Luxury Arrivals
The Villa Experience - Frequently Asked Questions

 

Q: Who are we?
A: We are one of the most experienced and respected companies in the Vacation Villa Rental field. We have been a leader in the industry since 1989. We use an advanced computer system insuring the absolute best and most comprehensive selection of rental properties on the market.
Our experienced staff will help guide you through the villa selection process. Each of our helpful reservations and representative agents have visited and inspected our villas, so they know first hand what you should expect when you arrive.

Q: Airfare - Do we offer airfare ?
A: We offer special discounted bulk airfares to passengers who have purchased their land/accommodation through us. Please request a quote for your Airfare when making your Villa reservations.
Q: Arrival Day - Does a weekly rental always start on the same day each week?
A: you may arrive on any day of the week for most Villas, as long as the villa is available. Please note that as each Villa is individually owned, each owner reserves the right to set their own terms...

Q: ATM Machines – Are there an ATM machine in the Caribbean ?
A: Yes most major banks, have ATM machines at their banks. The ATM will normally dispense in local currency. Your home bank should charge your account at the current exchange rate.
Q: Cancellations - What are the cancellation policies?
A: In general, private villa and apartment rental payments are nonrefundable items. We therefore highly recommend purchasing travel insurance. Travel insurance is available and can be added to your booking up until the final payment due date (but not there after.
Should you need to cancel your reservation and have not taken travel insurance, we will always do our best to negotiate a refund for you with the property owner, however success cannot be guaranteed. If we are able to negotiate a refund for you, a cancellation fee will be assessed at the time of negotiation. Changes and/or revisions are subject to a 10% service fee.

Q: Children - Are children welcome in nearly all Villas.
A: There are a few homes that have restrictions. More importantly we recommend you let us make a few suggestions. Certain homes are more child-friendly than others in terms of safety and bedding considerations.
Q: Credit Cards - Do grocery stores accept credit cards?
A: Yes most of the larger grocery stores do accept credit cards:

Q: Damage Deposit - Are damage deposits required at all villas?
A: A number of villas require a prepaid damage deposit. The amount varies depending on the particular home, however a typical amount is US $500 – some select villas will request a higher amount.
This deposit is refunded to you after departure as long as no damage has occurred to the house and its contents.
Q: Food Shopping - How do we shop for food?
A: There are a couple options. One option is to let the villa staff purchase all the food on your behalf based on a menu that you prepare. The staff will present you with an estimate for the cost for the cost of food and transportation and return any change along with the receipt. Some villas have prior arrangements with the grocery store to provide groceries in advance of payment: please check with your villa staff.
The daily cost for food and beverages per adult per day runs approximately $30-40 per person depending on whether you are a light or heavy eater as well as the your menu selection The cost would be more if you add in alcoholic beverages - especially imported wines and champagnes.

The second option is that you go to the market and grocery store either with the cook or by yourself and purchase the food. We find that a trip to the market with the cook is quite interesting.
Making at least one trip to the market and grocery store will also give you a perspective on the cost of food.


Q: Ground transportation and Car Rentals - Should we rent a car in Jamaica?
A: Driving in some destinations can be difficult for foreign residents, (bad roads, left hand driving, limited signs etc), however drivers accustomed to driving in Europe and South America enjoy the freedom of having their own vehicle.
We also suggest you consider a van or car and full time driver. We price this package very competively. The rate is inclusive and unlimited mileage.
Q: Honeymoons - Is a villa a great idea for a honeymoon?
A:It's an exceptional idea and a great value. Villas are private and spacious and many have Hot Tubs or Jacuzzis. Many of our listings offer reduced rates for 2 persons or Honeymooners
Q: Hurricanes - When is hurricane season and what are the chances a hurricane will hit ?
A: Hurricane season begins June 1st and ends November 1st. No one can predict if or when a hurricane or tropical storm will hit with 100% accuracy. However, with today’s technology, these storms can be discovered well in advance and their paths can be fairly accurately projected.
Q: Internet Access - How do I access the Internet ?
A: Most of our villas provide Internet access. Please travel with your Laptop, Smart Phones etc.
If you bring your laptop to Jamaica you can easily purchase a NetKyaad for specific minutes of internet time.

