An increase in demand for personalised travel experiences has led to more bespoke, immersive hospitality concepts Image Credit: Supplied

Imagine a long weekend in a signature villa on the Palm Jumeirah with a chauffeur-driven Ferrari and a personal butler and chef to serve you a delightful meal on a private beach. Or a staycation in one of the most luxurious penthouses in Downtown Dubai along with a private shopper. Last year a vacation at a luxury penthouse in the Dubai for two European couples had VIP access for the Formula 1 in Abu Dhabi, an exclusive spa experience and backstage passes for concerts in the du Arena all packed in. These are some of the exclusive bespoke offers that some of Dubai’s luxury vacation rental providers are offering guests – to let them experience the “Dubai Dream”.

“The increase in demand for personalised travel experiences prompted us to create a bespoke, immersive concept that appeals to our discerning clientele by giving them access to otherwise unavailable experiences,” said Rami Shamaa, co-founder and managing director of Maison Privee, one such luxury vacation rental provider that teams up with specialist luxury lifestyle company, MyConcierge. “We are positive that this trend will continue as experiential travel is growing rapidly globally.”

Guests of Maison Privee can book a Dh30-million villa with a private pool on the Palm Jumeirah and have a Rolls-Royce in the driveway and private chef to create luxurious private dining experiences throughout their stay. Rent for such villas would be on an average Dh10,000 a night without the add-on experiences of the Ferrai or the private chef.

Privacy and comfort of a home

Luxury vacation rentals, part of the short-term rental portfolio, combine the convenience of a premium hotel with the privacy and comfort of home in outstanding locations. “This is modern luxury hospitality and guests want to move away from services, which are catered for masses,” says Vinayak Mahtani, CEO of bnbme holiday homes. “The luxury traveller today does not want to stay in a suite of a hotel. They don’t want to wait in line for breakfast, eat at buffet and be in a crowded lobby. Today it is all about subtle luxury. Staying in a luxury holiday home is like flying a private jet versus first class on a commercial airline. It’s a complete bespoke experience.”

Luxury vacation rentals, Mahtani explains, offer a lucrative alternative to a property owner who might find it difficult to sell or rent out a luxury property. “Our properties generally start at a value of USD$1 million and can go well over the USD$10 million mark.” A seven-bedroom mansion that rents out for US$10,000 a night will get you a 24-hour private butler at your service. It has top of the line amenities, from German-made feather bedding to organic Australian bathroom amenities. “Our luxury properties can be rented in the range of $500 to $ 10,000 a night. It depends on the season and availability. New Year’s is the most expensive night of the year in Dubai,” he says. Mahtani usually offers services, such as personal shoppers, airport pick up in Bentley or Rolls Royce, private yachts and celebrity chefs to cook in the property for his guests.

Passive income

Getting such luxury properties listed as vacation rentals ensures a guaranteed income to the home owner, says Shamaa. “We rent the property from the owner on an annual basis at market rate with the aim to short term let it to our guests. This option ensures peace of mind and security for the owners investment, with no vacant periods and certainty of income.” For owners, such short-term rentals typically see an approximately 30 per cent higher yield over a long-term rental, he says.

Gregory Lewis, managing director of Airdxb, says “Such uber expensive properties attract a certain type of cliental that are looking for something a hotel can’t offer. To us, this is normally a villa where guests have lots of space and can house the entire family under one roof. The Palm villas are very popular. They offer the beach at the doorstep, a large living space and of course a very prestigious address. These can go from anything between Dh3,500 – Dh20,000 a night depending on the size and of course the level of luxury on offer.”