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Interview with Mariek Anselme of A.M.A Selections, French Riviera Villas
March 17, 2015
1. How did you come to start your business? How long have you been doing this?
I am actually half French and half American and grew up living in different places including Atlanta, Amsterdam, The Hague, Paris, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. I think this is what sparked my love for travel and instilled in me the importance of experiencing different cultures from an early age. I transferred to a university here on the Riviera and went on to graduate school and fell in love with the place. Entering this industry was just a natural transition for me. My business partner Andre and I saw a huge opportunity for a new brand in the luxury vacation rental space so we created A.M.A Selections in 2013 and we are now in our second year of business with a portfolio of just under 100 villas for rent from Monaco to St. Tropez.
2. What made you choose the areas in which your villas are located? Which location is the most popular among your clients?
Our properties are situated along the coast from Monaco to St. Tropez, most of which are located in and around the main coastal towns as these are the places most visited. We have quite a wide range of preferences among our clientele, however we have seen that, when looking to rent a property on the Riviera, our clients tend more often to request places in the Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, Cannes, and Saint Tropez area.
3. Why should travelers visit your destination?
The Riviera is a beautiful paradise rich in history and rooted in French culture. For centuries philosophers, artists, aristocrats, royalty, and celebrities have been captivated with this destination. The area also offers a great variety to explore as each village, town, and beach has its individual charm and personality. There are mountains, sandy coves, waterfalls, sleepy medieval villages, and glamorous seaside resorts all within short driving distance from one another.
4. What are the most worthwhile sights and activities at your destination?
This is a tough question, there is much to do here! I recommend visiting Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild, the Picasso museum and the Nietzsche trail in Eze as these are definitely worthwhile. There is also the famous firework competition in Cannes, the Monaco Grand Prix, there are a number of wineries to visit, local markets to tour, fine dining restaurants to enjoy, beautiful islands to visit by boat, and the list goes on.
5. How do you feel your company competes with the high-end hotels?
I believe that travelers today are looking for a more authentic experience in a comfortable and intimate setting. Imagine a late night private chef dinner with your friends and family by the pool. In a hotel you are confined to a room and have to share the public spaces. We create a five star experience in the comfort of a home.
6. When is the best time to visit?
The peak season is July and August, however my favorite times of the year are Spring and early Fall where the weather is beautiful and not too hot, the beaches are more private, and everything is still lively.
7. Which area do you recommend as a base for first-time visitors to the French Riviera?
The Riviera offers a breadth of experiences and we focus on listening to our client to truly understand what they are looking for. Explore the glitz and glamour of Cannes and St. Tropez, old world charm of the medieval towns of Eze and Antibes, or sleepy Provençal villages such as St. Paul de Vence.
8. How far ahead should people book a villa?
We have clients who book a year in advance and others who book just weeks before their arrival so there is really no right or wrong time to book. I would say that anywhere between 5-6 months in advance is ideal as there are going to be more options available to choose from.
9. What are some of the unique experiences and services that are provided to those staying at one of your luxury villas?
We deliver experiences rather than simply handing over a set of keys. We focus on maintaining our high level of service and on using our knowledge of the region for our client’s benefit. We offer an exclusive range of services including private chef, private spa treatments, chauffeurs, private jet and yacht charter, and more. One of our unique services is our live-in concierge which is essentially having a dedicated member of our team on-site ensuring that our client’s stay runs as smoothly as possible. We are constantly finding ways to deliver beyond expectations and so we try to use a few elements of surprise to make our clients feel that much more special.
10. What are the A.M.A Selections company values?
Quality, discretion and service. We really care about our clients, we listen to their wants and needs, and we deliver tailored experiences with great attention to every last detail.
11. Why should clients book a villa with you over a larger, more well-known company?
We are strongly focused on ensuring a memorable stay for each guest drawing on the intimate knowledge of our properties and destinations, our attention to detail, and 24/7 prompt customer response.
12. Are you planning to expand to other locations in the future?
Our goal is to expand internationally but we will never compromise our quality of service so we are taking one step at a time. We are currently building a portfolio of homes in Provence and the French Alps.
A.M.A Selections - French Riviera Luxury Villas & Vacation Rentals
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