As much as everyone loves a luxury hotel and all the amenities that come with it, sometimes it just won’t do. Whether you’re traveling with children or the entire extended family, a villa or a chic city apartment can often be the better choice. Renting a private residence allows for more flexibility and privacy and let’s you live like a local. And budding foodies will appreciate having their own kitchen, which means you don’t have to just snap Instagram shots of the food porn at a Parisian/Tuscan/Napa Valley farmer’s market – you can bring the goodies home and cook up a feast, or let a professional chef do it for you.
But if you’re looking for a well-curated selection of high end properties, where do you start? While Airbnb has shaken up the apartment rental scene and does offer some gems, it’s not for everyone.
“Airbnb really changed everything,” says Sean Hennessey, the CEO of Lodging Advisors, a hotel consultancy firm. “It made the home rental business operate more like a hotel and they automated the logistics like reservations and payments.”
Airbnb also offered an aura of cool, says Hennessey, with a user application that feels similar to applying for a co-op or a club.
But scrolling through thousands of possible choices is overwhelming and time consuming, and particular needs may not be addressed.
Zoie Kingsbery Coe traveled frequently with her family, but found that hotels, even five star ones, were often challenging with young children. Anyone who has ever been forced to stick a travel crib in the bathroom while desperate for privacy can relate to this – or the particular teeth-grinding angst that comes with sharing a small hotel room with toddlers who go to bed at 7 pm. Coe started looking at home rental websites but found it frustrating.
“I was struck by the lack of websites that spoke to families, and were a pleasure to use,” says Coe. “I also wanted places that were stylish, but it felt like searching for a needle in a haystack.”
Her experience inspired her to launch Kid & Coe, which has more than 500 Lonny-worthy properties around the world.
Whether you’re traveling with a brood of children, an extended family or simply want to spend a long weekend experiencing what it’s like to live in a Tribeca loft, check out these stylish alternatives to Airbnb.