Sites like Airbnb and VRBO have proven the sharing economy is the future of travel. While these sites guarantee plenty of lodging options, finding the most interesting places to stay often requires hours of searching through hundreds, even thousands, of properties. eliminates that headache by offering only unique vacation rentals for lovers of design.
The site’s primary search isn’t by location (though there is a world map, if you prefer), but rather by listing. It’s clear the intention is that where you stay should be just as interesting and important as your overall destination. The inventory varies widely and includes tiny homes, small boutique hotels, upscale vacation homes, and opulent, Pablo Escobar-worthyestates.
Overall, we found it surprisingly affordable. For budget-conscious travelers, the “Chic & Cheap” category is a good starting point. Listings like this Alpine Austrian chalet or this rustic, minimalist, two-bedroom sea cabin on a Norwegian cliffside are available for a little more than $200 per night.
If you’re willing and able to split a rental with a handful of friends, your options become far more extravagant. This sprawling luxury villa in the Seychelles, for example, recalls the exotic, Hemingway-inspired African exploration days of the early 20th century. This elegant Provence estate (pictured above) blends Old World French charm with a boatload of modern amenities (an outdoor pool, tennis court, and multiple kitchens) and breathtaking views. While most nightly rates in this category start above $1,000, sharing the cost with others can put the price tag in reach of most mortal men.
Other specialty categories include “Bring Fido Along” (pet-friendly rentals), “Glamping,” and “Extra Large” (for anyone planning an oversized gathering). The “By Architects” category is especially intriguing. Here, travelers can find vacation rental homes designed by famed architects (Frank Lloyd Wright among them) and up-and-comers. The rentals in the “Our Favorites” category reads like the pages of Architectural Digest, where every listing is more over-the-top and grandiose than the last.
Boutique-Homes.com has property listings on six continents. However, as a “boutique” site, the inventory is limited compared to its mainstream competitors. It’s worth a look if you care more about quality over quantity.