Airbnb Inc. guests will soon be able to book luxury suites in the heart of New York’s iconic Rockefeller Center.
The home-share titan is taking over 10 floors of 75 Rockefeller Plaza, with plans to convert them into 200 overnight apartment-style suites in a new partnership with RXR Realty, one of New York City’s largest real estate developers. The deal will create a “new category of urban lodging” in New York, the companies said in a joint statement.
The new Rockefeller suites will be individually curated and custom-designed, boasting views of iconic New York scenes. The idea is to combine “all the comforts of home” while providing guests a “curated, authentic NYC experience and sense of community typically reserved for locals,” Airbnb said.
Airbnb’s foray into luxury New York apartments comes as the company strives to reinvent itself from a scrappy home-share startup into an end-to-end travel platform, offering flights, accommodation and tourist experiences. Earlier this year, Airbnb agreed to buy HotelTonight — its biggest acquisition yet — in a move to increase hotel listings on the platform.
Airbnb and RXR are also exploring plans to shift short term rentals into other RXR properties, such as the 47 Hall Street project across from the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
This partnership could help Airbnb legitimize its presence in New York City, where it has faced stiff resistance from local government. New York has some of the strictest home-share rental laws in the U.S. In New York, it’s illegal to rent out an apartment for anything less than 30 days without the permanent tenant present. This means potentially as many as one third of the estimated 55,000 Airbnb listings in New York are illegal, according to the city and fair-housing advocates.