Everything You Need to Know About the Over-the-Top Villas and Mansions

Dee Yonker

This article has been updated with new information since its original publish date.

In 2017, we wrote about Airbnb’s new acquisition, Luxury Retreats, a high-end mansion, villa, and penthouse rental company that would eventually turn into Airbnb Luxe. Two years later, the luxury extension of Airbnb’s home offerings officially launched, now offering tons of over-the-top villas in at least 35 destinations, all of which come with their own trip designer, or travel specialist.

You can find an 11th-century castle in the Tuscan countryside (from $16,622 per night), a jaw-dropping eight-bedroom ultra-modern chalet in the French Alps (from $25,019 per night), and a Balinese-inspired cliffside villa overlooking the ocean on Mustique (from $13,393 per night) among Airbnb Luxe’s lineup. But not every Airbnb Luxe will break the bank, as there are luxurious homes as low as $400 per night spread across the world.

No matter what you’re paying per night, a trip designer is included in your home’s rate, so you can use their help in booking other parts of your trip as much or as little as you’d like. Want someone to pick you up from the airport? Done. Need childcare? They can do that, too. Want a chef? How about a butler? Or even just a fully stocked fridge with fresh groceries when you arrive? Yes, yes, and yes. You’ll have to pay for the additional services, of course, but Airbnb isn’t levying fees for organizing these extras: “The cost of the groceries is the cost of the groceries, the cost of renting a catamaran is the cost of the catamaran,” Nick Guezen, Airbnb’s global director of portfolio strategy, told us in 2019. And in some homes, things like chefs, childcare, and more are included—luxury amenities are split on each listings page into “included” and “add-on,” so you know what you’re getting with each villa.

Some of the add-ons available through Airbnb Luxe.

Some of the add-ons available through Airbnb Luxe.

Courtesy Airbnb

How over the top can you go? In the preview stages of Airbnb Luxe, a trip designer worked with a local contractor in Los Cabos, Mexico, to build a basketball court on the sand outside a beachside villa for an NBA player traveling with his family and friends, Keith Monaghan, the company’s global head of trip design said. (So, to answer our question, really over the top.)

Over the years, Airbnb has been upping its luxury levels, first offering private rooms in hosts’ homes and entire apartments under its regular Airbnbs, and then launching Airbnb Plus in 2018, which added personally inspected homes that meet a 100-point checklist for amenities and design. Luxe takes Plus’s inspections up a notch, with a 300-point amenities checklist and an additional layer of design inspection. In-person inspectors check everything from shower water pressure and linen quality to air conditioning functionality. “When we first walk in, all of AC gets turned on for the entire tour, to make sure that not only is it working but it’s not making any noise and is fully cooling the rooms,” Guezen said. On the design front, Airbnb’s design team ensures that the furnishings and decor are high-quality and in good condition—and that there’s plenty of space for everyone. That means that no more than two bedrooms share a bath, and that if the house sleeps 10, it can also fit 10 travelers at the dining table, around the couch, or spread out in the backyard.

In theory, Airbnb Luxe will bring in travelers who wouldn’t have considered the home-sharing platform’s more basic options before—the company’s B&Bs and boutique hotels help, too. But it’s also intended to elevate existing users’ experiences, according to Guezen and Monaghan, and leverage their familiarity with Airbnb. “Our users are growing up. Someone who was sharing homes for under $100 a night when they started with Airbnb is now booking places that are $1,000 a night,” Guezen said. Looks like some Airbnb users have gotten some nice promotions over the years.

Here are a few of our favorite Airbnb Luxe options to book now or pine over for a future vacation:

Sundown, Jackson, Wyoming

$1140.00, Airbnb (Starting Price)

Villa Les Capitaines, Gordes, France

$1630.00, Airbnb (Starting Price)

Casa Nalum, Tulum, Mexico

$3000.00, Airbnb (Starting Price)

Ezzahra Estate, Marrakech, Morocco

$16342.00, Airbnb (Starting Price)

Villa Mendia, Telluride, Colorado

$1660.00, Airbnb (Starting Price)

Chalet Maurice, Zermatt, Switzerland

$4344.00, Airbnb (Starting Price)

Hillcrest, Los Angeles, California

$14500.00, Airbnb (Starting Price)

The Lodge at the Hills, Arrowtown, New Zealand

$26631.00, Airbnb (Starting Price)

Villa Il Sogno, Positano, Italy

$5682.00, Airbnb (Starting Price)

Originally Appeared on Condé Nast Traveler

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