It began with a couple of air mattresses and is now a global phenomenon.
Airbnb started with a few roommates renting out some floor space to desperate travellers and has since steadily grown to be the travel behemoth that has shaken up the accommodation market on a grand scale.
It offers everything from a spare room to luxury mansions, and with about 660,000 listings in the US – the highest of any countries in the world – there’s plenty to choose from.
Here some we love:
Mesa Studio Earthship in El Prado, New Mexico
Go off the grid, but not back to basics, in this recycled home. It’s part of a larger community covering 250ha of ‘earthship’ properties, which incorporate recycled building materials including tyres, cans and bottles, uses thermal mass for heating and cooling, and solar power for electricity.
The house took the host eight years to build and has stunning views of the surrounding mesa and mountains. Coyote sightings come free.
Kahieluana, Waimea, Hawaii
Listed by Conde Nast Traveler as one of the best Airbnbs in the world, this architectural stunner comes with plenty to keep all tastes entertained.
It’s been designed with a nod to Hawaii’s grand lodge style of timber and open-air spaces while offering the best of modern conveniences. Included in the estate are a heated swimming pool, tennis court, volleyball court, outdoor baths, bikes and stand-up paddleboards.
It is currently advertised at an eye-watering $10,000-plus a night, but that does cover 14 guests.
Big Idaho Potato Hotel, Idaho
Left Australia and missing your ‘big’ tourist attractions?
Don’t be homesick, stay at the Big Idaho Potato Hotel. This spud-tacular giant potato was originally a prop on the Potato Commission’s Big Idaho Potato Tour that began in 2012 and travelled across the US for eight years.
It has since been lined and kitted out as a comfy one-bedroom cabin. Complete the experience with a silo-turned-spa next door.
Meadowlark Treehouse, Montana
Meadowlark is a kid’s dream treehouse on a grand scale.
The house was built around a giant Douglas fir using local and recycled materials to give it an authentic Montana rustic feel.
It has oversized windows and balconies to capture the views, every mod con and, sensibly, a no-smoking policy. It’s also ideally located to the nearby ski resorts, forests, and national parks.
Tiki Suite, Florida
Like a furry little houseboat, this suite was designed to be a glamping experience on water. The vaulted roofline helps keep the interior cool in the Florida climate and adds a sense of space indoors.
Relax on the comfortable king-size bed and enjoy the view through the three French doors that open right onto the ocean. You can occasionally see dolphins, manatees, stingrays, conch, starfish plus many other small fish that enjoy the shade beneath the tiki.
Be prepared though, there are no cooking facilities, so stock up on the right kind of food before you arrive.
Minimalists, and probably exhibitionists, will love this cabin. With screened walls and transparent roofing, the separation between indoors and outdoors is razor thin. Add to the outdoor experience with an al fresco hot tub and kitchen.
It’s an Instagram favourite but probably not for the faint-hearted. Along with the strictly no privacy design, it comes with warnings about the weather, the wildlife – apparently you need to be ‘bear aware’– and there is no wifi.
Underground Hygge, Washington
Lovers of Lord of the Rings rejoice! You can now experience life as a hobbit in the US as well as New Zealand.
Tucked neatly into the Columbia River Gorge mountainside, this charming property takes its cues from the famous books and movies with round doors, cosy spaces and an indoor fire.
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