Plum Guide vs Airbnb: A Personal Plum Guide Review

Plum Guide vs Airbnb! My personal Plum Guide review of why this vacation rental platform has become my go-to choice when seeking out boutique places to stay.

If you’re planning a vacation or a short-term stay, finding the right accommodation can be a daunting task. With so many options available, it can be difficult to choose which platform to use.

For decades I used Homeaway, VRBO and 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.

In this article, I’ll be comparing Plum Guide and Airbnb to help you make an informed decision. While both platforms offer a wide variety of accommodations, they differ in terms of quality, selection, and overall experience.

Plum Guide, a relatively new player in the market, is now my #1 choice as they offer a curated selection of the world’s best homes.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on an affiliate link, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you decide to book. Please check out my privacy policy and disclosure for more information.

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.

Plum Guide believes it’s not about quantity it’s about quality.

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? 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.
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 rentals.

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. 

Who Will Plum Guide Appeal to the Most

white table and chairs with stone fireplace on plum guide review
Lord Lovat in London

If you’re familiar with my website and its content 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 upon Plum Guide which is now my go-to holiday home resource.

Plum Guide is likely to appeal to discerning travellers who:

  • are looking for a more personalized, boutique and upscale holiday rental experience. The platform caters to guests who prioritize quality over quantity and are willing to pay a premium for a unique and stylish home.
  • value design and aesthetics, as the platform only features properties that meet their strict design standards.
  • can expect a high level of service and attention to detail, which is especially appealing to those who want a hassle-free vacation.

What Makes Plum Guide Unique?

light white bedroom on best places to stay in paris
Purple Grape in Paris

Plum Guide goes above and beyond in providing handpicked and thoroughly vetted properties. 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. That means the property is guaranteed to meet the highest quality standards through a 500-data-point test.

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.

That means when you book a Plum Guide vacation rental, you can trust that every detail has been thoughtfully considered, from the design and comfort of the property to its location and amenities.

Where are the Plum Guide Properties Located

Plum Guide is a UK company founded in 2016 and launched properties in Europe in 2018 and has continued to grow and expand into other markets ever since.

Some of the top areas where you can find Plum Guide properties include:

  • UK: England, Scotland, Wales,
  • Europe: France, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Greece – with a lesser amount of properties in Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Germany, Netherlands
  • North America: US- California, Colorado, Miami, Florida, and New York with a select few in Canada
  • Asia: UAE, Thailand, Indonesia
  • Africa: South Africa

How Does The Plum Guide Booking Process Work?

The Plum Guide booking process is straightforward and user-friendly.

  • Search for homes by destination, travel dates, and number of guests.
  • Once a property is selected, you can view photos, read the Plum Guide reviews, and check availability before making a booking request.

Unlike other vacation rental platforms, Plum Guide does not offer instant booking, as each property requires approval from the host team before a booking is confirmed. This is usually within 24-48 hours.

  • Once a booking request is made, you can communicate with the host and the Plum Guide team through the platform to coordinate check-in details and any other requirements you might have.
  • The host will send you further details of your stay close to your check-in date, usually within 24-48 hours.

Plum Guide vs Airbnb

white beamed ceiling with neutral furnishings
Breadbasket in Tuscany

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 holiday rental properties.

They all look and operate the same way- how you search, how you communicate, and how you book- are 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 search within a matter of minutes and have found some amazing options. Why – they are all of the same calibre 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.  

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.

Plum Guide complaints relate to customer service wait times and last-minute cancellation bookings. Read each vacation property’s cancellation policy carefully as each has its own rules.  

⭐️ RATING: 4.3/5 Stars for Plum Guide

Compare this with Airbnb’s overall rating of 1.5 stars on Trust Pilot. This drastic decline in customer confidence 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.  

