White Lotus-ing? More Americans Are Opting for Luxury Villas Over 5-Star Hotels When Traveling Abroad

You can thank the pandemic and the hit Max series for the move toward private estates.An Italian villa

Earlier this year, a report showed that travelers were booking trips to places seen on shows like The White Lotus. But if they can’t get to those locales themselves, they’re still taking cues from the way TV’s elite are traveling.

More and more Americans are opting for luxury villas when they go abroad, rather than five-star hotels or resorts, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday. These massive estates usually rent for tens of thousands of dollars a week, and they provide a sense of privacy that many have come to appreciate over the past few years.

Oliver Bell, a co-founder of the villa-rental specialist Oliver’s Travels, told the newspaper that his business has doubled since 2019, thanks in part to the pandemic. People were more interested in private stays once travel picked back up again, and many villas now offer the same sorts of amenities and services one would find at a resort, like a concierge to help plan day trips and make reservations. That increase in demand has led to an increase in prices, too: Bell’s agency has three dozen villas that can rent for more than $130,000 a week during the peak season.

Elsewhere, series like The White Lotus and Succession have spurred people to travel like the wealthy families they see on their screens. In fact, the U.K.-based Abercrombie & Kent Villas rents out estates seen on those two shows. A 17th-century Tuscan villa featured in the Season 3 finale of Succession comes with a price tag of $69,600 a week, while a 16th-century Palermo palazzo from Season 2 of The White Lotus can be yours (temporarily) for $46,500 a week.

This year, Americans are largely heading to Italy, France, and Greece, according to Dee Branciforte of Fischer Travel, a high-end travel consultant that charges clients a $150,000 joining fee and $25,000 in annual dues. But Branciforte told The Wall Street Journal that locales like Portugal are becoming more popular, while Bell mentioned that some of his clients are opting for the United Kingdom, where the weather has been a bit cooler compared with the heat wave hitting Europe this summer.

It seems like only a matter of time until rental prices in those countries skyrocket to dollar figures more fit for the Roy family.

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