The move is in response to growing demand from Airbnb guests for luxury stays and experiences, the company says. Last year, the number of bookings for listings worth at least US$1,000 (SGD1,355) a night increased more than 60 per cent.
Launching the new tier is a selection of 2,000 homes that have passed 300 criteria, from design and function, materials to unique and rare features, chef-grade appliances, capacity and significance.
Homes are destinations in themselves. There’s the Fleming Villa in Jamaica, for instance, where Ian Fleming wrote his famous James Bond spy novels, and Nukutepipi, a private atoll in French Polynesia where houses and bungalows are curated by Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberté.
Airbnb Luxe bookings also come with a dedicated “trip designer” whose role it is to take care of bookings and check-in, childcare, and to create bespoke experiences for guests, be it with private chefs, in-house massage therapists, personal training sessions or day excursions.
“Today’s luxury traveler is craving more than just high-end accommodations. They seek transformation and experiences that leave them feeling more connected to each other and to their destination,” said Brian Chesky, Airbnb Co-Founder in a statement.
“With AirbnbLuxe we are applying the same approach we’ve used since we launched Airbnb more than 11 years ago – creating local, authentic and magical travel moments now in amazing places to stay — to reimagine the way people think and experience luxury travel.”
Alongside chateaux and chalets in bucolic countryside and valleys, guests can also choose from luxurious urban properties in cities like London and Los Angeles. More destinations like Milan, Paris and Austin are set to be added later this year.
The new luxury tier builds on Airbnb’s acquisition of Luxury Retreats in 2017.