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Plum Guide Review: A Better Choice than Airbnb

If given the choice, I will always choose a vacation rental property over a hotel stay when I travel. For decades I used VRBO or One Fine Stay and then came Airbnb. Airbnb was a game-changer and we as travellers fell under their spell. But they are just not the same as they once were. Enter Plum Guide, an up-and-coming luxury vacation rental property company that is offering a better alternative and choice than Airbnb. Intrigued? Continue reading my Plum Guide review.  

What is Plum Guide?

Plum Guide is a custom-curated marketplace of vacation rentals. Simply, it means they have carefully scoured sites like Airbnb, VRBO and One Fine Stay to find only the very best properties. To them, it’s not about quantity it’s about quality. And that means a far better experience. Let’s face it, who has that kind of time to sift through endless amounts of properties only to find maybe one or two viable options? Definitely not me!

“Plum” or People Like You & Me is a company that stands behind its promise: 

  1. What you see is what you get due to their rigorous vetting process. More on that later. 
  2. You’ll never pay more as they perform a daily price match ensuring that prices on their website are the same or cheaper.
  3. They’re with you every step of the way with their amazing concierge services 24/7 throughout your stay. 

What makes Plum Guide stand out from the rest is that it offers only the best property rental. Each of the holiday homes is selected through a careful, expert-vetted process representing the top 3% of vacation rental sites. These luxury properties are not budget-friendly but are accessible across low, medium, and high price points. 

Plum Guide vs. Airbnb

Plum Guide, like Airbnb and VRBO, is a vacation rental website. They serve as a marketplace for property owners and travellers like you and me to book their holiday homes. They all look and operate the same way- how you search, how you communicate, and how you book- are all very similar. But that is where the similarities end. 

There are over 15,000,000 vacation homes listed online with Airbnb, VRBO, and others. Even for someone like me who loves to plan holidays, this can be overwhelming. There’s far too much choice and I spend hours, upon hours sifting through properties until I find the right one. It’s not that way with Plum Guide as they represent the top 3% of holiday homes. I can do a search within a matter of minutes and have found some amazing options. Why – they are all of the same caliber of design, ascetic, and amenities. 

Also, unlike the other booking sites where property owners leave it up to past guests to rate and review their property, that’s not how it works with Plum Guide. I don’t know about you, but can you ever really trust those ratings or reviews – good or bad? I can’t.  That’s where Plum Guide differs as they use actual science. The Plum Test determines what properties make for a perfect stay, and then only those make it onto their website.  

The Plum Test

So how rigorous is their vetting process you might wonder? It’s intense! First, they use 150 criteria that form what makes for a perfect stay. Everything from the atmosphere to the design to the service to the location. Properties that meet the wow factor are shortlisted and interviews are conducted next. A Plum team of experts only selects the top contenders who are nominated for the Plum Award, they refer to these properties as up-and-comer homes. They only award the prestigious Plum Award if a property wins over a Plum Guide guest and passes the Plum Home Test which is an independent Home Critic. 

Only 3% of homes in each destination win the prestigious Plum Award, making them the global quality standard for vacation homes. Plum Guide is considered the Michelin Star of vacation rental properties. So who doesn’t want to stay at this type of exclusive property? 

Plum Guide Properties

For those that know me and my content well, you know how much I love design and architecture. I have a discerning taste when it comes to accommodations and I don’t just stay anywhere. Finding amazing places to stay is kind of my thing and I’ve been known to plan my entire itinerary around finding the perfect place to stay. So you can only imagine the joy I felt when I stumbled onto the Plum Guide. They are now my go-to holiday home resource. So do you want to see a sample of some of their properties? OK, but I’m warning you, it might cause you to book a trip and go!  

