A decade ago, would you have considered staying in another person’s home in their absence, a legitimate vacation? Most likely not. But now homestays are absolutely de rigueur. The concept is a simple one – the owner of a residential property puts it up for temporary rental while not using it themselves, in turn allowing travellers to experience the life of locals, while the property owners earn a bit of extra cash. However, not every homestay is alike and neither is the experience it provides. Those looking for luxurious experiences, must try StayVista and its many options of homestays across the length and breadth of the country.
“StayVista is your quintessential ‘Home Away From Home’ experience. We started in 2017 under the name VistaRooms. Since then, we have warmly welcomed over 2,50,000 vacationers at nearly 500 of our luxury properties across more than 30 locations. We want to embody the luxury and comfort of high-quality service amidst the scenic vistas that surround our properties, translating to a superior stay experience. StayVista’s vision has grown and expanded over the years. We believe in enabling every guest’s desire to experience their perfect stay with us. We are doing this by enhancing every guest’s interface through our thoughtfully articulated brand touchpoints, by bringing a resort-like experience to holiday homes. Our commitment is to deliver superlative guest experiences with high-quality, personalised services,” shares Ankita Sheth, co-founder of the brand.
Allured by this promise, I took the team of StayVista up on their generous offer of hosting me at one of their properties. For my father’s birthday weekend, we checked in for a leisurely staycation at one of their newest farm stay residences located in Sohna in Haryana, called ‘Bliss in the Woods’. Located amidst the Aravallis, this four-bedroom property is set in a truly tranquil and remote area. Its manicured lawns and private swimming pool were its biggest attractions and they certainly lived up to their promise. The interiors of the home were comfortable and the in-house staff cooked simple yet tasty fare. Though extremely spicy initially, upon the specification of our preference, it was made to our taste.
Apart from minor glitches like an electrical situation with the geyser in our bathroom and the spicy food as mentioned above, our stay was comfortable and memorable – much like staying at a friend’s home for the weekend and making it our own. The proximity of ‘Bliss in the Woods’ to Delhi worked in its favour, as we were there in an hour and a half and returned well in time to attend other events that day. I enjoyed our staycation thoroughly but my biggest takeaway was the ease of dealing with StayVista, which has me excited about checking out more of their properties around the country.
With approximately 500 homes in India, ten in Dubai, and nearly 20-25 more added on every quarter after a comprehensive review and due diligence, there is much to look forward to. “We take quality control very seriously, which is why we are able to maintain and deliver the greatest level of customer satisfaction,” says Sheth. This I can personally attest to, because upon my return, I received a personal phone call from their team asking for genuine feedback – a far cry from the treatment meted out by hotels!
When asked about popular properties, she says, “A family with children likes properties with amenities such as a kitchen, laundry room, grilling area, children’s playground, children’s swimming pool, large hallways, and so on. Infinity pools and outdoor activities such as cricket, golf, and badminton are ideal for a group of friends who enjoy spending time together (we offer lots of options). We also have villas that are pet-friendly. Other amenities include an on-site theatre, a power backup system, and high-speed internet access. With the comfort and convenience of their own home, we want to ensure that they can fully immerse themselves in their vacation experience.”
Initially starting out as a budget stay option with 100 properties in 2015, StayVista revamped their approach in 2017 to become a luxury vacation rental service. Since then, they have witnessed phenomenal growth. Sheth believes all this was only possible due to the faith of their clients who provided valuable feedback, allowing them to improve constantly.
“Our focus will always be on the Indian market. We are a country of majestic beauty, with tranquil towns, lush green forests, mountain views, gorgeous beaches and a variety of climes to choose from. There are many untapped regions where we could provide experiential stays in beautiful surroundings to those who are interested in visiting unexplored locations. Rural employment is also a priority for us, and we hope to employ up to 1500 people in the coming year in all our new properties. But our main focus will always be on customer service and improving the guest experience,” explains Sheth when asked about future plans.
The evolution from Vista Rooms to StayVista took place in order to highlight the brand’s commitment to delivering superlative guest experiences with high-quality, personalised services. Sheth asserts that this development mirrors the rising standards within the luxury travel and homestay category. She believes that as Indian vacationers have become more discerning in their demand for quality in the last few years, their expectations of service and luxurious stays have increased, whether for the purpose of leisure, work, wellness, or celebration. Through this rebranding, they aim to cater to this changing market dynamic with a comprehensive upgrade of user experience and brand identity. It has revamped all touchpoints to better manifest the brand spirit, including their website and social media. StayVista also signifies the brand’s promise of personalizing the stay experience for guests with curated in-room setups, branded toiletries, and new staff uniforms.
Sheth further highlights, “Most of our properties are eco-friendly. Some properties have smart window arrangements allowing plenty of natural light to filter through, and decreasing the need for artificial lighting during the day. The bathrooms have centralised solar water heating systems. We also have a solar power backup inverter system that uses the sun’s energy. Finally, we use LED lighting throughout, a star-rated inverter-based refrigerator, and minimum outdoor illumination to save energy. We have also reduced our dependence on fossil fuels for direct and indirect purposes. To save fuel, we strive to get 50 percent of our food from our farms, or farms within five miles of the homestay. We also utilise the sun to dry our garments. We hope to become entirely off-grid in the future by using an on-site solar panel power generation system. As the world’s energy consumption increases, we are reducing the demand on the grid and thus the need to create more power. We feel that by reducing our energy footprint, we are indirectly reducing the need to burn additional coal, as most of India’s electricity is now generated by polluting coal-fired thermal power plants.”
People can book homestays at StayVista through their website stayvista.com.
The writer pens articles for various lifestyle publications and her blog www.nooranandchawla.com. She can be reached on email@example.com.