We’ve long been fans of Airbnb, using it both as travellers and hosts. For us, it was a natural step up from our couchsurfing days and offered all the benefits of an apartment rental service, but with oodles more character. We tend to choose places owned by artists and people working in the creative industries, so it’s a quick shortcut to getting a taste of how our counterparts live in the place we’re visiting. Plus it’s often the most reasonably priced option available, allowing you to stay in an apartment for the same price as a hotel room. However, because there are so many places available on AirBnB, unless you know what to look for, it can be a bit hit and miss finding a great place to stay, which is why Airbnb Plus is so useful.
We’ve also written a full guide to how to find the best Airbnb.
All of the accommodation links in this post are affiliate links, which means I get a small commission if you make a booking (at no extra cost to you). It’s one of the ways I keep this blog going. Read more about my affiliate policy here. Thank you for your support!
What is AirBnB Plus?
Airbnb Plus is Airbnb’s curated collection of outstanding AirBnB homes, chosen for their exceptional design and great hospitality. It offers a really handy shortcut for finding Airbnb’s best properties. As lovers of good design, we really appreciate the quality of the curation – every Airbnb Plus place we’ve stayed in has been exceptionally stylish.
Although Airbnb Plus has only been around since 2018, we’ve stayed in a lot of AirBnB Plus homes because many of the places we stayed in before it was introduced have now been upgraded to that status. I used to spend hours trawling through the site, looking for the best options, so I’m not surprised lots of the places I found have made the cut.
The Airbnb Plus collection includes both entire homes, and rooms/apartments within shared homes. And currently you can only find Airbnb Plus homes in a limited number of locations – including Los Angeles, London, Melbourne, Rome, Lisbon and Shanghai – but this is expanding all the time.
What are the requirements to be Airbnb Plus?
To make the Airbnb Plus cut, properties must have maintained an average of 4.8/5 for the past year and satisfy a long checklist of requirements. This includes material things, such as having a fully-equipped kitchen, fast wi-fi, quality bed linens and a coffeemaker, plus quality assessments, such as a unified, thoughtful and inspiring design style, and cosy and inviting rooms. Everything must be spotlessly clean and in working order. It essentially elevates the Airbnb requirements to that of a boutique hotel or holiday rental.
Are there any downsides to Airbnb Plus?
Airbnb Plus properties tend to more expensive than the standard listings, largely because of the quality – but I also expect hosts might raise their prices a little once they reach that status. For that reason, you ‘d more likely to find a bargain by searching through the usual listings and trying to spot properties that are deserving of AirBnB Plus status but haven’t yet been chosen. However, this is time consuming, so if you’re looking for a shortcut then I think the Airbnb Plus collection is really useful.
And of course, if design or having so many amenities aren’t a priority for you, then you may as well skip Airbnb Plus altogether and find cheaper options in the normal listings. I personally won’t use Airbnb Plus every time as many of the necessary amenities aren’t essential for us, lots of locations aren’t included, and some of the best AirBnB places I’ve ever stayed in aren’t included in the collections (such as this place in Iceland; this cabin in Topanga; this one in Sonoma; and this in Switzerland).
Also, one of the strengths of Airbnb is that it gives you the opportunity to live like a local. However, the Airbnb Plus properties narrow that experience to a very particular type of local – most likely a creative professional (the places I mention below are owned by an architect, an artist and a curator). Steve and I are creative professionals ourselves, so we enjoy experiencing our counterparts’ lifestyles in other places around the world, (and getting inspiration for our own home) but this won’t be everyone’s cup of tea.
Airbnb Plus Homes
Here are some examples of AirBnB Plus properties we’ve stayed in.
Book-filled apartment in Porto
In Porto, we spent five days living in this gorgeous apartment, owned by a local architect and filled with eccentricities that sung his personal style. In a renovated Porto block in the arts district, it’s the kind of place I envy for its ability to perfectly hang together a mismatch of styles, antiques and furniture. It belongs in the pages of Apartmento magazine. Plus they provided a cot and toys for Otis, so it’s good for families too. I’ve shared more about Porto in our things to do in Porto city guide and our guide to road trips in Portugal.
What AirBnB says: “Spin a record on the turntable and kick back within the eclectic environs of a book-filled living room. With its enduring wood floors, period details, and modern touches, this apartment provides a lived-in warmth that makes for an invigorating stay.”
AirBnB listing: Walk to Museums from a Vibrant Apartment Filled with Books
Price: From $112 per night
Sleeps: 2 people and a baby (one room and cot)
Warehouse flat in Fitzroy, Melbourne
We were lucky to be two of the first people to stay in Anne’s amazing apartment in Fitzroy, Melbourne, and it remains one of our favourite AirBnB experiences ever. Anne matches impeccable style with first-rate hospitality to provide a stay that goes above and beyond everything you could want from a hip Fitzroy experience. We call her our Melbourne Mum 🙂
Steve and I normally opt for whole apartments rather than shared spaces, but this was a great example of a place that balances warm hospitality with privacy.
It’s close to so many excellent restaurants, shops and bars that we barely left the area during our whole time in Melbourne. I’ve written a guide to the best brunches in Fitzroy.
What AirBnB says: “Sip sunset cocktails or simply relax on the spacious rooftop wooden deck of this sun-filled warehouse conversion. Indoors, the stylish interior decoration includes original artworks and contemporary artefacts set in a bright, northern aspect open-plan living space.”
AirBnB listing: Gorgeous Top Floor Converted Warehouse Flat
Sleeps: 2 people
Moon Cabin in Joshua Tree, California
Joshua Tree is filled with AirBnB Plus cabins, many styled by city dwellers as hip weekend getaways. We stayed at the Moon Cabin, a desert-chic-style home with all the hallmarks of hipster cabin life – including a well curated vinyl collection and record player, telescope for star gazing, and an outdoor bocce ball court. I’ve written more about it in my guide to Joshua Tree AirBnB cabins.
What AirBnB says: “A romantic homestead in Joshua Tree, the Moon Cabin, has been lovingly designed and curated as an ideal getaway for two. Watch the sunset from rocking chairs, or stargaze in the hammock each night. Cozy-up by the indoor fireplace and take-in the mountain views.”
AirBnB listing: The Moon Cabin, a Romantic Joshua Tree Homesteader
Price: From $145 per night
Sleeps: 4 people (one double bed and a sofa bed)
All photos are courtesy of AirBnB. Our stay at the apartment in Porto was hosted by AirBnB, but all opinions are. of course, my own. I’ve been a fan of AirBnB since it started.