would definitely pick one over a hotel any day. Thanks for the great article.

    • Sounds like the villa experience is for you Chris! Vacation rentals are often cheaper than hotels, which really is surprising when you figure you get way more space, more privacy, and usually more amenities!! Villa stays are very similar in that sense :)

      Sounds like you found an amazing vacation rental though – a lot for the kids to do too; and how amazing to be able to connect with such lovely neighbors!

      Thanks for your entry, and so glad you enjoyed the post!

  66. I have never stayed in a Luxury villa before. As many people,I assumed they were much more expensive than hotels. But the perks seem amazing! I’d love to try a villa with a spa, it sound super relaxing!

    • Definitely do a price comparison between a hotel vs a villa on your next trip – you might be pleasantly surprised! A villa with a spa is definitely the best kind :D

      Thanks for your entry!

  67. So this post made me think of what type of traveler I am. So I can 100% agree that a luxury villa can offer many great benefits like exotic locations, personalized attention, & great amenities. It even makes sense that for group travel it can help keep finances in check which I personally love.
    However, for my personality, I dont know if I can handle the exclusivity and silence for too long. I love the noise of people around me. Makes me feel alive. Dont get me wrong, I would love to win the Luxury Villa in Thailand but after 3 days I may go stir crazy!

    • Glad we could inspire you to reflect on your travel style – always good to assess your personality against an experience, because they won’t always align. If you thrive off the noise, and enjoy being right in the thick of the atmosphere, hotels in that case would probably be more your style :)

  68. My daughter and I were traveling through Europe and we had a flight to catch from London to Rome – we made sure we arrived at Heathrow 2 hours before hand though couldn’t figure out why our flight wasn’t showing up on the departure boards. The woman at the British Airways desk kindly pointed out that we were supposed to be at Gatwick instead, and that with transport times, we wouldn’t make it. Luckily they were kind enough to cancel out flights from Gatwick and put us on standby for one leaving Heathrow. As it turned out, two people didn’t show up, so we got on the standby flight. I always wondered if those two people had made the same error we did, but in reverse!

    • Haha a very familiar story! The same thing happened to myself and my mother on a London – Rome trip ;)

      Thanks for your entry!

  69. Ooooh I love luxury villas! I was in Thailand a couple of years ago now, and it was my first Songkran (biggest water fight in the world!!); I didn’t put much thought into my clothes, though made the mistake of wearing a white shirt – went totally see through :O!!!

    • Oh no!!! Hope you were wearing at least a bra underneath lol!

      Thanks for your entry :)

  70. We were drinking in Russia during a past trip, hitting up bars, and there was a LOT of vodka. In the end my friend got so smashed that he started telling everyone at the bar that I was an American spy!!! Luckily, we got out of there alive but I was like SHUT UP!!!! I chose to take him home pretty quickly that night, and luckily could communicate in Russian that he’s very drunk (not a spy btw).

    • OMGosh!! That could have ended rather violently! Or maybe I’ve seen too many movies lol but that’s the equivalent of saying bomb at an airport surely! Glad you both escaped lol I would be putting that friend on friend probation!

      Thanks for your entry :)

  71. We have been tempted a few times to consider a luxury villa. We generally travel just as a pair, so that does often make a villa expensive for us. But if we are travelling as a family, you are right and this might be good financially. I like the idea of privacy, much more space and a more personalized experience. But I am not really sure I want to cook all the time when I travel. So maybe if I can find a villa with a chef, that would work!

    • Most villas come with the option for a private chef, so there’s definitely no worries there :) Can definitely recommend pricing it out if you have an upcoming family trip – usually beats hotels hands down when you’re splitting it between a group :)

  72. We have never done luxury travel. But you’ve tempted us! The privacy definitely would be a perk. And the possibility of finding a place more customized to what you want and need like you guys mentioned. Anyways, great post and so awesome you’re having a giveaway!

    • Glad we could tempt you! I started out as a budget traveler in my late teens / early twenties, but now in my late twenties I’ve developed quite a taste for a bit more comfort and privacy! I have no doubt you’ll experience luxury travel at some stage – the first time after having traveled budget for so long is always the most memorable!

      Thanks for your entry :)

  73. Luxury Villas are a great option for travel. We just stayed at a luxury villa in Costa Rica with 22 friends (yes there was 24 of us!). What made the villa special was that the host was our private concierge. They arrange a pig roast feast on our final night and set up private transportation of people who needed to deviate from the group activities. They even set up bus service in country for us that was a thousand dollars less than we found on our own. Apart from the accommodations, having your own concierge is pretty fantastic.

    • Wow Costa Rica sounds like an epic group trip! And especially for the services they included as part of the stay – totally agree that having your own concierge is fantastic. And what a score on the cheaper private bus transportation!

      Thanks for your entry :) Maybe Thailand can be the next destination for a group vacation!

  74. Your note about swimming naked reminded me of an amusing story I have from my time in Australia; we were told by the friends I was visiting that the local beach was a nude beach, and that they would meet us down there later in the day. We got there early in the morning before anyone else, so stripped of and went swimming. Turns out they were playing a joke on us, which we realized when families starting rocking up at the beach for the day … it was definitely NOT a naked beach!!

    • Oh no! You need better friends lol! Totally could have been worse, you could have been arrested for public nudity :S! Yikes that would have been awkward! Makes for an entertaining story though!

      Thanks for your entry :)

  75. The travel experience of my dreams is to go to Svalbard in Norway and see Polar bears. It’s a town where polar bears outnumber people and would be so cool to get to eventually!

    • That would be a cool experience indeed! Thanks for your entry!