Q: Length of stay - What is the required rental period.
A: Normally a minimum of seven (7) night stay is required. Most villas do accept shorter stays, especially if it is close to your departure date or during the “Low Season”.
During the Christmas and New Years Holiday period, most villas require a minimum of 7 to 14 nights and/or special arrival dates.
Q: Nanny Services - If we want to go out for a night on the town, could we leave the kids?
A: Yes you may. We can arrange for nanny service. Depending on how late you will be out you may have to pay for the night or pay for the taxi for the nanny to go home. The rates are extremely reasonable.

Q: Payments - What are the payment requirements?
A: Once you have selected your property and are ready to confirm, a deposit of 30%. Your balance will come due 60 days prior to arrival.
For holiday reservations, the deposit amount is 50%. – this deposit is non-refundable. Payments must be by personal check, cashiers check or official bank check. The final payment is due ninety (90) days prior to departure.

Q: Rental Seasons - When is High Season and Low Season?
A: In the Caribbean, 'High Season' begins in mid-December and lasts until mid-April. The lower rates of 'Low Season' take effect until mid-December. Your villa consultant will reconfirm this upon your inquiry, as there are a few exceptions. Certain Holiday periods such as Easter and Thanksgiving may attract higher rates from selected Villas.

>DT>Q: Seasons - What are the dates for high & low season? Are there any periods with surcharges or discounts?

A: Most properties have at least two rates – one for high season and one for low season. High season runs from December 16 – April 15 and low season from April 16 – December 15. A majority of properties also have a surcharge for the Christmas/New Years period and a few also have a surcharge for Thanksgiving. In some cases, select properties also feature “shoulder” rates in which rates are lowered! In general, “shoulder” or discounted rates fall in May/June or September/October.
Q; Staff Tipping - What would you recommend for a tip for the staff?
A:Recommended gratuities are 10% of the villa rental in High Season ~ 15% of the villa rental in Low Season. These percentages apply to the entire staff, not to each individual staff member. This should be distributed the day you leave.
A suggested allocation of the amount might be: Cook-50%, Maid-25%, Gardener-25%
If your villa has a butler we suggest: Butler – 40% Cook – 40% Maid – 20%
we typically place the tip in individual envelopes for each staff member. We give it to them when the van picks us up for the airport.

Q: Travel Details - Are there any items we should bring with us?
A: Sun block, mosquito repellent, favorite foods, film for cameras, baby food, pool float, good wine and champagne.
Q: Villa Guests - Can I have guests over if I rent the villa?
A: You may have a few guests over to visit; however, there may be additional charges for meal preparation and for any other services or facilities used beyond that provided for the rental party. You may not invite groups of people (separate from the rental party) to the villa for functions, such as family reunions, meetings, weddings etc. without prior written consent. Guests separate from the rental party may not stay overnight.
We ask that you do not invite strangers (people you did not know prior to your trip) into the villa for security reasons. The occupancy for the villa is as stated in the reservation invoice and may not be modified except by prior written agreement.
Q: Villa Amenities - What does the villa come equipped with?
A: Your villa comes fully furnished and with a full staff. This includes items such as beach towels, bed sheets, room towels, tableware, cutlery etc.

Q: Should we provide you with a list of things we want at the villa when we arrive, like alcoholic beverages, etc?
A: We ask for a pre-order list of food items one month before your trip. This includes the menu for the first night dinner and next day breakfast, any problem foods, and any liquor you might like to have us pre-order. You will pay for this at the local grocery store after your arrival (next day).
Q: Villa Life - Why stay in a villa and not a hotel?
A: The only true privacy you get in a hotel is in your bedroom or suite. Every other part of the facility you will have to share with countless numbers of strangers. Wherever you go, there they are too ~ the pool, the restaurant, the sun terrace, the beach, the bar.
In a villa everything belongs to you ~ the pool, the sun beds, the terrace, the music, the TV ~ it is your home every minute of the day. You will only see the people you wish to see. Even your staff will become "invisible" if that is what you want; appearing only at those times you ask them to serve you.
In a hotel you fit your schedule around the hotel's. In a villa you decide everything from what you eat to the time you eat it. And yet, despite having all these major advantages, a villa vacation compares very favorably on price with a hotel.
Q: Villa Rates - Are the rates per person or for the entire villa?
A: Our rates are for the entire villa, but there can be no parties, weddings or large gatherings allowed in the villas without written permission. Villas may not be occupied by more guests than specified in the rental contract. Rates are based on occupancy and additional fees may apply.

