Luxury for Less
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MAY: THE GREEK ISLANDS
Lesson to Travel By: Renting a villa can save you lots of cash.
The Deal: Escape to your own private hideaway on the Mediterranean before high season kicks into gear.
The Luxury Essentials: Think it'll cost a fortune to rent a villa in a place like Greece's Santorini (view slideshow)? Think again. Some villa rental agencies put together deals where airfare, maid service, and even airport transfers are included in the price. And when you compare the per-night price against local hotels, it becomes a very good deal. For instance, the Greek Islands Club, based in the U.K., books the Villa Ivi—which has its own heated plunge pool in a private courtyard near Santorini's Megalochori village square—for $3,340 per week. (The price is for a couple, but it can sleep as many as four.) That includes all those other perks like the maid service mentioned above, and breaks down to $477 per night. Nice hotels in the area charge around $600 per night in May. Be aware that often the charter flights included in the price depart from the U.K.—so you'll have to fly into Gatwick or Manchester rather than directly into Athens. If you'd prefer to go it alone, rent directly from a villa owner at www.vrbo.com.
Artful Advice: Many homes (though not the centrally located Villa Ivi) include car rentals so you can explore the island.
A Fair Fare: All villa rates quoted by the Greek Islands Club include charter flights from Gatwick and Manchester, so you'll end up paying a lot extra in airport transfers if you fly from the U.S. into Heathrow or Stansted.
Greek Islands Club
Tel: 44 20 8232 9780
Villas from $1,730 per week, including flights from England