This Company Revolutionized the Villa Experience

This Company Revolutionized the Villa Experience

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This Company Revolutionized the Villa Experience

A look at Lacure, the inventors of all-inclusive luxury villas.

A look at Lacure, the inventors of all-inclusive luxury villas.

Text: MATHIAS ROSENZWEIG

In 2021, the idea of a villa has grown to feel commonplace. Perhaps not in our everyday, actual lives—of course, the very draw of a villa is its exclusivity—but in that imagery of villas has dominated our Instagram feeds and TV screens for years now. This idea of the rich and famous vacationing in stunning and luxurious architectural gems across the globe seems relatively ubiquitous. Perhaps this would lead one to believe that these types of vacations have been the status quo for the affluent since the dawn of the airplane.

This assumption, however, would be false. Founded over four decades ago, an extremely upscale hospitality company called Lacure conceptualized the modern, all-inclusive villa experience. This meant applying services commonly provided by hotels—cleaning, planning, entertaining, cooking, etc.—with the private home experience, allowing travelers and families their solitude without having to sacrifice the offerings provided by upper crust hotels.

Whether or not you’ve stayed in one yourself, your idea of a villa vacation has been largely impacted by Lacure, which now works with over 2,000 properties across five different continents. We spoke with the company’s President and Founder, Geoffrey Williams, about how it all began, as well as tips from the travel guru on where you should visit the next time you’re looking for a no-holds-barred escape. 

Mathias Rosenzweig: How did Lacure come to be and why? How has the company grown and expanded since its inception?

Geoffrey Williams: My brother and I went to University in Toronto, Canada. We came from a family business, but we weren't interested in the typical corporate family business. It was very outside of the box to do something different.

We thought we’d put together a collection of beautiful hotels in Jamaica to market internationally because we wanted to do something that involved going to places that were beautiful and warm. We quickly realized we were at the mercy of old school establishments that wanted to do things in a certain way.

Mathias: So what turned you off of hotels? 

Geoffrey: We stayed in a private home, on the beach. We had a party one night that went on into the morning. And when everyone had left, we thought, “This is what we should do.” Like, who wants to stay in a hotel?

This is the perfect place for people to stay. You have your cook, you have your private space to have these experiences. This is what we should do. This was in 1979. At the time, there was nobody doing villa rentals commercially.

Mathias: What were the first steps in making the company actually come to fruition? 

Geoffrey: We didn't have any hospitality background, but we knew about hospitality because we grew up on an island where everybody was always very hospitable to each other. And it was kind of the natural way of life. 

We started with a brochure. A friend was our photographer. We convinced some people we met on the beach to run around the beaches in Altria with us. We used my cousin who was a New York model, as well. 

We created a concept of an experience, a lifestyle, not choosing a house, but more going away to these three different bases and having the experience of everything being done for you. Everything was possible. The houses were amazing. The service was good. We started with five houses, and it just took off. We went to New York, we dressed up in these ridiculous Hawaiian shirts. We visited travel agents, and that's how we started the business basically.

Mathias: It was just really ahead of its time. Because now it’s such a normal thing to rent a villa.

Geoffrey: At that time in New York, nobody knew what villas were. I'd always remember saying when I was making sales calls and talking to people, I would say, “Just imagine a house in the suburbs.” If I was in a city where there were a million people living in apartments, I would say, “Just imagine a home, four or five bedrooms, and you have a swimming pool.” Americans had no concept of what we were talking about. So, it was really educating everybody.

Mathias: How many villas are you working with?

Geoffrey: We have access to thousands of properties that are maintained to our high standards. But with Lacure, it's not just about booking a house, but creating a seamless travel experience.

We have an amazing reservations team that will help you figure out what is the best fit for you based on your wants and needs. In-villa all the hospitality and operations are taken care of—giving you access to a staff, a chef, and a personal concierge.

We’re obsessed with every detail and regularly vet everything in person. Is there construction on the home next door that will be noisy during your stay? What is in the kitchen drawer? The goal of Lacure is to make everything easy, comfortable, and seamless. So we anticipate your needs before they arise to remove stress and create a true escape.

Mathias: As somebody who's been in the travel and hospitality business now for 40 years, what are some of the places that you think people are going to that are really worth visiting?

Geoffrey: The always popular spots are Turks and Caicos, St. Bart's, Jamaica, Tulum, and the Mayan Riviera in Mexico. For Europe, a lot more people this year are going to Capri and Mykonos. Followed by the South of France, which is always a classic. You have the Cannes Film Festival that brings the folks in May and then as it goes through the summer.

Mathias: Are there any spots that are more off the beaten path of typical high-end vacation destinations?

Geoffrey: There's Ischia, a little island off Italy. It doesn’t have really high-end amenities yet, but I think you could put it on your radar. There’s a small surf town—people are calling it “The Tulum of Costa Rica,”—called Santa Teresa in Costa Rica. It's becoming very hip, but it is a bit difficult to get to. I wish I could say Marrakesh creatively, right?

Mathias: Thank you so much for the tips. Where can people go if they want more information? 

Geoffrey: Our website is a good start. From there they can speak with a dedicated expert who can develop the perfect escape they’re looking for.

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