This Rump-Up Picture Caught My Eye

Did she lose an earring? Kick a sandal under the bed? Checking whether the housekeeping is up to her standards? When I saw it, I didn't know, but I could tell that she was photographed in a villa in some wonderful tropical place.

It’s the an image on a website that finds luxurious villas for exotic tropical getaways

The catchy slogan for a long-ago Mounds/Almond Joy commercial was “Sometimes you feel like a nut. Sometimes you don’t.” I’m that way about travel. Sometimes I want to explore exciting European cities, energetic developing countries somewhere on the planet and put a pack on my back and hike the splendid  Rockies of the U.S. and Canada. And sometimes I just want to stop the clock, jump off the merry-go-round and unwind someplace wonderful with my husband, palm trees, the sound of the sea and soft tropical breezes — and maybe some pampering thrown in.

The image above certainly is an attention-grabber, and I think that next time I want, assuming I could afford, a vacation on this order, my go-to source will be The Villa Guide. I have prowled around this Hong Kong-based booking site, and and like what I see. Their slogan, “We’re renowned for sleeping around,” is as catchy as the photo, but the content is hands-on practical. The site owners do explain,

“The reason being we sleep in over 200 villas a year — trying, testing, sampling and inspecting every square inch, literally. We take our role very seriously and work to exacting standards. We don’t just lie on the bed — we look under it, beside it and even climb above it. We’re thorough, and we need to be, because our review criteria is tough, real tough. That’s why we employ villa aficionados — independent, impartial, insatiable reviewers, who are seasoned villa stayers, and hard to impress.”

I’m hard to impress as well, but The Villa Guide did so. Behind the cute slogan is a well-designed site for a particular special-interest traveler — the type who likes tropics, luxury, service, beauty. Drill down into the site, and find that villas are searchable by country, by awide array of vacation interests and by villa size. Anyone need 10 bedrooms?  The nightly rate range (gulp!) is in big type right on top, and there is an easy click-on page for availability. They also provide with infomation on additional facilities.

The site also scores each villa  against 10 specific criteria listed on a scale of 1 to 10, and they invite readers to do the same.  They total the rating given on each page of the guide, noting that “any villa with a rating above eight is outstanding, and a rating of nine or over  is truly exceptional.” The Villa Guide posts their ratings and also their readers’. To underscore their high standards, they put these numbers side by side. As an example, the guest rating for the Villa Nataraja in Bali’s Sanur Beach ($537-$751 nightly) is 9.1; while the Villa Guide gave it a 7.5. Similarly, the guest rating for Ambalama on the south coast of Sri Lanka (beachfront, 4 bedrooms, $650-$1,200 per night) is 10.0, while The Villa Guide gave it a 7.8.

So if you have an itching for an exotic tropical getaway or just wants to daydream online, check the site out.