Travel used to be about getting the most luxurious place for the lowest price. We'd spend hours trawling comparison websites for the cheapest flight, the cheapest vehicle rental, the cheapest hotel room. Some of us could literally lose our minds freaking out over the endless notifications – "we found you another room that's $12 cheaper! Book now!" Airbnb started out with two broke guys who had an idea for couch-surfing with a bit more connection. Now that the company is turning $2.6 billion in annual sales, Airbnb is way more than a tool for finding a dingy studio.
Even the rich are ditching their five-star hotels for luxury Airbnb alternatives. There's way more, though. Travel is becoming an experience, above all else. From secluded fairytale tree houses to retro-themed basements, there's something for everyone. Amazingly, some of the most wished-for Airbnbs in America come with a vaguely affordable price tag. Want a private island in Connecticut that can sleep over 30? It's available. When Prince Harry took his then-fiancée, Meghan Markle to a secluded cottage in Scandinavia, he booked it through Airbnb. Beyonce has been renting through the site for years. Whether it's romantic hideaways, beachfront villas, or themed wonders, the Airbnbs are outdoing the hotels like nobody's business. Here are 25 American Airbnbs that are way better than any fancy hotel.
25 THE SECLUDED ATLANTA TREEHOUSE TOPPING WISH LISTS
This is the most wished-for property on Airbnb. Not a castle, not a mansion– just a humble (but very magical) treehouse. This urban Atlanta retreat offers three suites separated by quirky wooden bridges. Hidden among trees, it has peaceful lounging zones with antique furnishings, vintage decor, and a deck with wraparound walkways. Twinkling fairy lights make this place a literal fairytale, plus the trees are over 150 years old. It doesn't come for free, but at $383 a night for all three bedrooms, it's way cheaper than a fancy, five-star hotel.
24 THE ONE BEYONCE AND JUSTIN BIEBER STAY IN
At $10,000 a night, this San Francisco Airbnb doesn't come cheap, but it's way more personal than a hotel. Beyonce stayed here for the Super Bowl, and TMZ reported that Justin Bieber did the same. Infinity pools with panoramic ocean views are multi-tiered around garden sculptures, and the mood-lit fire pits around the pool are super relaxing.
Infinity pools, deep-soaking tubs, floor-to-ceiling windows, and a $10,000 price tag. This pad is pricey, but it's perfect.
The $50 million property has five bedrooms, eight bathrooms, contemporary fixtures, and lots of neutral palettes. When Beyonce stayed here, she shared a pic of herself by the lush pool.
23 THIS NEW MEXICO EARTHSHIP POWERS ITSELF
A little unusual, definitely eye-catching, and 100% self-powering, this New Mexico Airbnb is big news. The "Brand New Studio Earthship" is listed for $99 a night, according to BizJournals. "Off the grid" in Taos, New Mexico, guests come here for a disconnected feel that's visually appealing and planet-friendly. The house catches its own rain water and generates its own electricity. It even stays at a steady 72 degrees. It sleeps four and the reviews say it's super clean. Up for it?
22 THE DISNEY-THEMED HOME IN ORLANDO
Chances are, if you're going to Orlando, FL, you're a giant Disney fan. Forget the hotels lining the world famous Disneyland parks. You need to stay in a Disney-themed home. This quirky themed Airbnb sleeps eight, and it's around $160 a night.
This Disney-themed home offers popcorn in a turn-of-the-century movie theater and a Cinderella Suite. All for around $160 a night.
There's a "haunted" suite, a Wonderland suite, plus a pool with peaceful water views. Guests also get a 2-car garage, basketball access, and a full kitchen. If you're a parent, prepare for your kids to go crazy if they see this. Plus, it's just four miles from Disneyland.
21 NYC'S PALACE IN THE SKY
Panoramic New York City views literally don't get better than this. Even the fanciest hotels in NYC are a stuffy affair with tiny rooms and seriously steep prices. Embracing urban chic with floor-to-ceiling windows and bleached woods, this Williamsburg pad is the ultimate squad haunt. It's a culture and interior design lover's dream. Of course, you aren't in an NYC pad without a grand piano. This loft is getting a lot of love on Airbnb. Prices start at $295 a night. Not bad for NYC.