Q: Villa Times – What time can we check-In
A: Check-in time is 3:00 p.m. on arrival day. Check-out time is 11:00 a.m. on departure day. However, if no other guests are scheduled to occupy your villa on arrival and departure days, you are welcome to check in early and check out as late as you wish. Ask any agent in our office to advise you of the occupancy schedule of your villa. Remember that the schedule may change prior to your travel date, so you may wish to check with us again the week prior to your trip.
Q: Villa Rates - Do we have to pay full rent if we book a home with more bedrooms then we need?
A: Not necessarily. Many villas can be rented at a reduced rate when you do not use all the bedrooms. This is noted on the villa rate listings on this site.
Q: Villa Occupancy - If we do not book all the bedrooms in a villa will someone else (i.e. strangers) be using those bedrooms and sharing the house?
A: Absolutely not. You are renting the entire villa and you never have to share a villa with anyone other than those in your party.

Q: Villa Occupancy - What is the maximum occupancy of a villa?

 

A: As a general rule, villas have a maximum occupancy of 2 guests per bedroom. Therefore if you are a party of six, we suggest a three-bedroom villa. If you are a party of eight, a four-bedroom villa is most suitable, etc. Since villas are wonderful accommodation choices for families, additional children may be accommodated beyond the maximum occupancy if enough bedding is in place at the particular villa chosen. In some cases, additional adults can be accommodated; however additional person charges or cot fees may apply.
Q: Villa Rates – How are you Villa rates displayed?
A; Rates listed on this site are NOT per person. Rates shown are per VILLA per Night and based on two people per bedroom. For example the rate shown for a studio or a one-bedroom would be the total for one week for up to 2 guests, the rate for a two-bedroom would be the total for one week for up to 4 guests, etc. unless otherwise noted; all rates are in US dollars

Q; Villa Rates - Is tax and gratuity included?
A: Most private villas include tax in their rates, unless noted. Staff gratuity however, is not included and we suggest a minimum of 10-15% gratuity for staff services.
Gratuity is based on the total villa cost and should be paid to the staff directly at the end of your stay. Additionally, we suggest you divide the tip among the staff instead of leaving one lump sum.

Using your own discretion, you may choose to give a larger portion of the tip to the staff member who provided the majority of the services or who provided services above and beyond the call of duty. At apartments/condos and resorts, Jamaican room tax and service charges may not be included in the price of your rental and would be collected locally. We will always advise you of the percentages collected for local tax and service be
Q” Villa Staff - Do all the properties listed have full staff?
A: In general, all private villas provide a full staff, however, this will vary by destination. Most villas come with a staff of three including a cook, housekeeper and gardener/houseman. Some villas have additional staff members including butlers, nannies, laundresses, and villa managers/concierges. At apartments/condos and cottage resorts, staff is generally limited to daily maid service.

Q: Villa Staff - What services do the staff provide? What are their hours?
A: The staff is responsible for all aspects of meal preparation as well as keeping the property and grounds clean and maintained. The staff can also do grocery shopping for you if you like. Household laundry is done by the staff, however personal laundry may be at an additional cost, depending on the villa selected.
You will also find the staff to be an invaluable source of information on the area. They can tell you about local restaurants, attractions and entertainment. If you need a nanny or a taxi, they can also assist in setting up these types of services.
Q: Villa Meals - How is meal preparation and grocery shopping handled?
We will send you a preliminary grocery/menu planner with your final documents. A few weeks prior to arrival, we ask that you use this list as a guide and choose what you would like the staff to pre-stock at your villa as well as what you’d like them to prepare for your first night’s dinner and first morning’s breakfast.

If any member of your group has food allergies or special dietary needs, we ask that you let us know this as well so the staff can be forewarned.

You will be presented with a bill from the grocery store for the items that have been pre-purchased. After that, you simply communicate with the staff as to what you’d like for the balance of your stay.
Generally the cooks excel at Caribbean-style meals, but are also very adept at American and continental cuisine.

