Updated: Jan 13, 2021
A new crop of properties reinvents the extended stay model
Welcome to the next generation of travel, where the best of hotels and privately owned rentals are thoughtfully blended for discerning travelers who want to live like locals. A new crop of properties have reinvented the hotel / extended-stay model. Travelers who vacation together with family, friends, or colleagues are looking for the authenticity and hominess of residential accommodations—but they require the safety, consistency, and prime location of traditional hotels. As these concepts prove, they’re the ultimate home away from home.
Allison Crawford had gone on one too many girls’ trips with less-than-ideal accommodations. “The group would be in different rooms on different floors in a hotel. Or, we’d stay in an Airbnb that didn’t live up to its pictures and had an intrusive ‘someone lives here’ vibe, where you’re rearranging sticky condiments in the fridge to fit your rosé,” she says. Crawford, an interior designer based in Austin, took matters into her own hands: Hotelette combines thoughtful design and luxury touches found in boutique hotels with the easy, group-friendly aspects of an Airbnb stay. Now with three properties in Austin, Dallas, and Nashville, each home merges the designer’s fashionable, eclectic aesthetic with the personality of its city.
Crawford outfits the rooms with wares picked up from her own travels, like flatweave rugs from Marrakech, as well as pieces from local female artists. “I want everything to feel personal,” she says. For guests looking to score some of Crawford’s style, there’s the recently launched Hotelette Shop. “We spent over a year curating this collection of décor, art, and accessories that guests interact with in Hotelette. Everything has been tested by my team and either found on one of my trips or created by a female artisan.”
When Brian Carrico and Chris Herndon launched the Guild in 2016, they “wanted to create a new hotel model, one that is built around the guest, where they get to control the entire experience and personalize it to exactly what they want and need for their stay,” says Carrico. Now with 12 properties across Austin, Dallas, Miami, and Cincinnati, the Guild operates as a boutique hotel within luxury residential buildings. Carrico and Herndon lease out multiple floors within the buildings and turn them into blocks of studio, one-, and two-bedroom suites. Every unit, individually designed to pay homage to its city, boasts a full kitchen, in-room washer and dryer, high-speed internet, and smart TVs. Guests have access to the buildings’ amenities, while onsite staff and a digital concierge offer 24/7 assistance.
Designed by Austin-based architect Michael Hsu, the most recent Guild property in Miami features bold tropical patterns, minimalist modern lighting, and splashes of color. “It playfully layers Miami’s colors and charms with the comforts of home,” says Hsu, “with furniture, books, and accessories that reflect the city’s vitality to create a unique experience for visitors.”
Hospitality company Method Co. founded Roost to provide stylish, extended stay accommodations in its native Philadelphia. “Transitions and stays away from home can be difficult,” says Method Co. CEO and cofounder Randall Cook. “The goal at Roost is to make our customers’ lives easier during this period perspectives trends with warm and attentive service and a wellappointed apartment. It puts the people who stay with us in more of a local versus tourist mindset.”
The recently opened Roost East Market marks the brand’s third outpost in Philadelphia, with Washington, DC and Charleston, South Carolina locations in the works for later this year. Overlooking Reading Terminal Market, the new-build property houses 60 fully furnished apartments and amenities like a community vegetable garden, lap pool, fitness center, screening room, library, and demo kitchen. New York-based Morris Adjmi Architects oversaw the design, giving the studio, one-, and two-bedroom apartments a warm and collected feel. “We made a conscious decision to blur the boundary between hospitality and residential design,” says Chris Taylor, creative director of interiors at the firm, who layered an inviting mix of custom and vintage pieces like antique Persian rugs, walnut furniture, and saddle leather accents—all of which lend a “personal, lived-in sensibility to all elements in the place.”
Europe-bound travelers seeking apartment rentals without the fuss of dealing with a homeowner (or their belongings) have 550 options in 11 cities thanks to French-Israeli startup Sweet Inn. Founded in 2014, the company likens itself to a “hotel spread across the city,” says CEO Javier Cedillo Espin. Each destination has a street-level central lobby, at which guests can store luggage or use the lounge and business center, while a handpicked selection of newly renovated and designed apartments—which come with concierge services—are scattered across desirable neighborhoods.
The oldest of the bunch (founded in 2011), StayAlfred has hosted more than 800,000 guests in its apartments found in 33 domestic cities, including Chicago, Baltimore, and Portland. Stay Alfred has nearly 2,000 travel apartments across 28 markets. It takes over entire floors of existing apartment buildings and entire buildings in cities and then rents them out on a short-term basis to travelers.
Guests are separated from the day-to-day residents a bit, but still get access to the pool, gym, and other apartment amenities if available. The company handles the furnishing, cleaning, booking, and customer service for each rental. Customers are primarily leisure travelers or people who want a hotel experience with the flexibility of a furnished apartment. The rental company also prioritizes walkability when choosing apartments to make sure coffee shops or must-see spots are within a mile radius of the stay. Thanks to the StayAlfred app, 24/7 customer service exists at all stays. Each rental comes with a washer/dryer in unit (with laundry detergent), a large kitchen, free Wi-Fi, toiletries, a hair dryer, and other hotel-style amenities.
“We recognized that most options in our industry lacked the consistency that travelers still seek, even as those travelers pursue alternatives to the bland shoeboxes of the traditional hotel offering,” Stay Alfred CEO Jordan Allen said in a statement. “We’ve focused on developing the infrastructure and expertise to deliver not only a consistent, high-end experience for our guests, but for our developer partners as well.”
