This booking site places a premium on gorgeous design and prime locations, and puts them both at your fingertips.
If you've ever dreamed of sleeping over in a Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece or exchanging your prewar fourth-floor walk-up for an off-grid glass house in the California desert, we've got good news. The website PlansMatter, a hub for design-savvy vacation rentals and hotels around the world, has curated a roster of properties to make even the most avid Architectural Digest subscriber drool.
Launched in 2013 by two friends from architecture school, the platform places a premium on good looks, great bones, and beautiful locations, from the most photographed house on Australia's Great Ocean Road to an underground villa in Switzerland with a facade that blends into the hills, reachable only via a tunnel that starts in an adjacent shed and burrows through the mountain. Of course, such cutting-edge properties come at a price, and while we can’t in good conscience recommend dropping $1,000 a night on a house in Topanga (stunning as it may be), the site does offer a few bargains for the budget-oriented architecture buff. These options may be a bit more rustic than their highbrow brethren, but they still provide the designer touches and modernist details of contemporary classics.
AN AWARD-WINNING LANDSCAPE IN MINNESOTA
Whitetail Woods Camper Cabins
$75 per night
You don’t normally associate a public park with AIA-award-winning design, but in Dakota County, Minnesota, that’s just what you’ll find. In the heart of Whitetail Woods Regional Park stand three ramp-accessible camper cabins, open year-round and surrounded by pine trees, hiking trails, and wildlife. The elevated structures give off a fancy treehouse vibe, with sleek cedar-clad interiors, floor-to-ceiling glass windows, heat, electricity, and wifi. Online reservations can be made 365 days out, and you’ll definitely want to book well in advance, especially for a weekend stay—Friday and Saturday nights get snapped up right away.
DESIGN-FORWARD HUTS WITH MOUNTAIN VIEWS
$145 per night
Nestled in an alpine meadow, the site of a former RV campground is now home to a “herd” of minimalist rolling wood-and-steel huts. Boasting unobstructed mountain vistas, these glass-fronted, shoebox-shaped structures have wood-burning fireplaces, heating and air conditioning, modest cork and plywood interiors, and covered decks for indoor-outdoor living. There’s wifi, but no indoor plumbing—each hut has a water faucet and a portable toilet outside, with communal showers and proper toilets located in a nearby barn, an inconvenience offset by the sheer beauty of the view.
A HISTORIC COTTAGE IN THE OZARKS
Heber Springs, AR
$199 per night
A juxtaposition of stone and sky in the Arkansas Ozarks, this E. Fay Jones-designed cottage earned a spot on the National Register of Historic Places in 2002, and it hasn’t lost its luster in the intervening years. With a cave-like lower level constructed from salvaged boulders, featuring stone walls, sofa bases, and a shower reminiscent of a grotto; a soaring, steel-and-glass main level with a 30-foot deck, a vintage kitchenette, air conditioning, and infrared heating; and an upper level with a sleeping loft overlooking the treetops, Stoneflower appears to spring fully formed from the rocky terrain below. It’s not at all child-proofed, though, so save this one for an adults-only getaway.