  76. I totally agree, I must prefer renting a villa over a hotel room any day. It is especially great when the weather is warm and you can relax in a pool. The only downside I have found sometimes is when you rent a villa in a more expensive area, to get a good rate we often choose somewhere not in the centre of the town or city so need to rent a car or get taxis to get around. But now i always search for villas with restaurants and bars in the area.

    • Very true, location definitely needs to be taken into account, as sometimes the transport can be a little further than the hotels located in the main center of town. But if you’re self sufficient once you get there the transport either way isn’t always a big deal – great idea though to search for villas within easy reach of the main location you’re there for :)

      Happy travels!

  77. A luxury villa is a perfect choice if you are a group of people or a family going away on holiday. Four of us rented a villa in Mauritius and it was a brilliant choice. It worked out so much cheaper than a hotel. It was also really private so we had a totally relaxing time.

    Renting a luxury villa will always be my choice of accommodation in the future when I travel with friends. Next stop Asia! I can’t wait!

    • Absolutely Janine! A villa stay in Mauritius sounds like heaven! If you’re heading through Asia next, definitely check out the collection of villas at East & Retreats – can highly recommend their properties!

  78. I rode elephants in Thailand way back when, before there was awareness about responsible experiences, and these type of activities not being ethical. Anyway, we were in the middle of our experience when my glasses fell off, though of course before I knew it, one of the elephants behind us stepped on them!! Totally crushed them – of course I didn’t travel with contacts. Because we only had two days left of our vacation I was basically blind for the rest of the trip!

    • Oh no Angela!! Being in such a beautiful country and not being able to see would be the worst!! Lucky that it was towards the end though I guess!!

      Glad to hear that you’re making yourself more aware now re ethical wildlife experiences – something that we’re really trying to spread awareness about.

      Thanks for your entry :)

  79. Cool giveaway! An awesome experience I dream about is exploring the Pharaoh tombs in Sudan – I don’t think it’s exactly safe right now, but there are dozens of pyramids in the eastern Sahara, just east of the Nile in Sudan, and they’re supposedly totally untouched – no tourism, no commercialism, just tombs of the ancient kings of Meroë. Apparently you can get there on a four-wheel-drive expedition, camp under the stars, and meet local Nubian people. That’s my travel dream.

    • Oh wow Hannah that does sound like it would be an epic experience! I hope you get the opportunity to visit at a time when it’s a bit safer :)

      Thanks for your entry!

  80. That is an amazing prize! If only we had plans to be Thailand in the near future….

    • Always next time! If you do find yourself in Asia / Thailand in the future definitely check out the properties in the Eats & Retreats collection :)

  81. Love your reasons for choosing to stay in a luxury villa when you travel. Definitely more privacy and a potential custom experience. People like being pampered and enjoying the finer things in life, especially if that is different from their home environment.

    • Thanks Charles! Glad you enjoyed the post :) Definitely on the privacy, and enjoying an experience which is something new to being at home.

  82. Though I’ve stayed in quite a few luxury resorts, I’ve never stayed in a Villa rental! I like the concept, but somehow never stayed so far. The only thing I’m planning Eastern Countries for 2019, so I hope I’ll get to visit this resort.
    There are so many interesting travel experiences in Asia for me! My first trip abroad was to China and it was so funny, esp coz I didn’t know the language and the script looked like designer symbols!! Quite weirdly, I got appreciated for my almond shaped eyes and the some ladies gifted me small momentous just coz they liked me!!! Haha!

    • Sounds like your trip to China was a wonderful introduction to Asia Bhushavali – how kind of the local women to give you such thoughtful gifts! Lol language barriers always make for amusing mishaps overseas don’t they!

      Thanks for your entry! Hope you have the opportunity to stay in a villa for the first time soon!

  83. I haven’t really considered staying at luxury villas before, but you had me looking at some luxury villas near me.. :D .
    I actually saw a few and will be doing some more research now. haha.
    Luxury villas does sound a lot more relaxed and personalised than staying at 5 star hotels, and it sounds a lot cheaper too. The fact that you have the options to cook is by far very appealing as food costs can be expensive when staying at hotels.

    • Glad we could convince you! A fabulous idea for a staycation or weekend getaway if you have a couple of properties near you. The experience is definitely more personalized than that of luxury hotel stays :)

      Thanks for your entry!

  84. Those are some really compelling reasons for choosing a villa over a hotel, which have convinced me atlast to give a shot the next time I am in such a place. I did get the opportunity of staying in some of the villas in Bali, but the trip got cancelled, due to some unavoidable reasons. Would consider myself lucky, to experience these luxury villas in Thailand by Eats and Retreats.

    • Glad we could convince you Arnav! Sorry to hear that your trip to Bali was cut short. Perhaps you’ll have another opportunity to visit soon :)

      Thanks for your entry!

  85. Couldn’t agree more, we are a family of four with 2 teenage kids and love have the extra space that a villa provides. Hotel rooms even if we manage to find connecting rooms do not offer the same coziness of a villa. We had plans ironed out for a trip to Thailand this past December and had to cancel because of the volcano activity..hope to make it there soon.

    • Totally agree that a villa makes life easier if you’re traveling as a large family. And it’s nice to know that you have the whole place as opposed to worrying about the kids in the next room.

      Sorry to hear that your trip to Thailand was cancelled – hopefully you’ll have the chance to plan another trip soon! Thanks for your entry :)

  86. Does it count as an Asian funny story that, recently, we got arrested in Kazakhstan by the Russian police, because I sneaked into the forbidden town of Baikonur, which is like the Russian Nasa? We spent the whole night at the police station, pretty drank of vodka but, end the end, the police liked us and were just cool.

    • Oh wow! Lucky it was a happy ending to the story! Kazakhstan is central Asia so I say it counts :D!

      Thanks for your entry!

