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Home / About Us / FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

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  • What do the stars in your rating system mean?
  • BeautifulPlaces awards stars on the basis of five key attributes: Quality, Appearance, Character, Setting, and Amenities. There are 5 tiers to our rating system: three stars, three and one-half stars, four stars, four and one-half stars, and five stars.

    5 Stars: Excels in each attribute of our rating system. Equal to the finest resort hotels and private residences in the world in terms of quality, appearance, character, setting and number of amenities.

    4.5 Stars: Excels in four of five key attributes of our rating system and only partially lacking in the fifith attribute.

    4 Stars: Luxurious homes distinguished by first-rate locations, views, superior furnishings, distinctive character, high quality, and amenities.

    3.5 Stars: Very high quality property in a prime location, in very good condition with appealing setting, nice furnishings, most amenities. Has one or more key attributes of superior quality warranting an additional one-half star.

    3 Stars: High quality properties in prime locations, in good condition with appealing setting, nice furnishings, most but not all amenities. Clearly lacks one or more of five key attributes, but provides a satisfying experience at its price point.

  • What range of home sizes and styles do you offer?
  • Our program offers homes ranging from charming one-bedroom cottages to six-bedroom estate-style mansions. Architectural styles range from Victorian, Ranch and Tuscan to French Country and Contemporary. Homes participating in our program must meet exacting standards regarding their appearance, location, amenities, décor and comfort.

  • What makes BeautifulPlaces an expert in this field?
  • Our management has years of combined hospitality industry experience. We know how to seek out and find Wine Country’s most beautiful places and finest service providers. BeautifulPlaces is the only lodging company in the world to understand wine lovers’ desire to visit and live luxuriously in such legendary wine destinations as Napa and Sonoma. Our “Epicurean Lifestyle” approach to the travel market recognizes that there are many affluent consumers who love the idea of centering their travels on a food-and-wine theme.

  • Why book through BeautifulPlaces instead of directly through a homeowner?
  • We are a professional lodging company. When you book your vacation home rental through us you are assured that:

    • The property you rent is a clean, top-quality home that has the amenities you desire.
    • We can arrange for the concierge-level services you desire with a minimum of effort.
    • We act as your middleman, dealing with home owners and service providers – leaving you free to enjoy a carefree vacation.
    • We’re not absentee managers; If a problem arises, we have a 24hr tel. no. to call for immediate assistance.

  • Why book a vacation home as opposed to a hotel or resort stay?
  • When you break down a per-person rate for a villa rental and compare it with an upscale resort or high-end hotel, you’ll find it’s highly competitive. Also, a vacation home rental has features and amenities that you won’t find in even the best hotel, B&B or resort: complete privacy, gourmet kitchens, private swimming pools, spas and grounds, and often beautiful, one-of-a-kind views. Your time in a vacation home also lets you experience your destination as the local residents do. You get to live daily life in a favorite locale among luxurious surroundings. Best of all, at a BeautifulPlaces vacation home you’re surrounded by the people you want to be with – friends, family, and significant others.

  • Do you charge membership fees and annual dues like private residence clubs?
  • No. BeautifulPlaces is a lodging company that manages and markets the rentals of privately owned wine country estates, villas and houses to vacationers. We charge a straightforward rental fee for any of the properties in our program, based on the particular property and your length of stay. There are no hidden dues or membership fees.

  • What kind of concierge services do you offer and how can I order them?
  • After you request a contract with us, we send you a form listing the kinds of concierge services you’d like on your vacation stay. Once we see the range of activities you’re interested in, we contact you personally to learn some more about your desires, then go about setting up services before your arrival.

    Among the services we offer are:

    • Private wine tastings
    • Hot air ballooning
    • Restaurant reservations
    • Caterers
    • Private chefs
    • Wine tasting and tours
    • Limousine services
    • Babysitting services
    • Spa treatments
    • Horseback riding
    • Race car driving
    • Personal shopping
    • Golf tee times
    • Cooking classes

     

    Along with services you can order, we’ll happily direct you to your destinations best wine tasting rooms, (if available), boutiques, restaurants and cultural venues. We can also help you deal with small emergencies and refer you to top-tier dentists, doctors or veterinarians.

