Opting for an apartment or home rental instead of a hotel when you visit a new city is an awesome way to have an authentic and often budget-friendly travel experience. While renting is definitely a great option that lets you travel like a local, there are unfortunately some drawbacks to renting out someone else’s home. You aren’t totally sure what you’re going to get until you actually show up. The pictures might look totally adorbs, but you could arrive to find the place a complete mess. It’s also common to have trouble coordinating key pickup and drop off with your host, especially if you’re traveling at odd hours. And when you forgo a luxe hotel, you give up all those little conveniences like a concierge, towel service and mini-toiletries (those are the best, right?!).
Lucky for you, a new site called Sonder is making vacay rentals a little bit fancier and a whole lot more reliable and consistent. The founders realized during a stay in a peer-to-peer rental in San Francisco that their lodging choice wasn’t as easy to access as they’d hoped, plus they had no idea where to hang out, eat or grab a drink in the neighborhood. They decided that mixing the amenities of a hotel with the charm of a home rental would create the perfect combination for travelers of all kinds. In essence, Sonder is the answer for travelers who find Airbnb and other similar rental sites to be not quite secure enough and not quite convenient enough. They call their concept a “hometel,” which is pretty catchy, if you ask us.
So what do they do that’s different? Well, their apartments are all super gorgeous, and while some of them are owned by individuals, they’re mostly unoccupied by tenants. The founders told us that they lease many of the apartments themselves, employing interior decorators to make sure they’re perfectly laid out and still give off homey vibes. The apartments that aren’t leased by Sonder are usually people’s second homes, meaning you’re never going to encounter a “host” when you stay in one of their places. Everything is ultra-secure, from the booking process to the apartments themselves. Before you book, you go through a security verification that involves providing a photo of yourself, government-issued ID and, of course, your payment deets. Instead of meeting the apartment owner to pick up the key or finding it in some hidden place, you simply enter an electronic code to enter. There’s definitely a big focus on security and privacy, which we can totally get down with.
Once you actually arrive, you’ve got access to a 24/7 concierge who can provide recommendations in the area before or during the trip.”We’re also on-hand to store luggage when guests arrive early, and because we have on-the-ground staff, we’re able to bring our guests an item that they may have forgotten at home, or if they simply need more towels, we can take care of that too,” say the founders. Every rental comes with hotel conveniences like toiletries, plus apartment advantages like a fully equipped kitchen. Oh, and there is obvi free WiFi.
Right now, Sonder’s rentals are limited to select cities in the US and Canada like Boston, Miami, Toronto and Montreal, but the founders say that, in terms of future expansion, “Europe is definitely on the list, as are other major US markets. What we know for certain is that we will choose the best homes in the best neighborhoods of each city we expand into.” The best part? Even though the apartments feel fancy, rentals start as low as $95 per night. That’s what we’d call affordable luxury.
Do you prefer renting apartments or sticking to hotels? Let us know @BritandCo!
(Photos via Sonder, featured photo via Getty)