It all started with three air mattresses and the promise of a free breakfast in the morning.
In October of 2007, Airbnb founders Joe Gebbia and Brian Chesky put their spare room up for rent simply because they were struggling to make ends meet in their overpriced San Francisco apartment. There was a large conference in town, and they hoped that by charging $80 a night, they could scrounge up some extra cash that month.
Ten years later, there are over three million listings in 191 countries on Airbnb, according to Business Insider. These days, it isn’t just broke young professionals who are hoping to make “a little extra cash” off of their extra space—a few minutes spent browsing Airbnb will reveal that everyone from digital nomads to timeshare owners to celebrities have jumped on the Airbnb bandwagon.
If you’re looking for a truly posh experience or just want the star treatment, you have to check out these celebrity homes listed for rent on Airbnb. After that, we'll give you some tips on how to find your vacation getaway the smartest way.
Located in Palm Springs, this four bedroom getaway is the former home of legendary Hollywood actress Elizabeth Taylor. A walled and gated home, with a pool, waterfall, and views of the mountains, it makes sense why this getaway is going for nearly $700 a night.
Christine, a resident who stayed in in Summer 2016, had nothing but good things to say in the review she posted to Airbnb.
“Check in and check out was simple and easy. Whenever we needed something, the caretaker came right away to help. Beautiful decor and amenities. If I were you, I would call the master bedroom for yourself,” she wrote.
Breakfast in Topanga Canyon
Nestled between the mountains and the ocean in Topanga Canyon, California, one look at the pictures makes it clear why Mickey Rooney chose this home to retreat from the spotlight.
According to the property description, this rental sounds like the best of both worlds—it's surrounded by an orchard and vegetable gardens, and it's situated in the canyons, but it's only a fifteen minute drive from Malibu.
A Rich History
We’re impressed by the rich history of this Malibu vacation rental. According to the owner, this house has been owned by the likes of singers Daryl Dragon and Toni Tennille (known as Captain and Tennille), Denzel Washington, Jimmy Page, and Jan Michael Vincent.
Reading the description, it seems obvious why so many celebrities have called this house their home. Who wouldn’t be attracted to an 180-degree beach view and acres of shoreline?
“We had such a nice stay at JM's home. The view cannot be beat. The location also is very convenient to restaurants, activities and, of course, the beach! The home itself is very peaceful and you feel tucked away into the hills,” wrote Molly in her August 2017 review of the rental.
Vacation Like A Princess
Originally built for famed choreographer Eugene Loring, this home is also believed to have belonged to Julie Andrews. Year round, this space houses artists who are chosen for a residency facilitated by FieldWorks Gallery. When it’s not being used to house starving artists, The Rubber House rents on Airbnb for $500 a night.
The house is located in rural New York, but it is a short drive to New York City. It is outfitted with a dance studio that doubles as a bedroom, enough room to sleep six, and an industrial kitchen.
A Equestrian Retreat
This single rentable room is in a home built in Rancho Equestrian, a part of Burbank, California, that is specifically for horse owners. In the 1940s, this rental was home to Hollywood actress Ava Gardner and her second husband Artie Shaw. Gardner was known for her roles in The Killers, Barefoot Contessa and On the Beach.
The guest room in the beautiful home rents for $85 a night. Every guest receives complimentary breakfast, access to stables with an advance request, and the chance to say they vacationed like a movie star.
Castles Made of Sand
This adorable, palm tree-surrounded studio home, located 10 minutes from the beach in Makawao, Hawaii, looks like a dream come true.
During the production of the 1972 film Rainbow Bridge, Jimi Hendrix called this cottage his home away from home. Of course, it has been remodeled since the 1970s, but it still looks like a retreat fitted for a celebrity.
A Hilariously Good Time
In an eccentric little cottage with exposed rafters and vintage decor is a cozy loft that can sleep up to three guests. The loft is a part of a home built in central Los Angeles in the 1920s by Charlie Chaplin for his crew. Since it was first built, it has also housed Marilyn Monroe, Patrick Dempsey and Rudolph Valentino for short periods of time, according to the property owner.
According to the guest reviews, it is just as charming as it appears in the photos.
“Beautiful space, thoughtfully decorated and just a real 'pure' feel to the entire experience...I know 'charming' is a word thrown around often on Airbnb, but that's exactly the way this place should be described,” shares Jimmy in his 2014 review.
Tips For A Celebrity Level Getaway
Of course, not all of us can afford the high prices of a celebrity-owned Airbnb, but that doesn’t mean a celebrity-level getaway is out of the picture. Here's some advice from seasoned travelers to make sure you're taking advantage of everything the site has to offer.
How to get the most bang for your buck.
Although celebrity rentals are typically priced at a premium, many Airbnb rentals are more affordable than a hotel room. In addition to being less expensive, some offer more space and access to a kitchen so you don’t have to spend on three meals a day.
At face value, Airbnb already seems like a great deal, but experienced traveler and writer Jenna Robbins has a trick for saving even more on your next vacation rental:
Contact several hosts and ask for the best available rate. I've often received up to 25 percent off when I contact three-to-five hosts within a week of traveling, because many are anxious to book a guest at that time.
If you plan to stay in one area for an extended time, make sure your host knows! There might be an additional discount for long term guests.
“We can usually get up to 50 percent off for booking 30 days or more. It is worth the work asking the host if they can provide discounts on long-term stays,” shares Jayne Braye, digital nomad and travel blogger at Slow Travel Co.
How to deal with unmet expectations.
Even if you do your research and ask plenty of questions before booking an Airbnb, there is always a chance something won’t be exactly as you expected. It might seem easier just to deal with your disappointment, but Robbins says you should always contact your host if something isn’t quite right with your place.
If, upon arrival, there is a significant problem with your rental, negotiate with the host directly before contacting Airbnb. A recent host offered me a 25 percent discount due to the fact that the kitchen was not properly cleaned before I moved in.
How to get the inside scoop.
On Airbnb, each rental has a star rating, but star ratings can be deceiving. Don’t make the mistake of only taking that rating into account, as it doesn’t always give the most accurate picture of the guest experience. If you really want the inside scoop, read through all of the reviews, suggests Alanna Smith, editor of the travel website TravelPirates.
If you have specific questions about the listing that you can’t find in the reviews, don’t be afraid to reach out to the host. Braye suggests travelers always contact the host to ask about their internet speeds, especially if you’ll be working on the go. If you’re not sure about the location, she also suggests asking how close a rental is to public transportation, supermarkets, and restaurants.
How to avoid breaking the rules.
Staying in an Airbnb for the first time is an exciting experience, but it isn’t like staying in a hotel—some hosts have unexpected preferences or rules for renters of the property. To avoid a bad review on your user account or being charged an extra fee, make sure you read every bit of the house rules, suggests Smith.
While glancing through, you should be looking for rules about drinking in the house, noise levels, pets, and even whether or not kids are allowed on the property. When you and your host see eye-to-eye, it will be a better experience for everyone involved.
How to help other travelers out.
Your trip may be over when the time comes to check out, but don’t you dare get back to business as usual before fulfilling your duty to your fellow travelers. Take the time to leave a thoughtful review, sharing the information you would want to know. What's the best place to eat in walking distance? Was the owner good, or bad?