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- Although the novel coronavirus is still affecting much of the US, many people have started to resume travel following shutdowns due to the pandemic. Vacation rentals in particular have seen a surge since April, in large part because it is easier to practice social distancing and there is no contact with other guests.
- For those seeking a hotel-like experience in a private home, Marriott Bonvoy's Homes & Villas by Marriott International includes over 2,000 homes in over 100 destinations worldwide.
- All homes are professionally managed and must pass certain standards of quality, service, and design with 24/7 customer support, professional cleaning, and desirable amenities.
- Marriott Bonvoy members can earn and redeem points on all Homes & Villas by Marriott International reservations.
- Read more: The best vacation rentals in the US
Marriott Bonvoy is renowned for its robust portfolio of hotels that includes breathtaking properties around the world from luxury brands such as St. Regis, The Ritz-Carlton, and Edition, as well as familiar and trusted names like Renaissance, Westin, Sheraton, Courtyard, and many others.
However, you may be less familiar with their home rental platform, Homes & Villas by Marriott International, which is their entry into the short-term rental space, operating thousands of homes in over 100 destinations around the world.
And it's certainly a good time to get to know the platform. As restrictions around the country continue to lift following COVID-19 shutdowns, and travel cautiously resumes, many travelers are looking for domestic accommodations that follow proper social distancing. Vacation rentals, in particular, are especially attractive for this reason and experienced a recent surge in demand this spring. This is likely because medical and hospitality experts generally consider private home rentals to be a safe bet (safer than hotels, in fact) because there is generally less direct person-to-person contact. Of course, without a vaccine, there is no firm guarantee on safety, and it's crucial to follow guidelines from organizations such as the CDC and WHO, wear a mask, wash your hands, and maintain social distancing.
Marriott's home rentals blend the comfort of a traditional hotel stay with all the amenities of a private home, unlike other rental platforms such as Vrbo or Airbnb, which are traditionally someone's personal home or guest house that is rented out from time to time.
All Marriott homes are professionally managed to ensure they meet Marriott's standards of quality, design, and service. Expect design-forward and impeccable lodgings like waterfront bungalows, luxury villas, cozy cabins, and sleek penthouses.
I tried Homes & Villas by Marriott International for the first time during the pandemic when my girlfriends and I needed a change of scenery after quarantine. As a travel writer, I normally prefer hotels over home rentals simply because I like being able to request extra shampoo on a whim, ask the concierge for local advice, and mingle with other travelers in common areas. However, given the current state of travel, I too felt that staying in a private home rental came with less risk.
My friends and I shared a Los Angeles home I found on the Homes & Villas by Marriott website that was a 3,615 square foot, 5-bedroom, 3-bathroom property near Point Dume in Malibu. The reservation was comped for review, however, the rate for our weekend dates was $930 per night. While expensive, when split between multiple people, it actually offers surprising value. Here's everything you need to know before you decide to book, too.
What is Homes & Villas by Marriott International?
Homes & Villas by Marriott started in 2018 as a pilot program in Europe under the brand name Tribute Portfolio Homes, intended to speak to the evolving needs of travelers that like to travel together and prefer to stay in a home with multiple bedrooms for more than three nights.
According to Marriott, over three-quarters of travelers who used the platform during the pilot program were traveling for leisure with friends and family. In May 2019, the company launched in the US. Today, it operates in over 100 destinations worldwide. The portfolio focuses on premium and luxury tier homes that are generally owned by a frequent traveler, and primarily used as a vacation home.
The homes listed are all vetted by Marriott's trusted property management partners that include national, regional, and local companies selected for their expertise. These companies work directly with homeowners to ensure the homes are up to Marriott's standards of quality, design and service. Some of these property management companies include AvantStay, Turnkey Vacation Rentals, LaCure, London Residents Club as well as existing hotel operators like Mainsail Lodging, CPG, and Reserva Conchal.
Homes that are selected to be part of Homes & Villas by Marriott International include the likes of waterfront bungalows, luxury villas, cozy cabins and penthouses. The homes are thoughtfully curated to with amenities such as in-home games, a wood-fire pizza oven, a private pool, or a children's playroom with a climbing wall. They each have their own unique features that are well-suited for group gatherings.
