Home Stay Vacation Spots

With sites like Airbnb making it easier to find accommodation in homes rather than hotels, we decided to look into some of the more curated and luxurious services out there for some vacation and city break ideas.

Boutique Homes

This site, personally curated by husband and wife team Heinz Legler and Veronique Lievre, is all about vacation homes with character and a real sense of style. You’ll find truly special places all over the world, from Mexico to Spain to Yosemite and beyond.

Todos Santos

This is a Mexican Hacienda for rent right near the beach in Todos Santos, Mexico. A pool, hammocks, and plenty of outdoor seating make it great for a group. There’s fishing, surfing, and snorkeling nearby as well as yoga classes, galleries to explore, and great restaurants in the colonial town.

Pietra Nova

This house in Corsica is notable for its airy spaces and living room that opens onto an outdoor deck with views of the ocean and mountains. Cycling, water skiing, kayaking, and more are all available nearby.

One Fine Stay

This tasteful selection of homes and apartments in New York and London is always reliable. This is an excellent option for anyone in the market for an authentic experience in either of these two cities (where the company currently operates) without compromising on hotel-like amenities. You are greeted upon arrival and left with an iPhone and the owner’s recommendations to get you around the city, plus luxury hotel-like linen, housekeeping, and Kiehl’s (in NYC) products in the bathroom.

State Street

A stay in a super cool, contemporary house in Brooklyn Heights, full of carefully selected design pieces. There are six bedrooms, which is unusually large for New York standards.

Thurloe Square

An art-filled, contemporary four-bedroom house in Knightsbridge near Hyde Park and London’s best museums.

Hosted Villas

This company started out about 20 years ago renting villas in Italy, then France and Spain. Now, the collection has expanded to a few more locations around the world including Mexico, Croatia, and Scotland. Each villa comes with a “local host” who can arrange anything and everything you may need during your visit.

Chateau de Queynac

This chateau for eight in the French countryside—complete with tennis courts and a pool—makes for a nice family getaway.

Mas Murale

This old French farmhouse with contemporary décor is big enough to accommodate a large group of family or friends. Secluded, but close enough to town for a taste of living in the French countryside, it’s near markets, restaurants, and a short trip away from several wine villages including Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

Haven in Paris

This site has properties in Paris, London, Provence, and Tuscany, but the real focus is on Paris where they have a huge selection of apartments both big and small. Each apartment comes with a greeter upon arrival to show you the ropes, a HiP Paris guidebook, housekeeping services once a week, and more. They can also hook you up with trusted chauffeurs, babysitters, etc.


A four-bedroom apartment on the top floor of an apartment building in Republique with views of the surrounding neighborhoods. Near Bastille and the up and coming Canal St. Martin, staying at this apartment is a great way to experience Paris like a local.

Unique Home Stays

This is the site to come to if you’re looking to experience a real getaway in a traditional English house. There are a few properties abroad, but the real draw here are the beautiful houses in scenic locations like Cornwall, Devon, and Dorset. From small cottages to sprawling old manor houses, the interiors are contemporary and comfy. Most are self-catered, but they can make special arrangements for flowers, food deliveries, and other touches.

The Oyster Catcher

The Oyster Catcher is a sweet, self-catered cottage on the water in Cornwall that sleeps four. It’s perfect for a short getaway in the summer.

Spaces 42

The unifying factor for the properties available on this site is contemporary architecture. Most of the homes on offer have luxe amenities including a concierge, housekeeping, chef services, and more.

Tuscan Villa

This standout Tuscan villa has been re-imagined into a contemporary open and airy space by Ab Rogers Studio in London and Da Studio in Florence. With eight bedrooms, it’s a good place for a big reunion of family or friends.

Living Architecture

The idea for this company came to philosopher Alain de Botton when writing The Architecture of Happiness and came from a desire to let people experience great modern architecture. A few years later, they offer a small selection of homes designed by today’s cutting edge architects available for rent on a self-catering basis. All decked out with amenities from some of the best—including Miele appliances and David Mellor kitchen equipment—each place is a true experience.

A Room for London

More of a novelty than a home-stay, this installation above one of London’s major cultural institutions is totally unique. This boat installation, parked above the Southbank Centre with a view of the Thames and the London Eye, was only meant to stay for one year but has proved so popular that it now has an extension for 2013. The view is unmatched.

The Balancing Barn

Designed by the Dutch architecture firm, MVRDV, this is as playful as a house can get. Located near the Suffolk coast in England, it has room for eight architecture fanatics to take the whole experience in.