Please remember that villas are not run like restaurants in which each person orders a different meal. Plan for “family style” meals with a choice of entrees. The cook will always do his or her best to accommodate for individual tastes.

Shopping for groceries can be accomplished in several ways. You may do your own shopping, you may ask the staff to shop for you, and some grocery stores may deliver.
Many guests opt to ask the cook to join them on a shopping excursion – this is an excellent way to get a good sense of the products available in Jamaica as well as where to go to get the best fresh produce, fresh fish, fruit, etc.

Q: Villa Costs - What additional costs should we plan for?
A: Food, transportation, tours & excursions and incidentals (e.g. phone calls) are not included in the cost of your rental. Food costs can vary greatly depending on your tastes and needs. Simple meals can be quite affordable. If you prefer multi-course meals or entrees requiring imported ingredients, then the food cost can rise significantly. An estimated average would be about USD $30-$50 per person per day for meals.
Costs for tours and excursions can be obtained by contacting local tour operators – inquire with your staff upon arrival for recommendations. Local phone calls from your villa are generally complimentary
Q: Villa Rates - Aren't villas more expensive than a hotel?
A: As you explore the villas we represent you'll see that many villas are often much less than prices at hotels of the same quality standard. When you factor in all the benefits and amenities of a private villa, you'll quickly realize that villas offer a superb value. (Remember to compare rates per room/ per night).

Q: Why a Villa?
A: A private villa is a unique vacation experience! Many travellers return to the same villa year after year and come to think of the property as their Jamaican “home away from home”. This is because villa vacations are all about personalized attention and service. Do you prefer breakfast at noon? No problem. Would you like having a pool all to yourself? Lounging in a hammock in your own private tropical garden? This is what a private villa vacation can provide. Privacy, the ability to set your own schedule, genuine relaxation, and the opportunity to experience true Jamaican hospitality and service. We are taking this opportunity to introduce a wonderful alternative to the generic hotel vacation package – your private Villa.

A luxurious, private villa vacation offers luxury, privacy and your very own personal household staff. We offer an extraordinary range of Villas in the Caribbean. Our beautiful private villas – homes away from home – offer the ideal setting for vacation, family reunion or corporate retreat. We offer you an extraordinary choice of styles and locations. Some villas are located by the sea, others offer both the beach and private swimming pools and yet some others are set on the hillside offering panoramic views of the Caribbean Sea with the ever-changing hues of blues and greens.

Our Villas are selected to satisfy your most exacting requirements, at your pace. Your dedicated household staff will pamper you and cater to your every need (or wants) while maintaining an unobtrusive presence. Sample Caribbean cuisine or revisit family favorites, a cocktail reception by the pool, a beach barbeque or a candlelight dinner; the choice is yours and the location is your own private Villa.

Our Villas also offers apartment rentals for business or vacation. These properties located in the most desirable locations are designed to provide comfort and privacy while maintaining a local identity

Each home is unique. We can help you identify which houses are especially good values, which are on the nicest beaches, which are the most private and which homes we have had the most enthusiastic feedback. For your next vacation or business retreat, please contact one of our Professional Villa representatives, or browse our web site.
We would be pleased to assist you in all phases of your travel plans.
Q: What is the difference between a villa, apartment/condo and cottage resort?
A: A villa is a free-standing private home that is made available for rent to vacation travellers. Private villas range from 1-8 bedrooms in size and offer additional living space such as living rooms, dining areas, patios or verandahs. Some also have dens or recreation rooms. Almost all private villas have their own private pool and full staff.
Apartments and condos range from studios to 3 bedroom units and are generally found within small complexes with shared pool facilities.
Most apartments and condos offer fully equipped kitchen facilities or kitchenettes for guests to do their own cooking. All apartment/condo units offer daily maid service and some offer additional cook service.
Cottage resorts vary in style – some offer free-standing individual cottages, while others offer different accommodation-types housed within one building. Whatever your preference, JAVA has the style of accommodation you need!

Q; Wines - Is there a place to buy decent wine?
A: Yes you can purchase wine and liquor in the main grocery store in most towns; they normally will have a fair selection of US, French and Australian wines. Prices are about 25% higher than in the US. We advise our guests to purchase imported wines etc in the Duty Free shops, if they have very specific requirements (2 bottles per person allowed).