Airbnb Plus: Stunning homes to rent in South Africa, Italy and more for your next holiday out of Singapore

Airbnb Plus

Smack in historic city centres or perched on dramatic cliffs, these five properties will make you want to plan your escape immediately

Over the last decade, Airbnb has had a major impact on the hospitality industry. So much so that companies like Onefinestay and Stay One Degree have sprung up its wake, offering luxury property rentals – rather than basic accommodation – on their own home-sharing platforms.

Even major hospitality groups like Marriott International have gotten in on the act, launching Tribute Portfolio Homes in partnership with home-sharing network Hostmaker.

This flurry of activity has not escaped Airbnb’s notice. In response – and in a bid to capture lucrative market share – the firm launched its higher tier platform, Airbnb Plus, earlier this year.

In general, the more than 2,000 homes available to rent in 13 cities are more upscale than those on regular Airbnb listings. They also come with hotel-style comforts such as matching towels, quality grooming and beauty products, and in some cases, flexible check-in procedures.

The idea is to attract well-heeled travellers accustomed to convenience and finery, but who also desire authentic local experiences that can only be had through homestays.

If this sounds like you, then start making travel plans.

But if you’re still not convinced, here are five listings that might change your mind.

Cape Town, South Africa

This 1-bedroom, 1-bathroom apartment is located in central Clifton, home to South Africa’s most expensive real estate. Little wonder why: the dwellings here are perched on cliffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, with bars and restaurants injecting life into the area. For the outdoor fitness enthusiast, nearby Table Mountain National Park and its numerous trails offer scenic hikes.

London, England

No trip to London is complete without a visit to the buzzing East End. Better yet, make the area your base for exploration. This 1-bedroom, 1-bathroom apartment, which sleeps four, was once the chapel of a Victorian school. From here it’s a 15-minute walk to the neighbourhood’s best bits, including Brick Lane, Shoreditch and Spitalfields Market.

Los Angeles, USA

This two-storey Spanish-style villa in the Hollywood Hills is a throwback to the Roaring Twenties. With two bedrooms that accommodate three guests, you and two mates can live out your Great Gatsby fantasies in La La Land. The villa is close to the Hollywood Bowl, Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and many top-rated restaurants.

Rome, Italy

Italy’s ancient capital is almost 3,000 years old. Which makes this 2-bedroom, 1-bathroom loft apartment in a 19th-century building practically new. Located near major sites like the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps, the apartment has period architectural features in spades. Think wood beam ceilings, a cast iron staircase and antique furnishings.

Sydney, Australia

Bondi Beach hardly needs any introduction, but this sprawling 3-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom condo situated at its heart does. The apartment’s floor-to-ceiling windows and wraparound balcony take full advantage of the Bondi Beach panorama, its azure waters a mere 300 metres (or five-minute walk) away. Up to six guests can bunk in, with access to pool and gym facilities.