Ever wanted to find the quality of a five-star boutique hotel, but with the comfort and space of an Airbnb? Enter HOTELette, the new vacation rental business changing the hospitality game.
Founded this summer by designer Allison Crawford, HOTELette is a curated collection of design-centric vacation rentals that bridges the gap between luxe hotels and homey Airbnbs.
“The idea of HOTELette is to have a boutique hotel for big groups, essentially,” explains Crawford. “When I’m traveling, I don’t want to stay in someone else’s house that has stuff in the refrigerator. I want it to be clean and feel like a five-star hotel, but also have something that can accommodate big groups.”
In the lead image: Sherwin-Williams “Extra White” wall paint
Apparently, Crawford is not the only one who felt this gap in the market: The first property, a four-bedroom East Nashville cottage, opened a couple of months ago, and has already been sold out for 15 weekends straight. And with an upcoming rental opening in Austin in the next few months, the business is rapidly expanding.
The idea behind the company is simple enough: Purchase a home and renovate it entirely. In the Nashville home, every square inch was painted, and the interior was updated to reflect both the architecture and feel of the surrounding city, as well as Crawford’s expert taste.
In this image: Farrow and Ball “Down Pipe” cabinet paint
That expert taste is one of the things that sets HOTELette apart from other vacation rental businesses. Armed with years of professional design experience, Crawford is able to find and create homes that perfectly blend the charm of the area with the eye of an interior designer.
“Another reason I started HOTELette was so that I could get free rein on the design. A lot of times when you work with clients, it’s a reflection of them. But these [homes] are really a reflection of me and my travels,” says Crawford.
In addition to her design background, Crawford’s penchant for travel is another thing distinguishing HOTELette. Having traveled extensively—she has visited all seven continents, and even climbed Mount Kilimanjaro—she uses her passion to develop homes in cities she would actually want to visit. All HOTELette cities will have walkability to bars, restaurants, and shops, and each rental will come with a carefully created city guide. For example, Crawford’s Nashville guide includes images and information regarding all the hottest spots around the city, therefore helping guests steer clear of the more touristy areas.
Her global travels have creeped into the design of the rentals, too. In the Nashville home, guests will find some Parisian-influenced decor—the result of Crawford’s recent trip to Paris—mixed with vintage artisan pieces and art sources from a Cuban market. The decor is eclectic without being too clashing, and this is something Crawford attributes to her background in design.
“I don’t really play by the rules, I just choose things that I love,” she says. “If you find pieces that speak to you, then it all comes together.”
One example of this? A pale pink sofa in the downstairs sitting room, which is paired with a retro-looking armchair, industrial pendant light, and contemporary coffee table. Yet, it all somehow still looks chic.
“When I bought that sofa, it was a horrible mustard yellow that hadn’t been updated since the ’70s,” says Crawford of what is now her favorite piece of the whole rental. “I painted the base and reupholstered it, and I just love how it matches the tile—you normally wouldn’t put something that bold with the tile, but I love it!”
Farrow and Ball “Down Pipe” wall paint
For now, HOTELette is US-based, and it’s slated to open two new rentals by the end of the year. But keep an eye out in the future, because Crawford is planning to go global.
“France would be mind-blowing—that’s kind of the dream right now, to get a little place in a small French country town,” she says.
Want to get more info on HOTELette, or rent out the Nashville home for your next vacation? Head to the website.
Photography by Catherine Truman