You Can Now Spend the Night in the Musée d’Orsay (Among Other Outrageous Places)

Airbnb has launched a new category called “Icons” for its most over-the-top stays and experiences (Prince’s “Purple Rain” house, anyone?). It also added a new feature to make booking group trips easier.

A bedroom inside Paris's Musée d'Orsay with a modern white and beige bed in front of a huge clock in a window

Starting on May 21, you can request to book this room at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris for a stay during the Paris Olympics.

Photo by Frederik Vercruysse/Airbnb

Welcome to a whole new world of imaginative Airbnb stays. At a press event in Los Angeles on May 1, the vacation rentals platform unveiled a new category of once-in-a-lifetime accommodations and experiences, which it’s calling “Icons.” These new listings—which formalize a program that has been in the works for a decade—span the worlds of music, film, television, art, and sports.

At the same time, Airbnb is making group bookings more seamless with three incremental features intended to steer travelers toward Airbnb—and away from hotels. Here’s what cofounder and CEO Brian Chesky and team have up their sleeves for 2024.

A private dining setup, with red table and chairs, at the Ferrari Museum in Maranello, Italy, one of Airbnn's new Icon listings

A private dining setup at the Ferrari Museum in Maranello, Italy, one of Airbnn’s new Icon listings.

Courtesy of Thomas Prior/Airbnb

The introduction of “Icons”

Nearly a decade ago, Chesky and cofounder Joe Gebbia first came up with the idea to have a listing for a night inside an Ikea furniture store. That was soon followed by a stay at the only Blockbuster remaining in the USA (in Bend, Oregon). Numerous other unique accommodation options have come and gone over the years. Most recently, Airbnb offered stays at Barbie’s Malibu DreamHouse, in celebration of the Greta Gerwig–directed, live-action Barbie film released in 2023. Now, 10 years later, Airbnb is introducing an entirely separate category, one that is intended to tap into nostalgia, sentimentality, and what Chesky calls “magical moments.”

“Icons take you inside worlds that only existed in your imagination—until now,” Chesky proclaimed. “We asked ourselves what if we took this magic to the next level and what if we made this made these experiences even bigger?”

Prince's Purple Rain house featuring a purple-lit bed with a guitar and stand nearby, eyes drawn on the wall behind the bed, and candles all around

Among the extravagant options are Prince’s “Purple Rain” house in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Courtesy of Eric Ogden/Airbnb

The first 11 Icons were introduced this week. Travelers may be most excited about an opportunity to stay overnight at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, complete with a bed in the art museum’s iconic clock room. From a rooftop terrace, lucky guests will be able to watch the Opening Ceremony of this summer’s Paris Olympic Games along the Seine River. And they will have private and exclusive access to the museum’s Impressionist art collection.

From a detailed re-creation of the house featured in Disney Pixar’s Up (yes, this one is also suspended in the sky thanks to a crane and 8,000 balloons) to an immersive night in the Ferrari Museum in Italy complete with a driver and race experience, there are ample opportunities to have an over-the-top stay or exclusive encounter. Following the first set of Icons introduced this week, Chesky said that another batch of experiences will be revealed later this summer.

A living area in Bollywood star Janhvi Kapoor's modern and airy home in Chennai, India, with wood walls and floor and white furniture

Live like a Bollywood star at Janhvi Kapoor’s dreamy oasis in Chennai, India.

Courtesy of Bikramjit Bose/Airbnb

Full list of Icons:

  • Watch the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games in Paris and stay overnight at the Musée d’Orsay (requests to book open on May 21).
  • Spend the night in the Ferrari Museum (requests to book open on May 6).
  • Stay in the home used to film Prince’s iconic movie Purple Rain in Minneapolis (experience coming in August 2024).
  • Enjoy Junior Wilderness Explorer adventures in the Up house (requests to book close on May 13).
  • Imagine the glamour of being a Bollywood star by staying at Janhvi Kapoor’s oasis in coastal India (requests to book open on May 12).
  • Experience a day in the life of X-Men at this mansion in New Castle, New York (requests to book close on May 13).
  • Have a private gaming experience in Milan, Italy, with TikTok star Khaby Lame (requests to book close on May 13).
  • Spend a week on tour with reggaeton star Feid (requests to book open on May 3).
  • Let comedian Kevin Hart be your host (experience coming in August 2024).
  • Create core memories with the Inside Out 2 crew (experience coming in June 2024).
  • Get a private show by rapper and songwriter Doja Cat (experience coming in October 2024).

All Icons are in their own category on the Airbnb homepage. While many Icons are free, all are priced under $100 per guest. A very limited number of slots are available for each Icon booking. After requesting to book these one-time experiences, the lucky guests who are selected to actually reserve them will receive a digital “golden ticket” from Airbnb. Each Icon will have its own countdown clock before golden tickets are released.

New group trip features

While the splashier portion of the May 1 event focused on Airbnb’s debut of Icons, for many travelers, perhaps the most practical (and useful) features that emerged were improved group booking functions.

“Our app was not designed for groups,” Chesky admitted at the beginning of the media event. He acknowledged that to date, the group booking process has been clunky. That has included everything from choosing the right accommodation to sharing trip details to communicating directly with a host. “We’re fixing all of this and I think we made group trips on Airbnb pretty delightful,” Chesky noted.

While “Wishlists,” a feature that allows travelers to create a named folder of saved homes, has been around for years, Airbnb is now making it easier to share with others. The new sharing functionality means each member of a group can now add notes and individually vote on listings when deciding which home to book within a Wishlist.

Additionally, once a group is created, everyone traveling in that group will now have one-click access to all essential reservation details: the full address, Wi-Fi password, and check-in instructions. Previously, the individual who booked the Airbnb would have to manually add each group member’s email address before receiving the information.

Finally, a new “Messages” tab consolidates communication so that guests—including other members of the group—can easily chat with the host in one thread. No group trip leader or single liaison is needed. In addition, reactions will allow guests and hosts to respond with emojis. These features are all live on the app now.

Chris Dong is a freelance travel writer and editor with a focus on timely travel trends, points and miles, hot new hotels, and all things that go (he’s a proud aviation geek and transit nerd).
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