20 THE FAIRYTALE GINGERBREAD HOUSE IN CALIFORNIA
This Airbnb is just too cute for words. Channel your inner Lord of The Rings for less than $100 a night in this Geyserville, CA home that's all about the gingerbread. It's listed as a "Hobbit Hut", plus the quaint rooms are lit with LED lights. Earthen trees wrap the hut, and it's super cozy.
For less than $100 a night, you can stay in this tree-wrapped gingerbread house. It's a "must" for Lord of The Rings fans.
Expect picnic tables, a wood-fired pizza oven, plus nearby pool, sauna, and hot tub access. There's even a bus stop right outside. To top it off, it's in Sonoma County, so it's really beautiful.
19 DRAKE STAYED HERE FOR FREE DURING COACHELLA
"Not bad for a weekend getaway." That's how BusinessInsider titled their feature of this $10,000-a-night Grande Bellezza Airbnb. Within a few hours drive from Indio, CA (where Coachella is held), this luxe mansion was rented out to Drake free of charge. Drake took to Instagram to thank Airbnb for hosting him – with Italian marble, 7.5 bedrooms, a private movie theater, and a custom grotto, there was a lot to thank for. It also comes with a sauna, fountain-flanked pools, and a wine cellar.
18 THE "MANCAVE" APARTMENT IN FLORIDA
Travellers are going nuts for this retro "ManCave" apartment in Geneva, FL. It's part of an active airplane hanger on a private airstrip, so expect a ton of quirky touches. Bold colors, unique artifacts, and a wood-burning fireplace make this super-chill barn a bachelor party hotspot. It's just as comfortable for families, though. It sleeps three with a loft bedroom. Expect lots of varnished or blanched woods, laminate floors, loud yellows, and cozy leathers. The price tag? Less than $90 a night.
17 OFF THE GRID AND 40 FEET UP IN OREGON
It isn't a retreat unless you're 40 feet up in the air. Surrounded by the Umpqua National Forest in Tiller, Oregon, this watchtower sits on 160 acres of private land for absolute peace and quiet. It's a nature lover's heaven, complete with a vegetable garden, hammock tree, spring-fed hot tub, and an oh-so-cozy wood paneled kitchen. It's four flights of steps up to the home, but travellers are digging the secluded quirk and magical charm of this place. It's fully booked through 2019, but the hosts get 5 stars. Prices start at $179 a night.
16 THE DOG BARK PARK IN IDAHO
Calling all dog lovers. For around $120 a night, you can rent out this entire bed and breakfast in Cottonwood, Idaho. This is easily one of the most unique Airbnbs in the world, and you only have to look at it to see why. Entirely dog themed from the inside out, this two-bedroom house is beagle-shaped with a ton of dog-themed books.
Dog breakfasts are free in the beagle-shaped Dog Park Barn in Idaho. It's yours for $120 a night.
Nestled in rural Idaho near lakes, you're right next to the Dog Bark Park visitor center and art studio, where the owners churn out canine carvings.
15 $10,000 A NIGHT FOR ARIANA GRANDE'S COLORADO PAD
When you've got a celeb budget, you can afford all the trimmings. Ariana Grande shared the cutest snap of herself when she stayed at this mountain Colorado retreat. "Thank you @airbnb for the best trip ever," she captioned her pic. For $10,500 per night, this rustic-chic mansion comes with wrought iron bedposts, an indoor pool, rock-enclosed gardens, and a great location near the ski slopes. The Pulitzer Mansion is literally the stuff of dreams (with jetted tubs and a bowling alley) but hey! It's available to those who can afford it.
14 BABBLING BROOKS AND LILY PONDS IN MASSACHUSETTS
Definitely up there on the wish-list front, "Silo Studio" Cottage is a Massachusetts pad with verdant lawns, babbling brooks, and plenty of wood. The two-story cottage has one bedroom with a 35-foot-high conical ceiling and massive mill windows. You can basically gaze out onto lily ponds and sky horizons in absolute silence here. The canopied bed makes it a romantic favorite, and you can really lose yourself wandering stone-bridged swimming ponds. Yours for around $230 a night. Groceries are 2.5 miles away though, so you do need a vehicle.
