Here Are Airbnb’s Top 10 Rentals in the Design Category

From a mirrored glass cabin in Norway to a sustainable bamboo treehouse in Bali, these design-forward rentals were saved more than any others.

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Since its founding over a decade ago, Airbnb has grown massively, shifting from a platform on which to find a place to sleep when you need it, to a platform that helps you find a place you absolutely must sleep in. That change has seen a notable continued focus on design, and last year, the company released a new search option called "categories," which allowed users to specifically search for "homes chosen for their iconic architecture and interiors." Now, Airbnb has released a list of its top 10 most sought after architecturally significant homes, and they aren’t anything like the rivers and lakes you’re used to.

"Given that many of our design-forward listings are hosted by creatives – artists, designers, and more – there’s also an inherent inspiration that comes from these stays, whether it be from the interior design, the art, the architecture, or a combination of all three," says a spokesperson from Airbnb.

This list is wide-ranging, with destinations as far reaching as Indonesia, Brazil, Norway, Italy, and Costa Rica. As different as they might seema woven bamboo treehouse secluded in a palm grove; a residence built into a cliff that resembles a quaint cabin—each ambitiously designed rental has the common thread of something the average person isn’t encountering in everyday life. Outside of what it might cost to get to these Airbnbs, you’ll be surprised at how affordable it can be to escape the ordinary for a just few nights.

A Contemporary Tiny Home in Lac-Beauport, Canada

Le MICA is a strikingly sleek tiny home located in the Maelström recreational forest, just 25 minutes from Old Quebec. It comprises two simple rectilinear forms stacked atop each other and inserted in an open "box" form that functions as a covered deck area and frames the panoramic views of Laurentian Park. Wood burning heaters in the living area and on the deck keep the home cozy, even in the depths of winter.

Photo: Airbnb

The minimalist design of the stylish home—think a light timber-clad interior that echoes the exterior cladding and clean, white furnishings—puts the focus firmly on the incredible views. The two floors are connected by a ladder, or a more conventional staircase located within the covered deck area. 

Photo: Airbnb

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Stay at Le MICA

A Sustainable Bamboo Treehouse in Indonesia

Secluded in a grove of giant black palms on the banks of the River Ayung in Abiansemal, Indonesia, near Ubud, Aura House is a unique ecological home crafted almost entirely from bamboo. The design is by renowned Balinese architecture studio Ibuku who wove the bamboo material to evoke the structure of a bird’s nest—perfect for a romantic getaway or an adventure in nature.

Photo: Airbnb

The woven architectural structure is open to the elements, seamlessly blending interior and exterior spaces so guests feel as if they are living in the trees. The home features two romantic en-suite bedrooms, a large living room, a small kitchen, and a private swimming pool with a view. The bespoke furniture and lighting throughout the house is also cleverly crafted from bamboo.

Photo: Airbnb

Stay at Aura House

An "Earth Ship" in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Immersed in the heart of the Atlantic Forest near Partay in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the curved form of the Arca House by Atelier Marko Brajovic is inspired by an indigenous Brazilian housing typology and designed to have minimal impact on the surrounding landscape. The self-supporting arched structure that makes up the roof and side walls is made from galvalume, while floor-to-ceiling crittall-style windows on either side frame the lush trees.

Photo: Airbnb

The interior walls of the home are clad in three-millimeter-thick timber panels, while the ceiling has been left as exposed galvalume. The house has two bedrooms that sleep up to six guests and a spacious living room decked out with beanbags. Just 80 meters from the home is a natural swimming pool with a waterfall where you can catch a glimpse of monkeys and blue butterflies.

Photo: Airbnb

Stay at Arca House

A Psychedelic Fairytale Escape in Austin, Texas

The Bloomhouse was designed and built by architects Charles Harker and Dalton Bloom when they were students back in 1984—and since then it’s been compared to everything from a seashell to a unicorn. It was restored in 2017 and has become arguably one of the world’s weirdest rental homes. Located in a wooded valley on the outskirts of Austin, Texas, the whimsical home is all sinuous curves and sweeping organic lines. As the Airbnb listing puts it: "Without one straight line or corner in the entire structure, your thoughts are free of the constraints that our angular world creates."

Photo: Airbnb

Architect Charles Harker spent seven months on site carving the organic forms from polyurethane foam which was then coated in white stucco. According to Harker, the carved wood is meant to emulate bones sticking out of skin.

Photo: Airbnb

Stay at Bloomhouse

A Cabin Built Into a Cliff Near Mesa Verde in Colorado

The appropriately named Cliff House, located in the historic McElmo Canyon just 40 minutes from Mesa Verde, is the perfect base for an adventure. Designed to appear like a quaint timber cabin, complete with front porch, the home is actually built directly onto the red rock wall of Sleeping Ute Mountain and opens out to a beautiful dessert garden landscaped with native plants.

