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Sonder offers long- and short-term vacation rentals with hotel-like amenities — here's what it was like to stay at one during COVID

Business Insider Logo By ehochberg@businessinsider.com (Leila Najafi) of Business Insider | Slide 1 of 16: When you buy through our links, we may earn money from our affiliate partners. Learn more.While experts view vacation rentals as the safest lodging option during COVID-19, others miss the added luxuries of a hotel stay.For those that want to limit encounters with other people while still enjoying the perks of a hotel, Sonder offers a compelling in-between option.Sonder includes over 5,000 furnished apartments worldwide with 24/7 concierge support, contactless check-in, and professional housekeeping that meets strict COVID-19 standards. I booked a Sonder Modern Studio + Balcony unit in San Diego for a weekend night for $143 that came to $225 once cleaning fees and taxes were added.Rates vary per city and number of bedrooms, but the average nightly rate is $189 per night. Read more: Is travel safe? We interviewed experts on risks associated with flying, booking hotels or Airbnbs, renting cars, and more.Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic began, I've been very selective with the accommodations I'm willing to stay in during my travels.And as a travel writer, I've generally looked for hotels with stringent COVID policies or private vacation rentals where I don't have to worry about coming in contact with other travelers. In the early days of quarantine, I felt confident in a Malibu staycation through Homes & Villas by Marriott.But this time, since I was traveling with just one friend, I didn't need something quite as large. Still wary of large hotels, I came across Sonder.For those unfamiliar, Sonder runs and rents large blocks of units or floors inside existing high-end apartment buildings in 39 major cities around the world. They operate over 5,000 furnished apartments and typically convert specific units into chic, furnished rentals that feel far homier than many cookie-cutter hotels, while providing many of the perks and amenities of a hotel that are missing in vacation rentals. Additionally, unlike many Airbnbs or vacation rentals, every apartment is designed specifically for hosting vacationers, rather than doubling as someone's home with personal effects scattered around. Each listing is highly curated and well designed. Sonder also offers 24/7 concierge service, housekeeping, and perks like gyms, rooftops, or pools in some buildings. And while units are still in shared buildings, check-in is contactless with strict cleaning procedures in place, making it a good option for travelers seeking for a high-end stay, but who aren't quite ready to sleep in a hotel yet.There are many similarly curated vacation rental companies available, like Domio, Lyric, and Locale. However, I was swayed by Sonder for a San Diego weekend thanks to the offerings mentioned above, in addition to their flexible cancellation policy.When I searched through listings on Sonder's website, the units ranged from cozy studios to more upscale one- and two-bedroom loft-style apartments. However, since I was booking a room fairly last minute, there weren't a lot of one-bedroom options available. I ended up booking a studio unit with a balcony for $143, that came to $225 once tax and a hefty $75 cleaning fee factored in. It was housed in a luxury, high-rise building in Little Italy that's less touristy than Gaslamp Quarter or Downtown San Diego. These apartments are designed to feel warm and inviting and come equipped with everything needed to feel at home. While I only stayed for a weekend, Sonder is currently offering a discount for longer stays, from 35 percent off week-long stays to 45 percent off stays of 30 or more nights. After staying here, I think it's a worthy choice for those looking for more flexible accommodations to fit our new remote, work-from-home lifestyle.The first impressionThe roomOn-site amenitiesWhat's nearbyWhat you need to knowCOVID-19 policiesThe bottom lineBook a Sonder unit starting at $143 per nightKeep reading to see why I was so impressed by Sonder.Read the original article on Business Insider

Sonder offers long- and short-term vacation rentals with hotel-like amenities — here's what it was like to stay at one during COVID

When you buy through our links, we may earn money from our affiliate partners. Learn more.

Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic began, I've been very selective with the accommodations I'm willing to stay in during my travels.

And as a travel writer, I've generally looked for hotels with stringent COVID policies or private vacation rentals where I don't have to worry about coming in contact with other travelers. In the early days of quarantine, I felt confident in a Malibu staycation through Homes & Villas by Marriott.

But this time, since I was traveling with just one friend, I didn't need something quite as large. Still wary of large hotels, I came across Sonder.

For those unfamiliar, Sonder runs and rents large blocks of units or floors inside existing high-end apartment buildings in 39 major cities around the world. They operate over 5,000 furnished apartments and typically convert specific units into chic, furnished rentals that feel far homier than many cookie-cutter hotels, while providing many of the perks and amenities of a hotel that are missing in vacation rentals. 

Additionally, unlike many Airbnbs or vacation rentals, every apartment is designed specifically for hosting vacationers, rather than doubling as someone's home with personal effects scattered around. Each listing is highly curated and well designed. 

Sonder also offers 24/7 concierge service, housekeeping, and perks like gyms, rooftops, or pools in some buildings. And while units are still in shared buildings, check-in is contactless with strict cleaning procedures in place, making it a good option for travelers seeking for a high-end stay, but who aren't quite ready to sleep in a hotel yet.

There are many similarly curated vacation rental companies available, like Domio, Lyric, and Locale. However, I was swayed by Sonder for a San Diego weekend thanks to the offerings mentioned above, in addition to their flexible cancellation policy.

When I searched through listings on Sonder's website, the units ranged from cozy studios to more upscale one- and two-bedroom loft-style apartments. However, since I was booking a room fairly last minute, there weren't a lot of one-bedroom options available. I ended up booking a studio unit with a balcony for $143, that came to $225 once tax and a hefty $75 cleaning fee factored in. It was housed in a luxury, high-rise building in Little Italy that's less touristy than Gaslamp Quarter or Downtown San Diego. 

These apartments are designed to feel warm and inviting and come equipped with everything needed to feel at home. While I only stayed for a weekend, Sonder is currently offering a discount for longer stays, from 35 percent off week-long stays to 45 percent off stays of 30 or more nights. After staying here, I think it's a worthy choice for those looking for more flexible accommodations to fit our new remote, work-from-home lifestyle.

Keep reading to see why I was so impressed by Sonder.

Read the original article on Business Insider
© Leila Najafi/Business Insider

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