EIGHT or GREAT – one Vacation Rental’s Refresh Program
Erehwon Retreat isn’t your average vacation rental – it’s a 1923 Arts and Craft home away from home. Airbnb, Booking.com, Vrbo, TripAdvisor have revolutionized the way we book vacations but there’s still nothing like personal attention to detail.
Hospitality means you can’t perform maintenance when something breaks. Hotels can move a guest to a different room, but that strategy simply doesn’t work for a vacation rental. Why not? Because our guests deserve uninterrupted calm and perfect amenities during their stay. At Erehwon we use every turnover to check every detail and we perform routine maintenance every six months whether we think our properties need it or not.
Finding a vacation rental with the personal touch
So, what does that mean? Many ‘holiday home’ proprietors retire to Florida and want an income for themselves. Slowly the quality and style of their furnishings erodes … but the photos online still look like the first opening. At Erehwon Retreat we update our image with independent professional photographers every other year and that means no nasty surprises when you arrive.
We’re different in other ways too, because at Erehwon Retreat our focus is on timeless elegance. I take a curator’s perspective: every aspect of the bungalow, cottage and grounds is examined carefully. I work hard to combine the pedigree of Erehwon’s era with modern innovations in comfort and performance. That’s where interior designer Nikki Couture comes in. Every year she helps me create a maintenance schedule to renovate or replace so I keep my properties bandbox fresh. When the cottage ‘turned eight’ we reviewed everything and replaced anything slightly shabby. Of course, some items, like towels and wash cloths, are replaced annually. That doesn’t happen in a lot of other vacation properties!
Florida Vacation Rentals – how to find perfection in every detail
One of the secrets to success at Erehwon Retreat is personal attention. Twice yearly, I spend a night in each property because this gives me first-hand experience of my vacation rentals. I try out the cutlery and the mattress, I check out the bookshelves, ultimately I even sit on the deck to enjoy the view. This allows me and my team to improve and ‘refresh’ so that the rental experience constantly improves.
In December 2016, this maintenance activity included:
- Re-crowning the six dining room chairs with foam and leather re-upholstery
- Having the cottage’s reading chair reupholstered by a specialist
- Deck furniture being sent away for sand-blasting, repainting and sealing
- Replacing the box spring and mattress in the cottage (our hotel grade beds are often favorably mentioned in our reviews!)
- Changing deck boards where necessary
- Adding a handrail between the deck, path and parking area
- Installing passive lighting to enhance the gorgeous tree cover
- A new low-voltage path lighting around the property.
This fall the cottage has new seat cushions, bolsters and pillows to ensure perfect comfort.
The period details of the property aren’t just window dressing, because they contribute to the quality of every experience. The 1920s were the tipping point between craftsmanship and mass production. This means the furniture and decorative items were made from high quality materials using innovative and exciting design concepts. It’s the ideal balance of form and function that makes our Florida vacation rentals lovely to look at and superb to stay in.
Choosing a vacation rental – top tips
While looking at photographs can help you get a sense of a place, it’s important to look at reviews too. Finding the perfect base for your vacation, means paying attention to details such as the quality of sleep that people get. It requires a kitchen fully supplied with everything necessary to cook a great meal. Ultimately it’s the atmosphere of a property which can make the difference between a good vacation and an unforgettably great one.
We always remember that the difference between a hotel and a vacation rental is entirely in the quality of the experience. And here’s a simple example – if our guests take towels to the beach, we wash them overnight so they have fresh towels the next morning.
Finally, in trying to be a great vacation rental host I love to make sure my guests are relaxed and happy because that makes me happy too!