Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 6 July 2020

Airbnb-style platform designed for women offers rentals in Dubai, New York and London

GoLightly connects female travellers with property owners in several destinations around the world

GoLightly connects female travellers with accommodation owners in cities around the world. Courtesy flickr / Daniel Max
GoLightly connects female travellers with accommodation owners in cities around the world. Courtesy flickr / Daniel Max

An invite-only Airbnb-style accommodation platform that connects female travellers with hosts has launched, with properties available in Dubai, London, New York and more.

GoLightly is a private members club that lets female travellers book a female-owned holiday rental. The site has several accommodation options available to rent, with everything from an Irish country mansion to a downtown Hollywood apartment.

As female-led travel continues to grow as a tourism trend, GoLightly joins a number of companies dedicated to women-only travel. This sector has seen an increase of 230 per cent in the last few years, according to a study by cruising specialist Condor Ferries.

A safe place to stay

GoLightly members can see how they are connected to travellers and accommodation hosts via a mutual connections feature.
GoLightly members can see how they are connected to travellers and accommodation hosts via a mutual connections feature.

GoLightly operates by approved membership only. Anyone wishing to join must submit an application form that will be carefully vetted before membership is approved.

This process helps to ensure secure travel experiences for women. Only those that pass the membership requirements can become part of the community. These members then have access to all of the site's property listings and profiles.

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Members can also see how they are connected to hosts or guests via a platform similar to LinkedIn's Mutual Connections feature.

The idea for GoLightly came after founder Victoria O'Connell's London vacation home was ransacked by an all-male rental party.

Nearly 50 per cent of women are more likely to stay in a female-owned rental, according to GoLightly. Yet, while the site is aimed at women, it does not exclude men.

Members must make all of the bookings on the site but "can choose to travel with whomever you wish: your boyfriend, partner, kids, girlfriends, grandma or neighbour Steve – even Betsy the pug is welcome in some homes!", according to GoLightly's website.

Curated accommodation

GoLightly offers luxury accommodation for several budgets. Properties are divided into sectors by destination or category, such as solo or family-friendly. Similar to Airbnb, there's the option to book an entire place or a private room in a property.

There are hundreds of listings on the site with everything from an eco-lodge surfing villa in Nicaragua to an authentic Colombian house in Cartagena.

A few exclusive listings in Dubai are registered on the site.These include two studio apartments with swimming pools where rates start from $100 (Dh388) per night.

Five places to stay

Interested travellers who successfully apply to GoLightly will be able to see all of the site's listings. Until then, here's a sneak peek at five properties on the site available for booking.

A nature-led villa in Texas

This unique building in the hills of west Austin represents nature. Its organic shape mimics the flow of the air, the curve of the wind and the rise and fall of nature's melody, according to the BloomHouse designers. Guests can expect flowing hallways, curvilinear details, rounded windows and furniture sourced from West Elm. Rates start from $550 (Dh2,019) per night.

North-side Chicago living

Members can stay at this airy two-bedroom open plan gallery apartment in Lincoln Park. Courtesy Bangtel / Facebook
Members can stay at this airy two-bedroom open plan gallery apartment in Lincoln Park. Courtesy Bangtel / Facebook

Despite its masculine name, Mr Clark's Gallery in Illinois is available to book via GoLightly. This airy 335-square-metre apartment has two bedrooms and a stylish open gallery vibe. Huge bay windows, hardwood floors and open fireplaces complete this Lincoln Park rental. It's also pet-friendly so you can bring your four-legged friend along. Rates start from $300 (Dh1,107) per night.

A converted convent in Italy

GoLightly members can stay at this women-owned former convent overlooking the Tuscan hills. 
GoLightly members can stay at this women-owned former convent overlooking the Tuscan hills. 

Groups of travellers might want to book a stay at this former convent in the hill town of Pitigliano in Tuscany. Part of a 16th-century compound that was designed by famed Renaissance architect Antonio San Gallo the Younger, it can sleep up to 11 guests. The house has seven bedrooms and bathrooms, outdoor dining terraces, and a tree-lined infinity pool with views over the Tuscan hills. Rates start from $1,527 (Dh5,607) per night.

Royal opulence in Malta

Travellers can book a private room in the Casa Rocca Piccola in Valletta, Malta.
Travellers can book a private room in the Casa Rocca Piccola in Valletta, Malta.

Several suites at the Casa Rocca Piccola, a beautiful palazzo in Valletta, are available to book on the site. This 16th-century building was originally constructed for Don Pietro la Rocca, a knight of Malta. Today, the building is primarily used as a private museum but GoLightly travellers can book to stay in one of its restored suites. All of the rooms come with brightly coloured walls, ornate furniture and lavish marble bathrooms. Rates start from $157 (Dh577) per night.

A country estate in Cork

GoLightly offers female travellers access to women-owned and managed rental homes like this Irish mansion. Courtesy Kieran McCarthy / www.kmcgraphics.com 
GoLightly offers female travellers access to women-owned and managed rental homes like this Irish mansion. Courtesy Kieran McCarthy / www.kmcgraphics.com 

Travellers looking for a taste of the high life can book an entire 18th-century Georgian mansion in the town of Youghal, County Cork. With 11 bedrooms and five bathrooms, it's the ideal place to stay if you're planning a luxurious group trip to Ireland. The renovated house in the most easterly town in Cork comes with sweeping Irish countryside views, Blackwater River access and more than 800 acres of private land to explore. Rates start from $5,300 (Dh19,464) per night.

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Updated: January 26, 2020 02:01 PM

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