We're huge fans of Airbnb, don't get us wrong. A personalized version of the traditional hotel, it allows you to live in and experience that city as a local would. But what's noticably lacking in the Airbnb accommodations is the personalized concierge service that one gets at a hotel. Sure, there's always homestays and bed and breakfasts, but somehow, having the owner (and total stranger) of that house stay there with you is equally unnerving as, say, staying at a hostel. So, where does one turn when they're looking for the perfect hybrid between home and hotel? Ex-wardrobe and prop stylist, Liz Klafeta, noticed the gap in the hospitality industry, and created Bangtel as the answer. Founded on the belief that people could feel more than "welcomed" in their home away from home, it's the "boutique Airbnb" of the industry.
Trendy and eclectic, no two stays with Bangtel are alike. With 11 different accommodation options in Chicago alone, The Playhouse — Liz's original 3-bedroom home — is at the top of the list. A hip, colorful hideaway in Chicago's Humboldt Park neighborhood, it's bright, totally Instagrammable, and perfect for that girls getaway or group retreat. If you’re into more of a “classic chic” vibe, you can’t go wrong with either Mr. Clark’s Penthouse or Gallery. Both are black and white with to-die-for design and detailing. Rounding out the north side of town is the baseball-inspired Dugout II. Just up the street from Wrigley Field, it has a backyard practically begging to host a playoff BBQ.
Liz describes that for a guest, “You're initially grabbed by the design, and you don’t realize that there is this whole concierge aspect, and that just elevates the whole experience. And that’s what keeps our guests coming back, because they know when they book with us they will always be personally taken care of.”
She isn't kidding. To date, there has never been a request Bangtel hasn’t been able to fulfill — and we’re not talking about simply making restaurant reservations or reserving a taxi for an evening out. Morning mimosa service, midnight grocery runs and in-home manicurists are all possibilities that wouldn't likely be available elsewhere. Liz and team customize stays based on likes and interests, meaning there’s always a possibility of sold-out ticket hookups, and “ins” at city hot spots. Hell, she's even arranged for a James Franco look-a-like to teach a pizza making class, or for a guest to literally adopt a puppy.
“People really like that the concierge is called ‘The Director of Possibilities,’ because for us really anything is possible.”
Luckily for us, Bangtel is expanding to cities outside of the Chicago area, with new Nashville, Manhattan and Mexico locations coming soon. If you're looking to squeeze in one last summer getaway, there's a secret stash of currently unlisted stays in the Hamptons, but shhh, you didn't hear it from us.
Even better, if you like what you see, you can take Bangtel home with you. Since Liz conceptualizes and designs every home herself, she knows where to get what, and has filled an online shop with all her goods. From personalized neon signs to the couch pillows and artwork, you can take inspiration from your retreat and pack it up as both the perfect design piece for home and souvenir of your stay.