In February 2018, Airbnb — the behemoth of all home-sharing programs – marked its 10-year anniversary with the launch of Airbnb Plus, a raft of top-tier rentals boasting hotel-like amenities and services (and the prices to match). It kicked off with more than 2,000 listings in 13 cities and has grown exponentially since. But Airbnb Plus is hardly the only luxury service in the game. Competitors are springing up around the world, offering equally enticing accommodations. Here’s a look at half a dozen other players worth searching for your next vacation.
The Plum Guide
After building buzz in London, Paris, Rome, and Milan, this U.K.-based vacation rental and home-sharing platform set its sights on the United States. Its new collections in New York City and Los Angeles include Tribeca art lofts, Silver Lake bungalows, and epic mansions with 90210 zip codes. Before a place is listed on the service, Plum dispatches a “home critic” to interview the host and conduct a two-hour test of everything from water pressure to pillow softness. The criteria are rigorous; only one in 100 homes makes the final cut.
Love Home Swap
How does a chalet in the French Alps sound? A cliffside dwelling in Andalucía, Spain? A plantation cottage in Paia, Hawaii? Love Home Swap offers tradeable houses around the globe. Join the service (a standard membership is $156 a year), list your place, and plan a classic swap, where you stay at their place while they stay at yours, or simply earn points toward future bookings by inviting others to stay at your home while you’re away.
Kid & Coe
Traveling with children is challenging; finding kid-friendly accommodations shouldn’t be. This luxe home-rental and hotel-booking site includes detailed property descriptions, including “Perks for the Parents” (private soaking tubs, hammocks by the bocce court) and “Why Kids Will Love It” (game rooms, bicycles). A helpful amenities search allows guests to sort listings by category of travel (coastal escapes, theme park stays) or special needs (high chair, changing table).
The Oasis model takes everything you love about hotels (cushy towels and bedding, brand-name toiletries, whiplash-fast Wi-Fi) and applies it to stylish, contemporary home rentals in 14 countries throughout North America, South America, and Western Europe. Afraid you’ll miss the concierge? Each guest is assigned a “sidekick,” a local expert who is on call around the clock to handle check-in and check-out, arrange airport transfers, make restaurant recommendations, or stock the fridge or minibar upon request. Other perks include access to local fitness studios, spas, and private clubs.
This ultraluxe portfolio targets the ultrarich. Family memberships for the private vacation club start with a onetime initiation fee of $20,000, plus annual dues of $3,600. Included in that gilded package is one complimentary trip, plus access to elite residences (425 homes and 205 hotel partners, at last count). Most of the properties are concentrated in North America, Europe, and the Caribbean, but you might also book a 2,281-square-foot villa in China’s Qing Cheng Mountains. With such a steep entry price, Inspirato prides itself on offering five-star concierge services—time is money, after all, and you shouldn’t be wasting it planning your vacation.
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Eppstein House in Galesburg, Michigan. Sebastián Cerda Pé’s eco cabanas in Easter Island, Chile. Mandalaki Studio’s gallery-white Monocabin in Rhodes, Greece. These are just a few of the arresting homes you can book via this architecture-first home-rental site. The unusual spaces, which are listed by invitation only, prize good bones and clever design over square footage and tony addresses. Bonus: Many properties have huge picture windows or expansive terraces to showcase their natural surroundings.
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Ashlea Halpern Ashlea Halpern is a contributing editor at T: The New York Times Style Magazine and cofounder of Minnevangelist, a site dedicated to all things Minnesota. Her work has appeared in Condé Nast Traveler, Bon Appétit, New York Magazine, Time, Esquire, Dwell, the Wall Street Journal, and Midwest Living. Follow her adventures on Instagram at @ashleahalpern.