What would you choose: a hotel or a vacation home?

Travel patterns change all the time, but definitely in the past year during the pandemic travel patterns have changed extremely. For many they have been non-existent, and for some, domestic travel has been rediscovered. The means of travel and choice of accommodation has shifted as well, where many have travelled by car and train and stayed at smaller properties compared to previous years. Now we find ourselves in the beginning of 2021, and I wonder what the luxury traveler would choose for their future travel plans: the traditional hotel, or a vacation home?

In this blog I will write out what I believe to be the pros and cons for both choices. I’d love to hear your thoughts and choice of course, so let me know in the comments what you would be choosing!

The traditional hotel

Of course, the term “traditional hotel” is a bit confusing, there are so many different hotels these days all with their own focus and it would not be fair to put them all under the same term being “traditional hotel”. But for the sake of this blog, I will define the term “traditional hotel” as a hotel with a minimum of four stars, perhaps a boutique hotel but could also be chain affiliated. Certain services available, such as WIFI, room service, and daily housekeeping. And a level of facilities present, think of e.g. one or two restaurants, a gym and/or spa, meeting rooms, business room, you get the idea.

The pros of choosing a hotel would definitely be the level of service. This can vary per hotel as well, but in essence, each standard hotel has staff present at all times that are there to be of assistance with anything. After a long journey, the doorman is there to welcome you to the hotel and assist with your bags. Perhaps you forgot to pack your toothbrush, the housekeeping department will bring up a dental kit. If your hotel has a concierge, you are sure to get the true insider tips on what to do and where to go, plus assistance with booking restaurant tables or perhaps booking concert tickets.

The cons of choosing to stay at a hotel have perhaps become negative aspects only since last year. The pandemic has all of us forced to rethink public places, and we all almost immediately shy a bit away from crowded areas. Many hotels do nowadays have a cleaning certificate or stamp to prove their hygiene levels. But staying at a hotel still means having to touch many surfaces that are constantly used by many before you and many after. Depending on the size of your travel party and the length of your stay, choosing a hotel could also turn out to be a more expensive choice and it is worth considering the value for money compared to the sizes of the rooms provided.

The vacation home

The past year the choice for booking vacation homes has surged understandably, and that is why my interest for this question has been sparked. It will be interesting to see if a vacation home will be something that will be chosen for the foreseeable future, or was it perhaps a pandemic solution only? Vacation homes also vary immensely in their offering, so for this blog let’s compare a vacation home that is located directly at the water, a 20-minute drive to the nearest town/center with café’s and restaurants. The home has for example four bedrooms, a large living room, TV snug, and a sauna.

The pros of the choice for a vacation home in the past year has been in one word: PRIVACY. You and your family are the only ones moving around the space and it is (hopefully) not possible to get infected with any viruses since there is no contact with any employees or other guests. Another pro would be the value for money, more often than not renting an entire house could cost around the same as booking four hotel rooms. Plus, there is so much more space at your disposal, not to forget the private water access, perhaps a large garden, and loads of space for family quality time.

The cons most clearly point to a few aspects; there is no local staff to assist with restaurant bookings, no maintenance present if something goes wrong, and lastly no in-house restaurant. Unless you go all out and hire a private chef during your vacation home rental, it will be lots of home cooked dinners and someone will be sweating away in the kitchen. Luxury vacation homes can provide daily housekeeping, but most don’t. And lastly, most vacation homes are not located in the city center, meaning the nearest town would be a slight distance away (if lucky walking distance and everyone can enjoy a few glasses of wine when dining out ;)).

Perhaps the daily housekeeping service is not something the luxury traveler of the future is necessarily looking for. And perhaps local tips on which restaurants are the best, can all be provided digitally. Or perhaps the hotels of the future will minimize the amount of touch points in hotel rooms and become even more conscious on minimizing the risk of spreading diseases. There have been several luxury villa rental companies specializing in hotel services during the guest’s villa rental, blurring the lines between these two accommodations, could that be the perfect choice for the future?

I’d love to hear which form of accommodation you would lean towards in the future and also what your reasons would be. So please let me know in the comments!

Simone Kruithof is a Partner at Scandinavian Hospitality. Scandinavian Hospitality specializes in luxury villa rentals in the Nordics, bringing a five-star level of service to the privacy of your vacation home, and representing some of the most extraordinary homes in Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland.

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