No AirBnb, no problem! Nine vacation booking sites you’ve probably never heard of
here are plenty of things to look forward to on a summer vacation – chocolate boxed cabins, surf and seafood and the promise of above-average temperatures for July and August. Hooray!
The wrong side? Everyone travels Airbnb with the same ideas. Comfortable cottages in the Cotswolds? Full. Luxury yurts in Wales? All gone. Cornish scree holes by the beach? Forget that.
Luckily, a new wave of booking platforms has you covered, from the Instagrammable Staze stay app that books you last-minute travel, to Kid & Coe kid-friendly retreats.
Here are nine of the best that you’ve probably never heard of.
Best for: those looking for spontaneous last minute retreats.
Pitches: Thousands of rentals across the UK and there are more on the horizon.
PricePrice: From £ 70 to £ 1,000 per night.
Staze it’s not about avoiding the last minute, it’s about embracing it. Launched on April 12, the accommodation booking platform encourages vacationers to live more spontaneously – and dodge the stress of the ever-changing coronavirus restrictions. The answer? You can only make reservations within 14 days of travel.
Fortunately, it’s not as panic as it sounds. Staze does the thinking for you by providing you with personalized recommendations, deals and destination suggestions, reducing the average four-hour trawling through Google to minutes and a few clicks on the app.
Jay Olenicz, co-founder of the app alongside Henry Popiolek and Dustin Silk, says he wants Staze to become the Netflix of Stays.
He told The Standard: “Right now the travel industry is like Blockbuster. Previously, you had to walk to the Blockbuster store, take a tour of the store, browse the catalog, buy, and then watch the DVD. But now you have Disney Plus, Netflix, Amazon Prime where within minutes you know what you want to watch.
“While AirBnb, booking.com, and lastminute.com are like Blockbuster, Staze wants to bring the entire trip into a Netflix experience where you have a personalized recommendation engine, and you can figure out where to go in minutes. ”
Each of Staze’s 40,000 UK properties has a property management team on hand to meet your every need. All of the properties listed are stylish and chic, and guests can choose anything from a luxury apartment in London to a cozy fishing hut in Scotland. By the end of the summer, the platform will also have properties available across Europe. Go ahead, live in the moment – you might discover a vacation spot you never thought of before.
Best for: Stylish interiors without a high price tag.
Pitches: from the Scottish Highlands to the beaches of Cornwall, and everything in between.
Price: Membership is £ 2.99 per month and rentals start from £ 59 per night.
Founded in 2019 by boutique travel experts Liz Simpson and Sarah De-Vere-Drummond, Kip offers a selection of affordable rentals in the UK for two to six people. With a portfolio of over 120 quirky and chic rentals, the site offers peaceful cottages, treehouses and romantic shepherd’s huts carefully handpicked by the founders. Membership is required to access the lists (£ 14 per year or £ 2.99 per month).
Best for: A digital detox in the countryside.
Pitches: Over 200 glamping sites in the UK and France.
PricePrice: From £ 60 to £ 565 per night.
Born from the Quality Cottages brand that has been selecting getaways since 1961, Quality Unearthed offers glamping options and rustic stays. Whether it’s safari tents, treehouses or yurts, the site promises off-grid retreats and a chance to immerse yourself in nature.
The plum guide
Best for: those looking for the luxury of a hotel in a warm setting.
Pitches: Worldwide with holiday homes across the UK.
Price: From £ 42 to £ 14,000 + per night in UK.
Created by Israel-born, UK-based British entrepreneur Doron Meyassed, The Plum Guide is an approved holiday market for the wealthiest 1% of households. Each property listed on the site must meet a 150-point test, which includes everything from the pressure of the showers to the thickness of the mattresses.
The self-proclaimed “Michelin Habitat Guide” offers top-of-the-range properties with hotel quality standards.
Child and Coe
Best for: Child-friendly retreats.
Pitches: Worldwide, with 94 UK properties.
Price: From £ 70 per night for UK properties.
Established in 2013 by Zoie Kingsberry Coe after struggling to find rentals for his growing family, Kid and Coe offers a curated list of homes around the world that cater specifically to families.
Dubbed the “Family Travel Airbnb,” the site values properties that are safe and suitable for children, with cribs, high chairs, play areas and toys. It is family accommodation without sacrificing style.
Best for: Luxury cottages with a concierge touch.
Pitches: Over 200 properties across the UK.
Price: From £ 1,035 to £ 11,424 per week.
Boutique Retreats is more than a vacation rental site. In addition to offering unique properties, the team is on hand to organize any special additions during a stay, whether it’s private dining experiences with a Michelin-starred chef or individual surf lessons.
The platform has chic seaside bolt holes, cliff top retreats with private pools and thatched cottages. And many properties accept dogs to allow furry friends.
Best for: Chic stays.
Pitches: London, Paris and Los Angeles.
Price: From £ 145 per night for a studio in Shepherds Bush, to £ 965 per night for a townhouse in Belgravia.
Founded in London in 2011, Veeve offers handpicked homes with the option to add extras such as concierge services and private airport transfers. With over 2,000 properties, the site looks after the properties during their rental, offering housekeeping, towels and toiletries. It also provides practical guides to London with tips and advice on places to visit.
Awning and stars
Best for: Nights in the great outdoors.
Pitches: Over 700 natural refuges in the UK, and more across Europe.
PricePrice: From £ 45 to £ 1,660 per night.
Each of Canopy & Star’s advertisements are ideal for the ‘gram’. With more than 700 places to stay in the heart of nature, the site offers wild stays with tree houses facing the starry sky or boats in wild swimming places.
Some properties are very rustic, with just wood-burning stoves and campfires for heating, while others have tubs and induction hobs. There is also the additional environmental bonus that the company commits to planting a million trees by 2025. Green in more ways than one, then.
The historic trust
Best for: Houses with a story.
Pitches: Almost 200 properties across the UK.
PricePrice: From £ 123 to £ 976 per night.
The Landmark Trust is a charity that preserves and saves castles, villas and towers, and then makes them available for vacations. Unusual properties include a medieval castle in Warwickshire, a water tower on the Sandringham estate in Norfolk and a Victorian fort in Devon, with cannons for more drama. None of the properties have Wi-Fi, TV or radio. Instead, expect a welcome platter with tea and sugar, and bring some kindling and fire starters for the open fire, perfect for a digital detox.