Flying to a city with young kids is never fun, and staying in a hotel doesn’t exactly provide a light at the end of plane ride with a squirmy toddler. Even the roomiest suite can’t compare to an actual home, with a life-size fridge and real bedrooms. Airbnb is an alternative, but sifting through the family-friendly homes on the site takes time, and trust. Who’s to say it will actually be available when you arrive, or that a porn video wasn’t filmed on the couch? Better to go with Kid & Coe, a NYC-based home rental site that curates a list of family-friendly properties around the world, many stocked with toys for your kids to play with, and cribs and toddler beds that will make it easier to tuck them in.
The site launched last October with 50 apartments, homes and villas worldwide, and now offers over 300 to choose from, a number that rises weekly. They use a five-point checklist to accept a home into the Kid & Coe network, including location, cleanliness and amenities, whether that means a crib and high chair for your baby in Sydney or two bedrooms for you and your tween in the East Village. Nearly everyone on staff has kids, including founder and mom of two, Zoie Kingsbery Coe. She’s toured the world with her famous DJ husband, and began tiring of hotels once children entered the picture. Kid & Coe was the answer to her own desire for more kid-friendly lodging.
A glimpse at any of the homes in the network, including Coe’s London apartment where she splits her time with her family, gives you some sense of the kind of interiors that pass muster. While Coe says they’re not actively seeking homes that look as if they’re ripped out of design magazines, they do appreciate places that are stylish or charming. (“We’re not looking for a Mickey Mouse, Disney-plastered room,” she explained.) This elevates the average nightly fee you’ll spend at one of the homes in their network, but only if you compare it to a standard hotel room, and even then there are comparable deals. One two-bedroom in Paris goes for roughly $230 a night, and there are a number of pristine two-bedrooms in Brooklyn in the $300 range, the same you’d pay on Airbnb for a crappy apartment devoid of child gear. Registered users also get to access guides called “City Scouts” that share users’ favorite playgrounds, cafes, restaurants and attractions. Kid & Coe is still adding to the listings in many cities, but in places like New York they’ve got a motherlode of great suggestions—it’s worth registering just so you can see all the gems, like the Forbes Gallery or the Sony Wonder Tech Lab.
Like Airbnb, there is always the risk that a host won’t be able to honor your stay, something that has happened only once in Kid & Coe’s short history, because of an unforeseeable emergency—a burst pipe in a kitchen. Even then, Coe says they were able to line up another property for the family. And in terms of legality, Coe says, “We urge homeowners and renters to familiarize themselves with the rules of their city and use their own best judgment.”
Currently Kid & Coe is receiving about 20 homes a week to be considered for the network, and Coe wants them to keep coming. “We’re a marketplace, so the challenge for us is building up our inventory.” Availability is another issue. Many families in the network have just one home and those with school age kids travel according to the school calendar. But as summertime approaches, everyone’s schedules are freeing up.
“What’s really gratifying is the caliber of applications,” says Coe. “They’re quality family homes, so people are really getting the concept and it’s nice to see it evolving. And they’re great places I want to visit.”