This post was most recently updated on July 12th, 2019
Have you been wondering how to create a 5-star vacation rental? Do you wish your vacation home was booked more often?
Consistently receiving 5-star ratings for your vacation rental isn’t hard. The key is to make your guests feel pampered – like they would in a 5-star hotel. Focus on the essentials that a luxury hotel would, and the rest will fall into place with little effort.
You don’t necessarily need to provide luxurious comfort in every corner of the rental. You don’t have to provide your guests with expensive toys, gadgets, bells, or whistles. You just need to make them feel like they’re staying in the home that they wish they had.
Here are, in our opinion, the 3 essentials to make a guest feel pampered, much like they would in a luxury hotel. All three components on this list have three specific things in common – they are all high usage, involve a lot of direct skin contact, and are directly correlated to comfort.
They are all items that most people lack in their own homes, but definitely wish they had. Some people might not have the budget, others might not know what these products are or how to go about buying them.
However, if you can afford to own a vacation rental, then you probably have the budget. And after reading the list below, you’ll know what to buy, and where to buy them – so you really have no excuse to transform your vacation rental into a luxurious 5-star property.
1.) A layered bed
The focal point of any hotel room is the bed. Hotels spend a lot of time and resources into getting the bed just right because that is where you will spend the majority of your time during your stay.
A comfortable and inviting bed can hide and distract from other weak areas of the room and is the one component of the hotel room that you will most appreciate. 9 times out of 10, a well-slept guest is a satisfied guest.
A vacation rental is no different. While your guests will have the rest of the property to use and enjoy, their bed will still be the focal point. The most effective way to prepare the best possible bed is to set things up as they would in a hotel – which is a layered bed.
To keep things simple, we’ll focus on the three key components of a layered bed. If you’re interested, you can read this article about creating a layered bed for more in-depth information.
A feather bed is the main reason why hotel beds are so comfortable. They create a cocoon of comfort that just can’t be replicated. For a cloud-like feeling that a hotel bed provides, you’ll need a feather bed.
Our choice is the Luxe Loft Feather Bed from the Pacific Coast Feather Company. This is the same model commonly found in Hilton hotel rooms.
The Luxe Loft model features a barrier-weave fabric to keep the feathers inside, and a baffled-box design to keep them distributed evenly.
For our purposes here, you won’t need an ultra-plush model; the pad’s main function is to hold the feather bed in place.
For this, we like a mattress pad with anchor bands. Instead of having a skirt that fits over the mattress like a fitted sheet, this type of pad has elastic straps that fit over each corner. They tend to hold more effectively.
The duvet cover is will provide the aesthetics for our bed, as well as provide a bit of top-side comfort. To best mimic a hotel bed, we recommend a white color palette (for the sheets as well). This evokes a fresh and clean feeling.
Simple is the best way to go. We tend to favor solid white, or white with a border – which is the style most commonly found in hotel beds. Something like this:
This design is usually available with a border of various different colors, so feel free to match the duvet with the colors in the rest of the room.
That takes care of the bed. Let’s move on to the second item on our list.
Besides the actual mattress (and the items we placed on top of it moments ago), pillows are the other bedding item that significantly affects comfort and how well a guest sleeps.
The right pillow will often go unnoticed, and taken for granted. The wrong pillow(s) will stick out like a sore thumb and result in sore muscles and stiffness in the morning. Since you don’t know the sleeping preferences of all of your future guests, we recommend a hybrid pillow.
Our choice is the Chamber pillow from Downlite – which is commonly found in numerous hotels throughout the country such as Hyatt, Bellagio, Hard Rock, and many others.
Chamber pillows are great for back and side sleepers (which will satisfy the majority of your guests), and are right between the medium and firm spectrum. This is why they are such a popular choice of hotels – they are a people pleaser.
Chamber pillows have “chambers” inside. The outer two chambers are filled with goose down to provide a soft plush outer surface, and an inner chamber filled with a down and feather blend to provide support.
There’s just one more item left on our list.
The bath towels are one of the main items within your vacation rental that provide a lot of direct skin contact. Providing awesome towels is an understated, yet very effective way to evoke a luxurious tone.
Going the extra mile, and providing your guests with super soft (and absorbent) towels will make your them feel like they are staying at a luxurious 5-star resort.
Which towels should you purchase? Once again, we recommend using what the top hotels use, which in this case are Lynova towels from Standard Textile.
Yes, they are more expensive than other towels, but they are worth it! They are made from 100% ring-spun cotton, using long-staple yards, so they’ll be softer, more absorbent, and they’ll last longer too.
Lynova towels are commonly found in luxury hotels throughout the country. You’ve already come across other Standard Textile products in the past, you just didn’t notice them. Standard Textile sheets and towels are featured in many luxury boutique hotels, as well as national chains like Sheraton, Marriott, etc.
A few other details to consider
We left out the sheets in the layered bed above. Quite frankly, sheets are overrated. There is a lot of hype surrounding thread counts which in our opinion is a bit pointless. Yes, soft sheets are definitely soft, but unless your sleep naked, you don’t actually feel the softness of your sheets.
The majority of us wear some sort of pajamas when we sleep – which means you don’t actually have much skin to sheet contact.
That being said, sheets are still important. We suggest a simple 300 thread count cotton sheet set in white color.
Depending on the location of your vacation rental, your guests may spend a significant amount of their trip indoors. Guests in locations like Palm Springs, mountain areas, etc. usually stay indoors more than you’d expect.
That being said, opt for the biggest TV that your budget will allow. Much like the pillows, a large TV will be silently appreciated.
Having the comforts of home will make your guests feel like they’re at home. Providing them with internet access and free Wi-Fi is a very easy and inexpensive way to ensure that your guests are satisfied.
Just make sure to leave a note that includes your network information.
It really isn’t hard to create a 5-star vacation rental. The key is to provide your guests with little details that carry a lot of significance. Make it seem like you personally curated the amenities with their luxury in mind.
A cozy and inviting bed, comfortable pillows, plush and soft towels – each of these are small details that add up to a lot more than just the sum of their parts.
A little investment up front will pay off down the road.