  • What other kinds of services can I get when I rent from BeautifulPlaces?
  • You can take an “a la carte” approach to your BeautifulPlaces vacation and purchase as many or as few concierge-type services as you like. These include:

    • Provisioning your BeautifulPlaces home before your arrival with favorite foods, drinks, toiletries, games and reading materials
    • Limousine service – from the airport to your home; and on personal guided tours
    • Nannies – Bonded professionals who will look after your children so you can slip out for a wine tasting, dinner or night out
    • Masseuses/Masseurs – Our list of preferred providers can visit you at your BeautifulPlaces home, offering different styles of massage, as well as aromatherapy, facials, etc.
    • Private Chef – You can arrange to have a professional chef come to your vacation rental home to prepare anything from brunch for two to a pull-out-all-the-stops formal dinner.

  • What wine-related activities are available?
  • There are so many food and wine-related activities available that we’ll just give a partial listing here. (For a more complete list, click here.)

    • Cooking classes and demonstrations
    • Meals prepared by a private chef, including home meals and picnic baskets
    • Expert-led wine tasting, and food and wine pairings
    • Dinner with a winemaker
    • Side-by-side cooking with a chef
    • Private vineyard and garden tours
    • Consultation with a sommelier to build your private wine collection
    • Napa Wine Train lunch or dinner rides
    • Local Farmers Markets

  • What kinds of cultural activities are available in Wine Country?
    • Concerts at Wells Fargo Center for the Arts in Santa Rosa
    • Sonoma County Repertory Theater and Dreamweaver Theatre in Napa
    • Music, food and art and crafts festivals
    • Sonoma Valley Art Museum; Sonoma County Museum; Napa Valley Museum
    • Music in the vineyards
    • Tours of historic buildings from the Spanish and Gold Rush eras
    • Art classes
    • Spend a day with an artist

  • What kinds of outdoor activities and sports are available?
    • Napa and Sonoma balloon rides 
    • Glider rides in Calistoga
    • Russian River rafting 
    • Ice skating at Redwood Empire ice Arena in Santa Rosa
    • Horseback riding on hundreds of miles of rural trails
    • Bicycling on hundreds of miles of rural blacktop and trails
    • Jogging on hundreds of miles of rural blacktop and trails
    • Golf at nine Napa County courses and 20 Sonoma County courses
    • Tennis
    • Race car driving and races at Infineon raceway
    • Croquet

  • What things are there for children to do in a BeautifulPlaces home?
  • Almost all our houses have spas or swimming pools, as well as state-of-the-art entertainment systems. We can also provide you with a list of local playgrounds, bike paths, attractions and children-oriented activities that can help you plan your children’s entertainment. All of the nannies on our preferred providers list are experienced at keeping children happily occupied.

  • May I bring my pet(s) with me to a BeautifulPlaces house?
  • Each house in our program has a different policy regarding pets. It’s best to ask us whether the house(s) you’re interested in will allow pets and under what conditions.

  • Do I need to schedule my vacation rental far ahead? Can you accommodate last-minute bookings?
  • Generally speaking, the further ahead you book the better chance you have of securing the house you want. Booking three to six months ahead is a useful rule of thumb. However, we often can accommodate spur-of-the-moment or last-minute requests.

  • How do I rent a BeautifulPlaces villa?
  • The process is pretty straightforward. Look over our inventory of houses. You can search by name, location, size and rate. When you see a house (or houses) you like, click on the reservations form or call us at 800-495-9961 or 707-996-0266 and ask to speak to a reservations agent. He or she will be happy to answer all your questions about the property you’re interested in.

  • Can I temporarily “hold” a house for a particular date while I try to confirm it with the people I want to have with me on vacation?
  • Yes, you can. We will place a three-day courtesy hold on the property you’re interested in to give you time to make a final decision.

  • What are your deposit and cancellation policies?
  • The policies vary by destination and sometimes ownership. For bookings in wine country, we ask for a deposit equal to 50% of the total rental fee you’ll be paying for a house. The balance is due 30 days prior to your arrival.

    • If you cancel your reservation before 90 days out, we will refund your entire deposit, less our $125 booking fee.
    • If you cancel your reservation from 61 to 90 days before your rental date, we will refund 75% of your deposit, less our $125 booking fee.
    • If you cancel your reservation from 31 to 60 days before your rental date, we will refund 50% of your deposit, less our $125 booking fee.
    • If you cancel your reservation 30 days or fewer before your rental date, we will retain all of your payment. However, we will make every effort to rebook you for another time at the house you selected.

  • Do I have to start my BeautifulPlaces vacation on a certain day of the week?
  • No.

