Home sharing and technology have changed the way people travel, but Bella Vista has been on the forefront of this trend for decades. It doesn’t have a single hotel, but does have hundreds of vacation rental properties listed on websites like Airbnb, Vrbo and Vacation Rentals, Inc. that cater to tourists and business travelers.
“It’s all about hospitality,” says Randy Erskine, a Bella Vista resident who offers a townhouse called Fairway Villa for rent through Airbnb. “Eighty percent of our guests say they would rather stay at Airbnb than a hotel. They like the hospitality and getting to meet the host. It just makes it part of the whole package.” As soon as someone books with Erskine, he sends them a full list with phone numbers and links of things to do in the area.
The advantages to renting a house versus a hotel room are huge.
Erksine sees a wide range of visitor interests. Since March, he’s had a guest stay 18 days while writing his doctorate, a couple from Bentonville stay for the weekend just to spend time together away from their three teenagers, and young adults visiting from out of state to attend concerts at The AMP in Rogers.
Other visitors have come to mountain bike, golf, float the Elk River, celebrate an anniversary, and attend weddings and graduations. He’s also had visitors from San Francisco and Austin in town for the Bentonville Film Festival. Erksine adds that long term rentals of two weeks up to two months are popular with Northerners during the spring.
“Most guests have an agenda of some kind,” he says. But while they’re here almost all of them want to see Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and eat on the downtown Bentonville square.
Bella Vista has long been a recreational hub for families, retirees, anglers and golfers. The growth of area amenities and attractions adds to its appeal.
Currently, Northwest Arkansas and especially Bella Vista is becoming known as a mountain biking hub that is part of the Oz Trails system.
Lodging for Mountain Bikers and Hikers
The influx of trails for hiking and mountain biking is reflected in the lodging options.
For example, you can find a luxury three-bedroom home located on the new 11 Under trail, which is slated to open in the Fall of 2019. There’s also a tiny cabin called “The Downshift” for rent at Blowing Springs Park that has access to The Back Forty and Blowing Springs trailheads.
Much of Bella Vista’s lodging caters to cyclists with indoor space to store expensive bikes and gear.
Trails Edge Cabins are a new offering planned specifically for tourists. As the name indicates, the cabins are located on a trail. Modern in design, each sleeps four to six people and has two bedrooms and two bathrooms. There are currently eight cabins with plans to build four more.
“They are truly geared toward the cycling community,” Chris Howison, Vacation Rentals sales manager, says. They offer secure bike storage, and special mud rooms with slat walls for biking gear.
Even though the cabins are geared toward cyclists, Howison says he has had groups of golfers rent them as well as others who just enjoy being in nature. They can be rented separately or all together for groups like wedding parties and families.
Much of Bella Vista’s lodging caters to cyclists with indoor space to keep expensive bikes and gear. While lodging designed for cyclists’ needs is a growing trend, Bella Vista continues to offer a variety of vacation rental homes for all interests.
Amenities Come in All Sizes
There are houses with amenities such as game rooms and hot tubs as well as homes and condos on the water, on the golf course, or nestled in the woods. Many lakeside retreats offer extra amenities like swimming and fishing docks, grills, porch swings, fire pits, and kayaks.
Sizes vary too. You’ll find everything from 1,200-square-foot townhouses to 6,000-square-foot lake homes at Vacation Rentals, Inc., while Vrbo and Airbnb have similar and additional unique lodging options ranging from recreational vehicles to homes large enough for small family reunions.
In Bella Vista, you can sit on the patio and it’s peaceful, but Bentonville is close by.
Advantages of Renting a House vs Hotel Room
The advantages of renting a house versus a hotel room are huge. People enjoy fully equipped kitchens where they can cook breakfast or big family dinners. Another draw is pet-friendly properties with fenced yards.
Additionally, rentals come with a guest card to access all the amenities offered by the Bella Vista Property Owners Association, with nominal guest fees required for some amenities.
Guests enjoy complete use of Bella Vista’s six championship golf courses with green fees to fit any budget. Eight lakes are stocked with bass, catfish, crappie and other panfish.
Home rental also comes with access to tennis facilities – 12 courts in three separate complexes, including lighted courts for evening play. Recreation centers offer swimming pools, workout facilities, and fitness classes.
Perfect Hub to Area Attractions
While Bella Vista has plenty of fun to keep vacation-goers happy, it’s also the perfect hub to other area attractions such as trout fishing on the White River, Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area, world-class Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Arkansas Music Pavilion, Pinnacle Hills Promenade, Northwest Arkansas Naturals at Arvest Ballpark, Walton Arts Center, and the University of Arkansas.
It’s located one and a half hours from Branson, 45 minutes from Eureka Springs, 35 minutes from Fayetteville, and 15 minutes from Bentonville.
“I think what Bella Vista provides is a getaway,” Erskine explains. “Because even Bentonville can be like a big city. There’s traffic. In Bella Vista, you can sit on the patio and it’s peaceful, but Bentonville is close by. If you look at the reviews, that’s what most of the guests comment on because a lot of them come from the big cities.”
Amenities, affordability, and hospitality definitely make Bella Vista a great place to stay and play.
By Jill Rohrbach