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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. If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.

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  1. You’ve presented very valid pros and cons for each type of stay. Pre-Covid we wouldn’t be weighing these as much and would just choose to stay in one that meets our leisure and pleasure requirements. Now, we’re somehow forced to consider other factors when choosing a place to holiday.

    1. Hi Sacha,

      Thanks for your reply! Interesting to hear that your travel expectations have shifted as well and your needs as compared to before.

      In the long-run I believe it is a good thing for us that we have opened our mind to more possibilities than we were used to before.

      Have a great day!


  2. After the UK’s first lockdown in 2020 we were desperate to get out and about. We must have stayed in half a dozen hotels through July to October.

    I felt very safe in all of them. There were litres of sanitiser, one-way systems and very hygiene conscious staff. I really wouldn’t worry about Covid in hotels if those hotels were typical.

    1. Hi Brian,

      Thanks for your comment. I can imagine the lockdown having the effect of needing a break from your own home.

      Good to hear that you have had so many positive experiences in the hotels your have stayed at over the past period. Hotels are of course still a very good choice and nothing to be scared of!

      Have a good day,


  3. The pros and cons stated in this article really helped me to decide. I guess, for now, I’d prefer staying in a vacation home because there’d be less interaction with other people. I also enjoy walking and exploring , so I do not mind walking a little and discovering places to eat.

    1. Hi Anayah,

      Thank you for your comment and nice to read that the pros and cons were useful for you!
      Love to read your positive point of view of mixing a nice walk with finding great places to eat. And hey, in that way an evening walk back to your vacation home is good for digestion they say :).

      Hope you find a great vacation home that you will feel comfortable in!


  4. It’s great that many hotels can offer a higher level of service. I would really like to take my family on a fun vacation this summer. We may want to opt for a resort for an even more luxurious feel.

  5. From what I’ve heard lately, I feel that things are swinging towards the holiday home.

    We’ve got out of the habit of getting too close to people we don’t know. Also over lockdowns many of us have found out that we’re actually quite good at looking after ourselves and that it can be fun. Especially when you’ve got that those few free hours that you get when you’re on holiday.

  6. Hotel v vacation home – that really is an age old dilemma and one that I can see running until the end of time.

    The problem is that we change. During our twenties my wife and I loved hotels. Then when the kids arrived sitting at a table and having to share a pool became way too stressful. Now that we’re looking at becoming empty nesters, I can see us dipping our toes back into the hotel market once more.

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