The 10 Best Villas from Airbnb’s New Luxury Line
Plus, a thorough analysis of that Marriott home rental news
Earlier this week, Marriott announced Homes & Villas by Marriott International, a collection of 2,000 bookable luxury homes across the U.S., the Caribbean, Latin America and Europe. The service isn’t live until next week, so we don’t know yet how accessible the site’s interface will be, or even what the stays will look like, but Marriott seems confident that booking its new properties — said to include California wine country cottages and Irish castles that sleep 17 — will be a breeze.
Successful roll-out or not, the development isn’t very surprising. Marriott is the third largest hotel chain in the world, with 5,974 hotels across 110 countries, with 1.1 million rooms between them. Airbnb, though, has four times more properties than Marriott has rooms, with over four million listings in 191 of the planet’s 195 total countries … across an astonishing 81,000 cities. Part of Airbnb’s sheer volume can be attributed to its unique brand of block-to-block variety. The company gives a platform to low-cost, low-expectation casualness (think single rooms, workspace apartments) viral-destined wackiness (treehouses, converted camper vans) and every suburban colonial in between.
Of course, Marriott doesn’t need to replicate Airbnb’s master-of-none MO. It’s been too good at hospitality for too long (92 years) to abandon its model now. But its portfolio does need to expand if the brand’s going to thrive going forward, which is why a collection of home rentals that mesh those “driver’s seat” elements of a personal stay, with the incomparable attention to detail of a global accommodations powerhouse, makes so much sense. Particularly when considering that Airbnb isn’t the only game in town, and other, hotter young brands are eager to usher in the age of the “hometel.”
Fascinatingly, as Marriott borrows ideas from Airbnb, Airbnb is borrowing luxury services and concepts from Marriott and those like it. Consider Airbnb’s quiet acquisition of Luxury Rentals, a high-end mansion, penthouse and villa company. Airbnb absorbed Luxury Rentals’ properties and rebranded them under the brand-new Airbnb Luxe umbrella. These stays look mighty like hotel villas if you squint, and some are even on the premises of resorts. They come equipped with a personal concierge (which Airbnb calls a Trip Designer), who will schedule everything from airport pick-ups to lessons on a SUP board to fresh grocery deliveries. Some have personal chefs, most have drivers. You can usually bet on child-care and tennis courts.
Developments like Home & Villas by Marriott International and Airbnb Luxe have landed each company in an indiscernible, almost amusing middle ground, where quite frankly … the biggest winner is us. Picking a place to stay for vacation is nothing like having to choose a sandwich from the big board at a deli you’ve never been to while the guy behind the counter stares impatiently at you. (Just us?) Picking a place to spend lots of money takes loads of time, oodles of research, and will inevitably run into roadblocks, when dates don’t work out or others book before you. The more options the better always holds true for vacation.
So we decided we’d give you 10 to really sink your teeth into, from Airbnb Luxe. Loop back to Home & Villas by Marriott International when those listings drop, we won’t tell Airbnb, but for now peruse villas in Tulum, Florence and Hawaii. Every property has a pool, because we honestly struggled to find any without, and all are quite expensive. Don’t worry. You’ll make it back.
Our favorites below.
VILLA CHIANTE FORNACE
Tavarnelle Val di Pesa, Italy
THE CALIFORNIA COLONIAL
South Caicos, Turks and Caicos
Cabo San Lucas
Santa Teresa, Costa Rica
ON THE ROCKS
Palm Springs, California
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