Bossa Nova
Plum Guide

Plum Guide: An Airbnb-Like Website That'll Make You Want to Splurge

View Slideshow
Bossa Nova
Plum Guide

Choice Digs

If you've ever walked into an Airbnb property and thought, "Boy, this is not as advertised," we feel you. While some vacation rentals are exactly as wonderful as you'd hoped, it seems like far more are letdowns, to say nothing of the sheer volume of options that can make it overwhelming to even choose a place to stay. Enter Plum Guide, an Airbnb-like site with one big difference — not just anyone can list a property here. Plum Guide homes are "expertly curated" to provide "exceptional quality" for guests. 


Related: Plum Guide Vacation Rentals That'll Make You Say Airbnb Who?

How the Vetting Process Works
Plum Guide

How the Vetting Process Works

The vacation rental service starts by selecting prospective homes available in a market, shortlisting the best ones, and conducting host interviews. Homes must also pass muster with a Plum Guide guest as well as satisfy an extensive test conducted by an independent Plum Guide "home critic." The test features 150 criteria with touchstones ranging from things like Wi-Fi speed, noise levels in the bedroom, and design aesthetic to how well a space functions for socializing. 


Related: 21 Tips For Turning Your House Into A Rental Property

The Plum Award
Plum Guide

The Plum Award

Only about 3% of homes pass the vetting process to get Plum Award status. Why might homes fail the Plum Guide test? Reasons could range from a funky odor or horrible mattress to too much noise. Other reasons, as noted in a post from one of the company's home critics, can include stingy hosts, inconsistent design, and a "home without a wow ... if words like 'nice' are coming anywhere near my mind, or I’m simply struggling to write anything other than factual sentences about what is in the home," writes London-based home critic Charlotte Smith, "then I know I’ve definitely not been in a Plum home."


For more great travel guides and vacation tips, please sign up for our free newsletters.

Locations Are International
Plum Guide

Locations Are International

Plum Guide homes are located in countries around the world, from France and Italy to Croatia and Turkey to the United States. The site currently has more than 4,000 homes available for rent in the U.S. While inventory can be low in certain states and areas — Texas, for example, only appears to have one Plum Guide home in Austin at the moment — the service is continually launching new destinations.


Related: 20 Most Luxurious Airbnbs Around the World

What About Cost?
Plum Guide

What About Cost?

While Plum Guide criteria make it sound as though renting one of its properties would require spending an arm and a leg, that's not the case. Yes, there are homes that are likely out of range for the average person — including one in Los Angeles and another in Aspen, for example, that will set you back around $15K and $25K per night, respectively — or might require a splurge. But there are many, many more that are affordable. The Roadrunner property, for example, near Joshua Tree National Park goes for less than $200 per night and sleeps four. 


Related: Most Luxurious Rentals in Every State

Narrowing Down Properties
Plum Guide

Narrowing Down Properties

One of the nice features of sites like Vrbo and Airbnb is how they allow you to narrow down what can be an overwhelming search. While the selection is more limited on Plum Guide, search filtering can still help to whittle down your options. Prospective guests can search by property type, features and amenities, type of stay, and family- and pet-friendliness. 


Related: Beautiful Dog-Friendly Vacation Rentals Across America

Booking Protocol
Plum Guide

Booking Protocol

Unlike other vacation rental services where you can pay a portion of your stay upon booking and the rest closer to your rental dates, Plum Guide's FAQs note that the site requires guests to pay the full booking value at the time of their reservation. However, the site also recently featured a pop-up message noting that guests who want to "pay a deposit now and the rest later" could contact the company to discuss payment options. Also, customers should be sure to check other fees on individual listings, which can include an occupancy tax, security deposit, sales tax, and more. All fees are outlined in a property's quote. 

Intrigued?
Plum Guide

Intrigued?

Thinking about booking a Plum Guide home just to see if the experience is really that much different from your average Vrbo or Airbnb rental? Here are five homes around the U.S. that are reasonably priced, still have dates available in the coming weeks, and are perfect for a summer or fall stay. 

Bossa Nova
Plum Guide

Bossa Nova

West Hollywood, California | Sleeps 6

Check rates on Plum Guide


This three-bedroom, four-bathroom property offers a private oasis for anyone traveling to the L.A. area. It's within easy access to some of Los Angeles' most popular neighborhoods and includes amenities like a saltwater pool, outdoor shower, and indoor gym (with Peloton bike). It was also designed by WHY Architecture, which has helped create inspired spaces all over the world. 


Related: 22 Amazing West Coast Beach Houses to Rent

The Sultan
Plum Guide

The Sultan

West Palm Beach, Florida | Sleeps 2

Check rates on Plum Guide


Plum Guide calls this studio space "utterly Instagrammable," and we have to agree. From the dramatic platform bed to the sumptuous furniture, this rental — which even has its own tiny but functional kitchen — will make you the envy of your non-vacationing friends. Amenities include beach proximity, an outdoor dining space, and even a vintage Wurlitzer for musically inclined guests. 


Related: 34 Amazing East Coast Beach Houses to Rent


Parton's Party Pad
Plum Guide

Parton's Party Pad

Nashville, Tennessee | Sleeps 10

Check rates on Plum Guide


Split between a few couples or a couple of families, this four-bedroom, three-bath rental becomes entirely affordable while providing a great home base for exploring the Athens of the South. It's located in Germantown, a neighborhood that's a short jaunt from downtown. Or stay closer to home and visit the area's restaurants, farmers market, and beer halls. 


Related: 36 Bucket-List Destinations for Music Lovers


Damn Fine Coffee
Plum Guide

Damn Fine Coffee

Charleston, South Carolina | Sleeps 11

Check rates on Plum Guide


Plum Guide notes that this home has "character in abundance and cool, rustic style." With five bedrooms and three baths, it can accommodate a fairly large group and is surrounded by an outdoor space that includes massive oak trees, a fire pit, ambient lighting, and more. It's just a few blocks off the Copper River and is close to beaches, hiking trails, downtown, and more. 


Related: Vacation Rentals for Large Groups & Family Reunions

Gone Fishing
Plum Guide

Gone Fishing

Greenwood Lake, New York | Sleeps 8

Check rates on Plum Guide


Located about an hour and a half north of NYC, this three-bedroom, two-bath house gives city dwellers a respite from the hustle or provides tourists with fairly easy access to the city. It's about five minutes from scenic Greenwood Lake. Take in the surrounding nature from the large deck or hop onto one of the adjacent hiking trails to explore the area.


Related: Best Fishing Spots in All 50 States