The idea behind The most amazing vacation rentals in the world is that hosts Luis D. Ortiz, Jo Franco and Megan Batoon visit rental accommodations around the world. Each host is responsible for finding a different type of rental; Ortiz is looking for luxury rentals, Batoon is looking for affordable but value-for-money rentals, and Franco is looking for unique accommodations, located either in unusual locations or linked to interesting local experiences.
Opening shot: âAre you ready to travel the world again? Says host Louis D. Ortiz in photos of vacation spots visited during the season. âWe’re going to show you the most amazing way to do it. “
The essential: While many episodes will be based more on a theme than a location, the first episode takes place in Bali. Near the town of Ubud, the trio visit a four-story bird’s nest-shaped structure discovered by Batoon; this is more or less part of a hostel that serves a communal meal and hosts a cocktail party with all hostel guests. But it’s the prettiest hostel you’ll ever see, but Jo always advises you to wear flip flops in the beautifully tiled communal showers.
Next comes the choice of Jo, a set of cottages owned by a local village chief. The cottages themselves are beautiful and offer views of the nearby rice fields. But the chef also takes them to a Galungan festival ceremony, which gives them first-hand experience of one of Indonesia’s biggest spiritual festivals.
Luis’s Pick, a huge villa in the resort town of Seminyak, is big enough for parties of 200 people. The three of them tour the huge villa, do yoga on surfboards in the pool, get a massage and have a small dinner party. At the end of the episode, each host describes their favorite experience.
What shows will this remind you of? While The most amazing vacation rentals in the world tries to show travelers with local experiences tries to evoke some sort of Anthony Bourdain vibe, but the production is more like the old E travel series! Wild on … than anything else.
Our opinion : Despite his attempts to be informative, The world’s most amazing vacation rentals is a pure feast for the eyes. And that’s OK with us. The producers of the series have gone to great lengths to put the filming locations in the best light, using drone shots and other techniques to give viewers a sense of what they might see and experience if they themselves went to these places.
This is the most successful aspect of the show. The lush scenery made us want to spend some time in Bali in the fall when the trio of hosts was there. The presence of the hosts is what we question. Make no mistake: Ortiz, Batoon, and Franco are all friendly and open to expanding their minds through interactions with local residents. The idea is that Ortiz, a former stockbroker (and Million Dollar Ad: New York cast member), in the luxury line, Franco, who has his own YouTube travel channel, is more experienced at finding unique accommodations and Batoon, apparently a design expert, is less experienced.
But all three seemed to go through every place they visited behaving like American tourists, saying “Nice!” “And” Wow! “And” Look at this! A lot, but not making much effort to really get to know the area they were staying in. At least that’s what the first episode showed. It was mostly the three booing and hating where they were staying and not a ton of interaction with the locals. Even when they were at the Galungan Festival ceremony, they felt more like people checking an experience on a to-do list than people who really get absorbed in what they are going through.
It would be easy to say the show would work best without hosts, but then that would be just another music video show that you can watch on Travel Channel or some other basic cable network any day of the week. Having the three hosts is not only an attempt to connect this type of show to an ambitious Millennial audience, but it also gives the prospect of a pleasant surprise and pleasure you might experience if you were there.
But don’t expect Bourdain-style rumination on what the country or the people have been through; Holiday rents comes across more like an infomercial than anything else. But at least it’s a handsome infomercial.
Gender and skin: Nothing.
Starting shot: With photos of the three hosts relaxing at this luxurious location, we hear Megan say, âWe have truly seen the best of Bali. And that’s what we came here for!
Sleeper Star: As we said, the photography in this series is top notch and really shows how beautiful each destination is.
Most pilot line: If we heard someone say âGood! Once again, we were going to pull out what was left of our hair from our heads.
Our call: Stream it. Yes, The most amazing vacation rentals in the world is as light as a feather, and you’ll probably forget an entire episode right after watching it. But the photography is pretty, and the destinations are interesting enough to be a light show between heavier shows.
Joel Keller (@joelkeller) writes about food, entertainment, parenting and tech, but he’s not kidding himself: he’s a TV junkie. His writings have appeared in The New York Times, Slate, Salon, RollingStone.com, VanityFair.com, Fast Company and elsewhere.