A Different Type of Hotel Stay

June 20, 2012

I spent most of yesterday sitting on a patio and talking about my travels. The friend who I was talking to mentioned that instead of  the normal hostel/hotel options, she normally looks at staying in people’s houses when she travels abroad. The idea sounded fantastic mostly because when you travel as much as I do for work, hotels get really boring, and you start to feel lonely and isolated. So I spent the night looking at different options for lodging for my upcoming trips.  Keep in mind that these trips are not for work, but for fun. The one that I am really looking forward to is for BlogHer12 in NYC.

Having been to New York many many times over the last few years (both work and play), I can tell you first hand how insanely expensive hotels get downtown. And with BlogHer12 being downtown this year, the hotel prices had me a bit worried so being the good (sometimes lazy) PF blogger that I am, I decided to look for different options out there.



There are tons of options out there such as Airbnb and VRBO, etc. I wanted to focus on New york.  Living in New York has always been a fantasy of mine (its #19 on my bucket list) and I wanted something a little different than flying to a fun city and staying in a fancy hotel. I am going with 2 friends and we wanted to local experience, and not so much the touristy  as one for my friends has never visited.

There is a new type of hotel stay starting in London and New York, but spreading everywhere, and it’s called the unhotel.  The idea of the unhotel is that you can stay in someone else’s home while they’re out of town.  It’s an idea being championed by onefinestay, a company that was founded on the principal of living like a local.  While this sounds similar to AirBnb, there is a key difference. These homes are upscale places located in the heart of both cities. I am looking at booking a place for my upcoming trip to New York for BlogHer12. I also sent the link to friends travelling to London for the Olympics.

Is It For You?

Onefinestay gives you the chance to stay in someone else’s place while they’re out of town.  You get all the advantages of a hotel – like toiletries and comfort, as well as personalized service if you want it.  But you avoid the downsides of a hotel stay as well, like being bothered by housekeeping and feeling like, no matter where you go, every hotel is basically the same.

A really fun thing is that every home you stay in is truly personalized.  Each stay, there will be recommendations waiting for you from the people who live there – like where to eat, things to do, and places to be.  That way, you feel more like a local and less like a tourist.

Still want to be pampered?  Every guest receives an iPhone for calls and getting guest services.  Using your phone, you can request a maid, a florist, or even a private chef to suite your desires!


 What About Hosting Your Home?

But the concept isn’t just for those looking to travel.  You can offer your home up for short stay accommodations as well.  Onefinestay will handle all the details, such as insurance, marketing, and even cleaning your home.  They will also look after your home when you’re not there to make sure it stays safe and sound.

The perk, you can get an income that is comparable to renting out your home full time, while letting it be rented on a schedule that suites your individual needs.  That way you can balance your personal needs with a little extra income on the side!

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  • Daisy @ Add Vodka June 20, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    Wow, that’s pretty cool. I like hotels, because I don’t have to be scared that I’ll break anything and I really don’t feel comfortable staying in somebody’s house, but I can see where the desire to get out of hotels comes from

    • Marissa June 20, 2012 at 4:31 pm

      These apartments look AMAZING!

  • Kurt @ Money Counselor June 20, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    We’ve got a self-contained apartment in the lower level of our home that we rent for periods of one week to two months. We’ve been doing this about 2-1/2 years now, and so far it’s working great. We meet some cool people, and the extra cash is of course welcome. That said, I’m always happy when tenants vacate and we get our house back to ourselves. 🙂

    • Marissa June 20, 2012 at 4:30 pm

      Is it in NYC? If so I might rent it.

  • Modest Money June 20, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    That’s a pretty cool concept and is bound to provide a better experience than staying in a hotel. How does the price compare? If these are upscale homes, I’d think the price may even be more. It would be pretty sweet to get some short term rent money while you are away too.

    • Marissa June 20, 2012 at 4:30 pm

      Upscale homes are a bit more, but I found a ton that was in the same price range as that hotels that I was looking at.

  • Thrifty Writer June 20, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    If you’re looking to pay the same price as a hotel, but have more of a “home” experience, I can totally see why this site/concept would appeal. I know I could never afford $800 per night (or 500 pounds) so I think I’d stick with Airbnb. It might not be as upscale, but you can stay at some really nice places with really nice people for a much lower rate.

