When Airbnb first launched, it was an affordable alternative to hotels. Now, it's even more expensive — at least, that's the case for Airbnb Luxe, the company's new vacation rental service that caters to the one-percent.
Included in its initial offerings is 2,000 properties culled from Luxury Retreats, a different vacation rental company that Airbnb purchased in 2017. One of those happens to be an actual island in French Polynesia that you can rent for $1 million a week. As steep as that price tag is, the Nukutepipi island accommodates 52 people among 21 bedrooms and 25 bathrooms so you can bring your whole social network there. The other listings, meanwhile, are relatively a bargain at $1,500 to $2,000 a night. Of course, that's still an incredible leap from Airbnb's recently launched Plus tier, which begins at $150 per night.
"With Airbnb Luxe we are applying the same approach we've used since we launched Airbnb more than 11 years ago -- creating local, authentic and magical travel moments now in amazing places to stay — to reimagine the way people think and experience luxury travel," Airbnb co-founder Brian Chesky said of the new offering in a statement.
Airbnb Luxe isn't just about dwellings; it's also about your entire journey as the program comes with access to a "dedicated trip designer" "who’s there to craft your five-star stay, even down to securing a table at a Michelin-starred restaurant," according to the website. These "designers" handle everything from your transportation to and from the properties, which can be tailored to include "private airport pick-up, an in-person welcome, and a home stocked with your must-haves," to services, "from personal chefs to massage therapists," as well as "childcare, to private chefs to personal training sessions in your own private gym."
As for the homes, they will adhere to “elevated design standards,” like “premium materials & finishes and rare & unique features” and “chef-grade appliances.”
Which is all to say that Airbnb Luxe is trying to offer a five-star hotel experience — but without the annoyance of having to share it with hundreds of other guests.