From private islands to centuries-old chateaus, these incredible dwellings are perfect for your next holiday escape

Villa Tramontana.jpgPhoto courtesy of Airbnb

High-end resorts used to be the crux of a luxury holiday: you abandon all worries by way of a spa treatment or a dip in the pool, knowing that everything you get will be five-star quality. However, digital lodging marketplaces like Airbnb has completely disrupted the scene, and a hotel booking is no longer a necessity for pampering yourself on vacation.

 What this platform has in spades is the air of authenticity: the chance to stay with locals and experience the destination through their lenses. While the company has been lauded for its relative affordability, it’s not only for those on a budget. Just ask Beyoncé, who recently checked in at an incredible Airbnb property overlooking San Francisco Bay after her performance at the Super Bowl – at just US$10,000 a night. 

We’ve gathered 10 similarly decadent listings that will make many hotels pale in comparison. From a standalone house on an island to a centuries-old manor, these unique abodes will make you gladly forgo bellhops or room service.


Praia do Félix.jpgPhoto courtesy of Airbnb

Location: São Paulo, Brazil

 Completely constructed in wood and glass, this architectural wonder is surrounded by nature. The house is hugged by a forest, and the beach is only steps away.


bird island.jpgPhoto courtesy of Airbnb

Location: Stann Creek District, Belize

This house sits on a private island encircled by a coral reef — need we say more? Apart from a 360-degree view of the ocean, the unique location always allows endless possibilities for snorkeling.


nyc loft.jpgPhoto courtesy of Airbnb

Location: New York City, New York

All the cool New Yorkers call downtown lofts their homes, and you can live like one in this airy apartment with a private elevator — a rarity in the city. Check out our insider's guide on what to do in the Big Apple.


west hollywood spanish home.jpgPhoto courtesy of Airbnb

Location: Los Angeles, California

You can experience Hollywood like a Golden Age film star at this Spanish-style duplex built in the Jazz Age. Shops and restaurants on the famed Melrose Avenue are just around the corner.


Le Manoir Equivocal.jpgPhoto courtesy of Airbnb

Location: Burgundy, France

Nothing says “romantic getaway” like this 16th-century stone manor surrounded by wine estates and idyllic flower fields.


barthe beachfront apt.jpgPhoto courtesy of Airbnb

Location: Barcelona, Spain 

This beachfront apartment is the ideal stay if you’re craving plenty of sun: access to the terrace is available in all rooms, and floor-to-ceiling windows make sunshine an inevitability.


modern-palm-springs.jpgPhoto courtesy of Airbnb

Location: Palm Springs, California

This grand mansion is luxurious not just in décor, but also in the range of services offered: guests have access to a personal concierge who can help on everything from booking private chef services to on site massages.


stairway to heaven.jpgPhoto courtesy of Airbnb

Location: Aspen, Colorado

This Bauhaus-style home amazes with architectural details and comes with an indoor pool, outdoor hot tub, and a location in the heart of ski paradise. Being snowed in has never sounded better.


Villa Tramontana.jpgPhoto courtesy of Airbnb

Location: Opatija, Croatia 

The charming medieval-style cottage features a mesmerizing infinity pool that looks as if connected to the shimmering Adriatic Sea. You’ll also be able to view the clusters of islands that populate the Croatian coast.


sydney.pngPhoto courtesy of Airbnb

Location: Sydney, Australia

A range of water activities — from kayaking to sailing — is at the guests’ fingertips due to this abode’s proximity to Balmoral Beach. Apart from the fantastic beachfront view that spans 36 metres, the house also comes furnished with a Japanese hot spring and meditation garden. For tips on how to spend a perfect day in Sydney, head over to our feature with designer Kym Ellery.


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