Relax amongst the trees. Image from Time and Place.

As Go Girls, we love cultural immersion.

It’s all too easy to daydream about what it might be like to live in the places we fall in love with while traveling. We wonder what it would be like to live our daily lives there, to shop there, to eat there, and to return to one of the lovely houses or apartments we walk by each day and call it home.

Traveler vs. Tourist

Travel is about experiencing a place. Not being a tourist passing through but learning how a town or city works and what its people are like.

Immersive travel involves visiting food markets, finding local hidden treasures, and interacting with locals as they go about their daily lives.

Making a meal with new friends and travel companions can be  one of your most special experiences on the road. From figuring out where to find local delicacies and discovering how to prepare them from local shop owners, to the act of preparing and sharing your homemade meal with new friends from across the globe, the whole process can be a delightful experience that blends new adventures, cultural immersion, and the joys of home.

Your view could be the beautiful SoCal coastline. Image from Time and Place.
Your view could be the beautiful SoCal coastline. Image from Time and Place.

But staying in a hotel, no matter how luxurious, makes it difficult to experience this type of travel.

Rules, the lack of home amenities, cramped space, and no areas in which to entertain all make it very clear that you’re merely visiting.

Only the most luxurious of hotels can ensure both the space and the absolute privacy of home. Even then, step out of your private room or suite, and you’re confronted with guests queuing up for dining rooms, jostling each other at the pool, or holding loud conversations in the lounge.  Noisy neighbors, housekeeping calls at 6 am, or nighttime entertainment right outside your room make it hard to feel like you’re truly “living” in your own home away from home.

Home vs. Hotel

So how do you combine comfort with your dream of immersing yourself in a vacation destination?

The answer comes in the form of a luxury rental home.

Beautiful, well-appointed flats and beach houses offer the stunning luxury of a hotel, including the attentive (but not obtrusive) services of local, off-site concierge and housekeeping, in addition to boasting all of the comforts and privacy of your very own home.

These aren’t your average vacation rentals.

Whether it’s antique furniture and walls of art, walk-in wine rooms, at-home spas, or acres of private gardens, each home that makes the cut as a luxury rental has its own special ambiance elevating it above your usual holiday accommodation.

Or the bustle of Barcelona might be your choice. Image from Time and Place.
Or the bustle of Barcelona might be your choice. Image from Time and Place.

Luxury rentals can range from the beautiful to the sublime. Whether your taste leans toward an elegant flat in Paris, a private beach house in Santa Barbara, or a sprawling complex of pavilions in Thailand, companies like Time and Place exist to make your holiday accommodation the ideal relaxing retreat.

Luxury rentals can also give you a chance to experience how the “other half” lives. Many properties are the very mansions or beach-front compounds celebrities such as Beyonce and Jay-Z  would be happy to call home.

Your well-connected concierge can help you expand on this fantasy by gaining you access to everything from personal chefs to sold-out theater tickets and private helicopter rides.

Cost vs. Luxury

Like any luxury hotel or resort, the prices involved in luxury rentals can vary widely, depending on the location of the property, its size, and the number of bedrooms.

Settle in to read in Provence, France. Image from Time and Place.
Settle in to read in Provence, France. Image from Time and Place.

Yet, in a dollar-by-dollar comparison, you certainly get more bang for your buck.

A two-bedroom apartment in Paris is available for the same price as a single-occupancy hotel room but provides an intimate and romantic private home for a honeymoon. 

A 6-bedroom casa on Spain’s Costa Brava that sleeps 17 acts as the perfect reunion site for friends or family for less per person than the cost of a hostel bunk bed.

As Erica mentioned after her cruise with Mediterranean Delights Fitness Voyage, there’s a lot to be said for rejuvenating and pampering yourself with luxury when traveling.

Luxury rentals allow you to do just that while still immersing you in the sights, sounds, and local culture  you long for from your “home away from home.”

Where would your dream home be located? Share with us in the Comments!

Editors’ Note: Joanna’s post is sponsored by the amazing Time and Place, providing hand-picked luxury homes and concierge services. However, our views and opinions are completely our own! Click here for our full disclosure statement.