A view from a luxury living room.
In the pre-Covid era, with schools closed now, families would have made a beeline either to their home countries or to some exotic destinations or even far flung remote places that are just a speck on the globe, but one that promises tranquillity.
Covid has changed all that and travel now is looked at with diffidence, bordering on fear, hence it is a long hot summer that stares back at us. But all is not lost, for staycation options are growing in multitudes, where people can move away from the mundane and enjoy a holiday in the lap of luxury.
“It is important to choose the right staycation if you wish to have a memorable holiday,” advises Vinayak Mahtani, CEO of a holiday home management company.
There is growing popularity for staycations with travel options getting limited…
Indeed yes. While hotels have always been a favourite, the trend is now moving towards holiday homes. Staycations in holiday homes rather than traditional hotels is garnering preference, particularly during Covid time, because families can have the complete facility to themselves. This translates into guests not having to share pools, elevators, dining facilities and similar. In addition, they have customised, personalised services being offered to them, with total safety and security in mind.
What are the factors to be borne in mind while selecting a staycation?
While there are options galore, it is important to be clear about what you should be looking for when booking a holiday home. Is it the price; is it value for money or the experience you so richly deserve? In the final analysis it has to be a mix of all these factors and some more.
Determine a budget and ensure you are not overspending, given current tough economic times. Therefore choose a property that offers the best discounted prices, without compromising on the promised experience. Again, if an offer is too good to be true, it is probably not true. Remember you get what you pay for; hence pay for precisely your needs. The best staycations get booked the soonest and almost always demand a premium. If a price is heavily discounted, it would be worth your while to look into the deal closely and guard yourself against fine prints that you could easily miss.
How important is the location of the staycation?
Researching the location will give you a good idea of what to expect. There are huge differences between buildings in the same location. Confirm the facilities in the building. Some for instance in the Palm, have private beaches, whereas for certain other beachside properties, you need to get an access pass and pay an additional amount to enjoy the beach. In addition to Dubai, another emirate that is becoming a bustling staycation location is Ras Al Khaimah. With its exotic locates and holiday concepts, for sure the emirate is gaining huge prominence. Similarly, Abu Dhabi too has its own old world charm juxtaposed with modern high-rises that makes the capital city a good attraction too.
What are the other factors to bear in mind in choosing a holiday home?
With the easing of lockdown restrictions, it is important to know if a holiday home adheres to all health and safety regulations set forth by the government. Also, who is in charge or accountable for housekeeping and what measures have been taken to keep Covid at bay? Is the staff trained for current guidelines? Are the brands of sanitisers they provide certified by the municipality?
Check if the property is managed by a professionally run company. The holiday home industry is a hospitality business and any hotelier will tell you how complex the running and managing of an individual hotel can be. It is equally important to remember that real estate companies that operate hotel properties for short periods are not hospitality businesses.
In case you wish to cook your own meals, ensure the property has a decently equipped kitchen or kitchenette. Some properties also have specially curated menus for families that don’t want to get stuck with making elaborate meals when on a holiday.
Last but certainly not the least, ensure the property has a unit permit from Dubai Tourism department. This ensures that it is legal and you are insured. If the booking agent is not ready to disclose the unit permit numbers or it has expired, please walk away.
What are the additional, chargeable services one can want from staycations?
You may want a butler, nanny or a private chef to add more comfort and indulgence to your stay. It will be good to see if the company offering the property can enhance your experience by going that extra mile in providing these. For at the end of the day, these are good indicators of excellent customer service.
With schools and universities closing for summer break, there are plenty of productive ways to spend the holiday that can be beneficial for educational and future career purposes.
The resort shut in March as the United Arab Emirates imposed a coronavirus lockdown and reopened in mid-May when restrictions started easing gradually.
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Marking World Tourism Day, the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics announced on Tuesday that "8 million tourists visited Egypt in 2021, a 117.5-per cent increase compared to 3.7 million tourists in 2020".