If you're anything like me, you're a little overly paranoid when it comes to booking apartments on Airbnb. I love the platform, don't get me wrong (wouldn't travel any other way now), but to blindly trust that your apartment will turn out exactly the way it's advertised and your host isn't a secret psycho requires a level of #YOLO that I'm just not comfortable with.
And so I do my due diligence. I'm obsessively thorough with my searches. I read through every review and comb through all available listings from the same owner. I search for their names on various social media platforms. I make Excel spreadsheets. It's a whole process. But while I actually find it endlessly therapeutic - so much so that I even volunteer to do the searches for my friends' trips - not everybody has the same level of OCD that is required to want to sit through the tedium.
Stay One Degree, or what's been dubbed the "first social network for luxury holiday home rentals", is poised to help you cut out the tedious search process, without compromising on security and trust. It's the brainchild of Thomas Bennett and Jorge Munoz, who came up with the idea after their own disappointing rental experiences - being unable to rent out their own holiday homes, or ending up with rentals that were uninspiring and overpriced - left them a little cold on the idea of regular holiday lettings sites.
To maintain a community of trusted users, it first screens members (it's free to sign up, but linking your account to your Facebook or LinkedIn profile will help increase your chances of being successfully vetted), after which you can connect with other vetted members to book their homes.
Whether or not you'll be able to rent the luxury home of your choice ultimately still depends on the homeowner, but in return, you get peace of mind knowing that you'd be renting from someone who's a trusted host (and may even be a friend of a friend), and a holiday home that has passed Stay One Degree's exacting quality control standards. Homes are judged based on their architecture, location and unique elements (think cliff-top infinity pools and mountain hot tubs), and range from villas and townhouses to ski chalets.
Stay One Degree currently listings in more than 40 countries, and prices start from £100 (S$180) per night and rising to well over £10,000 per night. Check out some of the stunning abodes you'll be able to rent!
Luxury villa in Canggu, Bali. Book here.
Fully serviced villa overlooking the Basdio Marine Sanctuary in Bohol, Philippines. Book here.
Restored farmhouse at the edge of nature reserve in Chamonix, France. Book here.
Designer villa with live-in housekeeper in Sotogrande, Spain. Book here.
Contemporary Moroccan villa in Marrakech, Morroco. Book here.
For more on lifestyle, head here. Read also: The women who love to travel in unconventional ways, and 7 super photogenic spots to head to for your next European holiday.