Check-in is usually contactless and done through a lockbox code, which is provided in an email after you've booked your reservation. The email will also include a house manual to help navigate home amenities and features like lighting, washer and dryer, and Wi-Fi.
Every listing on Homes & Villas by Marriott International is guaranteed to include the following:
- 24/7 support provided by Marriott's carefully selected property management companies
- 24-hour check-in either in-person or through a touch key-pad
- High-speed Wi-Fi
- Kitchen essentials (cookware, utensils, microwave)
- In-unit washer
- Premium linens and towels, all expertly laundered
- Bathroom amenities (toilet paper, shampoo, conditioner, soap)
- Hair dryer
- Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors where fuel-burning appliances are present
- Professional cleaning pre- and post-stay
- Child-friendly items upon request, such as high chairs and travel cribs
I found check-in to be super easy and convenient. I couldn't access the Wi-Fi network with the password provided, but management was quick to reply and replace it with a new password that worked. I also recommend checking with the property manager for certain kitchen utensils you might anticipate needing. For example, tea bags were available in the home I stayed in, but there was no kettle to boil hot water. I contacted management and they delivered one the next morning. Pantry basics (i.e. olive oil and ground pepper) were also not included in the home I booked, which meant having to make a supermarket run. Listings only mention kitchen essentials, which can be subjective, so it's best to confirm with the property manager if you have specific requests.
Where is Homes & Villas by Marriott International available?
Homes & Villas by Marriott International currently has 2,000 highly-curated, luxury homes and villas and operates in over 100 destinations in the United States, Europe, Caribbean, Middle East, and Latin America.
Locations have been selected to represent areas where Marriott Hotels doesn't have a major presence, such as small ski towns like Big Bear and Aspen, remote islands like Anguilla and Turks and Caicos, and European regions that aren't heavily commercialized, like Lake Como or the Amalfi Coast.
Over one-third of the markets are new destinations to Marriott's portfolio, so if a Marriott hotel is not present in the area, a private home rental under the Marriott brand may soon be available.
How do I book and can I use and redeem Marriott Bonvoy points?
Anyone can book a Homes Villas by Marriott International directly from their website, however, reservations can't be made through Marriott.com, which is still primarily reserved for hotel bookings.
Marriott Bonvoy members can earn and redeem points at all of the properties within Homes & Villas by Marriott International, which is a nice perk that most other home rental sites don't offer. Bonvoy members earn five points for every qualifying $1 USD spent. You can filter listings by Bonvoy points, price, number of guests or bedrooms, and home features like a pool, building elevator, and pet policy.
Once you book a property, you'll receive a confirmation email from Homes & Villas by Marriott International with the assigned property management company and contact information, payment details, and the cancellation policy. You'll receive a separate email with home details and the property address.
What is the average cost of a private home rental?
The average cost for booking a vacation home on Homes & Villas by Marriott International depends on the location and specific property. However, all homes listed require a three-night minimum and the average length of stay is five nights for an average price of about $2,000 per reservation.
Because these homes tend to be large, upscale, and luxury-leaning, with multiple bedrooms, the price reflects that tier of accommodation. Therefore, it might prove too costly for couples or solo travelers who require a more intimate space.
How does Homes & Villas by Marriott International differ from other home rental sites?
There are many different home rental options available to travelers looking to book a vacation home including Vrbo, HomeAway, and Airbnb among others. Homes & Villas by Marriott International is backed by a well-known, global hotel brand, which is one of the main differentiating factors that make it stand out to travelers who might feel otherwise hesitant to stay in a private home.
A few of the other differentiators between Homes & Villas by Marriott International and other home rental sites include:
- While there isn't a place to write or read past reviews, the homes are highly-curated and vetted by professional management companies. Only entire premium and luxury homes are listed (no guest bedrooms, or partial house listings, etc.).
- The luxury lean of the collection means these homes are typically quite large and more expensive than other home rentals, however, there are some budget-friendly options, depending on the location.
