As the popularity of Airbnb continues to grow (as evidenced by the fact that the company recently celebrated half a billion guest arrivals), adventurous travellers are eschewing hotels and opting for rented getaway homes instead. The popular travel website and app recently crunched the numbers and revealed some of its top rentals from across the globe. Take a look at these spectacular, unique Airbnb hot spots – and find out why they’re so sought after!
North America: Mushroom Dome in Aptos, CA
This gem currently holds the title of “#1 on Airbnb in the world.” Located in Aptos, California, this rustic geodesic dome loft in the trees has been welcoming guests from across the globe since July 2009. The property offers visitors the opportunity to get back to nature with 10 acres of surrounding land that allows for extensive hikes, hummingbird sightings and a place to pet and interact with goats. Biggest draw: A unique structure out in the wilderness.
North America: Off the Grid Cabin in Pisgah Highlands, NC
Embrace the chance for a proper respite from your usual hectic schedule with this middle-of-nowhere cabin situated on a private 125 acre gated mountain-top property. As one of the most popular Airbnb hot spots in North America, it promises the opportunity to hike the trails and take in the local breweries and art galleries in nearby downtown Asheville. Biggest draw: Total isolation.
Africa & Middle East: Cozy Palace in Marrakesh, Morocco
Go ahead, live like royalty! This stunning location, known as Cozy Palace, offers guests the chance to experience life as a king or queen with its spacious and opulent rooms filled with unique furniture, beautifully patterned walls and a variety of little nooks where you can relax with a book. Biggest draw: Living like royalty.
Africa & Middle East: Ol-Popongi Camp in Naivasha, Kenya
This lavish camp can accommodate up to eight guests and contains four bedrooms, three baths and scenic views in every direction. It also takes privacy to a whole other level, ensuring visitors that they will be the only guests on the property and will have access to the entire place during their stay. How’s that for an exclusive getaway? Biggest draw: Privacy, privacy, privacy.
Europe: Private Room in Bruges, Belgium
A short 10- to 15-minute walk from the main square of the historic city of Bruges, these two brightly-lit private units on the second level of a house offer a wealth of amenities, including a small balcony where you can take in the sights with your morning coffee before heading out for the day. Biggest draw: The price, which rings in at an affordable $65/night (CDN).
Europe: Medieval Tower in Tuscania, Italy
The remarkable San Giusto Abbey dates back to 1146 when it served as a Cistercian monastery. Located one hour outside Rome, this castle has been renovated by its owners over the last 20 years – and now you can rent the four-floor accommodations in the tower. Offering a living room, kitchen, two bedrooms with their own private bathrooms and a panoramic view of the lush greenery, European getaways don’t get much better than this. Biggest draw: Did we mention it’s a medieval castle?
Europe: French School Bus in Pershore, England
How’s this for unique travel accommodations? Airbnb boasts 110 bus rentals (and counting!) where you can spend the night in Europe, but this one is among the company’s most popular spots. At a cost of only $79 (CDN) a night, this cozy bus situated on Bredon Hill offers a wealth of nearby activities, such as cycling, canoeing on the Avon River, a BBQ area, plenty of reading spots and a private fruit orchard. Biggest draw: Quirky accommodations you’ll tell stories about for years to come.
Asia: Miss Zhou’s Flower Room in Shanghai, China
Airbnb names Miss Zhou’s Flower Room as the “most booked” spot in all of Asia. At first glance, you might find yourself wondering why this private room in a loft garners so much attention. The unbelievably low cost of only $13/night (CDN) likely has something to do with it, although we’d argue it’s also the unique opportunity to learn about flowers and decor in the adjoining greenhouse. Biggest draw: Low cost and all those flowers!
Asia: Cabin in Sun Moon Lake, Taiwan
This popular rental in Taiwan is a short walk from a plethora of activities, including Ida Thao Pier, a nearby butterfly garden and a variety of cultural exhibitions. Surrounded by plenty of greenery, this spacious two-storey cabin offers lots of natural light and total privacy. Biggest draw: Peace and quiet.
Latin America: B&B in Lima, Peru
The most-booked location in all of Latin America, this rental was featured on HGTV’s House Hunters International. How’s that for bragging rights? This B&B is close to the airport, offers daily free breakfasts for guests, three private bedrooms to choose from and affordable pricing (at only $19/night CDN, this place is a steal). Biggest draw: Low price and ideal location.
Latin America: Guest House #3 in Cancun, Mexico
Coming in at only $19/night (CDN), this rustic, comfortable guest house in Cancun definitely won’t break the bank. This property has received the most reviews of any rental listed on Airbnb in Latin America and is owned by superhosts (highly-rated owners) who promise easy access to all the highlights from downtown Cancun. Biggest draw: Low price and location, location, location.
Latin America: Little Cabin in Punta Rubia, Uruguay
At only $39/night (CDN), this unique beachside rental was built in 2014 and has grown in popularity ever since. Owned by well-reviewed superhosts, this property offers guests stunning views, plenty of nearby outdoor space and easy access to the town of La Pedrera. This tiny cabin’s most distinctive feature are the litho printed sheets covering the wood walls outside. Biggest draw: Unique features and low cost.
Australia & New Zealand: Cabin Loft in Auckland, New Zealand
Ideal for a couple or solo travellers, this tiny one-bedroom cabin loft is a seven-minute drive from the airport and is close to a variety of activities in the city. Despite its small interior and minimal decor, this spot is Airbnb’s most booked and most reviewed location in all of New Zealand. Biggest draw: Low cost and location.
Australia & New Zealand: Eco Hut in New South Wales, Australia
While this gorgeous eco-hut on the stunning Kimo Valley is a bit on the pricey side, it offers 360-degree views of the Murrambidgee river flats and surrounding greenery. Made from local timber, steel and galvanized iron, this one-bedroom cabin makes efficient use of solar power to provide light and running water. It’s the ultimate romantic getaway for the couple who wants to immerse themselves in nature. Biggest draw: Privacy, eco-friendly aspects and stunning views.
Australia & New Zealand: Waitomo Woodlyn Park Plane in Waitomo, New Zealand
Yes, it’s a real plane. This unique experience allows travellers a chance to sleep inside one of the “last allied planes out of Vietnam.” With a perfect five-star rating, this two-bedroom accommodation offers privacy in its wooded surroundings and full room service. Biggest draw: Well, you’d be sleeping on an actual historical plane! How cool is that?