  87. I would love to visit Thailand. My dad was stationed there when I was a kid and it would be great to see the places he talks about. I think he really loved it, even though it was under trying circumstances. Asia is full of mystery and exotic adventures. I would love to see it all. I’ve lived in China and South Korea and really fell in love with the people. Staying in this luxury villa would make a trip even more special.

    • Oh wow Kathleen, I do hope you have the opportunity to visit Thailand at some stage and visit the places your dad served. Asia is definitely full of magic – it’s in its landscapes, it’s wildlife, and as you found, it’s people!

      Thanks for your entry :)

  88. I can only agree with you. If you are travelling with a group of people or would like to have some privacy renting a whole property is the best choice. And by being able to cook for yourself you do save additional bucks hehe

    • Absolutely Eva! We love cooking for ourselves, and we usually find trips to the local grocery store, especially when you don’t speak the language, to be an adventure in itself!!

  89. I completely agree that luxury villas are way better than hotels. The space, privacy and complete compromised itinerary and the freedom make it a new trend among travelers. I love the villa life than a luxury hotel room where your life is restricted.Lovely Post.

    • Glad you enjoyed the post Parnashree :) Villa stays are definitely becoming a trend!

  90. I’ve been longing to return to Thailand since I was there in the 90’s and my husband has just started talking about visiting this year. On the last trip I stayed at a Hilton in Bangkok (worked with them at the time.) I felt removed from too much of the local culture. A train trip later found me on Koh Tao and it was almost too much in the other direction! Bamboo huts above the boulders on the bay were glorious. Not so our neighbors playing their didgeridoos all night long. At this point, while we’re working on a family reunion in Asia, I can echo Goldilocks and say a spacious villa sounds, “just right.

    • OH wow it sounds like you got a taste of two different extremes on your first trip! Totally agree that a villa stay would probably be the perfect balance between them :)

      Thanks for your entry!

  91. Staying in a luxury villa in Thailand definitely sounds like a perfect holiday. I wouldn’t even consider staying in a hotel in Thailand, when you can have amazing moments in such beautiful villas.

    I always look for apartments to rent when I travel, to get a local feel of the place and it’s been great so far, although one time in Madrid we literally woke up to a strange woman in the apartment who didn’t speak any English and didn’t know why we were there. Turns out she was the cleaner and got confused as to what day she was supposed to come.

    • It’s definitely like that (re not even considering hotels when there are such amazing villas!).

      OMGosh lol that’s too funny re waking up to a stranger in your apartment – the language barrier makes things so tough doesn’t it!

      Thanks for your entry :)

  92. I couldn’t agree with you more, Meg. Luxury is quite often more affordable than we think. For years and years I walked on the beaches of Kauai looking from afar at the luxurious places that dotted the shore. I always thought those places are beyond my means. But recently I discovered how worthy it is. If it’s just you and your partner it may be more expensive than a hotel room, but if you are in a group it becomes even cheaper than a hotel. Leave alone the privacy, the location and the amenities that a luxury villa offers.

    • Absolutely Anda, I think it takes many people by surprise, and it’s something they assume is more expensive, so they don’t even run a price check. It truly is amazing when you compare the value for money – hotels don’t measure up!!

      Thanks for your entry :)

  93. I understand the benefits of these villas, but I don’t think they’re for me. First, I usually travel solo, so I WOULDN’T save money compared to a hotel since I wouldn’t be splitting the cost with others. Also, when I travel I’m usually not looking for a resort-type experience or beach access; I’m visiting a city and seeking a place to stay in a location convenient to a lot of local attractions. And I don’t cook much even when I’m at home, let alone while travelling. :) I also wonder whether luxury villas often offer the type of concierge service that I’ve often found so valuable at hotels. And while the villas offer much more spaciousness than hotel rooms or suites, I typically don’t spend most of my vacation time in my hotel room anyway — I’m only in there for things like sleeping, changing, and uploading photos to social media. I can definitely see the appeal of the villa option, but I just don’t think they’re a good fit for my travel style and preferences.

    • In most cases, yes, if you’re traveling solo a hotel room would be the cheaper option for you :) But I’m glad we could inspire you to reflect on your travel style, it’s always good to assess your personality against an experience, because they won’t always align.

      Many villas do offer private concierges, so you don’t give up that amenity :) But if you thrive off being in the center of town, and don’t spend much time in the room anyway, hotels in that case would probably be more your style :)

  94. I would love to win this! I think that so many travellers overlook private accommodations as an option when travelling and automatically book hotels, but as you’ve outlined here there are soooooo many benefits to having your own villa. They’re also such a great option for families and groups!

    • I agree – I think people automatically assume that villa accommodation is out of their price range without running a comparison. Most people are quite surprised when it comes up cheaper, especially if you’re traveling in a group :)

      And the value for money when you consider the facilities and space; hotels don’t measure up!

      Thanks for your entry :)

  95. Amazing prize! Funny story – was in Mexico recently and practicing my Spanish. Sadly I mixed up a few words and instead of saying I was embarrassed I said embarazada which means I’m pregnant! Oops!

    • Thanks Chloe! Oh no lol well maybe it could have worked out if you received special treatment lol like the best seats or to the front of a queue because of your pregnancy :D

      Thanks for your entry!!

  96. I would take these beautiful villas over a hotel any day of the week. They are gorgeous and I definitely like when you have the entire thing to yourself that is a plus. Also great when you have a decent amount of people. And you are right very affordable.

    • I’m obsessed with villa stays at the moment – if there’s an option for a villa over a hotel room, I’m there!!