- Homes are professionally managed by an experienced property management partner rather than the homeowners themselves. Some already operate Marriott hotels and provide 24/7 support, a professionally cleaned home, high-speed Wi-Fi, premium linens and amenities, and other items on request.
- Unlike other platforms, Marriott Bonvoy members may earn and redeem loyalty points.
What are the COVID-19 policies?
Each property listing shares details of their cleaning protocols, and additional updates regarding the Homes and Villas by Marriott International COVID-19 policies have been shared on the website.
Overall, the company has increased sanitization between reservations using hospital-grade solutions and provides all staff with personal protective equipment. Marriott is ramping up three main areas:
- Education: Training and equipping partners with proper disinfection protocols
- Enhanced standards: Providing partners with revised cleaning standards
- Equipment: Partnering with vendors to provide state-of-the-art equipment to clean homes
Marriott also created a Marriott Cleanliness Council to redefine cleaning standards across Marriott hotels and homes. However, since each home is managed by a separate property management company, there is no real way to ensure consistency across the board.
What are the cancellation policies?
Homes & Villas by Marriott announced updated cancellation policies to offer additional flexibility in response to COVID-19.
For new reservations made after July 6, 2020, with arrival dates on or before September 30, 2020, guests may change or cancel at no charge.
Guests must contact the property management company listed on their confirmation email to initiate the cancellation.
For reservations made prior to July 6, 2020, will be subject to the rate offer rules communicated at the time of reservation.
For guests making new reservations for arrival dates on or after October 1, individual hotel cancellation policies in place at the time of the reservation will apply. These are determined by individual properties and management companies. However, most homes are currently offering 10-day cancellation options for reservations arriving on or before December 20, 2020.
Would I book it again?
As someone who normally prefers a hotel over a home rental for the convenience of on-site customer support, amenities, and higher cleaning standards, I really enjoyed my stay with Homes & Villas by Marriott International and would definitely book another home in the future. The home looked just like it did in the photos and any issue or question I had was immediately resolved, and management was quick to respond.
While Homes & Villas by Marriott International does require a minimum stay and rates are on the higher end compared to other rental sites like Airbnb, I still prefer Homes & Villas by Marriott because I can earn Marriott Bonvoy points, which is a huge benefit.
I also like that I didn't have to coordinate a meet up with the host to check-in as a lockbox code provided. While some travelers prefer the more personal interaction provided by an Airbnb Host, I prefer a more discreet experience where I don't see the owner's personal belongings in sight and still feel like I'm staying at a hotel.
With Homes & Villas by Marriott International, any request or issue is handled by a professional management company available 24/7, and the large accommodations make it a great fit for families and groups, though options for couples may be more limited or expensive.
These are some of the top Homes & Villas by Marriott International in the US right now
According to Marriott, the most popular homes in the US to book right now are located in the Hamptons, Florida, Carolina beaches, mountain escapes in Tennessee and North Carolina, and coastal hideaways in California. Here's a closer look at some standout properties, available to book now.
A newly remodeled home with vaulted ceilings, brand new appliances, and a chic living area, this laidback, snug home is part of the Sea Pines Resort, which grants guests access to the beach and the Sea Pines Beach Club. The resort also has three golf courses less than 5 miles away. Though, there's plenty within the confines of the home itself such as a lovely pool, hot tub, and secluded backyard with outdoor dining, a hammock, and chaise lounges.
This home sleeps up to 14 guests between three bedrooms and two sleeper sofas. The home has availability to book starting in August throughout the rest of the year.
Pros: There is a complimentary trolley that will take you to the beach and/or Sea Pines attractions.
Cons: The home doesn't have any games or added features like some of the other homes listed on Homes & Villas by Marriott, and gate/vehicle passes are required to gain access to Sea Pines Plantation and are available for purchase for $10 daily or $22 weekly.
This tranquil oasis in Montauk is the quintessential beach house in the Hamptons with ocean views from every room and a stunning pool area. The two-story, Nantucket-style home boasts high-ceilings and tons of windows for natural sunlight flanked by a 2,200 square-foot deck. Dip in the pool, make a meal in the chef's kitchen, or simply read a book on the hammock at this rustic, casual home that offers a ton of privacy.
