Unwanted Japanese fame aside, I'm all about renting apartments when I travel. It's less expensive than a hotel and I get a much better sense of a place when I pretend to live there. (Uh, take-out anyone?) Besides, I have a short-term rental apartment so I consider this research and development.
Hahahaaa. As if.
Anyway, in my travels I've used Arbnb, VRBO, Homeaway, and private rental companies but this time I went with One Fine Stay, a new company letting homes and apartments in London, Paris, New York, and Los Angeles. I was impressed by the way they present properties, their styling and photography.
My spouse was there for work (officially) and this lovely little studio apartment in the middle of swank Chelsea is where we "lived". The flat is small but charming and was perfect for two. The wee kitchen is a converted closet but has a window, an under-counter fridge, a two burner stove and even a half-sized dishwasher. (No dishwashers in Japan, so this was decadent.)
The bathroom was luxurious, considering my Japanese bathroom is utter utilitarian sadness. (I hate it.)
One Fine Stay is still a young company, and our stay wasn't entirely problem-free but overall the flat was comfortable and the staff was responsive (if sometimes slow) to our requests. A staff member meets you there to get you set up and they even give you an iPhone, a major advantage when navigating a foreign city.
Maybe it was the time of year or global warming or the influx of Russian gangster money or being surrounded by the English language again but London was just what we needed. It was a smashing holiday and now I cannot wait to go back.