Top Properties in the UK

Travelling to Bath or Brighton, Cotswolds or Cornwall, Devon or Dorset, and many others. And, of course, London. Here are a few of the properties I found:

  1. Georgian Courtyard in Bath – Jane Austen fans will fall in love with this elegant Georgian home with the loveliest courtyard   
  2. The Cowshed in Dorset – stay in this converted barn for a tranquil getaway 
  3. Repeating Patterns in Gloucestershire – lovely traditional farm cottage is full of charm inside and out  
  4. Pear Jam in London – this trendy modern apartment is in a converted old Lipton tea factory 
  5. Lord Lovat in London – all-white interior showcases original details of the fireplace, crown mouldings, and art collection
  6. Or, do your own UK search

Trip Planning Resources | check out my London content

Top Properties in Paris

If you’re travelling to Paris check out just some of these beautiful properties in some of the best areas in the city:

  1. Babylon & Bliss in Le Marais – modern and stylish vibes featuring a great art collection in every room of this 1-bedroom
  2. Sweet Amour in Montmartre – this 1-bedroom apartment oozes classic Parisian style with touches of modern
  3. The Lordly Rams in the 2nd arrondissement – this 2-bedroom sophisticated apartment is in the ideal chic Vivienne neighbourhood
  4. Lavender & Rose in 3rd arrondissement – this pretty, feminine 3-bedroom apartment in the heart of Le Marais
  5. Romance by the River in the 1st arrondissement – this 1-bedroom apartment is perfect for a romantic couple’s stay with views of the Seine river
  6. Or, do your own France search

Trip Planning Resources | Jump over to see all of my Paris content (oh, yes, there’s lots!)

Top Properties in Italy

Whether you are looking for a chic modern apartment in some of Italy’s top cities or a century-old villa with sweeping countryside views, here are a few of my favourites:

  1. Metal Fizz in Florence – this light, airy 1-bedroom loft dates back to the 1400s
  2. Barocco Charm in Rome – this 1-bedroom charmer has all original 17th-century features of beamed ceiling and stone walls
  3. Grey Gossamer in Rome – a 1-bedroom set in a historic building with a quiet terrace in the heart of the old city
  4. The Breadbasket in Tuscany – this 4-bedroom beautiful villa with a pool and sweeping countryside views
  5. Star-Sprinkled Skies in Tuscany – this 4-bedroom Italian villa is  a former farmhouse with a pool  
  6. Or, do your own Italy search here

Trip Planning Resources | Check out all of my Italy content

Top Properties in Spain & Portugal

Enjoy your sunny holiday in Spain or Portugal in one of these stunning properties.

  1. On the Lookout in Porto – this warm, relaxed 2-bedroom has a private rooftop terrace with impressive views
  2. Blue Creek in Lisbon – is a bright 2-bedroom with many balconies offering views of the city streets 
  3. Tide Hound in Lisbon – is a stylish studio in the Chiado-Baixia neighbourhood perfect for a solo or couple stay
  4. In the Terrarium in Madrid – 3-bedroom with glass terrarium balcony steps from a beautiful park
  5. Normaki in Barcelona – a 1-bedroom in the elegant Gracia barrio feels like a Japanese sanctuary 
  6. Under the Almond Trees in Majorca – a gorgeous 5-bedroom rustic stone villa with uninterrupted views 
  7. Or, do your own search for Spain and Portugal here

Trip Planning Resources | Check out my Spain content and Portugal content

Plum Guide Reviews

According to Trust Pilot, Plum Guide’s overall rating is 4.3 stars. 85% of the reviews on Plum Guide are 5 stars with very few negative comments. Negative comments related to customer service wait times and last-minute cancellation bookings. Read each vacation property’s cancellation policy carefully as each has its own rules.  

Compare this with Airbnb’s overall rating of 1.5 stars on Trust Pilot. This drastic decline in customer confidence has been over the last couple of years is due to rising costs, a saturation of properties, a lack of accountability of property owners, and not always a delivery as promised. VRBO fairs a little better with 3 stars.  

Plum Guide Locations

The downside of Plum Guide? Yes, there is one, and that’s they’re not everywhere. The locations of their quality vacation rental properties are primarily found in the UK and the top destinations in Europe – Paris, Italy, Greece, Spain, and Portugal. Although you will find a limited offering in other European countries like Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Germany, and the Netherlands. A recent addition is the United States with California, Colorado, Miami, Florida, and New York. And, in Canada, there are very few properties. 

As a holidaymaker…

It doesn’t take much convincing to see that Plum Guide is a better choice than Airbnb. If you love highly stylized holiday homes that offer amazing architecture and interior design then Plum Guide is the obvious choice. Book a stay in one of the world’s best homes. 

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