Katie Warren/Business Insider
- Sonder is an apartment-rental company that claims to combine the best parts of a hotel and a private home.
- It's one of several new hybrid companies like Lyric and Blueground that combine elements of hotels and apartment rentals.
- Unlike Airbnb, which is mainly made up of individuals renting out their homes, Sonder leases and manages its own rentals, which are licensed as hotels.
- Sonder has 9,000 properties in cities including New York, Chicago, Washington DC, San Diego, Austin, Miami, New Orleans, London, and Dubai.
- I recently stayed in a Sonder apartment in New York City, and the way it combined aspects of an apartment with hotel-like cleanliness and amenities made it an enjoyable and comfortable stay.
- But I also found that in order to take full advantage of a Sonder, you probably need more than one night to stay there.
- Editorial Note: Business Insider paid a discounted media rate for one night's stay in a Sonder apartment.
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In my travels - both personal and for work - I've stayed in countless Airbnbs and hotels.
I tend to prefer Airbnbs for their homeyness and often find that they have better value, but I've also encountered unwelcome surprises including unreachable hosts, strange odors, and in one case, an unbelievably loud cat whose meowing kept me up all night.
On the other hand, I often find staying in hotels to feel somewhat soulless and depressing, and I don't like not having access to a kitchen.
Sonder has 9,000 rental properties in 26 cities including New York, Chicago, Washington DC, San Diego, Austin, Miami, New Orleans, London, and Dubai. In contrast to Airbnb, which is mainly made up of individual owners listing their homes and apartments, Sonder leases, designs, furnishes, and manages its apartments.
Most of Sonder's units are hotel-licensed, meaning they must comply with hotel safety codes and pay hotel taxes, according to a spokesperson for the brand.
On a recent November evening, I spent the night at a Sonder apartment in New York City to see what it was all about. Here's what it was like.