That Villa Life: How The Luxe Nomad Created a New Brand of Vacation Days

Making waves from the beaches in Bali to the slopes of Niseko, this little travel startup has been seen on CNBC, CNN and BBC

So you’ve double-tapped on a gorgeous pool from our Instagram feed, or maybe even travelled with us already! Just like you, we are all about travelling (our laptops work better at the beach) without missing a beat of  #ThatVillaLife. But if you haven’t really heard about us, this is our life story in 2 minutes.

Who Run The World?

Founded by former model and TV host, Stephanie Chai, our (unintentional) mostly-female team come from diverse backgrounds and cultures; from Private Equity to Law and even Linguistics. We all share these things in common: a passion for travel and the decision to say au revoir to corporate life for a job most people dream about (yes, we do travel to Koh Samui for ‘work’.)

Villa Saan in Phuket, Thailand

Started from the Bottom…

July 2012: The Luxe Nomad’s start is the stuff of startup legends: a three-(wo)man team (and two cats) working out of Steph’s living room in 2012.  The company was launched in Singapore as a flash-sales site, which was all the rage at the time. The website offered exclusive deals for stays at luxury resorts, competing against giants with deep pockets — the likes of Agoda and Expedia.

Celeb Sign-Off

July 2013: What’s a startup with limited funds to do? Hustle. We kicked-off our influencer marketing program called ‘Celeb Nomads‘, where we worked with online influencers and celebrities. After all, who better to review partner resorts and post pics than those with great followings?

Our ‘Nomads On The Go’, included Taiwanese actor Godfrey Gao, Hong Kong actress Jennifer Tse, and influencers such as Margaret Zhang and Tash Oakley . And if you’re wondering if we ever paid for anyone to go on a trip, that’s a flat out no (limited funds, remember?). Instead, we worked on a win-win, and placed our Celeb Nomads in places they only dreamed about, with the arduous task of reviewing these luxury escapes.

AYA Niseko in Niseko, Japan

Welcoming WanderLuxe

July 2014: With the ‘booking’ part of the holiday covered, the one thing we weren’t assisting with was the ‘what to do’. Which is why one afternoon we came up with WanderLuxe, an online magazine with insider tips, destination guides; a virtual vision board of travel if you will.

With the aim of being a little different from the norm, WanderLuxe isn’t heavy on text but we would like to think of it as slightly cheeky and a touch quirky. Today, we reach of over 50,000 monthly readers from all over the world.


Early 2015: A wise man once said, nothing stays the same. And we certainly felt that way when 2015 rolled around. Our villa bookings were growing but our flash sales, to be frank, weren’t. Whilst some investors might say pivoting isn’t a good thing; we always believe it’s better to move with the times than to get left behind.

It was a huge gamble, but we relaunched our site that year featuring only villas and said goodbye to our flash sales segment. Lucky for us, our bet paid off and we managed to double our annual sales whilst keeping our expenses flat (and keeping our jobs too!).

Daikanyama Escape in Tokyo, Japan

Complimentary Concierge

July 2015: Along with our shift to luxury vacation rentals, we established our concierge department clientele.  Today, our concierge team provides a complimentary service to assist clients with all sorts of things. From arranging airport transfers and activities on island holidays, to assisting with ski passes, lessons and restaurant reservations in winter destinations; we make booking a holiday, feel like one.

Oh, The Places You’ll Go

5 years down the road, The Luxe Nomad features over 1,900 villas in more than 35 locations including the Maldives, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Europe, as well as the ever-popular Bali, Koh Samui, Phuket and Niseko.

Our team has gone from 3 to 15 full-time members, checking in from Australia, Hong Kong,  Malaysia, Manila, London and Singapore. We’ve even embarked on a new expansion, property management. Overseeing luxury apartments in Tokyo and villas in Bali, you can now check into a Luxe Nomad property.

So, do we have you at vacation?

The Luxe Nomad

Like you, we love to travel but we think that staying at beautiful places shouldn’t come with a hefty price tag. That’s why we’ve gone out there and snagged the best design and luxury hotels and resorts in the Asia Pacific region at rates you won’t believe. WanderLuxe is our little corner of the world where we share our inspirations and thoughts about travel!

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