⭐️ RATING: 1.5/5 Stars for Airbnb | ⭐️ RATING: 3/5 Stars for VRBO

Pros and Cons of Plum Guide

The Pros:

  • High-quality homes: Plum Guide’s selection process ensures that guests have access to some of the most unique, stylish, and comfortable homes in various destinations around the world.
  • Personalized service: The platform’s focus on hospitality means that guests can expect a high level of service, from pre-booking inquiries to check-out and beyond.
  • Rigorous standards: Plum Guide’s team of hospitality experts personally visits and approves each property, ensuring that guests have a seamless and enjoyable stay.
  • Detailed descriptions: Each property listing includes detailed descriptions, photos, and reviews, giving guests a clear idea of what to expect before they arrive.
  • Flexibility: Plum Guide offers flexible cancellation policies and payment options, making it easy for guests to plan their trip with confidence.

The Cons:

  • Premium pricing: Plum Guide’s focus on quality means that their homes are often more expensive than other vacation rental platforms.
  • Limited selection: Plum Guide’s rigorous selection process means that they have a smaller selection of properties compared to other platforms.
  • No instant booking: Plum Guide requires approval from their team before a booking can be confirmed, which can delay the booking process for some guests.
  • Limited availability: Plum Guide may not have properties available in all destinations, making it less convenient for travellers who prefer to use a single platform for all their trips.

My Personal Experience Staying at Plum Guide Properties

Plum Guide Florence: Mostarda

table and chairs in plum guide vs airbnb apartment

As soon as I entered the Mostarda apartment in Florence, I was struck by the striking contrast between its modern, minimalist aesthetic and the seventeenth-century palazzo that housed it.

The living area was furnished with antique pieces and a comfortable mustard velvet couch, all illuminated by enormous arched windows that flooded the space with natural light. The double-height ceilings with original beams added a touch of grandeur, making the apartment feel even more special.

Although I didn’t use it, there was a quiet space on the mezzanine level to sit and relax after a long day of sightseeing. What I did love was the private sunshine yellow terrace off the bedroom – it was the perfect spot for laidback breakfasts and glasses of Chianti at dusk.

Just a minute’s walk from the building was Palazzo Strozzi, home to international contemporary exhibitions, and the famous Uffizi Gallery was only a five-minute walk away, where I could marvel at Renaissance masterpieces such as Botticelli’s Birth of Venus and Verrocchio and Leonardo’s Baptism of Christ.

 ✅ 1-bedroom | 1.5 bathrooms | 85 sq/m | ⭐️ VIP Services include: airport pick up, restaurant reservations, daily cleaning, cab booking, luggage storage

Check availability and prices

Plum Guide Rome: Sistine Ark

During my two-week stay in Rome, I had the pleasure of experiencing the Sistine Ark apartment by Plum Guide.

As an architect-designed space, the apartment boasts an industrial-chic aesthetic that is both stylish and functional. The minimalist light-bulb fittings added to the apartment’s modern feel, while repurposed cabinets and trunks offered ample storage for my belongings.

The faded tiling on the floor gave the apartment an aged, yet charming character. The comfortable bed was the centrepiece of the space, providing me with a restful night’s sleep.

The apartment offers daily cleaning, which was a welcomed touch, and its central location was perfect for exploring the city’s main attractions. Within just a short five-minute walk, I could reach Vatican City, while a stroll in the opposite direction led me to the beautiful Castel Sant’Angelo and Tiber River.

✅ 1-bedroom studio | 1 bathroom | 30 sq/m | ⭐️ VIP Services include: luggage storage, fridge fills, chef, restaurant reservations, tickets and experiences

Check availability and prices

Plum Guide Paris: Beaming Green

During one of my trips to Paris, I had the pleasure of staying at the Beaming Green apartment. This elegant apartment is a perfect mix of old-world charm and contemporary touches, creating a unique and welcoming atmosphere.

I loved the beautiful beams and charming Crittall windows making the mezzanine bedroom a cozy space for sleeping. This open-concept apartment is spacious with a full kitchen, dining and lounging space. Even the bathroom was large relative to Paris standards with a deep soaker tub.

