TRIPADVISOR UNLOCKS THE DOOR TO THE WORLD’S QUIRKIEST VACATION RENTALS

DOME ECILE in St. George Island, Florida, Takes Quirky Crown in Top Ten List

TripAdvisor Survey Reveals More Travelers Likely to Stay at Vacation Rentals in 2010 and Southeast is Most Popular U.S. Region

NEWTON, Mass. — February 5, 2010 —/PRNewswire/ — TripAdvisor®, the world’s most popular and largest travel community, today announced its list of the ten quirkiest vacation rentals around the world according to TripAdvisor editors. In addition, the site released the results of its 2010 vacation rentals survey of more than 1,000 U.S. respondents. Sixty-eight percent of travelers are either planning or considering a stay at a vacation rental in 2010, indicating an increase in interest from the 52 percent of past renters who said they stayed at a rental home in 2009. Eighty-eight percent of travelers said they would choose a vacation rental over a hotel if it was a better value.

Opening the Door to Vacation Rental Deals
Travelers have been taking to their keyboards over the month of January to begin planning their 2010 vacation rental stays. Search volume on TripAdvisor’s vacation rentals listings is up 123 percent month-over-month from December 2009 to January 2010, indicating an increased interest in rentals for the new year.

Bring on the Sunshine
Of the travelers planning to stay at a vacation rental this year, 53 percent said they are planning their trips for the summer months, followed by 34 percent for the winter, 29 percent for the spring, and 26 percent for the fall. More travelers are planning to stay at a vacation rental in the Southeast than any other region, according to the survey. The Northeast and Southwest were next in popularity, coming in second and third place, respectively.

Top 10 Quirkiest Vacation Rentals Around the World According to TripAdvisor Editors:


1. DOME ECILE, St. George Island, Florida

Weekly Rate Range: $765 - $950

A geometrical wonder, DOME ECILE not only is a sight in and of itself, but it also sports beautiful beach views. One TripAdvisor traveler says, “All of my kids were excited to be staying on the beach, in a house like no other.”

2. Calypso Castle, Skopelos, Greece

Weekly Rate Range: $1,445 - $3,636

Complete with a stone tower and gorgeous views, Calypso Castle is a great rental home for travelers looking for a royal retreat. One TripAdvisor traveler raves about the “beautiful view” and “island” of Skopelos.

3. Unique Hilltop Windmill Rental, Odemira, Portugal

Weekly Rate Range: $526 - $756

Only in Portugal can you rent your own windmill-inspired house on top of its own mini-mountain for under $800 per week. As one TripAdvisor traveler puts it, “The Mill on the hill is rustic, homely, cozy and down to earth — just the way it should be!”

4. 1926 C&O Caboose, Natural Bridge, Virginia

Weekly Rate: $900

Put on your conductor's hat and all aboard this bright red vacation rental constructed out of a classic railcar. One TripAdvisor traveler gushes, "I highly recommend the Caboose for anyone, especially train buffs."

5. Chalet Tropical Crazy Cottages, Las Galeras, Dominican Republic

Weekly Rate Range: $367 - $798

While this rental may look like a giant, thatched hut from the outside, it’s spacious and stocked with all the comforts of home on the inside. It’s also a short walk from the beach and the village of Las Galeras.

6. The White Elephant Floating Inn, Boston, Massachusetts

Weekly Rate Range: $1,675 - $2,200

For travelers looking to relive history and have their own Boston Tea Party, The White Elephant Floating Inn in Boston may be the perfect place to stay. One TripAdvisor traveler notes, “It was such a comfortable and unique way to spend two beautiful days together AND be on the water with a Boston skyline!”

7. ModernCottage, Vancouver, Canada

Weekly Rate Range: $1,323 - $1,654

Sprouting up from among the trees overlooking Pender Harbor, this modern architectural marvel has the look of a giant wooden box resting on a steep hill. It comes complete with chic décor and great views of the surrounding wilderness.

8. Elk Run, Crested Butte, Colorado

Weekly Rate Range: $2,550 - $6,662

Say hello to the “not-so-little” house on the prairie, offering enough space to sleep 12 and access to over 800 acres of land for hiking, biking, fishing and snowmobiling. One TripAdvisor traveler raves, “This rental was our very best over a period of 30 years of renting.”

9. Anna Maria Island Private Tropical Garden Home, Holmes Beach, Florida

Weekly Rate Range: $1,399 - $2,599

With a tropical garden and waterfall pool right in its backyard, travelers staying at this rental may not find many reasons to leave “home” during their vacation. As one TripAdvisor traveler puts it, “Our island oasis was every bit as advertised. It was tough just to leave the backyard paradise to run out for replenishments.”

10. 18’x86’ Houseboat for Weekend Rentals, Knoxville, Tennessee

Nightly Rate: $900

For travelers with strong sea legs, the 18’x86’ Houseboat offers not only a unique vacation rental experience but also plenty of amenities, including an upper deck hot tub, two entertainment bars and a gas grill with eight burners.

Additional Vacation Rentals Survey Findings

  • Twenty-five percent of respondents said they usually book their rental home more than six months out, while 28 percent typically book three to six months in advance.
  • Thirty-two percent of travelers said their favorite feature of rental homes is that they sleep more people, followed by 22 percent who cited access to common areas and 17 percent who said they enjoy the ability to have homemade meals with their travel companions.
  • Twenty-nine percent of respondents said they either always or often stay at the same vacation rental year after year.
  • Thirty percent of travelers think that on average, the vacation rental homes they stay at are nicer than their actual homes.
  • Forty-nine percent of respondents said their main concern about staying at a vacation rental is that it will not be as advertised.

“From castles to railcars to thatched huts, there really is a rental home out there for everyone's tastes and needs," said Bryan Saltzburg, general manager of new initiatives at TripAdvisor. "Our list of the quirkiest vacation rentals on TripAdvisor showcases the broad range of properties available. Where you stay really can be one of the highlights of your trip.”

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*Source: comScore Media Metrix, July 2009