Finding the Perfect Vacation Home

Finding the Perfect Vacation Home

One of our top luxury travel experts takes us inside her recent family vacations

Kirsten Schneider is a VIP Villa Specialist with Luxury Retreats. That means she helps some of the world’s most discerning travelers find the perfect vacation rental home. Kirsten’s job includes having in-depth knowledge of the top villas in Luxury Retreats’ extensive portfolio. To truly serve her clients’ needs to the best of her abilities, she needs to know her villas inside and out. Sometimes, this requires a visit to a warm destination and a stay in a luxurious mansion. (We asked her – she doesn’t mind!)

Kirsten’s two most recent trips landed her (and her family) in Costa Rica and Punta Mita, respectively, with two homes to “test” at each destination. Never one to shy away from adventure, Kirsten, traveling with her husband, 14-year-old daughter, and 12-year-old son, made sure to get the most out of each trip. Follow Kirsten as she takes you inside those four luxurious villas and describes her favorite activities in each region.

Vacation in Costa Rica

Casa Pericos
Casa Pericos in Papagayo, Costa Rica
Inside a quiet gated community and on an award-winning golf course, Pericos is perfect for families looking for the privacy of an off-the-beaten-path villa along with the amenities of a resort. Up to 12 people can enjoy a fully-equipped kitchen, formal indoor and outdoor dining, an infinity pool, and a hot tub all to themselves, while also enjoying access to Prieta Beach Club and all its resort amenities. When you take your personal golf cart down to the resort, your options include massages, a fitness center, water sports, a dozen restaurants, and more. For privacy, views, and decor, Casa Pericos is a top-notch choice.
Find out more about Casa Pericos

Hacienda Clark
Hacienda Clark in Playa Flamingo, Costa Rica
Beachfront homes are rare in Costa Rica, yet Hacienda Clark is exactly that. Playa Flamingo is a beach that goes for days – from your villa, you could walk the sand 30 minutes in either direction. Surrounded mostly by locals, this is an authentic Costa Rican experience that still affords you luxury-level amenities. As an eight-person-max home, it’s perfect for hosting you and your immediate family. But those really in the know can take advantage of this pro tip: Hacienda YellowHouse and Hacienda Casa del Arbol are both next door, each with four rooms, and the trio can be rented together for a group of up to 26 people.
Find out more about Hacienda Clark

Activities in Costa Rica
Jet skiing with family
As might be expected, Kirsten came back from Costa Rica with a few stories to tell. For one, there was the catamaran her family boarded for a sunset cruise. For another, her 12-year-old son tried deep sea fishing for the first time and landed a gorgeous red snapper. “It was bigger than him actually,” Kirsten says laughing. Though they employed the catch-and-release technique, you have the option to bring your prize to a local restaurant where they’ll cook and serve it right to your table. Then there was the ziplining and canopy tour arranged by Pura Aventura. This was thrilling in more ways than one for Kirsten, who admits she is afraid of heights. “It was amazing, I’m happy I did it,” she says, before clarifying. “I would never do it again.” Once-in-a-lifetime, indeed.
See all our villas in Costa Rica

Vacation in Punta Mita, Mexico

Casa Fortuna
Casa Fortuna in Punta Mita, Mexico
At the tip of Punta Mita, you’ll find a gated community with a beautiful, beachfront property, fully staffed to meet the highest expectations. Access to Kupuri Beach Club is icing on the cake, giving you access to spa services, water and fitness activities, and golf. All that on top of daily chef and waiter services for 3 meals per day, housekeeper services, and views of the ocean back at Fortuna. Alfresco dining awaits by the pool, and that’s where Kirsten and family enjoyed a sunset dinner before a Mexican surprise: “The owner got us a mariachi band – we had this beautiful dinner at sunset, and then this band comes out and it’s like 15-20 guys, 3-4 singers. And I thought, ‘Wow that’s a nice touch for 15 minutes’. They played an hour for us! It was great.” At this well-equipped family villa, you have stunning views, a beautiful infinity pool, great staff, and most of all, lasting memories.
Find out more about Casa Fortuna

Casa Aramara
Casa Aramara in Punta Mita, MexicoThe ultimate villa experience
, is how Kirsten, describes Casa Aramara. “It’s like a small boutique hotel for yourself – with that level of service.” What makes it so special? You can do anything. Literally with the push of an ANYTHING™ button, present in virtually every room in the house, the all-world staff will cater to any little need you might have. For Kirsten and family (the kids especially), this ranged from cappuccino in the morning to extra pillows, M&Ms, cold towels for a sunburn, and popcorn. “The kids were walking around with cotton candy all day long.” From riding jet skis to getting massages, playing tennis and basketball on the property’s own courts to watching a movie in your home theater, Aramara has it all, which is part of what makes it such a celebrity hotspot. After Kirsten’s departure, the Kardashians checked in. Enough said.
Find out more about Casa Aramara

Activities in Punta Mita
Casa Fortuna in Punta Mita, Mexico
At the risk of copping out, Kirsten admitted that she didn’t take advantage of Punta Mita’s various activities this time around because, well, the villas were too good. From a private mariachi show at Casa Fortuna to the ultimate villa experience at Casa Aramara, Kirsten tells her VIP guests that a venture off-property can leave you with serious FOMO when your rental home experience is this good. She says of Aramara: “You don’t need to and you don’t want to leave, because you would feel so bad to leave.” If you do want explore, Los Ranchos beach stands out as a local favorite.
See all our villas in Punta Mita