There are plenty of ways to rent a luxury villa or apartment when you travel instead of a hotel and we’ve discussed a few of them on this blog. But what if you could do it without laying out tens of thousands of dollars on each vacation? What if you could just trade yours for theirs temporarily? That’s the idea behind Home Exchange Collection, a new extension of the HomeExchange.com service.
I’ve been a member of the normal offering for that company for years. We have traded our house for stays in several spots in Mexico and two states in the USA. We spent a whole month in Mazatlan last year without paying for one night of lodging. Because our Mexico home is in the system, in the coming year we will be putting out feelers to do exchanges in Asia and Europe as well on vacation trips where I’ll continue to work remotely.
Home Exchange Collection takes that up a level though, with a higher fee, a vetted approval process, and the removal of any listings that are not high-end properties. The minimum worth of any listing is $1.5 million to qualify, including live-aboard yachts.
If you sign up and put your luxury principle residence or vacation home into the listings, you’ll have access to other luxury homes around the world. It doesn’t have to be a simultaneous exchange either: you can do a non-simultaneous exchange on different weeks or use the company’s points system with credits and debits.
This is a members-only system for people who are all above a certain financial level, for those who own well-maintained, luxurious homes in desirable locations. From penthouses to beach homes to sprawling country villas, you have access to different lifestyles around the world without having to invest or allocate cash. You can use the asset that is sometimes sitting empty to open the door to luxury stays in other vacation spots. Or if you work remotely, you can take the laptop to a distant land with a change of scenery out the window.
There are already 300 homes in more than 35 different countries to choose from. Here are a few properties in Latin America that will give you an idea of what’s on offer.
San Miguel de Allende Mansion
San Miguel de Allende has ranked as the #1 city in the world in several glossy travel magazines. How about setting up a luxury exchange and staying there in style?
This stately Mediterranean-style hillside home is designed for comfortable indoor/outdoor living that takes full advantage of the eternal spring climate. Striking western views overlook the town of San Miguel, the lake, distant countryside, and the Sierra Madre mountains. Enjoy evening sunsets from the upstairs terrace : a large, roofed area used for dining and viewing with an outdoor sitting area and fireplace.
The lower terrace includes a 60-foot solar-heated lap pool within a large mature garden of bougainvillea, lemon and lime trees, hibiscus, tropical plants, and cypress trees. It also contains a hot tub and a comfortable sitting area centered around a Cantera fire table. A third adjacent terrace provides the setting for lounge chairs and a seating area sheltered by a large canopy of climbing white roses. The main four-bedroom villa can comfortably sleep eight and there are plenty of lounging and dining spaces. An additional guesthouse is comprised of two ensuite bedrooms, a living room/dining area, kitchen, and private terrace with commanding views.
A High-end Home in Tulum
There are plenty of hotels calling themselves luxury in Tulum but the reality of what you’re getting for $1,000 or more per night at times is often a different story. (Here are the 3 luxe Tulum hotels that live up to the hype.) You could skip that uncertainly by swapping or using points for this upscale home pictured above instead.
This beautiful three-bedroom, three-bathroom townhouse features modern decor with Mexican touches, two terraces, and a fabulous private plunge pool surrounded by nature. The kitchen is fully equipped to prepare any meals at home. The home is ideal for families with kids since there are two larger swimming pools available in the shared complex. As with most homes in Tulum it’s closer to town than the off-the-grid beach area, but that allows you to escape the congestion, the booming speakers, and the noisy generators at night.
Bogota, Colombia Luxury Penthouse Apartment
This three-story Penthouse in Bogota is a spacious 4,400 square feet. An open floor plan and hardwood floors throughout allow lots of light to emanate throughout the clean, modern, uncluttered space. With an excellent view, the main bedroom has a king bed, floor-to-ceiling windows, and a peaceful atmosphere. One bedroom is set up especially for kids. The kitchen, dining room, and living room are one large open space with views. The kitchen is fully equipped and has a large pantry, while the living room has a gas fireplace. The third floor’s family room has a large TV for streaming movies together.
A local farmers’ market takes place every Saturday morning right around the corner from the apartment. Every Sunday the Ciclovia allows traffic-free biking, rollerblading, or running along a long, closed-off route.
Stick Around in Style in Buenos Aires
Last time I was in Buenos Aires, I rented an apartment right around the corner from where apartment in the Home Exchange Collection is located and loved the neighborhood. Near the Alto Palermo shopping center, it’s an area filled with restaurants, coffee shops, gelato shops, and craft breweries. It’s on the edge of the Palermo neighborhood and not far from Recoleta.
This beautifully restored Parisian-style apartment features high ceilings with ornate plasterwork and wood detailing. Original Pinotea Norwegian wooden floors create a warm atmosphere. The home features an entrance hall, separate lounge and dining room, master bedroom with a luxury queen bed and a fully equipped ensuite bathroom with Jacuzzi bathtub and shower. A loft-style second bedroom has a half-bathroom. The designer kitchen is well-equipped for cooking meals when you don’t want to wait for the late Argentine restaurant dining hours.
What Is Included in the Program?
The fee to join the exclusive membership program of Home Exchange Collection is $1,000 per year. Many of these properties could easily rent for more than that for a single night. With that membership comes $2 million USD of property damage insurance for your own home, a 100% cancellation policy when needed, and up to $350 per night in coverage in case of cancellation or non-compliance by the owner.
There’s a 24/7 customer service line and you receive 1,250 guest points upon sign-up. The number of exchanges each year is unlimited.
For more information or to get started, head to the Home Exchange Collection site.