Have you always wanted to do a home exchange? This company allows owners of luxury homes to register now to exchange their homes.
It’s 2006. The iPod nano and the Wii have taken over the country. You can’t go anywhere without hearing “Bad Day” by Daniel Powter. And especially, Vacations enters theaters… and into people’s hearts. Nancy Meyers’ romantic comedy followed two women (Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz) who book a house swap, desperate to escape crises in their personal lives, and end up finding love while on vacation (starring Jack Black and Jude Law, no less). More than becoming a mainstay in your annual holiday movie rotations, it introduced the idea of a home swap to a wider audience.
It turns out that home exchanges aren’t just a real way to spend a holiday, but HomeExchange, the business featured in the film, is also real and thriving right here in Cambridge. (They even served as consultants on the film.) And they’ve now launched a new network where high-end homeowners can access more than 300 other luxury homes to view in more than 40 countries.
So how does it work? Do you just jump on the computer in a moment of desperation and get yourself a charming cottage in the British countryside or an elegant mansion in Los Angeles like in the movie? Not enough. To get started, you need to apply to be part of the network, according to CEO Emmanuel Arnaud, because that part of the business is for luxury houses. HomeExchange Collection has a list of criteria to check the quality of homes to ensure that other exchangers are getting their money’s worth.
If you’re lucky enough to be accepted into the network, you pay an annual fee of $1,000 to access homes, which range from castles in the wilderness to penthouses in international hubs. You can do a reciprocal swap like in the movie (where you and another guest use each other’s houses at the same time). But if you want to use someone’s house and they don’t want to use yours, you can give them “guest points” that they can use for further trades.
You might not want to go into things hoping to run into a handsome celebrity on the other end of your journey – cute romance with a handsome single dad or a hilarious songwriter isn’t guaranteed. And most users on the platform aren’t singles traveling alone, so if you’re looking for love, you might be out of luck. “The case you see in the movie happens, but it’s not the majority,” says Arnaud, pointing out that most people use the houses in groups, not as individuals.
Plot? Here’s a look at some of HomeExchange Collection’s luxury home offerings.
This three-bedroom loft is located in the Bastille district, just 50 meters from the metro, ready to take you to the other sites of the city. Inside this magnificent house you will enjoy an indoor swimming pool, table football and an indoor swing. Two-story windows provide tons of natural light and a view of the lush outdoor garden, which you can also enjoy during your stay here.
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
This majestic Mediterranean-style hillside home is designed for optimal indoor-outdoor living with three terraces to complement its luxury offerings. The upper level offers an outdoor seating area and fireplace where you can dine and entertain while watching the sunset. The lower terrace features a hot tub, pergola, fire table and a 60 foot solar heated pool surrounded by tropical and fruit trees. And a third adjacent terrace offers more lounge space surrounded by climbing white roses. What else would you need?
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Treat yourself to a stay in this beautiful custom-designed mansion. Its wide antique rosewood floors, high ceilings, large rooms, and striking exterior were all inspired by the Thai temples you might visit while traveling here. Those who stay here will have access to a full time housekeeper, gardener/chef and part time massage therapist to help you achieve your ultimate state of relaxation. Use the time you’d spend cooking and cleaning to explore the five-acre grounds, where plumeria and fruit trees bloom alongside orchids. It’s enough to almost put the mountain views to shame (also a plus of staying here).
Plentenberg Bay, South Africa
If a trip among the hustle and bustle of a foreign city is quicker, try a stay in this three-bedroom penthouse in the heart of Plettenberg Bay, known for its gorgeous beaches, gorgeous forests and abundance of wildlife. This particular home is also within walking distance of many shops and restaurants in town. If you want to see it all from above, a terrace next to the unit offers a bird’s eye view of this vacation destination.
San Francisco, California
If you prefer to stay a little more local, this luxury Golden State skyscraper welcomes you. Located on the 26th floor, this unit’s floor-to-ceiling windows and wraparound terrace offer sweeping views of San Francisco, from its iconic hills to the Pacific Ocean. The condo offers guests a fully equipped kitchen and home office, making it perfect for a working vacation.
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