It’s the list you’ve all been waiting for: 10 of the homes that most inspired you to dream of travel during 2015.
When you search through the 66,000 Listings on HomeExchange.com, it’s hard not to fantasize. A lot. What would it be like to live in that Swiss chalet with views of the Alps? Or that Australian beachfront house within earshot of Pacific surf? Or that chic Manhattan apartment just steps from Lincoln Center and Central Park?
The pictures and descriptions of so many of the homes make you ache to hit the road and embrace discovery. They bring to life the excitement of cities like New York, Paris, Florence and Prague, as well as the calming effect of village retreats in Brazil or islands sanctuaries in the Mediterranean or Caribbean.
Here, then, are some of the HomeExchange Listings that received the most exchange inquiries in 2015. And turned fantasies into realities for a bunch of lucky exchangers.
The NYC fantasy: You’re in your light-filled apartment, calmly sipping home-brewed coffee while gazing out at a tree-lined Manhattan street. One block away is Lincoln Center; you’ve got evening opera tickets there. A short walk in the other direction is Central Park, where your kids are romping with your spouse. The elegant interior of your serene, luxury, two-bedroom hideaway is designer-decorated and has all the modern conveniences. Yes, you’ll eventually head to the building’s gym too, but for now you’re content contemplating which flowers will best complement the soothing color scheme.
The reality: This place exists! It was the most-solicited Listing in 2015, having received nearly 3,000 inquiries. And given several happy exchangers a unique New York getaway.
Turn fantasy to reality with our 1,000+ Listings in NYC area.
The Caribbean fantasy: Five minutes from your resort-based villa is a private white-sand beach with free sun beds and plenty of palm-tree shade. Just down the beach are restaurants and bars, and a dive center with which you’re planning more underwater adventures inspired by your first mind-blowing dive. You’re even contemplating a little golf on the course your terrace overlooks. Your kids are snoozing nearby on the sofas after exhausting themselves in the swimming pools and stalking iguanas in the tropical garden of your modern, Caribbean-style three-bedroom refuge.
The reality: This place is real, located on the hurricane-free island of Curaçao, which is accessible via direct flights from Europe, North America and South America.
Turn fantasy to reality with our 20 Listings in Curaçao.
The Alpine fantasy: You lay another log in the fireplace of your 300-year-old, green-shuttered, three-bedroom farmhouse. The cozy wood-dominated decor is all you imagined a Swiss mountain chalet would be, especially after last night’s blizzard turned your neighbors’ homes into scattered dots on a hillside blanket of snow. You can still imagine the expansive green meadows when the weather’s warm, as perfectly suited to seasonal hiking as to winter skiing. In your quiet high-elevation idyll, the only distractions are the mountain views, the lure of nearby ski lifts and the huge cowbell by the front door.
The reality: It’s not too good to be true! This home is in the isolated but accessible hinterlands of the Niedersimmental District west of Interlaken.
Turn fantasy to reality with our 700+ Listings in Switzerland.
The Sydney fantasy: Every morning, before your eyes completely adjust to the light, you’re never sure if you’re still dreaming. And then the 180-degree view of the Pacific Ocean makes you gasp. Again. But you’re (only!) a few hundred meters from the beach in Casa Bella, your architect-designed, four-bedroom, two-level home on a landmark peninsula an hour north of Sydney (where many of the rich and famous live). You know you’ll get to the city eventually, but what’s the hurry, right? You’re surrounded by spacious, agreeable, open-plan common areas, both inside and out, perfectly designed for relaxing alone and hosting friends.
The reality: Once you feast your eyes on this “house with the best view in the world,” the word “vista” will never mean the same thing again.
Turn fantasy to reality with our 2,400+ Listings in Australia.
The village fantasy: It’s 1964 and Brigitte Bardot has escaped from Rio to the calm of your fishing village. OK, OK, it’s 2016 and Bardot’s no longer around; but there’s no denying the appeal of João Fernandes Beach, alive with cavorting locals and visitors, just 150 meters from your well-furnished, five-bedroom condominium. At your slight elevation, you have a clear sunset view of the bay over the roofs of town, whose shops are an easy amble away. Even closer are the shade of a brilliant Flame tree and the private pool belonging to the nine-house condo complex. Oh, and the long, comfortable couches in the living room.