13 THE PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN GETAWAY
Name one hotel that's got The Pirates of the Caribbean as its theme. This Topanga Canyon retreat near Malibu, CA isn't just unique. It featured in Cody Simpson's "Love" music video. It's earthy, rustic, a little bit scary, but so much fun. There's an indoor house sleeping two, an outdoor pool, plenty of relaxing hammocks, and outdoor picnic spots.
Full-on PoTC, this Malibu retreat works out at $97 per night. Poolside lounging in hammocks with a theme? Hotels don't offer that.
The great thing about these places is that you've got a fully equipped kitchen to use as you like. Plus, you get the pool to yourself.
12 THE VIEW FROM RIHANNA'S HAWAIIAN AIRBNB
Talk about a room with a view. $6000 a night will get you The Paul Mitchell Estate– Rihanna's Airbnb of choice. This Kailu estate overlooks pristine ocean shores in Hawaii, and the interiors are divine. Sleeping 14 in 7 bedrooms, the estate has 8 bathrooms, a guest cabana house, a saltwater pool, plus a Japanese bath house. Rihanna stayed here before the release of her single, "Work." Looking at the view, we're assuming she was looking for the exact opposite to that word. Way better than a hotel. At $6000 for 14 people...kind of cheaper, too.
11 THE TEXAS ADOBE DOME
Texas deserts are all about the true experience. You'll definitely get it at the "Adobe Dome" in Terlingua, TX. The plastered stone exterior really embraces the West Texas location, and there's a Star Wars feel to the layout. Bear in mind you're literally off the grid here, but that's the charm. Lots of window nooks and rustic wood interiors play down the spectacular desert sunrises, but the design is forward-thinking– think solar panels.
Desert star gazing in Texas for $88 a night? This Texas Dome is the ultimate wilderness retreat.
Travellers pick this Airbnb for being under a star ordinance– the desert night sky is second to none here.
10 ZEN IN LAS VEGAS
This Las Vegas property packs in a lot for its $12,000-a-night price tag. FYI, that's what a top-tier suite in a Paris hotel can cost. Here, you get the entire place (although it's more "wish list" material than reality). 14,000 square feet of space includes a two-story foyer, 7 bedrooms, 7 full bathrooms, and a very zen feel to its panelled glass and still pools. Travellers here will be near enough the famous Las Vegas strip, but with the place to yourself, you don't have to deal with the crowds.
9 OLD FASHIONED CHARM IN NEW ORLEANS
Literally fit for a king, this New Orleans mansion is one of Airbnb's most expensive and most luxurious properties. 4000 square feet of space houses this mansion's four private suites, and the decor is exquisite. The suites have poster beds, intricate woodwork, carvings, and all the space in the world. For a real touch of old-fashioned class, there's even a grand foyer with an antique staircase. It's also in New Orleans' buzzing Garden District. At around $9000 a night, it doesn't come cheap, though.
8 THE CABIN UNDER THE CALIFORNIA STARS
Pretty magical, right? Welcome to "The Sound of Silence 1964 Airstream" Airbnb. This series of one cabin listings in Joshua Tree, CA is far enough from Joshua Tree Village to feel secluded but close enough to the real world. There's no air-conditioned hotel lobby, but travellers are choosing sun-bathing patios and all-inclusive breakfasts over old-fashioned mentalities. Totally boho-chic with a retro twist, these decked-out RVs are surrounded by palm trees and sand. Hammocks? Check. Driftwood fixtures? Check. Awesome retro vibes? Check. Gaze at the night sky in comfort from around $130 a night here.
7 THE MARBLED UTAH MANSION FIT FOR A KING
This marbled Utah mansion is one of the most expensive Airbnb listings in the world. At $11,591 per night, its 5.8 acres of woodland is just steps from the Flat Iron ski lift and Quicksilver gondola. Full-on fairytale magic here offers carved limestones, walnut walls, and 16,000 square feet of space. With a grand hall, wall-to-wall marbles, and a sleeping capacity of 21, it's definitely a group deal (if you've got rich friends). Utah natives are probably wishing they grew up here, but it's always up for grabs if you win the lottery.
