Looking to get away for a weekend or week-long summer break? Want to visit the Hamptons, Nantucket, Tuscany or any other destination where summer-home rentals are popular? If you missed the boat on locking in a property or don't want the commitment of renting a house, finding a luxury hotel to stay at can be a challenge.
"There aren't always a lot of hotels in places where vacationers rent summer homes," says Cheryl Boyer, president at Lodging Investment Advisors, a New York City hotel consultancy. "If they do exist, they tend to be smaller properties that are family owned and operated, and only some are upscale."
Hotels in popular summer-home rental spots can be few and far between because it can be economically difficult for them to sustain themselves during the off season, says Boyer.
Domestically, experts say the Hamptons, Nantucket and Palm Springs are among the popular summer-home rental spots. Internationally, Tuscany, Capri and the South of France are favorites.
Luckily, you don't have to resign yourself to skipping these destinations. Hotels do exist that will satisfy the discerning traveler.
"There are a handful of properties that are very nice," says Janine Safer Whitney, a travel consultant with Altour International, a luxury travel firm based in New York City. "You're just not going to find recognizable brand names, so it can be hard to weed out the good ones."
We're here to help.
If you're heading to the Hamptons and want a place in the heart of the action, check into 1708 House, situated on Main Street in the village of Southampton. You'll be in the midst of art galleries, trendy boutiques and hot restaurants like Plaza Café, the New American boite. The property dates back to the mid-17th century and has 17 rooms with flat-screen televisions and furniture and décor from Asia and England.
To get away from the crowds, stay at Mill House Inn, a 12-room property in East Hampton that is surrounded by trees and set back from the main road. You'll find fireplaces, featherbeds and marble baths in the rooms. The hotel also provides parking permits and beach towels for the area beaches.
Sylvia Muller, co-owner of the property, says that those who were too late in locking in a summer home or people visiting friends make up the majority of her guests.
"People will book rooms for multiple weekends just like they would a house share," she says. "A lot of other guests are people who want to see friends who don't have the room to put them up for the weekend."
Don't miss these Travel stories
Lords of the gourd compete for Punkin Chunkin honors
With teams using more than 100 unique apparatuses to launch globular projectiles a half-mile or more, the 27th annual World Championship Punkin Chunkin event is our pick as November’s Weird Festival of the Month.
- Airports, airlines work hard to return your lost items
- Expert: Tourist hordes threaten Sistine Chapel's art
- MGM Grand wants Las Vegas guests to Stay Well
- Report: Airlines collecting $36.1B in fees this year
- Lords of the gourd compete for Punkin Chunkin honors
Is Nantucket on your summer travel list?
For a hotel in the heart of the action of the island, stay at White Elephant, which is just a few minutes' walk from the town center. The property is built along a harbor and has 53 rooms and 11 cottages that have harbor views, outdoor patios and televisions with DVD players.
Nine miles away from the center of town is Wauwinet, a Relais & Chateaux waterfront property. You'll have a beach and bay all to yourself — go kayaking or sailing with the on-site equipment. Flat-screen televisions and Pratesi bed linens are in each of the 34 rooms.
If you like the idea of experiencing the picturesque countryside of Tuscany but want to be near the hubbub of Florence, check into Villa Mangiacane, a 16th-century property set amongst olive groves and vineyards and located just seven miles from the city. Guests can enjoy three swimming pools and the new spa, which has treatments like an Indian head massage. The 26 rooms have private gardens, marble baths and plasma televisions.
To vacation in the heart of the countryside miles from any major city (it's two hours from Florence), stay at Locanda dell'Amorosa, a 14th-century villa in the tiny village of Amorosa. Farmland, olive trees and vineyards surround the property, which has 25 rooms featuring countryside views and antique furniture.
Don't wait too long to make your plans, though. While these hotels still have rooms available for summer, you should book fast to guarantee your dream vacation.
© 2012 Forbes.com