  97. “Oh, I love Asia so much! Especially Thailand, Bangkok is my second home and one of the best stories I have here is when I met Panny. Panny is an average old woman who keeps everything clean and tidy in the guesthouse where I worked for 4 months as a manager. I met her when I first volunteered there and since then, we’ve bonded deeply! Funny thing is, she can’t speak English neither I speak Thai ( only Thank you, hello and I love you! ) On my last day in Bangkok, I told her that I was leaving and flying to Hanoi, after her daily routine of cleaning, she was gone, I searched for her but she was nowhere to find. Later that night, she came back with a big plastic bag. She bought me a new fluffy blanket! She wrapped it all around my body and gestured to make myself warm in the cold winter. She gave me the tightest warm embrace and kissed me like her own daughter. I was crying all night because of her kindness. I really love and miss her and I can’t wait to see her again in April! Such a lovely Thai woman!”

    I love Thailand, and whenever we’re traveling to islands, we always choose villas! They’re cozy and simply elegant! Would really love to stay here at Villa Lamyai, Thailand!

    • Wow Catherine, Panny sounds like such a wonderful woman! How incredible that you developed such a close connection despite the language barrier. She sounds like a beautiful soul! I’m excited for you to get to see her again in April!!

      Thanks for your entry, hope you have a wonderful trip back to Thailand!

  98. In 2007 I backpacked around SE Asia for 2 months. Whilst in Phuket I got a tattoo on my lower back that said ces’t la vie.

    On my journey back from Cambodia I went back to Phuket and was hanging at the beach with people from the hostel. One of the people happened to be French and he said my tattoo was spelt wrong. Needless to say I went back to the tattoo place and said I misspelt it and if they could fix it, it’s now spelt c’est la vie by on top of what was the old ‘ they’ve tired it into a vine with leaves.

    • Ah the old turn a tattoo into vines trick! It seems to be surprisingly common that people get misspellings in their tattoos when they go overseas. Good thing your French friend caught it!

      Thanks for your entry :)

  99. What an amazing prize.I hope and I would love to have the opportunity to visit Thailand with my husband and our daughter Sofia for the first time.

    • Thailand would definitely make for a wonderful family trip. Thanks for your entry!

  100. Luxury villas in Thailand are one of a kind. I’ve heard and seen myself a couple of wonderful locations, where luxury is a really simple and elegant experience, with simple design and privacy. I love that you can rent a full villa for your and your family and friends so if there is a choice, I will always say ‘yes’ to a villa…
    I have funny experiences from my travels, one of the funniest being in Thailand, when for the first time I’ve faced a group of hungry monkeys who were quite impatient about my intention to share with them my sandwich. They tried to jump and come over me, but I was fast enough to keep everything only for myself! The dance of the monkeys around my small sandwich was a real show in itself :)

    • Haha good work on being faster than the monkeys – I’ve heard quite a lot about these cheeky monkeys in SE Asia actually lol people saying they’ve had bags stolen, wallets, jewellery ripped off them – so crazy! I’ll have to make sure I’ve got my smarts about me when we finally get the chance to go!

      Thanks for your entry :)

  101. Oh GOSH this villa is super amazing! I love its view and the super luxurious experience. It totally makes sense too. If the family group is big enough, a villa actually is more worth it, with the amount of space and the ultimate experience. I would love to be there soon!

    • Isn’t it!! Absolutely on splitting the cost between a family – most people are amazed when it works out to be cheaper than booking separate hotel rooms!

  102. I agree with everything you say – and now let me win this prize! I once stayed in a villa in Fiji and it was so relaxing and peaceful. Having your own pool, your own schedule as you say, and so much freedom… it’s just priceless. And indeed, it is affordable when you dare to do your research to find a good deal. Anyway, the photos look amazing and I wouldn’t mind winning this prize (did I already mention that?)

    • Thanks for your entry! A villa in Fiji sounds like total bliss!

  103. Mmm travelling Asia! I love it.
    One funny memory was visiting Kuala Lumpur with my ex hubby and we stayed at the Marriot. Great views and generally a lovely hotel with stunning rooms.
    We planned to visit Berjaya times square.. which has one of the largest indoor water parks.
    So we venture out and use our city map to find the easiest route.. that to our discretion was the monorail.
    Furst we trekked to the station to get on a train. After moaning and groaning about the we had 2 small children..
    We got on a train and jumped of at the closest stop to Berjaya.
    The kids spent a wonderful afternoon and time to head back.. we found out that our hotel was a short walk in front of Berjaya.
    We had a good laugh at our silliness and learnt our way around the city in a much better way.. with eyes wide open??

    • Oh! Haha lol oops! Lol noted for next time I guess, glad they had a wonderful day though! I can highly recommend Google Maps for pre planning how to get to attractions from the hotel, we usually do this first to see if it’s within walking distance and then pull up the public transport info – works really well :)

      Thanks for your entry!!

  104. Wow – what a prize, the villa look amazing!
    I think one of the weirdest things that happened to me was when I was in Chain Mai. I was staying in a small hotel and suddenly there was a loud bang, an explosion, seriously the loudest noise. Obviously I assumed the worst and thought that something horrible was going down. It wasn’t long after the Bangkok bomb. I peered out of the window and everything seemed pretty normal, so I plucked up the courage to venture on to the balcony.
    As I looked down to the street, I could see a few locals gathering and my curiosity got the better of me so I wandered down and joined them.
    As I got to street level I could see it was a bit of a mess and one of the electricity poles was on fire. Basically a transformer had blown, which explained the boom. But what about the mess, well that was the remains of a poor snake that had climbed the wrong pole. It turns out that the snake had short circuited the electrics which led to the explosion, not the usual way snakes scare people, but certainly an effective one.

    • Oh crazy!!! And I can totally see how this would have scared the crap out of people, especially so close after the Bangkok bomb. But glad everyone was ok! Amazing that a snake can cause so much damage!

