Airbnb Up Their Game With A New Luxury Tier Featuring Mansions And Villas

Once a couch-surfing website, Airbnb moves on to luxury properties, further disrupting hospitality industry.

By Nathalie Nayman June 30, 2017

Airbnb is about to seriously up their game. First, the company started testing a new service called Select in an attempt to push accommodation listings closer to the hotel standards. And now, rumor has it, the company is preparing to launch a posh version of itself. The new service under the code name Airbnb Lux—proper market name to be determined later—will list mansions, penthouses and other upscale rentals meant for the clients with truly deep pockets. Take that, hotel industry.

According to Bloomberg, all the listings at “Airbnb Lux” will be thoroughly inspected “to ensure they meet a checklist of quality standards.” The full service, Bloomberg reports, might launch as early as the end of this year, with select group of property owners.

Related: NYC Billionaires’ Row Is Reaching Its Second Foreclosure In A Month

And mind you, finding luxury properties definitely won’t be an issue for Airbnb. The company has just purchased Luxury Retreats, a Canadian villa rental company. Their website boasts a 4,000-plus portfolio of upscale abodes that “represent luxurious ‘home away from home’ experiences, inside and out.”

Right now, Luxury Retreats top destinations list features villas in Tuscany, Mexico, California and, of course the Caribbean islands—all quite pricy. The majority of villas in Tuscany, for example, are listed for $3,000-5,000 a night. True “gems” come with a more lavish price tag—the 13th-century Borgo Santo Pietro villa costs $25,978. Extortion—or a steal, depending in how you look at it.

One thing is clear—those are the properties Airbnb will start featuring on their website pretty soon. Long way, indeed, for a relatively young company that started out as a couch-surfing website. The original idea was to help travelers cut costs and avoid excessive spending—but oh well.

Related: Forest Cities’ Might Save China And Its Citizens From Air Pollution

Anyways, if you think of it, the idea of a new, luxury Airbnb makes sense given the general real estate trends—especially in New York. Just a few months ago, NYC’s luxury rental market seemed to be in decline, causing public to gloat over upscale condo development overdose. And look at it now—last May saw 88 leases signed for apartments priced at $15,000 plus a month. This, by the way, is an all-time record since 2011. Heck, even $150,000 a month rentals get snatched these days. In comparison to certain Manhattan pads, puny $25,978 a night for a villa in Tuscany doesn’t seem that opulent.

Besides, who knows, perhaps Airbnb is the force that will save certain luxury properties from a foreclosure—yes, we are subtly hinting at a recent calamity that has befallen NYC’s Billionaires’ Row. Having a marketing giant like Airbnb marketing your property as a luxury retreat—for a reasonable fee, of course—might serve as a plan B for those who find themselves in a possession of a castle or a mansion and struggle to pay their mortgage. So if you’ve ever dreamed of buying a medieval Italian villa and was wondering what to do with it—go for it. If things go South, you will just list it on Airbnb.

Nathalie Nayman

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Nathalie Nayman

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Nathalie Nayman

Nathalie is an international media trooper. After working as a journalist in Moscow, Nathalie participated in local politics and social movements in Cairo where she covered the protests and political upheaval of the Arab Spring. Nathalie is Agorafy's content manager. She produces and oversees unique and creative content for the Newsroom.

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