a room with a couch and chairs

People love Airbnb for three main things.

  1. Price. 
  2. Location.
  3. Extra bedrooms.

Hotels corral travelers into touristy neighborhoods and impose strict rules on guests, such as two per room maximums, forcing you to pay for a second room if traveling as a family, or cough up for a big suite. Not fun. At the same time, hotels offer some creature comforts which Airbnb style apt offerings simply do not, such as water bottles in rooms, *generally* dependable wifi service and conveniences like restaurants and room service. Hey, you’re traveling it’s ok to be pampered and it’s not wrong to want the traditional hotel indulgence. But in the end, you’re forced to pick: hotel pampering, or price? It turns out – a third choice, Sweet Inn, may be the very wisest of all. Meet the best of Airbnb crossed with the comforts of hotel stays…

a living room with a couch and a tableLast week, I spent the American tradition of Thanksgiving with my family in Paris, France. With holidays in full swing, hotel rooms were not cheap, and needing at least two rooms wasn’t helping either. I chose instead to sample a new(ish) accommodation service, known as Sweet Inn, which was founded in 2014. It’s an apartment rental service, much like your Airbnb offering, but it’s got some seriously fun quirks…

  • Every apartment is vetted, curated and maintained.
  • You can book a private chef to cook for you in house.
  • All stays get hotel quality linens, bed sheets, towels.
  • Branded water bottles are everywhere, and complimentary.
  • There’s a local concierge, and a “city lobby” to drop bags.
  • In person check in, with a knowledgeable local.

Now, about the cost. It’s actually not unreasonable at all. We enjoyed a ridiculously large three bedroom apartment in the beautiful neighborhood of Montmartre, complete with sauna, living room, kitchen and screening area that goes for €300 a night. Most hotels in the city were running at least €220 per night, per room and quite frankly, as much as I love my sister – I wasn’t looking forward to sharing a room with her. For €300 per night, Sweet Inn offered a splendid solution, with a beautiful apartment featuring enough bedrooms for all to enjoy, in a neighborhood where you just don’t find hotels. The company offers everything from studios to multi bedroom digs, and naturally smaller places start for much less. The “city lobby” is a brilliant concept as well, which allows travelers to drop their bags and relax before or after check in/check out.

a room with a couch and chairsI’ve long loved Airbnb, but this was simply another level of enjoyment, without a different level of cost. I find simple travel joys like ample water bottles to be priceless, and they were everywhere. There’s usually an inherent “awkward” feeling to an Airbnb, where you’re unsure if you should use the towels, but having hotel quality fresh bedsheets and linens made even my parents feel right at home. It’s a generational thing perhaps, but they were quite skeptical!

Sweet Inn is currently found in: Barcelona, Brussels, Dublin, Jerusalem, Lisbon, London, Madrid, Milan, Paris, Rome, Seville and Tel Aviv, with more on the horizon. In Paris, there appear to be roughly 100 apartments, with between 30-40 in most other cities. All I can say is that I will now go out of my way to book a Sweet Inn property in these cities. The value for money is just that good. I felt like a hotel guest, but I also felt like a local. It’s the best of both worlds.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. Another must-have is a washing machine! It’s super convenient for those who pack light. Also, air conditioning in Europe would be nice.

  2. Any suggestions for a response to Airbnb and companies like this that often displace residents? While I’m fairly neutral on the subject myself, my better half has some strong feelings on the matter, and any points that speak in favor of these type of lodgings besides more space and a kitchen and perhaps a washing machine might provide us with some more options on future travels.

  3. Just had a look through the listings for Rome and Milan and they look fantastic, what excellent alternatives to hotels, which we aren’t great fans of for exactly those reasons you note! What would be fab would be some in the Scandinavian countries for my bucket list trip to go aurora hunting!! Fingers crossed 🤞

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