There’s a lot to be said for living like a local. But what about when those locals are among the jet set? When homeowners are off gallivanting and not in one place all the time, the luck is all yours since many of them are offering up their second, third and fourth homes for vacationers willing to splurge on whole-home rentals.
Whether you’re traveling with your brood, a group of friends or just want extra elbow room, the homes of Madeline Hotel & Residences offer up a chic retreat after a day on the slopes in Telluride. From a four-bedroom penthouse with 3,900 square feet nestled in the top floor for beautiful mountain views to a two-bedroom on the same floor with a full kitchen, the multiuse Madeline means those renting a hotel room are in the same complex as those renting a more luxe home away from home. It’s all part of Auberge Resorts’ collection that also includes sunny Los Cabos, Mexico (Chileno Bay Resort & Residences) and fun Fort Lauderdale (Auberge Beach), among others.
“Cottages” take on a whole new meaning in Kennebunkport, Maine, home to former president George H.W. Bush’s Camp David. The same stunning seaside that so captivated the press during his time in office and that of his son in this sleepy town comes alive in summer like Dorothy waking up in Oz. KPT Luxury Properties specializes in luxury home rentals here, mostly on the water, and all near one of New England’s best beaches. Accommodations include high-end linens, housekeeping, concierge service, in-home dining (upon request), yacht charters, fishing tours and more.
Who knew a farm could be luxurious? The dining room that sits up to 24 means you can even invite a few friends over to admire the 3,200-log cabin and stunning views overlooking the swimming pond here. There’s even a large master bedroom with a king-sized bed, Jacuzzi tub, a library, full bar, two dishwashers (for that dinner!) and a fire pit and horseshoes outside. Nestled in between Mount Washington and the Appalacian Trail, there’s plenty to do outside, or just admire the views of Mt. Moosilauke in Bath, New Hampshire. The Lodge is part of 265-acre farm that raises cattle, sheep, pigs and chickens.
Less than 5 percent of homeowners who apply are accepted for Luxury Retreats, with the site’s 50-person inspection staff personally reviewing all applicants’ properties with a 100-point luxury inspection checklist. The site splits properties into categories like resort living (pinpointing 81 homes on Hawai’i’s Big Island); Natural Beauty (91 villas on Riviera Maya); and Active Vacationers (47 villas at Lake Tahoe).
Though it may be part of the AccorHotels’ family (with other luxury brands like Sofitel and Fairmont Raffles), Onefinestay is about much more than a hotel stay — it’s like living like a well-to-do local. More than 2,500 homes are listed in London, Paris, Rome, New York, Los Angeles and Miami (there are some other smaller markets), and there’s a service component even before “checking in.” Travel advisors review each potential guest’s preferences and advise on which homes are best. Only 1 in 10 homeowners are approved to be listed, and there’s a 24/7 Guest Services team.
Want to rent your own massive, seven-bedroom, ski-in/ski-out luxury home in Utah? Or a secluded eight-bedroom villa in St. John overlooking the ocean? Villas of Distinction is the place to look. While bargains on wallet-busting stays like Le Bleu in Anguilla — which sleeps 20 as you may have seen on The Bachelor —probably aren’t the primary concern in this price point (starting at $7,500 a night), the site does have specials from time to time. The tiered package for New Year’s celebrations in St. John at Eco Serendib included reduced rates and a meet and greet, in-person concierge and mid-week housekeeper refreshing.
Zermatt’s colorful ski boutique-lined Bahnhofstrasse, stylish apartment-style lodgings of every description and views of the Matterhorn from every angle make up one of Europe’s most family-friendly destinations — and it certainly does not hurt that it is proclaimed the “world’s best ski resort” by organizations like SnowOnline.com year after year. During the warmer months, meanwhile, you will see many family groups with kids strolling the shopping streets (sometimes alongside a herd of about 50 free-range Valais Blackneck goats around 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.), enjoying fondue and pizza at nearby cafés, and taking advantage of the many hiking and bike trails.
By Hainan Airlines
In a recent survey by Orbitz, 63 percent of millennial travelers said the hotel amenity they'd like to see more of is plants in hotel rooms. The same number said they seek plant-filled spaces and activities on vacation, including parks and botanical gardens.