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I had the pleasure of talking to Cristina Abriani – Marshall, Owner at Chic-ca Fashion Showroom in London, representing Italian fashion labels in the UK.

Cristina and her family travel frequently abroad for both pleasure and business. As a trendy couple Cristina and her husband Andrew used to stay in fashionable hotels. But with the arrival of their child, their choice shifted towards luxury holiday villas.

I find out from Cristina why she stopped booking hotels for their family vacations and opted for rental accommodations.

HOW OFTEN DO YOU TRAVEL PER YEAR, BOTH FOR PLEASURE AND BUSINESS? 

I travel between 6 and 10 times a year, so quite frequently.   If I travel alone on business, I may lodge in a hotel, but for family holidays I choose to stay in a rental accommodation such as private villas or city apartments.

WHEN DID YOU LAST STAY IN A VACATION RENTAL ACCOMMODATION? 

We last booked a holiday villa in August 2015. We went to sunny Spain and stayed in a spacious secluded villa with pool, surrounded by intoxicating Mediterranean vegetation. In the summer we travel with our young boy and two older daughters. Grandparents often join us too so we need a large accommodation which provides ample space and privacy for each of us.

Fun at the villa

Fun at the villa, Spain

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO STAY IN A RENTAL HOME RATHEN THAN A HOTEL? 

My husband sleeps frequently in hotels while on business so for family holidays he prefers instead the comfort and flexibility offered by a private home.

I like the freedom that a private villa gives us as well . I like the time we spend at the house.

When staying in hotels it often means retreating back to your room after dinner with little else to do. If you stay in a home you have more choice, space and privacy. And… no more running to the sun -lounger by the pool to occupy the best seat. You always have the best poolside seat!

Staying in a home means also not having to eat restaurant food for a fortnight. Sometimes you just want a simple light meal. You are not bound to specific restaurant timetables. You can pretty much eat what and when you feel like. We can choose to eat in, out or order a chef to cook for us.

Traveling with kids has also changed our priorities. A villa can be a safer place for children to run around and without disturbing other guests.

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HOW DO YOU CHOOSE A VACATION HOME?

I do a thorough research on-line to find the property which best matches our requirements in terms of location, amenities or additional services. The web is my first point of call. I also listen to friends’ recommendations.

DO YOU USUALLY BOOK DIRECTLY WITH THE OWNER OR VIA A PROFESSIONAL AGENT?

Both really.

WHICH ARE THE MOST SPECIAL PROPERTIES YOU STAYED AT?

Masseria il Trullino in Puglia and  Villa Costa dei Gabbiani in Capoliveri, Tuscany.

Masseria Il Trullino, Salento

Masseria Il Trullino, Salento

WHAT MADE THEM SPECIAL?

Direct contact with nature and exclusivity. The villas were both unique and located in wonderful parts of Italy.

DID YOU HAVE ANY BAD EXPERIENCES WHILE STAYING IN A RENTAL ACCOMMODATION?

Luckily not!

WHICH DESTINATIONS WOULD YOU LIKE TO VISIT IN 2016?

We hope to visit Greece next summer.

Cristina Abriani

Cristina Abriani, CEO CHICC-ca Fashion Showroom, London