      Cool story, thanks for your entry :)

  105. My family is international: Claudine lives in Calgary and April makes Melbourne home. They didn’t follow me to Phoenix! So every year we pick a place for our grand reunion. Last year it was at the Venetian in Vegas. This year it will be at the Royal Sea Cliff in Kona. A luxury villa in Thailand sounds like an ideal setting for us. I can play the role of the grand matriarch of the family, whipping up meals to my family’s delight although a personal menu from a Thai chef would be a special treat! And all throughout the day, we can roam the villa, doing what we love best, in the privacy of our days, together or apart, when romance lets each couple steal a moment! What a different reunion it will be…an escape from the busyness of 5-star hotels and resorts into our very own luxurious hideaway where we will create a charming cocoon of family love and bonding. It will be a reminiscing of the time I raised them as a single parent. Only now, it will be in a luxury villa instead of a shanty in Manila! I can’t wait to experience this perfect circle, from poverty to prosperity, from young to mature motherly love.

    • It sounds like you’ve done a truly incredible job of raising your daughters Carol, I have huge respect for single mothers! It’s so incredible too that you all stay in touch with a reunion once a year, it’s so beautiful that you can maintain that strong family connection despite living so far away from one another. A Thailand villa would be a fabulous place for your next family gathering.

      Thanks for your entry! Have an amazing time at the Royal Sea Cliff in Kona :)

  106. We’ve stayed in a number of luxury villas. Some of the best experiences have been in the Bahamas and Caribbean. But cooking your own meals is never a selling point for me – I want to experience the local food and I definitely don’t want to cook when I’m on vacation. I’m usually so exhausted from a day full of adventures and activities, cooking up a meal is the last thing I want to do. Sometimes I’m just too tired to go out, and having the option of room service is definitely something I want. I have stayed at some luxury villas that do offer catered meals and that is always a nice touch.

    • I can imagine the Bahamas and Caribbean would be incredible spots for a villa experience also. The nice thing about the villa experience is that most do come with an option for a private chef / personal catering, so if you’re not into cooking, no problem :)

      Thanks for your entry!

  107. Yes to all you’ve written, BUT…. the biggest reason to get a villa over a hotel room (in my books) is because it sets up families so well. Family travel can be such a slog, but when you have your own bedroom, with a door that locks it’s a game changer.

    • Totally agree! And it’s nice knowing that you don’t have to worry about the kids in a hotel room of their own, that the whole house is yours :)

  108. When traveling as a family I have taken up luxury villas here in India. They are definitely better than hotels. Yet to experience something like that in Thailand.

    One of the hilarious/embarrassing experience I had in a hotel was – I confused the floor my room was and kept trying my key in another room. After some more desperate tries, I tried pushing the door and unlocking at the same time when suddenly the door gave away. I almost bumped into the man standing inside in a towel wrapped around his waist and half shaven cheek. I stood frozen till he asked me – yes? you want to come in? I managed to blurt out a no and ran with my life from there!
    I am sure this can never happen in a villa. And that is why I love villas! :)

    • Oh LOL! Oops! It probably made his day having a pretty young woman trying to break down his door lol I’ll have to see if I have the flip side of that story in the entries here :D

      Lol yes that would never happen at a villa … unless you tried to get into the wrong villa :D!

      Thanks for your entry!

  109. I haven’t been to Asia yet so no amazing stories there. But these villas look and sound amazing. I’d especially love the privacy and views.. And being off the beaten track! So far my most amazing lodging would have to have been an apartment with a view of the caldera in Oia, Santorini!

    • An apartment with a view of the caldera in Oia, Santorini is a fabulous choice for dream accommodation – that would have been stunning!

      Thanks for your entry!

  110. As a travel blogger, I have a lot of unusual travel stories. One of my favorite, unique memories is when I traveled solo to Caracol, a Mayan ruin site in Belize. It was rough terrain and everyone emphasized how dangerous the trip would be, but I ended up being fine and actually felt safe the whole time. Great read!

    • Nice work Martha, it’s always fabulous to prove those people wrong when you get told you shouldn’t travel because it’s dangerous! Usually the advice is unwarranted, and given out of fear of the unknown, by people who don’t have first hand knowledge of the region.

      Thanks for your entry – happy travels!

  111. What a fabulous giveaway! When I travel, I like to do a mix of luxury and budget stays as there are some luxury accommodations that are worth every penny. And, in this case, you make a solid point about a luxury villa being more affordable when the costs are split with a group, and you get the extra benefits of the locale, stunning views and a more personalized stay. The photos in your post really showcase the villas well and I could picture myself lounging on the pillows under the thatched huts or soaking on the edge of the infinity pool with a view of the sea. I haven’t been to SE Asia yet, and I have so many dream experiences on my bucket list. One of the top experiences would be to stay at tea farm and while there learn about the process of harvesting, drying and making tea. I’d also like take a hot air balloon ride over Angkor Wat, learn how to cook Asian foods as I always feel like I don’t know what to do with the ingredients as they often so unfamiliar to me, and, of course, see volcanoes and explore beaches. The experiences are endless! Crossing my fingers for the giveaway!

    • Thanks Lara! Fabulous dream experiences – Asia really is full of so many incredible options is’t it! I’m stealing a couple of your ideas for my own bucketlist – staying on a teafarm sounds incredible, and I didn’t even know you could take a hot air balloon ride over Angkor Wat, but that’s now also on the list!

      Thanks for your entry :)

  112. Okay, after seeing this post, i will definitely have to readjust. I always thought booking a hotel was the best option, but after seeing the photos of villas, I am sold haha. I definitely want to visit Thailand again and this time I will be going for a villa instead. And especially because I travel with my family. Thank for sharing this.

    • If you’re traveling with your family, definitely check out the price of a villa for your next trip. The value for money you get over that of a hotel is astounding!

