Stephanie Farr Talks Disconnecting At MayaLuxe Villas

Steph Farr. Image courtesy Maya Luxe.
Steph Farr. Image courtesy Maya Luxe. /

Looking for a vacation spot? Unsure of where to go? Stephanie Farr spoke about disconnecting from the world at MayaLuxe Villas in Mexico. MayaLuxe Villas are a luxury experience, offering space for many people to share in the local culture and neighborhood while gaining a unique vacation experience.

But, it is not just a villa experience the guest would be receiving. MayaLuxe’s partnership with a local company, Cotelier Hotels, has five percent of their proceeds going directly to the Rise Relief Fund.

Culturess: What makes a vacation with MayaLuxe unique?

Stephanie Farr: I would say it’s definitely the service that we offer to our guests. The fact that we’re a local company and we’re a full 360-degree guest experience for our clients. So from the moment they inquire to the moment they arrive at their villa, we take care of every single need prior to arrival, so that includes, for example, if they’re looking to make dinner reservations, book spa services in the villa, we really curate and create original itineraries for our guests. Also, to the point on arrival where we take care of our guests from the moment they check in throughout their stay, and we really try to cater to every single need throughout their stay. If they’re looking to book chef services, butler, waiter, lying by the pool, creating cocktails for our guests, and just really giving them the type of experience that they’re looking for.

So some could be looking to relax and just wanna hang out by their house, and others just want to explore and experience new areas in the destination, visit different beaches or archeological sights. So we really cater to every single need that the guests have and want, and I would say that’s what really makes us unique. We’re here, we’re local, and we know the destination inside out.

Culturess: Is a rental a good option for someone on a budget? Do you offer different tiers of rentals?

Stephanie Farr: Yes. So there’s a huge misconception that you have to be uber-wealthy to rent a luxury villa. Nonetheless, our villas range from three bedrooms to fifteen bedrooms. The rates range from, let’s say, starting at seven hundred a night all the way to twenty-thousand a night. Now, if you’re a group that’s booking a five-bedroom villa, and let’s say it goes for a thousand a night and you’re ten guests, that is essentially a hundred dollars per person per night. So it really does cater to different types of different demographics, different demographic groups as well to their budget. We cater to an array of budgets. It doesn’t mean that just because you book a villa at a thousand a night doesn’t mean you’re gonna have a budget experience. You’re still gonna have an exclusive experience.

Every single one of our villas comes with a concierge twenty-four-seven prior to arrival and throughout their stay, regardless of the nightly rate that our guests pay. So, like I said, there’s a misconception that it does only cater to high-end, but it is super favorable as well too, and can sometimes be cheaper than staying in a hotel, especially with food and beverage, for example, where hotels mark up insane rates. You could be spending more on your dinners and your breakfast than the actual room rate at a hotel. Whereas, with a villa, you’re only paying the cost of the groceries. Some villas do include chef services, they come with a staff. Even if you’re hiring a chef, it still comes out much cheaper than paying for your meals at a hotel.

Culturess: What makes you stand out against competitors in your field?

Stephanie Farr: I would definitely say the fact that we’re local. There’s not many big companies here that do what we do in the sense of, so from two different perspectives, we have competitors that are international. So the fact that we’re local is what helps us stand apart from the international companies that do luxury villa rentals. And then, when looking at the local companies here, we are one of the only companies that actually cater to the experience for the guest. We’re really more focused on experience. The villas, of course, are a huge aspect and it’s our main business. But without the experience, that’s really what creates the vacation.

So we really focus on the experience. The biggest piece is that we also contribute back to the destination and the community. So we really focus on giving back. It’s not just about, yes, we want to create an incredible experience for our guests, but it’s really important for us to actually play a role in the destination in knowing that we have a responsibility here. So, from a standpoint of our guests that feel like by them vacationing with us, they’re actually also helping make a difference as well as our team, our employees, and even our homeowners, where they also feel okay by working with MayaLuxe. We’re also giving back and creating a difference.

Culturess: Why did you choose those locations to create the villas?

Stephanie Farr: Well, the destination is just magical in itself. We basically entered into this area fifteen years ago, and I always was really bullish on Mexico. Mexico alone is a destination that was always on my radar from the beginning of my career because I always knew that we could always use an additional type of standard in this area in terms of service. We knew what we could give to this destination would actually help elevate, in terms of the villa rental market, we could make a difference from the standard and the service. That’s from a business perspective, but also I really bullish in Mexico because I love it.

I think it’s an incredible destination. From the beaches to the level of service that you could get here. The value for your dollar as well. That’s why we have travelers from all around the world. We have an incredible hub as well. Cancoon is an incredible hub. We have flights that cater directly to, for example, to Turkey, to Istanbul to Dubai, pretty much any major city in Europe. South America, Central America, the US, and Canada, so it’s really an incredible hub. It’s easy to get here, and just the culture in itself. It’s an incredibly warm culture.

Culturess: Why should people choose the MayaLuxe villas to go on vacation?

Stephanie Farr: Definitely, they know what type of standard they’re gonna get. Many travelers love, for example, hotels like Four Seasons, Fairmont, because they know what type of brand they’re buying into a brand, and they know the standard and the level of service that they’re gonna get.

We have really dedicated our ethos towards delivering an extensive and an incredible service to our guests. So that’s one thing for sure that I can attest to say that when a guest books with us, or why they should book with us, is knowing that they will receive an incredible experience and the standard of luxury that they would be looking for.