The home is booked up for the rest of the summer, but availability opens up starting in the early fall.
Pros: Beautiful ocean views and a prime location near Montauk beaches and shops in downtown Montauk. The home is equipped with an art studio, a movie theater, and a pool.
Cons: Pets are not allowed. The home is excluded from the flexible cancellation policy and has a 60-day cancellation policy in order to receive a full refund.
This magnificent three-story estate is comprised of over 6,000 square-feet with seven bedrooms (six master suites), two full kitchens, five balconies, three decks, a pool table, and three fireplaces. High wood-beamed soaring ceilings and plush furnishings can comfortably fit up to 25 guests.
Tucked into the mountainside, it's like staying a dreamy log cabin, if your idea of a cabin includes top-tier luxury. The home is certainly sprawling but the lush grounds are spread across a generous 1.61 acres and include a pond, gazebo, and firepit with views of Mount Le Conte.
While booking is limited in July, it opens up beginning in August.
Pros: A good choice for large groups traveling together, reunions, or special occasions.
Cons: The home is massive and multi-level so it wouldn't be a fit for smaller groups who want a more intimate home.
This cozy home is surrounded by nature and features a private pool, outdoor kitchen and fireplace, and is walking distance to white sand beaches.
With four bedrooms, the home can sleep 12 guests, and also provides access to the nearby WaterColor Beach Club, which includes a family swimming pool, kids' pool, sun deck, and open-air bar.
This home is widely available to book from August onwards.
Pros: Guests have access to the nearby WaterColor Beach Club, and the home is walking distance to town and beaches.
Cons: The private backyard offers privacy but lacks views.
While expensive, this stunning waterfront home sleeps 12 with four bedrooms and includes standout features such as retractable windows for indoor-outdoor living and alfresco dining.
The beach and boardwalk are both a short walk, and the home provides beach goodies such as boogie boards and a kayak in addition to indoor games and activities like a foosball and ping-pong table, outdoor bar, barbecue grill, and fire pit.
The management company notes they are taking extra care to follow CDC and WHO guidelines for travel during the pandemic, and bookings are widely available beginning in August.
Pros: Ideal for families with kids or large groups who love to stay active, or want to be near the beach. Bedrooms offer idyllic views overlooking the bay.
Cons: The downtown Gaslamp Quarter with restaurants and shops is a 20-minute drive away. The home is excluded from the flexible cancellation policy.
This is the five-bedroom home I booked, which was a quaint hideaway with ample room for a large group or family. The home was made for entertaining with an open-kitchen design, and plenty of outdoor seating areas to enjoy the lush surroundings.
I was drawn to this particular house because of the location, outdoor terrace, and firepit that overlooked the Pacific Ocean. I also appreciated the open kitchen since I knew we would spend a lot of time cooking.
This home currently is fully available to book.
Pros: There are a lot of indoor and outdoor seating options for large groups including a private terrace as well as an outdoor firepit. The home also has a bocce ball court and pool table.
Cons: Basic kitchenware and cooking supplies like a tea kettle, olive oil, and ground pepper were not included. The landscaping could have been better manicured and overall, the house can use some upkeep. The home is also located on the busy Pacific Coast Highway which made it hard to find and you do hear some traffic inside the house.
The best part of this home might just be the massive backyard filled with games like a sand volleyball court, shuffleboard, bocce ball, and a swim-up bar. Though, the views of the nearby vineyards are pretty spectacular, too. Be sure to try some of the best Cabernet Sauvignon that Paso Robles is known for.
Dubbed "The Mermaid," inside, this quirky home includes five bedrooms under high ceilings, a full bar area, statement lighting fixtures, arcade games, and a centerpiece fish tank designed by the team behind the HGTV show, "Tanked."
The management company notes they are taking extra care to follow CDC and WHO guidelines for travel during the pandemic, and availability is intermittent for summer, with wider available beginning in the fall.
Pros: The home is located on a slightly elevated mountain, which offers spectacular views during sunset. Wineries and restaurants are just a short 10-minute drive away.
Cons: The pool and hot tub are not heated and incur an extra charge to do so.