  113. I’ve only been to Asia once, when I stopped off in Osaka briefly on my way to London from NZ. I was like some strange giant (I’m 6’2″), so kept having little old Japanese ladies come up to me to call me ‘tall girl’ or ‘big girl’! I don’t know how I’d fare in Thailand… except I know that with all that pad thai, larb, and massaman curry I’d eat in my luxury rental villa, I really would become a ‘big girl’ LOL :-)

    • LOL yes, Thailand is one country I don’t blame anyone for wanting to eat their body weight in food! How funny that you were considered a giant in Japan!! Little old Japanese ladies are so cute, it sounds like you were quite the attraction on that trip!

      Thanks for your entry :)

  114. You definitely don’t have to convince me! I’m packed and ready to move into that gorgeous villa! I’ve wanted to visit Thailand for a long time and this would be a perfect way to do it!

    • Fabulous Lois! Sounds like we were preaching to the choir then :D I hope you do have the opportunity to visit Thaiand soon :)

      Thanks for your entry!

  115. A funny story about a past travel experience in Asia.. that time that my husband was attacked by monkeys in Bali and I stood there laughing clicking photos. What we thought was a short little break from sightseeing in the Monkey Forest turned out to be a story we still tell today. My husband was sitting on a concrete wall relaxing when a monkey slid under his arm. Well apparently that monkey was being chased by 3 other monkeys and they thought my husband was helping protect him. So they attacked! It was wild and hilarious at the same time. Fast forward 10 years and now we have a son who is dying to go to Asia. He really wants to visit the elephants in Thailand as well as the orangutans in Borneo. If we win this, we will be well on our way to making that trip a reality!

    • Oh no!! Lol well at least you’re the good wife standing there filming it lol! Monkeys are so funny, it’s hilarious that they would think like humans and see a big man, so think, great, they’ll get him not me!

      I’m sure your son will have a fabulous time in SE Asia, the orangutans in Borneo are high on our list too. Thanks for your entry!

  116. Well, I’m totally convinced! You pointed out some good reasons to opt for a villa, and one of them is the price. I always thought that villas are so much expensive, but thinking that they can have six or more guests, the value is divided! It’s truly a great choice if you’re traveling in a group or with a big family!

    • Awesome Marlene!! Yes absolutely on the price, especially when you’re traveling in a big group, you can get villas that sleep 4, or villas that sleep 22, and obviously the more people you travel with, the more value :)

      Thanks for your entry!

  117. I like private villa’s for the privacy and for having the option of doing things on your own time table. Staying in five star hotels are nice but, like you said the food gets boring and you have to eat at their meal times and room service is ok once or twice. The photos of the villas you have shown look gorgeous and has made me want to book a relaxing villa break to Thailand, especially as its snowing here!

    • I totally agree with you – flexibility is the biggest selling point for us, so glad we could inspire you to a Thailand villa experience – would definitely be a welcome break from the cold weather!

      Thanks for your entry :)

  118. I would absolutely love to stay at that villa! Thailand is one of my favorite countries, although I’ve never been to Koh Samui. Believe it or not, my three months in my own condo in Chiang Mai last year was actually the first time in my life with my own accommodations (not living in a dorm, shared house, etc). My current flat in Edinburgh 14 rooms, and is one of six flats in the building. I definitely want to get back to Thailand by the end of the year. While that was my story, I should also mention another – I got lost in the jungle outside Chiang Mai trying to find a road on Google Maps that didn’t exist. I did finally make it out many hours after sunset. Thank god there are no deadly wild animals in Thailand.

    • It sounds like the privacy would be a nice change! Oh wow, a 14 room flat sounds quite busy! Almost like a hotel itself!!

      Have an amazing trip back to Thailand later in the year – yikes, Google Maps is usually pretty up to date, I’m glad you didn’t get lost beyond being able to find your way back!

      Thanks for your entry :)

  119. My family always book our accommodations on budget hotels or cheap hostels (to stretch the budget) during our travels. However, we had the experience of staying in a villa in Prague at a fraction of what we’ll spend in a more expensive destination. Unfortunately, it was only for one night. I agree on the reasons you raised on choosing a villa but I think it’s all down to economies of scale.

    • Absolutely Ash, villas in some parts of the world will be a lot cheaper than other regions, as you said it’s all down to economies of scale. Generally, South East Asia is one of the cheapest destinations for travel, as the $$ goes quite far here.

      A villa experience in Prague sounds like it would have been incredible! Thanks for your entry :)

  120. Luxury Villa seems really nice to stay with at Meg ?? i must say, the privacy the comfort and how you personalize everything is really there.
    I haven’t tried staying in a Luxury Vill during my travels as I mostly stay on hostels and get to meet fellow travellers (which is also awesome!!)
    Hope I’ll get to book for one as well, nor wish to win with the promo ??? i’ll send my entry also for this. As its timely and I’m heading to Thailand by April :))

    • If you have an upcoming trip to Thailand, we can definitely recommend pricing out a luxury villa stay – there are some fabulous properties in the Eats & Retreats portfolio, so highly recommend checking out their website :)

      Thanks for your entry!

  121. Last fall my boyfriend and I booked tickets from Norway to Romania, I booked us romantic accommodation up in the mountains in Transylvania-there are so many castles! It was my boyfriends turn to navigate the day we went to the airport in Oslo. He accidentally brought us to the wrong one and there was no way we could make out flights. To buy new tickets was over $500 each so we decided to just go to Italy instead from the airport we were at for under $100! We will have to visit Romania another time!

    So please, help my boyfriend makeup for his mistake and send us on a romantic vacation to Thailand at Villa Lamyai! He is partially Thai so it would be neat on that level as well!I have always wanted to visit Thailand.

    • Oh no! I hope you at least got refunded for your accommodation :) Though granted, Italy is a pretty incredible destination for a romantic trip if you had to choose one – maybe it was meant to be!!

