Dwell’s Top 10 Vacation Homes of 2017

Need to take a mental vacation? Feast your eyes on the most incredible rentals of the year.
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Whether you're ready to book your next adventure or simply looking to beef up your bucket list, this collection of jaw-dropping vacation homes is sure to stoke your wanderlust. Among our 10 most popular rental features of the year, you'll find a high-desert homestead in California, a serene townhouse in Kyoto, and a Swiss villa that's sunken in a mountainside. Keep scrolling to see what topped the list.

10. Ancient Trullo in Puglia, Italy

Experience the unique architectural heritage of Italy’s Apulia region at Brindisi Trulli, an ancient trullo that was transformed into a modern vacation rental home.  If you’re traveling to Puglia in Italy, one of the most iconic sights are trulli (trullo is the singular), an ancient hut that's specific to the Itria Valley in the Apulia region of Southern Italy. Made with dry stone, trulli, which date back to medieval times, have an unmistakable conical roof that's shaped somewhat like a gnome’s hat. 

On the northwestern tip of Scotland’s Isle of Skye is a vacation rental that's inspired by the region’s traditional "crofter style" cottages, but covered with a skin of tin.  Designed and built by Gill Smith and Alan Dickson of Scottish practice Rural Design Architects, this house sits along the rugged Isle of Skye coast and has a rudimentary form that recalls children’s drawings of pitched-roof homes. 

In order to save a Meiji-period machiya in Kyoto's Higashiyama District, four friends pooled together their resources and had the two-level townhouse renovated and transformed into Shimaya Stays—two beautifully simple apartments that are now available for rent.   

With its organic, horizontal silhouette, raw concrete facade, and Bauhaus-leaning interiors, this midcentury nature retreat brings modernity to the mountains.  Set high in a coastal mountain range in Topanga, California, is Saddle Peak—a two-level, four-bedroom holiday rental house with sublime geometry and defined lines. 

Located in the 1,200-year-old historic center of Kyoto, Japan, and surrounded by green hills, Nichinichi Townhouse is a holiday home that combines traditional Japanese environments with modern aesthetics.  The townhouse sits adjacent to the Nichinichi Art Gallery, a showcase of fine crafts and Japanese culture managed by Elmar, the gallery's owner. It is the ideal holiday home for travelers who want to immerse themselves in the local customs and unique elegance of Kyoto.

Located in the sands of the Mojave Desert's Hollywood-built Pioneertown, this modern take on a desert homestead brings a whole new edge to glamping in California.  Homestead Modern No. 1, designed by architect Andreas M. Larisch for owner Dave McAdam, is the first of a new line of unique homes that provide upscale living in the high desert. No.1 features a one-bedroom house, a one-bedroom detached casita, and a refurbished vintage travel trailer that has been transformed into an all-new living space. 

Now available to book through Airbnb, Yoshino Cedar House serves as a shared space for the rural community of Yoshino, Japan, and its visitors.  The project debuted in 2016 as a collaborative vision between Airbnb's design studio Samara, which explores new ways to foster sharing and trust within communities, and Tokyo-based architect Go Hasegawa for Kenya Hara's House Vision exhibition.

Built in the late 19th century, a former cooperage where barrels were manufactured for a local brewery now holds a bright, contemporary home that is available to rent.
Nestled in central London’s Clerkenwell neighborhood—a former industrial district with a burgeoning food and design scene—the four-bedroom, three-bath residence is perfect for traveling families. The building was used by a French polishing company in the 20th century before being converted for residential use in the 1980s.

Villa Vals, a four-bedroom vacation rental in the stunning Alpine village of Vals, Switzerland, is not your conventional ski resort home.  Completed in 2009, this unusual villa that's available for rent through Boutique Homes, is embedded into the hillside, making most of its functional spaces subterranean. A dramatically-recessed shape gives the villa the quality of a modern art installation, while the organic shape of its central terrace—the only part of the house that can be seen from the outside—seems to meld with the natural landscape. 

One of four luxury holiday rentals on Annandale, a working coastal farm estate nestled along the hilly Banks Peninsula in New Zealand’s South Island, this property is ideal for a romantic, natural escape.  Designed by award-winning Auckland architect Andrew Patterson, this remote one-bedroom house, which rests on a rocky escarpment in a sheltered cove, is constructed as an angular, modern, stone-and-glass enclosure that looks out to breathtaking views of Pigeon Bay—a deserted, rocky bay where seals and dolphins often show up. 

To see more of our Top 10 lists, click here.


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