Culturess: Are there any rules, such as no noise?

Stephanie Farr: The rules vary based on where they’re booking. So Riviera-Maya is an expansive destination. It’s almost got five destinations within a destination. So it really depends where the guest is booking. If it’s a gated community, yes, they could be a little bit more strict in terms of the noise restrictions. For example, no noise after 10:00 PM. Just be respectful, considering it is a residential area. So being respectful of neighboring villas.

Other rules are simple, like no smoking in the villas, parties of course, and we do take security deposits to protect ourselves and our homeowners. It doesn’t mean that they can’t have parties, but it’s usually limited to the number of guests that are booking the house. So, if there’s, let’s say, ten people and all of the sudden they wanna invite twenty more, thirty more, that’s restricted. The other rule we try to inflict is to just have fun and disconnect as much as possible and enjoy the vacation.

Culturess: What inspired you to start this business?

Stephanie Farr: What inspired me was my love for travel. I’ve always been someone that loved to explore and discover different destinations in the world. I always felt, number one, how would I do this if I work for another company? I really wanted to create and build something for myself so that I have the freedom to pick up and travel when I wanted to. I love the hospitality industry. I love travel.

I also had experience previously in the villa rental industry, so that was where my forte was, and I knew there was an opportunity in Riviera-Maya, Mexico, to create this business and, of course, just to be able to cater to our clients and our guests and know that we’re making a difference in their life by just curating and building an incredible experience for them is extremely rewarding. That really what was one of the reasons why I started this business.

Culturess: What are your favorite places to travel? And what about your favorite travel experiences would you want your customers to have at your villas?

Stephanie Farr: I love India. That’s probably one of my favorites. Africa, going on an African safari is probably one of the most magical experiences. I am a huge, huge advocate of, well, I love going to Europe, but I’m a huge fan of Italy. Pretty much anywhere where I can explore a new destination but also immerse into a new culture. So I would say those are the things I would look for when I’m traveling.

I’m very adventurous and love to try new things. So I would definitely say just to get out and explore and experience. Most people come to this area for the beaches. But I would say if they could take a moment and actually explore on the jungle side, there’s just as much magic in the jungle as there is on the beach and discovering the beach and the Caribbean blue water, as much as they’re incredibly beautiful, going into the jungle is equally impressive and just to be able to disconnect and connect with the culture.

Feel the Mayan cultures and ancient civilizations. We’re very fortunate to be able to immerse ourselves into this type of culture where they still speak a different language. They don’t speak Spanish. To be able to experience, on a local perspective, get to know the Mayan culture and immerse into different types of activities that would bring them a little bit closer to the Mayan experience. Whether it be to visit archaeological sights going to swim in the cenotes, which are sinkholes throughout the region. Just getting out there and exploring and venturing into the jungle, and going to visit different cenotes, going to visit the archaeological sights. We do, at MayaLuxe, take our guests on a variety of tours into Mayan villages and get to see and explore a different culture where they speak a completely different language, not even Spanish.

Culturess: Do you have plans to expand your business to other places?

Stephanie Farr: Yes. We are currently in the midst of expanding to other destinations in Mexico. We wanna be the number one villa rental company in Mexico, so we’re looking at Riviera Nayarit, which consists of Puerto Vallarta, Punta de Mita, Sayulita, Cabos, and Baja, California, and are other destinations on our hit list. Those are the three main destinations we’re looking at right now in Mexico. We are also looking to expand to different Caribbean destinations as well.

Culturess: What tips do you have for travelers searching for a rental?

Stephanie Farr: Number one, when booking a villa, depending on how many bedrooms that they’re looking to book, always look at the interior and exterior spaces. Sometimes, a house could be, for example, five, six bedrooms, but there’s not enough space to seat ten to twelve people or enough chairs around the pool or the beach to accommodate that many people. So I would always, number one, look at the interior and exterior spaces and look at maybe floorplans. Always ask what type of views the rooms have.

That’s really important. Look at the bedding as well. As specific as that might sound, sometimes you could rent a villa where it’s two single beds, and you don’t know that, and you’re going as couples, and you want king-size beds, for example. That’s one thing. I always ask for our guests. We try to get to know our clients as well as possible before matching them to a villa because we really want our guests to know, for example, what location what’s most important for them. Is it the location? Is it being in town? Or is it being a bit more remote and on the beach? Another tip for our guests is really to ask where is this property located. How far walking distance is it to the beach? Or, how far walking distance or driving to town? Because it’s really important that their expectations are met prior to arrival. The other thing would be looking at what type of services are included. I really think that makes or breaks the vacation.

I think for an experience per se that you have the opportunity to book a property with, for example, a chef service or any type of in-villa service, it really makes a world of a difference in the experience. The idea is for our guests to come, relax, disconnect, and the vacation is really the moment they step foot off the plane. But, we want to be able to really take care of our guests. Not just outside the villa but inside the villa to take care of every single one of their needs, do grocery shopping. We want our guests to ask what type of inside the villa. That’s really what makes or breaks a vacation, in my opinion, is having those in-villa services. As much as some people may wanna cook, and that’s the beauty about a villa, they could do their own grocery shopping and cook. I think it’s really nice that they can pamper themselves and have that in-villa experience.

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