When repeat customers step into their Hotelesque accommodation, there are no surprises. The luxury holiday-home company only has 120 Sydney properties on its books (most are in inner-west, inner-city or beachside suburbs), but each home is consistently and impeccably styled to Vogue Living standards.
It’s a boutique aesthetic that Hotelesque – formerly known as Your Home Away From Home – has replicated across its properties. Homeowners have the option of working with Hotelesque’s in-house interior designers to style their property, which includes furnishing bedrooms, dining rooms and living areas with items from boutique furniture company Coco Republic.
About half of Hotelesque’s homeowners take up the offer. “Some just give us the keys and let us do the whole concept,” says the company’s co-founder Monique Eyles.
As a result, guests come to expect a certain standard at Hotelesque accommodation. All home rentals come with linen, towelling, toiletries and wi-fi; and when taking on new properties, Eyles prioritises well-equipped, fully functioning kitchens. “We spend a lot of time looking at [our] reviews … if someone says, ‘I could bake a cake!’, that’s a good sign,” she told Broadsheet.
AirBnB may have a monopoly on the share-accommodation market, but Hotelesque sets itself apart by combining its luxury accommodation with a full-service concierge experience. “Guests are now more savvy and discerning and want an outstanding experience,” says Eyles.
A locally based concierge is on standby seven days a week to help solve sticky situations guests may encounter, such as getting locked out or flooding from upstairs apartments – both real-life experiences for some hapless visitors. “Our concierge got out of bed at 1am to deal with that situation,” says Eyles. The concierge can even arrange grocery deliveries, laundering services and airport transfers (for an additional fee).
Of course, the premium service and designer accommodation come with a price tag to match. On the more extravagant end of the properties on offer, during peak season a four-bedroom Point Piper home with harbour views will cost you $3500 a night for a minimum 10-night stay – excluding the $5000 bond.
But co-founder Steve Keir says guests get their value for money. “We spent a lot of time ensuring a guaranteed experience for customers,” he says, adding that the average nightly rate of a Hotelesque property, during the low season, is a more affordable $250 per night.
As part of Hotelesque’s guest “vetting” process, most homes require a minimum five-night stay. It’s a safeguard against one-night party guests who raise the ire of neighbours.
“We’ve had hundreds of guest stays and we’ve only had to deal with five external complaints. The neighbours are just as important as everyone else – that’s where they live. We need to be responsible and respectful,” says Keir.
Unlike AirBnB, there’s no instant-book option. Prospective guests must submit an email query and there are multiple layers of communication between guests and administrator – including asking the guest’s reasons for staying – before the booking is confirmed.
It may seem like an onerous process, but with recent negative publicity surrounding short-term rental homes, Eyles and Keir are keen to position Hotelesque as an example of how the share-accommodation model should be done. They’re so confident in their processes they’re planning to expand to Victoria and Queensland, too.
“This share economy and [share-property industry] done the right way, can be done well. We know our style is going to work,” says Eyles.