      I do hope you have the chance to make the trip up and visit Romania another time though :) Thanks for your entry!

  122. Oh my gosh! I would LOVE to win this trip! I love the idea of staying in private villas, but I’ve not ever tried it before. I love that they really personalize guest’s experiences. Thailand is one of my favorite countries in the world, so I’d love to get this top of the line beach experience with my favorite people!

    • Thanks for your entry Paige! If you’re back in SE Asia soon definitely check out the collection of villa properties on the Eats & Retreats website – some amazing places to stay!

  123. Recently we stayed in a luxury villa in a nearby weekend getaway near where we stay.Any day we would prefer the Villa if not for anything the sheer seclusion and privacy it offers over hotels. Thailand is, of course, a paradise with villas that are the epitome of luxury and indulgence. They are indeed the stuff of dreams, hope we win a stay there!

    • I agree that a villa stay in itself is the dream travel experience! Thanks for your entry!

  124. I am absolutely convinced Meg with the idea of renting a luxury villa. Till day we have made total 4 trips to Thailand and 2 to Koh samui but never stayed in luxury villa; thinking them to be too expensive. They are expensive but far better than hotel. And the idea of whole pool; gardens; beaches belonging to you is mind blowing. I will love that privacy too and some lone time in swimming pool too. Surely wanna stay there and hope to win it. Thanks for sharing Meg.

    • Glad we could convince you! If you’re traveling as a couple, the price of a villa will probably come out to be more than a hotel, though the value for money is much better. Especially if you love your privacy :)

      Definitely check out the Eats & Retreats website for your next trip to Thailand – and thanks for your entry! Hope you have the opportunity to stay in a luxury villa soon!

  125. Anyone would jump at the opportunity of living in a luxury private villa like this one. For a few days, its a chance to have a dream come true. I’m looking at all the comments and wondering…who will be the lucky one :)

    • Totally agree with you – we will be announcing the winner shortly, so watch this space! Glad you’ve enjoyed reading everyone’s different stories – definitely entertaining!

  126. Spot on! Luxury villas certainly have its perks. Based on my own experience when I travelling to a popular destination, privacy is valuable because when you’re done wandering around a city or tourist attractions, you would want to go ‘home’ and relax in a quiet and peaceful environment. Luxury villas can offer that. Even when you travel in a group. Luxury villas have enough space for everyone. I’m going to Bali in June with a few friends and guess where we’re going to stay ?

    • Bali in June sounds fabulous Fairuz! Definitely check out the Eats & Retreats Villas – Villa Amy is my favorite :)

  127. I wanted to go back to Thailand because during my first trip I missed the famous Lucky Buddha! Now I know I need to go back to try one of Eats and Retreats’ luxury villas and I cannot think of a better place than Koh Samui to start with. Put me on a (Thai) plane already!!

    • Sounds like you have a great excuse for a return trip Elisa! Thanks for your entry! Definitely check out the Eats & Retreats villas in Thailand, there are some incredible places to stay :)

  128. Thanks for the post, Meg! Been traveling a bit and only found out now that luxury villas are soooo different from high-end hotels! But you are right that they are so much more beautiful!

    Anyway, speaking of Thailand, was there with my travel buddy in November 2016. We almost died at the Kanchanaburi Death Railway, literally. We loved it so much that we went in too deep into the tracks, we didn’t realize our train to Bangkok was back, until it made that iconic choo choo! The bad thing was, WE WERE ON ITS WAY. The worst thing was that it was the last train for the day and we can’t miss it. I don’t think we ever ran faster in our lives, but still not fast enough. It was just like the movies. Everything moved in slow motion as we tried to make it to the little space allotted for tourists to watch the train pass by. We can’t see the train behind the mountain wall, but basing on the other tourist’s hand signal for hurry, the train was almost upon us. We made it with barely few seconds to spare. But that was not the end of it. My friend and I knew we had no other option but to board the moving train, so we did, JUST WHEN THE CAR DOOR WE JUMPED INTO WAS LEAVING THE BEND, ONE MISSTEP WOULD HAVE SENT ME FLYING TO THE RIVER BELOW. But it was so exhilarating that we could just laugh, until we looked up and saw three train officers staring at us with shocked faces. We jumped into the officers’ cars! Of all the train cars! We had maybe two seconds of stunned silence before they started shouting at us. We couldn’t understand Thai but we got the gist, what we did was prohibited and we could have died. Also, they would have been in huge trouble if that happened. Realizing we didn’t get a word though, they just sent us into the train while scratching their heads. We spent the five hour train ride worrying that police are waiting for us in Bangkok. We arrived just in time for sunset, it was a beautiful afternoon, and there were no cops. Thank God!

    • OMG WOW!!!!!! That really does sound like you played out a scene from a movie Ela! How CRAZY!! So glad that you’re alive, btu what an incredible story to tell – I can’t even imagine how much adrenaline would have been pumping, haha and OMG what bad luck to have jumped into the officers cars lol they probably couldn’t believe their eyes!

      Can definitely understand the anxiety throughout the trip aout being picked up by the police at the other side lol though i think i that situation reporting you would have probably looks just as bad on the conductors / officers lol.

      Glad you’re alive!! Awesome story, thanks for your entry!

  129. Always thought villas were incredibly expensive and out of my price range. I’m quite surprised to learn that there are actually affordable villas. Sign me up for the luxury villa experience in Thailand!!

    My recent favorite hotel experience was at the Shangri La in the Philippines (Manila). We seek more sports/work out experiences and were thrilled to check out the magnificent Kerry Sports Center, the largest in town. More than a gym, it is an experience. State of the art equipment, trainers on site to guide you, amazing healthy food, a fantastic outdoor pool and a feeling of community. Unlike the villas you described, the experience was not private, but all around wonderful!!