“If you’re here, it means that you want more from the places you stay,” the company’s website reads. “You’re no longer satisfied with that cramped hotel or the packed full of other people’s stuff stuffiness of a typical vacation rental. You want to live like a local… without the local (sorry Airbnb).”
Valley Rock Inn & Mountain Club
When 1stdibs founder Michael Bruno stepped away from the antiques site in 2015, few thought his next move in the design world would occur in the sleepy town of Sloatsburg, New York. But the serial entrepreneur and style guru saw potential to revive the community, purchasing 25 buildings in the village—including the former post office, hardware store, and firehouse—that now make up the Valley Rock Inn & Mountain Club, a multi-acre resort with a gym, organic food market, and bike shop (a restaurant, art gallery, book store, and screening room are slated to arrive later this year).
The four standalone Waldron Houses provide guests the opportunity to play house in the country. Bruno recruited New York designer Lisa Bowles of Roark Modern to bring the 19th-century properties, which together have 17 bedrooms, to life. “Michael wanted to do something that would be very universal, familiar, and comfort driven,” says Bowles, who specializes in mid-century antiques. The homes are filled with treasures from Bowles’ and Bruno’s personal collections, along with artwork and vintage finds from Chairish and, of course, 1stdibs.
Bode is the most hotel-like space of the bunch, because it takes over entire buildings in each location. Bode, an Orange County, California-based brand, recently launched by Bates and his brother, David. Bode’s first property, which opened last fall in Nashville, is a conversion of a mid-1980s-era condo building that resulted in 100 guestrooms. Led by local firm Dryden Architecture and Design, it features black gunmetal countertops, leather strap cabinet handles, and shiplapped industrial shelving.
For its second venue in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the brand has opted for a more character-filled historic building from 1916. Nashville and Montgomery, Alabama firm Pfeffer Torode Architecture went for a “raw feel, with the polished concrete and exposed brick of a New York loft,” says Bates. In contrast, a new build in Palm Springs, California set to open next year, with interiors by locally based o2 Architecture, will offer a contemporary desert mélange of woven baskets, white walls, and agave plantings.
The rooms are spacious, regardless of whether it's a studio in Chattanooga or a 2,200-square-foot, five-bedroom apartment in Nashville. They all come with a chef’s kitchen stocked with pretty much every pot, pan, or utensil you might need for big dinners, and the bathrooms are stocked with shampoo, conditioner, and body wash, as expected at a hotel. Housekeeping is available via text, but the real perks are the hotel amenities that people most miss when staying at an Airbnb—in-person check-in if you want it, a cafe for coffee and mid-day snacks, a market for picking up the forgotten items, and a bar should guests want to hang out outside of their unit. And yes, there are always employees around to answer questions. Beyond those formal spaces, there are plenty of gathering spots—like fire pits and ping pong tables—to entertain your whole crew.
“Travelers who vacation together with family, friends, or colleagues are looking for the authenticity and hominess of residential accommodations—but they require the safety, consistency, and prime location of traditional hotels,” says Philip Bates. “It’s time for the two to merge.”
Homes & Villas by Marriott
Marriott International has launched a new entry into the home rental space, providing travelers access to 2,000 curated premium and luxury homes located in over 100 destinations throughout the United States, Europe, the Caribbean and Latin America. This new offering, backed by the trusted reputation of the Marriott brand, delivers travelers the space and amenities of a home, all while connecting seamlessly to the travel program Marriott Bonvoy.
“The launch of Homes & Villas by Marriott International reflects our ongoing commitment to innovation as consumer travel needs evolve,” said Stephanie Linnartz, Global Chief Commercial Officer, Marriott International. “What started out as a pilot a year ago is now a global offering, providing our guests with the space and amenities of a home backed by a trusted travel company, and the very best in loyalty benefits.” During the pilot, the average guest stay was more than triple the typical hotel stay. Marriott’s commitment to providing travelers with unique and different accommodations including spacious homes with one or more bedrooms, large kitchens, in-unit laundry and more, played an important role in guiding the selection of luxury and premium homes, as well as the key leisure markets available at launch that complement the core offerings of Marriott’s hotel portfolio.
The introduction of Homes & Villas by Marriott International adds nearly 40 new leisure destinations for Marriott Bonvoy members to earn and redeem points, including Sorrento, Italy and the Amalfi Coast, Italy; North Lake Tahoe, California; and St. Barts in the Caribbean. This curated selection of homes aims to connect travelers to thousands of rental properties around the world and sets the stage for guests’ most treasured travel moments - home-cooked dinners with extended family, lawn games in the backyard or celebrating a milestone birthday with family and friends.
A four-bedroom cottage on six private acres of California wine country
A six bedroom villa in Sorrento, Italy with an infinity pool overlooking the Mediterranean Sea and a wood-fire pizza oven
An oceanfront villa in Anguilla with private beach and a personal butler and house staff
A 18th century Irish Castle that sleeps 17 and features a private lake for boating and fishing
A six-bedroom townhouse in London with a children’s playroom and climbing wall
Over time, Marriott expects to introduce Homes & Villas by Marriott International in additional markets as well as increase the number of homes offered in these launch destinations. “Our approach to home rentals allows us to curate an incredible collection of homes that deliver an elevated travel experience,” said Jennifer Hsieh, Vice President, Homes & Villas by Marriott International. “By working with a select group of professional management companies that understand and operate in this dynamic landscape, we are able to focus on what we do best – selecting a breadth of homes in inspiring destinations, setting standards for responsive service and designing a seamless booking experience that helps our guests navigate an increasingly complex and uncertain set of home rental choices.”