Homesharing Site “Welcome Beyond” Offers Historic and Artful Stays You’re Unlikely to Find on Airbnb
They've accepted just 247 properties across 43 countries
Airbnb published a list of fast facts earlier this year intended to highlight the company’s growth since the start of the decade, and the figures were impressive. The booking giant now has over seven million listings in 191 countries. That includes 2,400 tree houses, double that in castles, and a nightly population of Airbnb sleepers north of two million.
We’re mostly fans of all of that. It hasn’t missed with an expansion effort yet (did you hear about Airbnb Animals?) and its original, game-changing model is as reliable as ever.
That said, the process of booking an Airbnb feels a shade more predictable than it did in years past. That’s not a knock, necessarily; fine-tuned efficiency is the end goal of most players in the hospitality industry. It just means that with all that growth, Airbnb has reached ubiquity, and for every Goodyear Blimp or Downton Abbey set listed on the site, there are a million other single-bedroom apartments sitting around the corner from a nondescript financial district. The filter tabs help (as we’ve shown), but once in a while we’d recommend just skipping the site altogether.
A worthy alternative? Welcome Beyond, a boutique home-sharing brand run by two Berlin-born brothers that offers just 247 stays across 43 countries.
Oliver Laugsch has a background as a designer and art director, while his brother Chris worked in finance for a multinational German corporation, and the two employ a highly selective, determinedly personal approach to welcoming stays into the Welcome Beyond family. Every prospective host must undergo a rigorous application process to ensure their property is up to Welcome Beyond’s standard — which would appear to be some combination of beautiful, functional and offbeat, with extra credit for a good backstory.
Take some of the label’s newest properties, following a recent website relaunch. “Umamma” is a holiday apartment in Tuscany that used to be a brothel. There’s a secret staircase within that leads to thermal pools based on ancient Roman baths. “Ansitz Hohenegg” is a Bavarian mountain chalet built by a family of brewers. Spain’s “Spronken House,” located near Valencia, is a literal piece of art, a sculpture created by Dutch artist Xaver Spronken.
We recommend getting lost in a Welcome Beyond blackhole and checking out their full range of listings. It won’t take you too long, and that’s the point. You’ll notice a broad range in pricing, too. Some are exorbitantly expensive, up to thousands a night, and others are under a hundred. All are weird, cool and look great on Instagram. Below, find four new properties that were recently added to the site.
The Apartment Residence
Bavarian Mountains, Germany
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