Photo: Airbnb

Inside, the home’s cliffside location becomes even more dramatic, with walls formed from the red rock itself. The rest of the interior and furnishings are kept purposefully minimalistic as a neutral backdrop to the natural beauty of the rock face. The shape of the rock has also been used to define the interior architecture—take, for example, the book nook hidden in a natural alcove.

Photo: Airbnb

Stay at Sage Canyon Cliff House

A Futuristic Loft-Like House San Roque de Barva, Costa Rica

The first loft-style home by celebrated Costa Rican architecture studio Alianz is an awe-inspiring, seemingly gravity defying form that rises up from a neatly manicured lawn just 20 minutes from San Jose airport in Costa Rica. The glass-clad cantilevered form, with a steeply angled butterfly-style roof, shelters an outdoor deck and hot tub surrounded by a lushly landscaped garden.

Photo: Airbnb

Strong directional lines in the interior architecture pull the focus towards leafy green views, which are framed by enormous expanses of glass. The all-white interiors can be dramatically transformed at night through the color-changing lights, making it the perfect party pad for a getaway with friends.

Photo: Airbnb

Stay at the Alianz Loft

An Architectural Wonder in the Woods of Rhinebeck, New York

Designed by Stephen Holl Architects in 2016, the Ex of In House in Rhinebeck, New York, is the result of the studio’s extensive research into the "language of space" and a questioning of architectural cliches. An efficient wood stove and geothermal heating keeps the eco-friendly house warm in the Hudson Valley winter, and it uses an off-the-grid solar system for electricity.

Photo: Airbnb

The playful geometry of the architecture extends into the timber-clad interior, where bold spherical and trapezoid forms intersect in unusual ways to create a dynamic landscape. The house is arranged over two open levels around a main volume with a kitchen at the heart of the space. It’s described as having "zero bedrooms" but can sleep up to five guests on futons cleverly arranged throughout the home to maximize privacy.

Photo: Airbnb

Stay at Ex of In House

The WonderINN Mirrored Glass Cabin in Akershus, Norway

Set on the shores of a Norwegian lake in the secluded nature reserve of Nordre Øyeren, only 25 minutes drive from Oslo, sits a tiny home that blends a striking mirrored facade with a quintessential timber cabin. The mirrored glass blends into the landscape, making it the perfect spot to watch the local wildlife from. Think small deer, squirrels, and more than 270 different bird species.

Photo: Airbnb

There is also a tiny, tent-like timber annex nearby that can sleep up to two additional guests and boasts views to the main mirrored cabin from the large window in the bedroom. The Scandi-chic interiors of both the cabin and the annex celebrate natural materials, like light timber cladding, sheepskin throws, and patinated leather.

Photo: Airbnb

Stay at the WonderINN Cabin

A Luxury Shipping Container Suite in Terrasini, Italy

Shipping container architecture is certainly nothing new—but this residence nestled into a hillside site in Terrasini, Italy, is an impressive interpretation of the typology. Dubbed the "Container Suite," it’s surrounded by prickly pears and features an enormous glazed facade overlooking the landscape.

The compact floor plan features a bedroom with porthole windows, a kitchenette, and a full bathroom with stone basins and an integrated garden with a lush palm. The minimalist, all-white interior is punctuated with bright furniture and sculptural accessories.

Photo: Airbnb

Stay at the Container Suite

A Glass Cottage in a Lava Field in Hella, Iceland

Surrounded by 500 hectares of natural lava fields in Hella, Iceland, this glass cottage—with an open-air hot tub on the deck—immerses guests in Iceland’s spectacular landscape. Enjoy endless sunsets and sunrises from the comfy bed in the summer, and the opportunity to drift off to sleep beneath the Northern Lights and one of the world’s most impressive starscapes in the winter. Even the glass-wrapped bathroom boasts views of the country’s largest volcanoes, Hekla, Eyjafjallajökull, Bláfjöll, and Tindfjöll.

Photo: Airbnb

The interior is designed to complement the surrounding landscape—think furniture crafted from driftwood collected from the beaches of ísafjörður, cushions and a headboard hand-knitted with naturally dyed yarn from a rescue sheep farm, and artworks made from living Icelandic moss.

Photo: Airbnb

Stay at the Blár Glass Cottage

Related Reading:

9 Breathtaking Tree Houses You Can Rent on Airbnb This Summer

9 Tiny Homes on Airbnb for When You Need a Little Getaway

9 Beachy Retreats You Can Rent on Airbnb Right Now


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