Rental industry professionals say more Americans are renting rustic villas and similar high-end residences in Europe this year, with Oliver's Travels co-founder Oliver Bell attributing the trend to the pandemic. The privacy of such properties is especially alluring, while resort-like concierge services add to their appeal. Bell says his agency currently has three dozen villas with peak-season prices topping about $130,000 a week—twice as many as 2019. Dee Branciforte with New York City's Fischer Travel Enterprises says live-in help is often included at top-end rentals, and in the past year the agency has booked clients into an extended stay in a Paris apartment with a nightly base rate of $60,600. She adds that renters are primarily concerned with transportation and security. Professionals also credit the surge in villa rentals to the use of deluxe vacation spots in popular TV shows like HBO's "The White Lotus." U.K.-based Abercrombie & Kent Villa offers a 17th-century Tuscan villa near Siena showcased on HBO's "Succession" for roughly $69,600 a week, while a 16th-century palazzo in Palermo featured in "The White Lotus" rents for about $46,500 a week. Villas' typical location in isolated locations frequently offers guests cooler countryside climates.
Wall Street Journal (08/17/23) J.S. Marcus