6 THE UNDERGROUND HYGGE IN WASHINGTON STATE
There's a real hobbit feel to this "Underground Hygge," built into the Columbia River Gorge mountainside in Orondo, WA. Definitely winning points on the quirk front, it's got plenty of rounded doorways, pebble stone, and beautifully polished wood. Instead of a kitchen, guests have access to a hot drink bar with coffee, tea, and hot chocolate.
A cup of hot chocolate while gazing onto rolling orchards? This hobbit-style Airbnb is super popular.
Expect polished chess sets, woodwork benches, and a roaring fire. Prices start at just over $200 a night. It isn't a budget property, but it's got way more charm than a hotel.
5 THE SNOWY RETREAT AARON PAUL STAYS IN
Aaron Paul went from total unknown to A-list celebrity thanks to Breaking Bad – admit it, it's the best show ever. This is the Boise, Idaho Airbnb the actor has stayed in, and it's definitely celeb style. Situated on a forested ranch just minutes from downtown, it's decked out with a geothermal hot spring pool, a state-of-the-art kitchen, and tons of ambient chill spaces.
"Just treat this home like it's your own. Be respectful of our wonderful neighbors and just simply enjoy," Aaron wrote on the Airbnb listing. At $395 per night, Aaron Paul is clearly a down-to-earth guy.
4 THE GEODESIC DOME IN UPSTATE NEW YORK
Upstate New York is so under-appreciated. Travellers make a beeline for The Big Apple, and it's leaving the beautiful Catskills Mountains ignored. This geodesic dome in Woodridge, NY is the state's answer to "glamping." Located on a farm with sheep and rabbits, this 12-acre property is designed for a luxurious take on the great outdoors. It's got some nifty features, like a vintage clothing store, fiber arts workshop, and a recording studio, plus there's yoga on-site. Sleeping 16 under the dome, this Airbnb clocks in at around $358 for the entire place.
3 THE WATERFRONT CASTLE IN MAINE
Name one hotel that offers an entire castle on the waterfront. Entirely surrounded by forests and joined by wooden walkways, the "Dragonwood Castle" in Prospect Harbor, ME sits 100 feet back from the Atlantic Ocean.
100 feet back from the ocean, the "Dragonwood Castle" has loft-style bedrooms, floor-to-ceiling windows, and a 7-guest capacity. All for $266 per night.
Built from local, natural stone and granites, this rustic-chic castle is loved for its sleeping alcoves, open water views, and three-story windows. Ideal for the family, it's got washer/dryers, plus it comes with cribs.
2 THIS TENNESSEE SUNSET FOR LESS THAN $100 A NIGHT
Views of the Smokies and Chilhowee Lake are unparalleled at this humbly-priced Airbnb, which sleeps 10 for $98 a night. It's time to hit up Tallahassee, TN for the "Away From It All In The Smokies" Airbnb. Don't let the wilderness feel fool you. Inside, it's wood-paneling, clean lines, and sensational vistas of the 25 private acres. Guests here can roast S'mores under the stars, sip hot chocolate on the deck, and enjoy total seclusion– the property is 1 mile up a gravel road. Floats for the lake are included, alongside frisbee, AC, and Wi-Fi.
1 KIM AND KANYE'S $30 MILLION NYC AIRBNB
If Kim Kardashian and Kanye West are staying there, you can guarantee it's luxurious. This $30 million Tribeca penthouse in NYC was fancy enough for them (and for Vogue, who covered it). The 7,200 square foot triplex comes with a $10,000 per night price tag and a whole lot of perks. Five bedrooms, six bathrooms, glistening marbles, and panoramic deck views were enough for Kim to call the place a "gift" on her Instagram.
If you thought all Airbnbs are either super expensive or super dingy, you've got 25 reasons to consider Airbnb for your next vacation. Hit share on Facebook for any of your friends who might fancy one of these places. Do it nicely enough, and they might take you along...