    • Marissa June 20, 2012 at 7:48 pm

      I found some that were in the $250-$350 range which is the cost of the hotels so this is a win for me. Plus I can pretend that I live in NYC.

  • Shannyn @frugalbeautiful.com June 20, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    I really wanted to go to BlogHer this year in NYC! Seeing this makes me want to go to Las Vegas again though- the roller coaster at New York New York is awesome!

    • Marissa June 20, 2012 at 7:49 pm

      I had an extra ticket, too! 🙁

  • Andy Hough June 20, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    That sounds like a pretty cool idea. I actually like hotels though so I would probably never use the service.

    • Marissa June 20, 2012 at 7:50 pm

      My brother is like that too. He like the little bottles of things in hotels.

  • From Shopping to Saving June 20, 2012 at 10:05 pm

    That sounds really interesting. Way better alternative than couch surfing or staying in someone’s home when they are there. Kind of reminds me of vacation rentals I saw when I was planning our trip this summer. The only downside was that we needed to stay there for a minimum of 1 week. Are there any limits on how long or short you have to stay? I’m intrigued! I’m not a fan of hotels, unless they are 5-star…and I don’t have the money for that.

    • Marissa June 21, 2012 at 3:46 am

      I don’t think there is a limit. I think they are only in NYC and London right now.

  • Country Girl June 20, 2012 at 11:54 pm

    I love this idea. Hotels are fine, but I’ve always found it’s much nicer to stay in a B&B – so this sounds like it would be right up my alley. Of course, only if the price is right though 😉

    • Marissa June 21, 2012 at 3:45 am

      Some of the prices are almost the exact as what hotels downtown cost!

  • Jacob @ iHeartBudgets June 21, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    This is pretty sweet. I like all the services included as well. I’d be a little wary on letting others stay at my place, though. It’s a little weird to have people that have not signed a rental agreement or had a background check staying at my place for only a few days. It’s hard enough to get renter’s to care, how do you make some who’s only staying a week care enough to NOT jack up the place?

  • Michelle June 21, 2012 at 11:29 pm

    Although I think it’s one of the coolest ideas I’ve ever heard, I gotta say that I wouldn’t be comfortable with either letting someone in my house OR staying at someone else’s. I’m so private and couldn’t make myself comfortable in someone else’s bed. Again….I think it’s a cool idea…just not for me! =D

  • Crystal June 22, 2012 at 4:28 am

    I love to stay in b&bs as well so I think I am actually going to look into this. I hope it catches on and spreads to other cities as well. Thanks for sharing this. How cool would that be to live in someone’s house like that??? I will never afford an upscale house So it would be so nice to pretend for a week or two!

  • londontravel October 17, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    These guys at onefinestay really are playing with fire.

    It is amazing that their ‘investors’ have not ‘investigated’ the legalities or better illegal basis of this business. Most in the know are well aware that these lets / rentals are classified as Illegal. In both London and New York – onefinestay’s chosen destinations – private rentals from 1 night to 90 nights are 100% unquestionably purely illegal; without a special Certificate of Use and without a Hotel Licence, as required by Law – onefinestay are not only listing these unlicensed apartments but are also adding on their own ‘services’ which multiplies the illegality of the entire enterprise.

    Hotels of all kinds in London and New York must pay very substantial fees and taxes in order to provide accommodation and accommodation services and they have to have specified certificates in place to meet various fire, health and safety and consumer regulations.

    There are fully licenced and regulated Apart-Hotels in both London and New York. Perhaps onefinestay should take these funds being publicized about and purchase licensed hotels and offer a legal enterprise instead…

    As soon as onefinestay’s claims become a reality (if it actually does) the hoteliers and legal and licenced apart-hotel operators will start complaining vigorously and companies such as onefinestay will literally cease to exist. Onefinestay is presently and temporarily ‘fortunate’ as the councils and state departments in London and New York do not presently have the funds available to conduct major crackdowns on illegal rentals, but when they do (as anticipated) billions will be at stake and that will most certainly be something to write about.

  • Kyle November 5, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    I did Airbnb in Denmark over the summer and it was awesome. It was the same price as the lower-end hotels but it was obviously much better-furnished. Also, staying in an apartment with a full kitchen encourages you to cook more.