When’s Best to Book a Luxury Villa or Ski Chalet?
BY - Tim Latimer, 22 August 2019, ARTICLES
BY - Tim Latimer, 22 August 2019, ARTICLES
Choosing the best time to book a holiday can be a minefield. The rates tend to vary considerably through the season depending a multitude of factors such as school holiday dates, weather, popularity and events and different destinations can have quite different patterns.
The good news is that no matter what time of year you choose to travel, there is the perfect luxury villa or chalet awaiting your arrival, somewhere in the world. We’ve compiled a brief guide to help you find the best possible luxury villa or ski chalet at the best possible rate.
The weekly rates for luxury villa rentals do, generally speaking, follow the seasons, but they can vary location by location. The peak weeks (and highest prices) normally coincide with the best weather conditions in that destination, and naturally demand tends to rocket up during the school holidays when families with school-aged children can travel.
It’s worth noting that school holiday dates do vary country by country, and half term dates can differ. The UK often has slightly different holiday dates to mainland Europe.
In the Mediterranean villa destinations of Italy, France and Spain, the weeks in July (particularly the later part of July once the schools have finished) and August are the most sought after. Temperatures soar to their annual highs, demand is high and unsurprisingly the weekly rates are also at their highest.
For families with children at school, there is unfortunately little alternative as the possible travel dates are restricted to the school holiday dates.
If however school holiday dates are not an issue for you and you can travel outside these peak weeks, then there are some significant savings to be found.
In destinations like the South of France and Tuscany, the shoulder season months of June and September have prices around 20% lower than the peak season rates.
The rates tend to get lower the further they are from mid-summer, meaning that during May and October rates are often 30-50% lower than the peak season rates. There are also fewer tourists at this time of year, so beaches are less crowded too.
Further south, in Greece or indeed the south of Spain, the weather is still normally beautifully warm and sunny even as early as April/May and as late as October, and if you are not a fan of scorching hot temperatures this is a lovely time to travel, particularly with pre-school children.
St Tropez’ Villa 9, La Reserve Ramatuelle, a 4 bedroom villa located near the sea with breathtaking views, is a prime example: if you go at either end of the season, prices start at €26,250 a week, but they double to €52,000 a week during July and August.
In the south of Spain and in Greece the season naturally tends to last longer. Some resorts, such as Marbella in Spain, are great winter sun destinations and have villas available to rent all year, with January’s rates being about 50% of the summer rates. Villa Marisela in Marbella is an ultra-cool and luxurious 6-bedroom property with a live-in maid service, and prices start from around €20,000 in winter and reach €38,500/week during peak season.
Outside of Europe the pattern changes and the high season period depends on the particular climate patterns of the area. Some have very pronounced high and low seasons if there are monsoon rains for example. In other locations, such as some of the Caribbean Islands, there is very little in the way of a low season and the weather tends to stay very good for most of the year.
It does of course vary hugely by location, so do get in touch and contact one of our specialists who will be delighted to discuss the various villa destinations and the best time to travel.
The European ski season is a little more complicated since altitude, lift opening/closing dates, school holidays and visiting nationalities lead to fluctuations in demand at different times in the season.
The higher altitude resorts with reliable snow cover are already going strong in the pre-Christmas weeks in December but the rates are significantly lower than later in the season. Resorts such as Zermatt and Val d’Isere have an excellent snow record and are safe bets for early season skiing.
The two most sought after weeks of the ski season are New Year week and the February Half Term week and these weeks tend to get fully booked up in the best luxury ski chalets by about Sept or October at the latest. If you are looking to travel over these dates we would strongly advise getting something booked in by August. As I write this article on 2nd August, these two weeks are roughly 80% booked up already.
The next most popular weeks of the season are Christmas and the Easter Holidays and the rates are usually a little lower than New Year and Feb Half Term weeks, but still quite high.
The Russian Orthodox New Year celebrations take place during the first week of January, so those resorts popular with Russian visitors, notably Courchevel 1850 and to a lesser extent Verbier, are also very in demand at that time, with corresponding high prices.
In other resorts less popular with the Russians, such as Morzine and St Anton, January represents one of the best value months to book a luxury ski chalet as rates are relatively low and as a bonus, the pistes are less crowded.
The rates are often at their lowest in mid January and then gradually increase until the mid-February school holidays. They then usually decrease going into March and then increase again for the Easter holidays.
For me personally, my favourite time to ski is towards the end of the season, when the days are longer, warmer and usually sunnier. Although the snow can get a little slushy later in the day, that is more than offset by the pleasure of sitting in the glorious sunshine and enjoying the breath-taking mountain views and blue skies. And if you are skiing with younger children, the warmer temperatures can make things much easier!
In Meribel, Chalet Lapin Blanc is crafted from local wood and stone with decor that oozes contemporary chic, spread across 4 floors. Although prices can be as low as €28,980 per week, they more than double to €65,870 a week at peak times. Likewise, the ‘ski-in, ski-out’ Chalet Muztagh in Courchevel 1850 is a blissful 635msq private retreat with prices starting at €73,000 per week but reaching €157,500/week at Christmas and Russian New Year.
If you would like advice on the best time to travel, or you’re interested in any of the properties mentioned, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
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