Approximately 2 million people stay in Airbnb properties every night. Here are the most wish-listed homes from the past decade, all of which are still available for rent today.
2019: A modern beach house in Santa Catarina, Brazil
Wish listed: 275,862 times
This four-bedroom beach house topped last year’s global wish list with a timber and glass design that teeters above the beautiful Brazilian coast. Built atop boulders, the house comes with a private beach, panoramic sea views and the services of a caretaker and gardener — for less than $100 a person per night.
There’s a wooden boat for fishing, and wild oysters can be plucked straight from the sea. Kids under five stay free, making this a steal for couples and families with young kids.
2018: A centuries-old cave house in Santorini, Greece
Wish listed: 254,773 times
The Hector Cave House is the only cave to make Airbnb’s 10-year wish list. Originally a wine cellar, the 645 square-foot cave was carved into the cliff some 250 years ago. What the property lacks in size it makes up for in decor and location.
Awash in the sloping, white aesthetic typical of Santorini architecture, the property is located “10 steps” from the main path of Oia, the unofficial sunset capital of the Greek isles. Suitable for five guests, the cave has a king-sized bed, loft and small plunge pool that’s available from April to November. A resounding 100% of recent guests gave the cave a five-star rating.
2017: Modern serenity in Phuket, Thailand
Wish listed: 204,110 times
Those searching for the quieter side of Thailand’s largest island will like this modern and budget-friendly one-bedroom apartment. Rentals start around $72 per night, even in the summer. Located on the island’s southeastern tip near Rawai Beach, it is one of three apartments which share a pool and a sprawling yard lined with swaying palm trees.
The listing has explicit rules regarding parties and illegal hanky-panky, and night owls should note quiet hours start at 10 p.m. Reviews indicate service is a strong-point, which is often the case in Thailand, and recommend renting a motorbike or car to explore the area.
2016: A contemporary suite in Cape Town, South Africa
Wish listed: 28,305 times
Mountain or ocean views? This South African stunner has both. Located in the affluent suburb of Camps Bay, this three-bedroom apartment overlooks both the Atlantic Ocean and the natural wonders of Table Mountain, Lion’s Head and the Twelve Apostles. The property comes with all the amenities you want, even if you don’t use them — flat screen television, oversized tub, pool, fireplace, a kitchen island that seats four — and nearby additional suites and studios can expand the rental into a six-bedroom enclave.
This home also has the first “Superhost” on the list — which Airbnb defines as “experienced, highly-rated hosts” — who, in this instance, is known to greet guests with warm, homemade bread at check-in.
2015: A tropical treehouse in Bali, Indonesia
Wish listed: 271,887 times
This is old-school budget Bali at its finest. A rustic property with rolling gardens and an idyllic pool, this two-story treehouse in the surfing hamlet of Balian was featured in Airbnb’s own magazine — Airbnbmag. The listing sets expectations from the start, noting there is (“luckily”) no McDonald’s or Starbucks nearby, so if that’s your thing, the posh villas of Seminyak may be a better choice. A peek into Bali as it once was, guests here can pick papayas and passion fruits from the garden and walk to the beach or local night market for dinner.
Marked as a “rare find” by Airbnb — meaning a property that is usually booked — the treehouse has scant availability through August, though a cabin made from glass bottles and driftwood on the property is wide open for spring and summer.
2014: An enchanting cottage on Mayne Island, Canada
Wish listed: 152,918 times
A Hobbit lair, an earth house or a fungal-inspired family retreat? However defined, Cob Cottage is part of Airbnb’s Plus program launched in 2018 to highlight the site’s best and most reliable properties. To qualify, this British Columbian home had to provide “exceptional quality, comfort and style” while maintaining a 4.8 average rating over the past year and an excellent record of accepting — without canceling — booking requests.
The interior is as whimsical as the exterior, with rounded archways and wooden cantilevered stairs seemingly chopped in the backyard. The neighborhood is rural with a small private vineyard nearby, and the host — whom reviewers gush over — is a mother to twin boys with a “serious knitting habit” and sheep in her orchard. Of course.
2013: A seashell house in Isla Mujeres, Mexico
Wish listed: 235,803 times
Casa Caracol, a.k.a. The World Famous Seashell House, is a gated property comprising two shells with king beds and a private bath in each (a third shell is available upon request). A counterpoint to the large, party hotels of Cancun, the house sits atop a quiet residential cliff on Isla Mujeres, a skinny four-mile long island in the Caribbean Sea.
The motif continues inside the property, which has beds and furniture — even bathroom faucets — shaped like or made from shells. Reviews range from “artsy” and “gorgeous” to “quirky” and “super cool.”
2012: An off-the-grid house in Pioneertown, California
Wish listed: 98,796 times
Named one of the “Best Homes in America” by Dwell magazine, this solar-powered house is a prefabricated home with a minimal environmental footprint. There is no television, Wi-Fi (save for emergency purposes) or municipal services in the house, which sits in the remote desert of Yucca Valley, about 16 miles from Joshua Tree National Park.
The closest town is a destination unto itself. Located 125 miles from Los Angeles, Pioneertown (population 420) is a hybrid hipster hangout and time machine to the American Old West. Founded in 1946 by a group of Western film stars, including Roy Rogers and Gene Autry, the town is undergoing a bit of a Renaissance from an influx of city slickers in search of a slower life.
2011: Old World charm in Tuscany, Italy
Wish listed: 3,686 times
Having graced the pages of Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and Condé Nast Traveler, this 17th-century restored farmhouse has seven bedrooms, a saltwater pool, two wood-fired pizza ovens and 45 acres of gardens, oak trees and olive groves.
Maria, the resident chef, makes traditional Italian meals with vegetables from the garden and can conduct cooking classes and wine dinners, upon request. Located in the hills of the Chianti wine region, the property elicits reviews that liken a stay here to “living in a painting.”