The golden age of Airbnb may soon be over. While this may disappoint travelers looking for a deal and quasi-entrepreneurs who think they’ve found the golden ticket to a quick dollar, this platform has made landlords, communities and lawmakers quite incensed. Local laws have passed in various municipalities pulling the plug and making it difficult for Airbnb to operate as the free-for-all it once did.
In March 2019, the startup lost a major battle in the city of Santa Monica, California by failing to strike down a law that makes short-term rental platforms liable for illegal housing.
But, that’s not the only issue. In the same month, reports surfaced about hidden cameras and other security issues discovered in Airbrb properties. All of these things not only make the platform less attractive to the userbase, but also create a barrier for people who are unqualified to operate their homes and other properties as a business.
However, none of this changes the fact that there is still a need for alternatives to hotels and corporate apartments. Working remotely is becoming the norm and as the world becomes more mobile, so does the demand for legitimate short-term rentals.
In 2012, real estate developer Tony Diamond came up with the idea for StayTony when the traditional apartment building he owned in Hollywood, California wasn’t quite producing the income he anticipated. Vacancies were up and rents were down. “I had to pivot to survive so I turned the building into a corporate apartment building,” he says, “but one that looked and felt more like a boutique hotel.”
While there isn’t a shortage of corporate apartments, most of what’s available is very basic in terms of design. “I see the four white walls of a living room as a blank canvas with endless artistic possibilities. I believe the majority of corporate apartment operators see the same living room as a box in which to stuff furniture and operate a business,” says Diamond.
Short-Term For The Long-Term
Many of the people who stay in Diamond’s properties are coming off a negative experience with Airbnb. “They are tired of playing Russian Roulette when they turn the key and enter the apartment they’ve rented for the first time,” he explains.
StayTony combines the personal touches of an Airbnb with the luxury of a boutique hotel, and the convenience of corporate housing. Diamond’s business is also entirely legal. There are no surprises. He also says in all his years of business, he has never had a complaint.
The company’s policies also vet out true tourists, essentially catering to a better crowd. The minimum stay required is one month, but the average stay is approximately three months. Diamond has however, seen even longer terms because he says, “more and more people are choosing fully furnished apartments as a lifestyle choice because they want flexibility and mobility.”
McCauley’s approach is to design each space to feel more like a home and less like a hotel. “Design’s primary limitation is functionality, says McCauley. “A hotel’s design has fewer boundaries since a guest will only be occupying a room for a few days and a guest is rarely in the room. With your home, you tend to live on your sofa so comfort comes above all. This is one of the challenges we face every day with StayTony, how much do we let function inhibit our design.”
McCauley starts creating each space by personally selecting hand-painted wallpaper from Porter Teleo and then designing around it. Every piece of furniture is 100% custom designed.
“There is so much thought and work that goes into our interior design all in the hope of creating a unique experience for our guests,” says Diamond. “For example in creating the credenzas for our new Hollywood location, we hand selected six different wood veneers to make up the geometric pattern of its façade. The look of the credenza is an homage to a vintage European deco rug.”
Each unit features all the amenities found in a corporate apartment or hotel including wireless Internet and flatscreen televisions. Diamond also doesn’t overlook the details by providing luxury linens, down comforters, wine glasses and even cloth napkins.
Location Is Everything
Because StayTony’s brand is upscale, it only makes sense the properties are in prime locations. The first StayTony building is in Hollywood near the bustling La Brea Avenue. There is also another building near Highland Avenue that will be open soon.
The Beverly Hills property is adjacent to the trendy SLS hotel, which is just minutes from West Hollywood’s restaurants, nightlife and shopping. It’s also close to Cedars Sinai hospital.
The New Hollywood
While all the current West Coast rentals are in smaller buildings, StayTony’s Atlanta property provides a more hotel-style experience. The building opened in 2017 and features a 24-hour concierge, full-service gym as well as a pool. All of the apartments have balconies and in-unit washers and dryers.
In recent years, Atlanta has become a major hub for filming movies and television shows. Turner, Tyler Perry and EUE/Screen Gems all have studios in the area. This property was developed by StayTony to appeal to and accommodate the entertainment industry.
Another interesting thing that makes StayTony unique is that they are about to launch a technology-enabled affordability platform. This platform will make StayTony the first short-term furnished, corporate housing company in the world to allow guests to finance their rentals for one to three months, interest-free and without a security deposit. It will cost only $167 to move in. This can be a game-changer for renters moving to a new city who may consider corporate housing until they can get their bearings.
In addition to launching this financing platform, they plan to develop more properties in cities throughout the country.
- Originally posted on Forbes