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Jen Mallia

Guest contributor

Jen Mallia is an Edmonton-based writer who spends her days debating if it is too late for coffee or too early for cocktails. She is notoriously bad at making the right call on that so is quite a lot of fun.

Vacation rentals are hardly a new concept, but with the advent of Air BnB the popularity of home-sharing exploded. The public responded in a big way, embracing the idea of staying in the home of a local, and in many cases, saving some money. But it’s not all roses. Complaints about locals being priced out of their own neighborhoods because landlords can earn more renting out apartments by the night to tourists, large property companies posing as hosts on vacation rental sites  and dangerous situations for guests and hosts alike seem to have done little to curb the attraction of vacation home rentals. And while we are big fans of the big and little luxuries hotels afford, the allure of the occasional home stay is tough to deny, even for dedicated hotel devotees such as ourselves.

Now Marriott International is getting into the game (although with a decidedly high-end twist), with the announcement of Homes & Villas. Based on a pilot project in 2018 in select European cities, Marriott has expanded the program into nearly 40 leisure markets to complement their existing hotels—think swank locations like Sorrento, the Amalfi Coast, Costa Rica, St. Barts or North Lake Tahoe, CA.

According to Jennifer Hsieh, Vice President, Homes & Villas by Marriott International, “Our approach to home rentals allows us to curate an incredible collection of homes that deliver an elevated travel experience.” According to a press release, available homes will include: A four-bedroom cottage on six private acres of California wine country; an oceanfront villa in Anguilla with private beach and a personal butler and house staff; and an 18th-century Irish Castle that sleeps 17 and features a private lake for boating and fishing. The high-end property offerings range “from condos to castles” featuring at least one-bedroom, large kitchen, in-unit laundry and the all-important housekeeping service. Marriott International has partnered with top tier property management companies to administer the properties to ensure guests have access to 24-hour support. Once the program has officially launched, searches on Marriott.com for stays of three days or longer will include the vacation rental options.

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(Photo courtesy of Marriott International)

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