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