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‘Airbnb Luxe’ connects wealthy travelers to extraordinary properties



Airbnb just launched a new service called Airbnb Luxe that’s offering a week on a French Polynesian “private atoll,” complete with a 21-bedroom mansion and 50 staff, for $1 million. 

Not only will Airbnb rent you an extraordinarily fancy property, it’ll also set you up with a “dedicated trip designer” who will coordinate everything, including excursions and activities, to really help you pick up on the authentic local flavor. 

Basically, Airbnb is bringing back travel agents for people who can afford to drop stacks of cash to stay in a French castle. It somewhat oxymoronically describes the service as “a new luxury experience that makes personal and bespoke travel more accessible to everyone.” Everyone, who?

You don't have to worry about crowded beaches on your own private island.

You don’t have to worry about crowded beaches on your own private island.

Airbnb Luxe will launch with over 2,000 properties, which it boasts have been hand selected and inspected for quality. It says the new tier was made possible by its 2017 acquisition of the company Luxury Retreats. It also said it pursued the new business model because rentals of $1,000/night properties on Airbnb increased by more than 60 percent in 2018. 

Airbnb Luxe will be the tier above Airbnb Plus, a service the company launched in 2018 that quality assures fancy homes in cities all over the world. The difference is those are still homes — Airbnb Luxe is, like, private islands.

In the market for a private castle?

In the market for a private castle?

This is obviously a niche service that seems really freaking cool if you can afford it. But that’s the point: increasingly, most people can’t. 

Airbnb has a problematic legacy of causing increased rents for everyday people as more affordable properties get turned into short term vacation rentals. This is a cycle that contributes to the growing wealth gap as people allocate more of their paychecks to paying rent, while property developers rake in the dough. 

Should Airbnb really be focusing on catering to the needs of the wealthy when its base business model is reportedly hurting the communities it relies upon? 

But hey, at least it’s easier to rent castles now.

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