There are many things to look forward to about a summer of staycations - chocolate box cottages, surfing and seafood and the promise of above average temperatures for July and August. Hurrah!
Mercifully, a new wave of booking platforms have just the ticket, from Instagrammable staycation app Staze that books you a trip last-minute, to child-friendly retreats from Kid & Coe.
Here are nine of the best that you’ve probably never heard of.
Best for: those looking for spontaneous, last-minute retreats.
Locations: thousands of rentals across the UK and there are more on the horizon.
Price: From £70 to £1,000 per night.
Staze isn’t about avoiding the last-minute, it’s about embracing it. Launching on April 12, the accommodation booking platform is encouraging holiday-makers to live more spontaneously - and dodge the stress of ever-changing coronavirus restrictions. The answer? You can only make bookings within 14 days of a trip.
Thankfully, it’s not as panic-inducing as it sounds. Staze does all the thinking for you by providing personalised recommendations, deals and destination suggestions, reducing the average four-hour trawl through Google to just a few minutes and a couple of taps on the app.
Jay Olenicz, co-founder of the app alongside Henry Popiolek and Dustin Silk, says he wants Staze to become the Netflix of staycations.
He told the Standard: “At the moment, the travel industry is like Blockbuster. You used to have to walk to the Blockbuster shop, have a look around the shop, browse the catalogue, purchase, and then watch the DVD. But now you have Disney Plus, Netflix, Amazon Prime where within minutes you know what you want to watch.
“While AirBnb, booking.com and lastminute.com are like Blockbuster, Staze wants to bring the whole of travel into a Netflix experience where you have a personalised recommendation engine, and you can discover where to go in minutes.”
Each of Staze’s 40,000 UK properties has a property management team on-hand to help with any needs. All properties listed are stylish and chic and guests can choose anything from a luxury apartment in London to a cosy fishing shack in Scotland. By the end of the summer, the platform will have properties available across Europe too. Go on, live in the moment - you might just discover a holiday spot you’d never have thought of before.
Best for: Stylish interiors without a hefty price tag.
Locations: Scottish Highlands to Cornish beaches, and everything in between.
Price: Membership is £2.99 per month and lettings start from £59 per night.
Founded in 2019 by boutique travel experts Liz Simpson and Sarah De-Vere-Drummond, Kip offers a curation of affordable rentals in the UK for two-six people. With a portfolio of over 120 unusual and chic rentals, the site boasts peaceful cottages, forest treehouses and romantic shepherd huts that are all carefully handpicked by the founders. Membership is required to access the listings (£14 per year or £2.99 per month).
Best for: A digital detox in the countryside.
Locations: Over 200 glamping sites in the UK and France.
Price: From £60 to £565 per night.
Born out of the Quality Cottages brand that has been handpicking getaways since 1961, Quality Unearthed offers glamping options and rustic stays. Whether it’s safari tents, tree houses or yurts, the site promises off-grid retreats and a chance to immerse in nature.
The Plum Guide
Best for: those looking for hotel-level luxe in a homely setting.
Locations: Worldwide with holiday homes across the UK.
Price: From £42 to £14,000+ per night in the UK.
Created by Israeli-born, UK-based entrepreneur Doron Meyassed, The Plum Guide is a vetted holiday marketplace for the top 1 per cent of homes. Every property listed on the site has to meet a 150-point criteria, which includes everything from the pressure of the showers to the thickness of the mattresses.
The self-appointed ‘Michelin Guide for homes’ offers top-end properties with hotel-quality standards.
Kid and Coe
Best for: Child-friendly retreats.
Locations: Worldwide, with 94 properties in the UK.
Price: From £70 per night for properties in the UK.
Established in 2013 by Zoie Kingsberry Coe after she struggled to find rentals for her growing family, Kid and Coe provides a curated list of homes worldwide that cater specifically to families.
Nicknamed the ‘Airbnb of Family Travel’, the site values properties that are safe and appropriate for kids, complete with cribs, high-chairs, play areas and toys. It’s family-friendly accommodation without sacrificing on style.
Best for: Luxury cottages with a concierge-like touch.
Locations: Over 200 properties across the UK .
Price: From £1035 to £11,424 for a week.
Boutique Retreats is more than a holiday rental site. Alongside offering unique properties, the team is on hand to arrange any special add-ons during a stay, whether that’s private dining experiences with a Michelin-starred chef or one-to-one surfing lessons.
The platform boasts seaside-chic boltholes, cliff-top retreats with private pools and thatched cottages. And many of the properties are dog-friendly to allow furry friends.
Best for: Posh staycations.
Locations: London, Paris and Los Angeles.
Price: From £145 per night for a studio in Shepherds Bush, to £965 per night for a townhouse in Belgravia.
Founded in London in 2011, Veeve offers hand-picked homes with the option of added extras such as concierge services and private airport transfers. With over 2,000 properties, the site looks after properties while they are being rented, offering housekeeping, towels, and toiletries. It also provides handy area guides about London with tips and advice on where to visit.
Canopy & Stars
Best for: Nights in the great outdoors.
Locations: Over 700 nature retreats in the UK, and more across Europe.
Price: From £45 to £1,660 per night.
Every one of Canopy & Star’s listings is ideal for the ‘gram. With more than 700 places to stay amid nature, the site offers wild staycations with treehouses looking into starry skies or boats in wild swimming spots.
Some of the properties are very rustic, with just wood-burners and campfires for heat, while others have baths and induction hobs. There’s also the added environmental bonus that the company are vowing to plant a million trees by 2025. Green in more ways than one, then.
The Landmark Trust
Best for: Houses with a history.
Locations: Almost 200 properties across the UK.
Price: From £123 to £976 per night.
The Landmark Trust is a charity that conserves and rescues castles, villas, and towers, and then makes them available for holidays. Unusual properties include a medieval castle in Warwickshire, a water tower on the Sandringham estate in Norfolk, and a Victorian fort in Devon, complete with cannons for extra drama. None of the properties have Wi-Fi, TV or radio. Instead, expect a welcome tray with tea and sugar, and bring kindling and firelighters for the open fire, perfect for a digital detox.