  • How do I check in to a BeautifulPlaces home (and how do I find it)?
  • Ten days to two weeks before your arrival, we will e-mail you a detailed set of directions to the house, as well as key instructions and gate codes. If one of our staff is on hand to greet you when you arrive at your BeautifulPlaces home, he or she will show you around the house and answer questions about its appliances and amenities. In any case, each BeautifulPlaces home has a packet with clear instructions on where to find things and how to operate appliances, entertainment equipment, spas, etc.

  • What kind of help can I expect if I run into a problem at a BeautifulPlaces house?
  • When you arrive at your BeautifulPlaces vacation home, you’ll find a packet with complete, detailed information about the house, including where to find things and how to operate its appliances.


    However, if you run into a problem that the written material cannot help you solve, we are available 24/7 to help you. Just give us a call at our special after-hours number. Usually we can handle your questions or concerns over the phone. If not, we can arrange for expert service people to provide you with on-site help.

  • Do you offer high-season, shoulder and low-season rates?
  • Yes. Depending on the time of year, rates at our properties will vary. Generally speaking, our high season is from Jun 1 through October 31 and low season is November through March. Shoulder season months are April and May.

  • What are the minimum required stays at your properties?
  • At most of our properties low and shoulder seasons require a two-night minimum stay (three nights during holidays). In high season, the minimum stay is three nights.

  • Can you accommodate large groups?
  • We have several properties that can accommodate large groups (10 to 14 people) and are well suited to family gatherings or corporate meetings and events. You can ask our reservationist to recommend some to you. Or, click on View Homes on our web site and select View By Size, which divides our properties according to bedroom count

  • Do you base rental prices on the number of people staying at a BeautifulPlaces house?
  • No. The fee you pay is for the home you rent, not the number of people staying in it. But do keep in mind that each home’s “carrying capacity” is usually based on two people per bedroom. (There may be some exceptions, which we will mention when you call.)

  • Does my rental fee include food and beverages?
  • No. Just as with a hotel, the rate you pay is for the accommodation only. We can help you pre-stock your house with your favorite food and beverages, as well as make reservations for you at top wine country restaurants. We’re also happy to give you a list of recommended places for grocery shopping and dining that you can try on your own.

  • How is my rental home maintained during my stay?
  • Your BeautifulPlaces home will have been meticulously cleaned and prepared for your visit. You may request for daily or weekly freshen ups with linen/towel exchange for an additional fee.

     

    We include cost of normal post-rental clean-up in your rental fee. If we find after your visit that clean-up costs exceed the norm, we will bill you an extra charge.

  • Are there any other charges besides the rental fee?
  • Yes. There is a $125 nonrefundable booking fee and a cleaning fee, which can vary (the minimum is $200). We are also obligated to pay a lodging taxes and fees in the counties where we operate – generally 11%. We charge those fees in addition to your rental.

  • Is there an upward limit on how long I can rent a villa?
  • Generally speaking, yes. The limit is based on the needs of villa owners, who commit to making their homes available for rental at specific times. Once those rental periods end, we cannot offer to extend them without the owners’ concurrence. In most cases, the owners have already planned to return to their Wine Country homes for a social season or extended period.

  • Can I rent a villa for longer than 30 or 60 days?
  • Yes you can. We have some homes that are available for longer-term rentals of several months or even up to a year. Our concierge can tell what is currently available.

  • Do you adjust the rate for a long-term rental so that I don’t have to pay the premium monthly rental rate?
  • Yes, we do.

  • How to Contact Us?
  • Reservations: reservations@beautiful-places.com
    Toll-free: 800-495-9961
    Phone: 707-996-0266
    Fax: 707-996-0366


    BeautifulPlaces
    531 First St. East
    Sonoma, CA 95476

  • What are the airport codes near your properties?
  •  

    USA
    California - Napa/Sonoma:

    • San Francisco (SFO)
    • Oakland (OAK)
    • Napa (APC, KAPC)
    • Sonoma (STS)
    • Sacramento (SMF)

     

    Florida - Palm Beach:

    • Miami (MIA)
    • Palm Beach (PBI)

     

    MEXICO

    Punta Mita, Puerto Vallarta:

    • Puerto Vallarta (PVR)

     

    ITALY

    • Rome (FCO)
    • Milan (MXP, LIN, SWK)
    • Florence (FLR)
    • Pisa (PSA)
    • Milan (BGY)
    • Naples (NAP)

     

    FRANCE

    • Paris (CDG, ORY)
    • Marsaeille (MRS)
    • Nice (NCE)
    • Bordeaux (BOD)