Airbnb Plus And Airbnb Beyond

No more sleeping on someone's living room couch

Ten years ago, Airbnb began with just two inflatable air mattresses on the floor of a San Francisco apartment. Today, the service offers 4.5 million listings in 81,000 cities around the world. That sheer volume can make it challenging to find the perfect place to lay your head, and—let's face it—not everyone wants to sleep on someone's living room couch. So in hopes of attracting more discriminating guests, Airbnb is launching several new tiers, including Airbnb Plus and Beyond by Airbnb.

Airbnb Plus homes go a step above by offering amenities you'd normally expect in a hotel, like filtered or bottled water, toiletries, an iron and a hair dryer. The new selection of accommodations recognizes hosts who go out of their way to provide outstanding hospitality, such as offering a welcome basket of goodies, a bottle of wine, a neighborhood guide or even the willingness to act as a personal concierge, making recommendations and reservations. Design is also a key factor—Plus homes are thoughtfully designed to express the owners' personalities. But perhaps most importantly, they go through a 100-point inspection to verify their quality, covering everything from having plenty of towels and pillows to strong water pressure and fast Wi-Fi. The new tier rolled out on February 22 and currently has 2,000 listings in 13 cities.

And then there's Beyond by Airbnb, the most luxurious option, which offers custom-designed, once-in-a-lifetime trips and launches later this spring. You'll stay in some of the world's finest homes with unique experiences and world-class hospitality. The glamorous teaser video shows châteaus and houses tucked into the jungle and overlooking the ocean. Want a private chef? A tour guide? A yoga instructor? The program aims to please—no sleeping bags required.  

Amy Sherman is a San Francisco-based writer and cookbook author who never says no to a warm doughnut. Follow her on Instagram at @cookingwithamy.