Trip Advisor recently announced a list of the Top High-End Vacation Rental Properties in the World. What does it take to head the list?

  • A great locale
  • Spectacular views
  • Gorgeous architecture and furnishings
  • Posh amenities
  • A wonderful host

Can you guess the location of the No. 1 property pictured above? Make the jump to check your answer, learn more about it and catch a link to the entire list of high-end rental venues TripAdvisor declares the world’s best:  (more…)

 

Marathon - View 1

There’s nothing seemingly historic about this duplex penthouse on the 13th and 14th floors of Marathon House, a modern-ish high-rise in London (Map).  Thankfully for someone who loves big views, modern buildings are not the issue in London that it can be in Paris where old almost always beats new.

For those not familiar with Marylebone (pronounced Marla-bone), it’s just north of Mayfair and borders the 410-acre Regent’s Park.  It’s highly residential and lighter on tourists. But as you can see, it’s still quite close to the action. The tall light slightly left is the Shard while slightly right you can see the arc of the London Eye Ferris wheel.  Truly, London is at your feet.

This 4,079-square-foot apartment has four bedrooms and four bathrooms. It’s listed with Simon Tollit and Hannah McDougall of Sotheby’s International Realty for £7,950 million ($9,857 million) which works out to $2,417 per square foot.

I say you’re Sherlock’s neighbor because the closest underground station is Baker Street, which, as fans will recall, is the street Mr. Holmes fictionally lived on … number 221B to be exact. It’s also just down the road from Euston Station, the home of Eurostar where Sharon Quist of Dave Perry-Miller and I alighted from a train to see this beauty (Brits don’t “hop off”).

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Arc Small 1

Living in Paris is a dream for many people, but a dream financially unattainable.  It may also be that the vagaries of foreign property ownership and the added wrinkle of currency fluctuations are simply not for you.  I mean, while a property may appreciate, if the currency tumbles, appreciation can quickly turn to loss.  For example, in late 2008 the Euro was pushing $1.60. Today it’s nearer $1.05 … essentially erasing a third of its value in nine years.  As recently as the autumn of 2014, the Euro was hovering around $1.40, making for a precipitous loss is a short time … simply from currency. I can tell you that any Parisian market gains in no way offset the currency declines.

You want a second home, not a tax write-off.

Rent.

While I was in Paris last month, I had a perfect confluence of the stars.  CandysDirt.com friend and HGTV hostess Adrian Leeds was on hand to give a sampling of rental units. Also scoping out the market was Dave Perry-Miller agent Sharon Quist who was in town with a friend selling her Paris home.

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Sienna - Exterior Glamor 1

Often we feature homes and apartments intended as getaways, but what about a destination that challenges how we live our lives?  Sure, some fabulously wealthy person could purchase a property like this and simply add it to their portfolio, but the real tug for the rest of us comes from utilizing a property like this as a springboard to alter your life.  You’d still need some serious money or a willing bank, but this property offers a vastly different lifestyle.

Let me explain.  This 12th century fortress compound encompasses 154,139 square feet of interior living space that includes 110 bedrooms, 100 bathrooms, four swimming pools, a chapel, and two fishing lakes (feel free to re-read that). Along with the castle, there are 1,594 acres of rolling farmland of which only a speck is being used for wine grapes and olives.

See what I mean?  This property could change your life in many ways.

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A view you could sell tickets to see

A view you could sell tickets to

I hadn’t even got on the plane and this Florence villa captivated me.  Is it any wonder when this is the view from the home’s back deck?  Perfectly situated to frame the ancient city of Florence, this home could be a dump and still there’d be this.  Of course it’s no dump …

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Clotilde View 1

Often in Paris, discoveries are made by chance. Out for a walk one evening, up Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, I happened upon one of the Sotheby’s offices and peered into the window (as you do).  I was struck by this photograph, snapped a picture to remind me to follow-up when the office was open.

As if the picture didn’t tip it off, I have quite nice taste.  I mean, who reading this wouldn’t count their lucky stars to be standing here with a glass of champagne in their hand?

The Left Bank property on Rue Casimir Périer in the 7th Arrondissement, is on the upper floor of a vintage building across from the pictured Basilique Sainte-Clotilde, in all its Notre Dame-esque gothic-ness. The apartment’s nine rooms are listed with Véronique Prévost and includes six bedrooms with five bathrooms. The apartment is on two floors with the main public rooms and master suite on the sixth floor while the remainder of the bedrooms are on the fifth along with an office/bedroom.  The whole property covers 2,690 square feet (250 square meters) and is listed for a pinch more than $5.26 million or4.9 million … that’s $1,957 per square foot.

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Kelly Nyfeler

A second home on the coast of France? It may sound out of reach for most of us, but, believe it or not, it’s actually not that much of stretch in certain areas not as well known as say, Nice, Cannes, or Saint-Tropez. Kelly Nyfeler, the director of sales for the Uptown Dallas office of Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty recently purchased a vacation home in the French coastal city of Narbonne for under $600,000. The stylishly decorated three-bedroom townhouse with a saltwater pool and modern kitchen and bathrooms is located in Narbonne, a bit of a foodie mecca near beautiful beaches, vineyards, and ancient historic structures.  You can experience it firsthand, too, as the house may be privately rented via Airbnb.  Here are details:

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Jitters over terrorist attacks, immigration strife, and economic instability due to Brexit seem to have put some European real estate investment property on shaky ground lately, but there are bright spots, too.

Kate Everett-Allen, head of international research at Knight Frank names Berlin and Munich on a short list of standout European performers with  price growth rates of 9 percent and 12 percent, respectively, in 2015. You can find those figures and a lot more in the real estate investment advisory firm’s 2016 Wealth Report.

Germany’s capital, Berlin, where real estate values have doubled since 2007, is a case in point:  The growing city is an important center for high-tech, creative, and media industries.  Rubina Real Estate experts note that Berlin is a gateway to Central and Eastern Europe, has a well-developed telecommunications infrastructure, and a well-educated population of 3.5 million that skews young. The city continues to draw new businesses eager to appeal to young professional talent attracted to its progressive vibe and amenities. The demographic between the age of 25 and 30 is growing at the fastest rate.

“Berlin was a very prosperous city with lots of cultural happenings and great architecture until the downfall of Hitler,” said German-born Bernadette Schaeffler, owner of the Bernadette Schaeffler Collection luxury home furnishings showroom in the Dallas Design District. “During the Cold War, it somehow slept like Sleeping Beauty. Since the reunification, people built on top of it. Parts of Berlin are historical, other parts extremely modern. Berlin is cosmopolitan, multicultural, and American friendly.  There’s a big expat population — they all feel at home. In general, the cost of living is lower, and rents affordable; that said, real estate prices are going up.”

Along with growth, reasons that analysts say Berlin and other major German cities stand out as  investment opportunities are undervalued property values relative to cities such as London and Paris, the strength of the German economy, a housing shortage, and the trajectory of rising prices tipping a purchasing trend, especially in light of low interest returns as an alternative investment.

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