Finding a luxury apartment to rent in any location in the world has never been easier. You just put the name of the city and the words 'rental apartment' into a search engine like Google and a long list of options will come up.
This works for cities big and small. AME Info recently found a five-star loft apartment in La Rochelle, a small city on the Western coast of France using this technique. It turned out to be the owner's own apartment, fitted out to his own exotic taste, but he was a luxury hotelier by trade.
Actually, choosing an apartment let part-time by the owner is often a good choice. We did the same thing in London this summer, and enjoyed a lovely garden flat with wireless internet connection in a nice location for about the cost of one night in a suite of similar size in a Hyde Park hotel.
Then there was the splendid apartment in a palazzo in central Florence with a fresco on the ceiling and a stylishly decorated interior.
All three of these choices were private individuals using the internet to find holiday tenants. But holiday letting agencies can also offer some great deals. The trick is to stick with older, established agencies in general that will have a long relationship with their clients and usually the better properties.
It is worth spending time online reviewing options. First, select a location. Then you can be quite fussy about what you are looking for. But be realistic about what you will pay. If something looks dirt cheap that is probably for a good reason.
A word of warning: do book a long way in advance. The best apartments tend to get booked up a long way ahead, and booking early is advisable to avoid disappointment.
Don't worry about paying a modest deposit, this is perfectly normal but in the case of an owner's apartment you might like to call them first to see if they sound honest.
After all, the owner is most likely keen to have you as a tenant, and will not have a business for long if he or she accepts deposits on non-existent properties. On the other hand, requests for credit card details should be turned down, unless with a reputable agency.
Of course, no accommodation is ever entirely perfect. You might need ear plugs to cope with noisy neighbours or find that the bathroom is a bit small. But by doing as much homework as possible before renting these problems can be kept to a minimum.
Before the days of the internet this kind of accommodation was much harder to find and book; now it is incredibly easy.
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