The reality: No dream at all, Armação dos Búzios is two hours north of Rio de Janeiro, near the tip of the Búzios Peninsula, notable for its endless skies and noiseless nights.
Turn fantasy to reality with our 500+ Listings in Brazil.
The island fantasy: Olive trees and an extensive stone terrace encircle your whitewashed villa. In their midst are the BBQ and bread/pizza oven, since this is a home built for the kind of outdoor living only possible with year-round temperate weather. When you must take shelter, the indoors of your three-bedroom, two-floor home — as sparkling white as the exterior — is fittingly comfortable and unpretentious. Wherever you sit, though, the view out to the town of Parikia, its bay and beaches (just 10 minutes away), and beyond that to the Aegean Sea is simply breathtaking.
The reality: Stop doubting! There really is a villa like this on the Greek island of Paros, an all-season jewel of the Cycladic archipelago.
Turn fantasy to reality with our 150 Listings in Greece.
The Florentine fantasy: Although the furnishings are antique and the decor includes original 18th-century ceiling frescoes, your very large (five-bedroom, 15-room!), light-filled, quiet and well-appointed house in the historic center of Florence comes fully equipped. Take, for example, the astounding walls of books in the living room and study. And the kid’s room stocked with toys. And the contemporary bathrooms. For a taste of the past, though, the view of the Palazzo Vecchio from the roof terrace takes you back in time. So, too, do your trips to the non-touristy daily market of Sant’Ambrogio and other nearby shops.
The reality: You can have your cake and eat it too. This fantastic home will put you in the heart of Florence, but in a uniquely Florentine part of town!
Turn fantasy to reality with our 2,800+ Listings in Italy.
The fit-for-royalty fantasy: Prince Charles has visited your home, escorted by the King of Sweden, to visit an accomplished conversion of a 19th-century stone stable into a modern four-bedroom residence. Not that they’d ever stay in a stable, but you must be doing something right! You do love the care taken and the attention to detail — from the open-plan living area, exposed beams, wooden cabinets, comfy kids’ rooms and loft beds to the stone-walled basement study. And who could find fault with the small garden patio set on a small, car-free, public square right in the center of the city?!
The reality: This is hardly a fiction! The 1874 structure is located on east Kungsholmen, in the middle of Stockholm. That’s a mere five minutes on foot from the central train station.
Turn fantasy to reality with our 900+ Listings in Sweden
The pied-à-terre fantasy: You think it’s time for a weekend trip to take in some street theater, gastronomy and striking architecture. Your Prague pied-à-terre is waiting for you, located within walking distance of the Old Town and all its incredible sights. The clean, modern, one-bedroom apartment is the perfect base of operations, all the more so given its huge roof terrace, which comes complete with a Jacuzzi. You may also need a vehicle for outings to more distant attractions. Fortunately, that too can be arranged!
The reality: An apartment and a convertible Peugeot 307 CC are there for you to use! The owner, who has worked as tour guide, can even point you in the right directions!
Turn fantasy to reality with our 150+ Listings in the Czech Republic.
The bohemian fantasy: It’s all about that romance with Paris. You’ve always had it bad. And now here you are in your quiet, two-bedroom loft — OK, you admit it, you called it your boudoir! — right on the slopes of Montmartre. The contemporary decor and chic feel of this spacious (especially for Paris), two-bedroom duplex only add to the sense of history that surrounds you. And the natural light, pouring through large ceiling windows, always buoys your mood. You can envision it as a former artist’s studio and can’t help but wonder what great works of art have been painted here.
The reality: Stop thinking it’s a dream! You don’t need a beret or easel to take in the best of Paris’ fabled 18th arrondissement, just minutes from the comfort of home.
Turn fantasy to reality with our 2,100+ Listings in Paris.