The location was also ideal, situated in the charming Le Marais district and just a few steps from the lively Rue de Bretagne, where there were plenty of shops, restaurants, and cafes to explore. Despite being in the heart of the city, the apartment offered a peaceful retreat in a buzzing location.

✅ 1-bedroom in mezzanine | 1 bathroom | 46 sq/m | ⭐️ VIP Services include: luggage storage, fridge fills, daily cleaning | pet-friendly

Check availability and prices

Plum Guide Berlin: Mademoiselle Butterfly

When I chose to live in Berlin for three months, I knew I wanted to stay in a Plum Guide apartment. The Plum Guide customer service team played a crucial role in helping me arrange my three-month stay at the stylish Mademoiselle Butterfly.

It was love at first sight. Within just 10 seconds, I felt at home in this light, bright spacious apartment. The place was not only super stylish but also incredibly warm and welcoming. The high ceilings with original wood floors and mouldings were exactly what you’d expect in an 18th-century setting.

The balcony overlooks a lively street in Berlin, filled with energy. The neighbourhood’s location couldn’t be better, with numerous restaurants, art galleries, and top attractions within walking distance.

✅ 1-bedroom | 1 bathroom | 90 sq/m | ⭐️ VIP Services include: laundry, dry cleaning and daily cleaning | not pet-friendly

Check availability and prices

Plum Guide Canada: Mountain Modernism

curved wooden staircase up through the trees to hinterhouse airbnb

Nestled in the heart of Quebec’s Laurentian Mountains, this architecturally stunning cabin is the ultimate retreat for those seeking to disconnect from the busyness of their lives and immerse themselves in nature.

Designed with nature in mind, the cabin is constructed almost entirely from custom-milled white cedar, allowing it to blend seamlessly into its forested surroundings.

The interior is equally impressive. The Japanese-influenced minimalism and Scandinavian design elements create a sense of calm and connection with natural materials, while the 360° rotating wood stove provides unparalleled comfort and warmth.

Light floods the space all day long with the cabin made up of 60% glass. Unwind in the floor-to-ceiling windowed sauna overlooking the fog-filled forest before retiring for a peaceful night’s sleep.

This is one of four properties by hinter company – where I’ve stayed at all four properties.

✅ 2-bedroom | 1 bathroom | 91 sq/m | ⭐️ VIP Services include: chef, massage, | pet-friendly

Check availability and prices

Plum Guide Tuscany: Eighteenth Century Splendour

living room in villa at plum guide reviews

As a co-partner in a women-led company called Dream Retreats Europe, we host luxury retreats in Europe offering yoga and immersive cultural experiences.

Dream Retreats Europe is not your average retreat vacation. We stand out from the rest for many reasons, but most importantly our retreats are held in beautiful and luxurious spaces and places. 

There is only one choice for us. We only book with Plum Guide.

FAQs Plum Guide Review

Is Plum Guide legit?

Yes, Plum Guide is a legitimate vacation rental platform. Plum Guide has been featured in several reputable publications, including Forbes and Travel + Leisure, validating its legitimacy and reputation as a premium vacation rental platform.

Is it safe to book through Plum Guide?

Yes, it is safe to book through Plum Guide. The platform takes several measures to ensure the safety and security of its guests, including background checks on hosts and a secure payment system.

What happens if I need to cancel my booking on Plum Guide?

Plum Guide offers flexible cancellation policies, which vary depending on the property. Guests can view the cancellation policy for each property before making a booking request. Guests can request a refund through the platform if a cancellation is necessary, subject to the cancellation policy and any applicable fees.

Does Plum Guide offer any additional services or amenities?

Yes, Plum Guide offers several additional services and amenities to enhance guests’ stay, including airport transfers, private chefs, and housekeeping services. These services can be arranged through the platform and are subject to additional fees.

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. 

Next, check out my curated lists of Plum Guide properties for these locations:

And, if you want more trip-planning resources I have more recommendations for flights, car rentals, train travel and more.