News: ,

Creating the Perfect Kitchen for High-End Vacation Rental Homes

March 5, 2024

In the past decade, luxury villas have increasingly gained popularity as vacation rental homes. Travelers continue to seek accommodations that offer maximum privacy and the opportunity to unwind in an exclusive oasis.

While the demand for this industry grows, many large properties are being remodeled and converted to meet the needs of today’s vacation rental homes. For practical purposes, this type of home is a hybrid between a commercial and residential space. Thus, it is important to understand the needs of the homeowners, property managers and most importantly, the guests.

Above photo: This surf villa in Costa Rica was renovated by Wendy Greenwald of Jacó Kitchen and Bath and features various seating options and floating console tables to offer points of service during mealtimes and social events. Photo Credit: Jacó Kitchen and Bath

Our interior design firm in Costa Rica specializes in this type of remodeling, and the following is a list of things we consider most important when designing a kitchen for a vacation rental villa.

  1. Start with a scullery or butler’s pantry that offers a prep, cooking and cleanup area out of sight. Include plenty of counter space, task lighting, open storage and electrical outlets.
  2. Multiple areas for serving food and beverages are key for a happy vacation rental. Plan for a space to set up a buffet for large groups.
  3. Feeding 10 to 20 people efficiently for each meal is much easier when service stations are spread out. It is helpful to have several undercounter refrigerators throughout the dining and other living areas. This alleviates some pressure on kitchen traffic as well as refrigeration space.
  4. Remember that breakfast is the most crucial meal of the day for large groups on vacation, so make sure you include a space for a practical setup that is appropriate for the number of people who can sleep at the house.
  5. Outdoor kitchens and service stations also encourage congregation throughout the property, offering guests more unique experiences. Think of creating a place for a daily sun downer or morning coffee service.
  6. When specifying materials, remember that most people using this home are not its owners. Choose materials that are appropriate for heavy and even careless use. To prevent staining of the countertops, avoid honed finishes and light-colored marble.
  7. In dining areas, seating should be contract grade. Choose materials that can be easily wiped down like wood or vegan leather. It is not uncommon for vacationers to sit on a dining chair in a wet towel, so staying away from sensitive upholstery is crucial.

Appliance ABCs

Vacation villas are often in remote areas. When it comes to appliance selection, be mindful of the availability of warrantied products and licensed technicians. Look for brands that are easily repaired and offer accessibility to replacement parts in your area. When an appliance fails while the property is rented, it must be repaired immediately so as not to disrupt the enjoyment of the home. A less-sophisticated, working refrigerator will always be preferred over a fancy, broken one.

The kitchen will be used by many cooks, including teenagers, home chefs, housekeepers and caterers who may not be familiar with new technology. Encouraging your clients to provide a how-to cheat sheet for specialty appliances like an espresso machine and induction cooktop can be helpful.

Water Wellness

Filtered water is a must for vacation homes; nothing ruins a holiday faster than getting sick from bad water. Different locations will require unique systems, so it is important to know what level of filtration is needed for safe drinking water and optimum plumbing fixture performance.

Mineral-rich water may require a house-wide filtration system to minimize damage to faucets and appliances. But if a property has excellent filtered water, an undercounter, reverse-osmosis system could be best.

A perfect vacation rental kitchen must be the ultimate work horse, ready to whip up a family meal for four or serve 50 guests for a rehearsal dinner. Creating spaces that spark magic requires striking a balance among user-friendly simplicity, elemental quality and attention to detail that enhances the beauty of what makes the property unique.

Wendy Greenwald, founder and co-owner of Jacó Kitchen and Bath, a full-service interior design firm in Costa Rica and the Florida Keys