Ever wonder what the vacation of a U.S. President looks like? Well, if President Obama’s holiday in Oahu gives us an idea, it looks pretty darned dreamy. Unfortunately, vacationing with the Obamas is a vicarious one, because who the heck can afford the nightly rate of $3,500 for a 7,000-sq-ft beachfront estate with a master chef, five bedrooms, and a lagoon-style pool in Kaiula?
But many luxury vacation rentals, if you can believe it, are rather affordable. For example: a spacious oceanfront home with tons of amenities can cost anywhere from $45 to $300 a night, more or less. Vacation rentals also offer up enough space for groups of girlfriends numbering 2 to 20.
HomeAway.com has an incredible selection of properties and features luxurious rentals that are affordable for groups and even solo travelers. For example: a spacious oceanfront home with tons of amenities can cost anywhere from $45 to $300 a night, more or less. That’s luxury we can afford. So, let’s all take Obama’s lead and book vacation rentals instead of hotels this year. That’s a New Year’s resolution we can afford.
Here are ten destinations featuring affordable, yet fancy shmancy vacation rentals you and the gang can book. Luxury isn’t just a “rich and famous” thing.
If Las Vegas was bread, then luxury would be the butter (okay, maybe the fake kind). After you’ve hit the jackpot, put your winnings to good use – relax with your girls at the 27,000-sq-ft Spa at Mandarin Oriental, splurge on front row seats to Cirque du Soleil, enjoy VIP access to the hottest clubs, and recount the day over a five-course gourmet meal at Alex.
While the fancy hotel casinos are a must-see, they’re hardly a must-stay – there just aren’t enough perks to justify those high prices. The alternative? Book a privately owned, more affordable unit at one of these hotels, or a sprawling pool home – with a personal chef – right outside the Strip. Decisions, decisions!
From the must-see Arenal Volcano to the infectiously laid-back culture of the locals, Costa Rica is a dream for a group of girlfriends seeking some far-flung fun. There is a lot do – like zip lining and bird watching – plus Costa Rica is known as a safe vacation haven for female travelers.
Love nature? Love adventure? Love luxury? Well, you’re the perfect candidate for a Costa Rica vacation rental – which comes in many shapes and sizes. Stay in a castle with an infinity pool, a cozy beach bungalow with neighboring monkeys, or a stately villa with panoramic ocean views.
If you really want to get away with the girls, like really – consider Maui. Of all Hawaii’s islands, this one offers up the most variety, with loads of group tours (think deep sea fishing and snorkeling). So, whether you and the girls want to sunbathe by the beach with a cocktail and the occasional humpback whale sighting, or learn to surf and hike the road to Hana, you’ve got options. If you’re looking for villa rentals you can choose from oceanfront penthouses and mansions in Kihei or Wailea, just as stunning as their views.
In between bar and beach hopping, partake…or better yet, indulge… in the finer things in life – like delectable sushi at Nobu, a milk-and-honey massage at the Agua Spa, and maybe even a new wardrobe from the Aventura Mall. Having a luxurious SOBE condo to hang sure comes in handy.
If you and your gal pals appreciate the spa treatment, head to Arizona, specifically Phoenix. In addition to renowned spas like the Alvadora Spa, there’s also the adjacent Camelback Mountains and a busy nightlife to explore. Naturally, a vacation home with lots of space and amenities fits in well here.
Besides Universal Studios, SeaWorld, and Disney World, Orlando has a lot to offer in the form of luxury. Enjoy classy Mediterranean fare at Citrico’s, your pick of countless resort spas, shopping at Pleasure Island, and tons more. Adult fun and Disney World are not mutually exclusive.
Whether you’re bringing the kids, the pets, or your three best girlfriends, Orlando has an affordable vacation rentals in a location you desire (near Disney World, SeaWorld, Universal Studios, the lake – take your pick).
If you and your friends love to ski, try Telluride. (Though, it’s worth noting that the mountain town features fun outdoor activities year-round.) After hitting the slopes at Telluride Mountain, enjoy a nice mix of shopping and dining in the Mountain Village.
How can you make your next outdoorsy trip an extra special one? Upgrade to a luxury Telluride vacation rental, and enjoy amenities like a private hot tub and ski in out access to the slopes.
This sophisticated island town features 110 miles of coastline, and plenty of shops and restaurants – none of them chain, to keep you busy in between beach bumming. As the streets are so narrow here, this is a particularly great getaway idea for cycling buddies. With all the gorgeous, antique homes available for rent, why stay in a hotel?
Turks & Caicos
Maybe you’re here to scuba dive down to the islands’ vast coral reef, or to kick back and relax with some beachside yoga – whatever you do, don’t miss out on delicious Moroccan and Mediterranean food from the much-loved Lemon Café. No matter what you do, renting a villa with exclusive beach access, private pools, and 360-degree views of the ocean will complement your plans just fine.
The Yucatan peninsula is no stranger to vacations, or girlfriend getaways either. With its splendid coastline, enchanting Mayan ruins, and overwhelmingly long list of restaurants, shops, spas, and tourist-friendly attractions, it’s no wonder so many come here for their beach fix. Don’t share your view of the ocean with a bunch of other hotel guests, though – instead book a beachfront estate with a Jacuzzi, pool, and private chef!
Laura Hoot lives in the wonderful city of Austin, Texas with her husband, three dogs and cat. When she’s not being a homebody (in other words, watching Netflix and playing Call of Duty), she writes and manages content for HomeAway Inc, the world’s most trusted vacation rental website, and tries to keep busy with side projects and guest blogging. Her writing’s been featured on theBudgetFashionista.com, TravelTips.UsaToday.com, eFilmCritic.com, RottenTomatoes.com, Trails.com, and Travels.com, among many other sites.