The 10 Best Alternatives to Airbnb
Stay in billionaire's bungalows, artists' retreats and more.
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Airbnb’s got a pretty good thing going.
Remember when your older family members maintained it was too dangerous to use? They’re now leaving passionate reviews. The site’s cut enough into hotel business that the American Hotel and Lodging Association funds a group called AirbnbWATCH, which regularly sends out a monthly, fearmongering “Airbnb Exposed” roundup. (Not a great look, friends.) Not to mention, InsideHook regularly deep-dives the site for unique stays around the globe. The last feature in our series compiled Airbnb’s best vintage campers.
We’re happy for Airbnb, and we recommend giving their listings a good look whenever you’re planning a trip. But we’d caution you from only sourcing potential stays through Airbnb. Why? You’re limiting yourself. The site’s algorithim keeps ever-booked homes and apartments at the top, and there’s a steep drop-off in quality, volume of reviews or information once you get to pages three, four and five. You can only read “BEAUTIFUL gorgeous hip cabin W/ lots of SPUNK” so many times before losing interest in your trip entirely.
Trust us, there is another way … or ten. We’ve rounded up ten alternatives for finding your next stay, wherever it is on the globe. One deals in locally furnished “hometels.” Another lets you stay in billionaire’s vacation homes. All will crush it on the ‘gram. This isn’t a break-up, Airbnb — we’re just looking for an open relationship. It’s 2019, after all.
Our picks below.
The Skinny: A legion of homes that must pass a 50-point inspection to join the site’s listings. Expect speedy Wifi, shampoo and a personal “Sidekick,” a concierge who will show you around your home and the neighborhood and make reservations for you at local eateries, distilleries and bowling lanes.
Pictured: The Pablo, Barcelona, $96/night
The Skinny: With onefinestay, there’s no need to worry that the homeowner didn’t properly tidy up in anticipation of your visit: the company cleans before and after your trip. (Their attention to detail is well regarded — and reported: A New York Times article quoted a homeowner as saying a book she’d left in a strange position was returned to precisely the same spot on her return.) Everything’s fancy — right down to the gratis use of an iPhone and bespoke toiletries and linens.
Pictured: Leamington Cottage, Barbados, $545/night
The Skinny: A travel club for the luxury set, 3H promises members weeks-long access to some of the world’s most expensive private properties (average value: $2.4 million). Think beachfront villas, country estates, actual palaces, etc. Following a pre-screening, there’s a one-time starting fee, and then an “exchange fee” for any property you’re interested in using.
Pictured: Tranquility Port Douglas, Australia, Fees vary
The Skinny: A database of sustainable Airbnbs, which launched a marketing campaign poiting out Airbnb has no “energy-efficient” filter on its site. It’s true. Airbnb has filters to sort homes by hot tubs, barns and castles, but nothing for a zero-footprint stay. Technically, this isn’t an alternative to Airbnb so much as a reorganization. You could do worse than Texan desert domes and Finnish snow igloos, though.
Pictured: Off-Grid itHouse, Pioneertown, CA, $400/night
The Skinny: A Chicago-born indie design and home rental group that hosts lovely properties all over the city — from Humboldt Park to the Gold Coast— some brief-stay, some long-stay, all playfully designed and stocked with blue-chip amenities. Following recent growth, there are now three Bangtels in New York and one in LA. Each stay comes with access to a 24/7 concierge service.
For the complete list of alternatives, go to InsideHook.
Additional reporting by Diane Rommel
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