    • Especially in South East Asia, the $$$ goes a very long way :) The Shangri La Manila sounds like a wonderful experience indeed! Kerry Sports Center sounds like it was a great bonus to have on site. If you’re into sports and want to give the villa experience a try, definitely look for one with a private gym. And there are usually many cool activities you can organize from the villa concierge team, like kick boxing, yoga etc :)

      Thanks for your entry!

  130. I’m so surprised that even the price beats that of hotels! Each point is extremely convincing – a lower rate, at prime location, and absolute privacy? Sounds like an absolute dream! Definitely something new added to my radar!

    • If you’re traveling alone hotels might come out being the more economical choice, but villas definitely offer better value for money with the privacy, flexibility, and the amenities they offer.

      A villa experience in itself is definitely a worthy dream! Thanks for your entry :)

  131. I would love to go back to Thailand! I didn’t get to visit Koh Samui when I went. Returning to Asia itself would be wonderful. So, funny story… When I went to Bali, I had a baby monkey crawl up my dress onto my shoulder where it tried to yank off my purse. After a bit of panicked screaming, I was able to shake it off. But still, I’d go back to Asia in a heartbeat! ;)

    • Oh crazy! We’ve heard quite a few monkey stories actually lol I’m starting to think I should be very guarded when I get to SE Asia monkey forests and sanctuaries!!

      Glad you were able to shake it off! And that you still had a fabulous time in Asia :) Thanks for your entry!

  132. I always used to be a hotel girl, but I’ve got more and more into villas as I’ve gotten older, especially for a longer stay. I just think it offers much better value for money and more privacy and space – which means I can upgrade on the luxury a little bit! I’m actually staying in a gorgeous villa with my family in Turkey later in the year!

    • I’ve made the same evolution, definitely a lot more value for money than hotels offer. A villa in Turkey sounds like an amazing place for a family retreat – have a fabulous trip!

  133. I don’t think you would need to twist my arm too much to choose a luxury villa over a hotel.

    I love the privacy factor, I love the option to self-cater. I love the fact I have the whole place to myself. Swim naked, hell yes!!!

    My funniest travel moment, I actually don’t have one :( Maybe swimming naked in a private villa could be one.

    • Sounds like we’re preaching to the choir then!! Thanks for your entry – maybe you can make some funny travel memories on your next trip :D

  134. I have never looked at staying in a villa before. It could be a really good deal when you factor in that they have a kitchen and you don’t have to eat out every single night while on vacation. For a large group that can be a huge saving.

    • Glad we could inspire you to give it a go! Definitely check out the collection on East & Retreats if you’re visiting Asia at any point :)

  135. What an amazing giveaway! I agree a villa is THE way to go for a group of people or simply more privacy.

    I LOVED my trips to Japan! It’s a fascinating country. Staying in a pod hotel was a hoot! I’ve been to Thailand but going back would be great since I stayed in hotels the first time around and definitely didn’t see as much as I would love to there in my lifetime!

    • Thanks Mikkel! Japan is an amazing country indeed – though I haven’t stayed in a pod hotel yet; I’ve seen videos of them and they do look pretty unique!!

      Thanks for your entry, I hope you do have the chance to visit Thailand again soon :)

  136. You have convinced me to try Luxury villas at least once – just for the experience of it. Though personally, I might have overlooked it for I generally am out the whole day when I visit the place. Hiring a villa would have been an awful waste of money for me. Unless of course, if the villa is the destination itself.

    • Aweomse Ami! Most villas do end up being the destination themselves, with beach access, and really cool amenities like pools, gyms, and a concierge who can whisk you away to activities / day trips. If you’re visiting Asia in the future definitely check out the villas on East & Retreats :)

  137. Hey Mag, thanks for sharing this awesome giveaway! I agree, when staying with family or group of friends, private villa is so much cheaper than a hotel! Although I can image a romantic stay for two people as well. Yes, with swimming naked, why not?

    • You’re welcome Veronika! A romantic stay just for two people would be the dream experience for sure! Swimming naked too haha :D Thanks for your entry!

  138. I’ve just come back from backpacking in the Philippines, living it up in dorms, grimy guesthouses, and on one memorable occasion, in an Ifugao hut in Batad. There was no electricity inside, no cell phone coverage, and the toilet was 20m away in the main guesthouse. After a cold night huddled under the blankets, I think it’s time to pamper myself and try to score a stay in a villa! ;-)

    • OH wow, yes you’ve definitely roughed it! What cool stories though of very unique accommodation! The Ifugao hut in Batad would have been memorable for sure, I can imagine very cold! But surely memorable :D!

      Thanks for your entry!

  139. Thankyou for all of the incredible entries! Our giveaway is now CLOSED. The winner will be announced here shortly.

  140. Oh boy, I would choose a luxury villa over a hotel room every time. In parts of Europe it can be very expensive to rent a villa so we tend to go for hotel rooms especially over the Summer but in Asia you can get some great deals on villas.

    • Definitely more expensive in different regions of the world, spending on the economic scale. But SE Asia is incredible for the value your $$$ gets you, so it’s clever to save your villa experiences for here and hotel it up in Europe. Definitely check out the villas on Eats & Retreats if you’re heading to Asia soon :)

  141. Hotel spaces are the complete opposite of our villas. They are often crammed with other holidaymakers competing for a lounger by the pool or a decent bar stool for a drink at night.

    • Absolutely Stephanie, that’s why we love villas so much – privacy and space are winners when you’re on a relaxing vacation!

  142. I always prefer a villa for spending my holiday because it gives you space to enjoy your own within your privacy. Such a nice blog with true information shared.

    • Absolutely Amelia – privacy and space is the big one. So glad you enjoyed the post, thanks for reading :)

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