Luxe Vacation, Theme Week
Gwyneth Paltrow, Airbnb, Punta Mita, Mexico

airbnb, Getty

To anyone with a discerning eye, Instagram has looked a little different lately. Sure, there are still the requisite pictures of sunsets and green juices and the #captions full of #hashtags that don't #makeanysense. But among all the humble brags and engagement announcements, a new genre of photo has popped up. We're talking about the celebrity vacation post.

And more specifically, the celebrity vacation post that announces a stay at a luxury AirBnB. They've been popping up left and right over the past few months. For our part, we first noticed it with Gwyneth Paltrow. (No surprise there, of course, since the actress is always on the forefront of trends.) Back in January, GP enjoyed a luxury getaway in Punta Mita, Mexico with her two children and her latest beau Brad Falchuk, and she took to Instagram to gush about her digs. 

"AirBnB who knew??" she wrote alongside a pic of herself and Apple staring out at the seaside sunset. "Such a beautiful trip. Adios Vallarta. Hasta la proxima!"

Puzzler, we thought. We knew that Paltrow was a veritable Queen of traveling in style—we do read all the Goop guides, after all—but an AirBnB? Miss GP renting out somebody else's home? Sleeping in a bed that belongs to someone else, someone who is a mere mortal? (Well, not quite mortal, as this is a seaside Mexican villa we're talking about.) The wheels started spinning.

And then came Beyoncé. During this year's Super Bowl, she and her fabulous family put themselves up in a phenomenal San Francisco abode while she readied herself for the halftime performance of a lifetime (if we do say so ourselves). And she closed out the festivities with this 'gram, adding the caption "It was a Super weekend AirBnB." This was a hard pill to swallow.

We ourselves are hardcore AirBnB devotees, having all but sworn off hotels in locales from Palm Springs to Istanbul. Gwyneth, even, is slightly more game to try new things, what with her penchant for bizarre foods and frequent attendance at vagina spas. But Queen B? We never thought we'd see the day.

And from there the celeb vacation postings started showing up left and right. Selena Gomez went to Mexico. Kendall Jenner went to Malibu. Kourtney Kardashian (and her entire brood) went to Nantucket. There's even a rumor that when Emma Stone filmed Aloha in Hawaii, she opted to use the service to put her up for the duration of production. This thing is officially a major trend.

And while the simple fact that celebrities are getting hip to this service that we laypeople have been using for years now is interesting in and of itself, what's even more fascinating are the totally-out-of-this-world properties they're staying in. The average AirBnB renter might fight themselves booking a studio in New York for a trip with their boyfriend, say, or finding an adorable cottage in wine country with their girlfriends. These A-listers are staying in properties that even the producers of Million Dollar Listing couldn't dream up. These are mansions, villas, full-on compounds. There are guest houses and pool houses and marble counter tops and chandeliers and enough square footage to get lost for days. 

In short, they're listings that we didn't even know existed. Our first thought? There must be a celebrity mobile app extension; some way for your phone to know that you are not Selena Gomez and need to be shown the basement guest rooms instead of the palatial pads. But in reality, it seems to be a concerted effort from the folks at AirBnB to bring the level of luxury up about 10 notches. That's because, in the cases of many of these A-listers, AirBnB is offering the rentals right up to the stars—and they're often times complimentary, if you know what we mean.

Yep, this is yet another case of the freebies going to people who really need it, right?

In short, this convenient arrangement works in pretty much the same way that sponsored Instagram posts do: When celebrities promote products, everybody wins. (Everybody involved in the deal, of course; those of us not getting press for our luxury rental service or a free luxury rental service certainly do not win.) You'll notice that when AirBnB is involved in facilitating these fabulous vacations, the stars make very sure to use very specific language attached to their inevitable Instagram post (Are you following our legal jargon yet?)

Take Kendall Jenner; she captioned hers, "The 4th in Malibu thanks to @airbnb." Or Kourtney Kardashian, who wrote "Missing Nantucket! Thank you @airbnb for the gift of this unforgettable vacation!"

Once you read between the lines, it couldn't be any clearer.

Not that we're complaining, of course. Enticing celebrities with complementary stays in exchange for more press makes total business sense. More power to AirBnB for classing up the service, and more power to anybody who can get a free vacation! As long as this doesn't interfere with the availability of our favorite little cabin in the woods, this is a "the more, the merrier" situation.

And of course, there's always the option that we mortals could decide to splurge on a celeb-approved rental. Does pulling together $10,000 a night sound like something you wanna do? Then give this Paltrow-approved six-bedroom near the St. Regis Punta Mita a shot. It has an oceanside infinity pool and a yoga room. Or make like Bieber and Beyoncé and stay in what might be the biggest place in all of the San Francisco bay, complete with a game room and whatever "270 degree views" means. For those wanting something on the East Coast, the aforementioned Kardashian abode was fit for a Lord (Disick).

If you're looking to slum it a little bit more, then Kendall Jenner's Malibu home will do—despite being located directly on the water and having a hot tub, it's only $2,200 per night. And when you put it that way, it's downright affordable. AirBnBs for everybody!

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