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Investing and Profiting in Top of the World Vacation Rentals

Embark on an insightful journey on how to invest and profit from top of the world vacation rentals. This guide provides you with knowledge on what makes these properties unique, the best cities for these rentals, their costs, how to stand out and much more.


By Karolyn Hutson

Published on July 8, 2023

Life above the treeline is incomparable. The crisp air, the stunning views, the peaceful solitude – all aspects that make top of the world properties remarkably unique and exceptionally desirable. Whether as a second home or an Airbnb-style investment, these properties represent a high-elevation getaway and an unmatched opportunity for rental income. This article delves into what makes these properties special, their types, popular cities for these homes, common and unique amenities they offer, nearby attractions, their costs, factors affecting their costs, and how to make your top of the world rental property stand out to guests.

Are you curious about the various types of vacation rental properties?
Our overview of different Airbnb property categories can get you started.

What’s Special About Top of the World Vacation Rentals

The majesty and allure of top of the world vacation rentals stem from their unique positioning and breathtaking views. Unlike your standard vacation homes, these properties offer a distinct experience that sets them apart.

  • Elevation: The high elevation of these homes provides an unparalleled panoramic view. Whether overlooking a tranquil lake, a sprawling cityscape, or a stunning mountain range, the sights are a visual treat that few other properties can match.
  • Serene Environment: These properties are typically far from city life’s hustle and bustle. The quiet and peaceful environment and the crisp mountain air offer a refreshing escape for vacation-goers seeking solace from their busy lives.
  • Unique Activities: The geographical location opens up opportunities for unique outdoor activities. From hiking, mountain biking, skiing in the winter, to stargazing at night, there’s always something exciting to do.

Investing in a top of the world vacation rental property means offering your guests these unique experiences. You provide them a place to stay and a gateway to a world of adventure, relaxation, and awe-inspiring views. This novelty, coupled with the growing popularity of high-elevation vacations, makes such an investment an exciting proposition.

Types of Top of the World Vacation Properties

top of the world vacation homes come in various shapes and sizes, each offering unique traits and appealing to different segments of vacationers. You might find a secluded log cabin nestled in a snowy mountain ridge or a modern, glass-fronted property perched on a hill with panoramic views.

  • Log Cabins: These traditional, rustic properties are popular for their cozy atmosphere and classic charm.
  • Modern Hilltop Houses: Sleek homes offer luxury amenities with sweeping vistas.
  • Mountain Chalets: Larger and designed for groups or families, chalets typically feature multiple rooms and communal spaces, often with direct access to outdoor activities such as skiing or hiking.
  • Historic Mountain Homes: Properties with a rich history attract guests looking for a unique, authentic experience.

There are numerous cities in the United States that are known for their stunning top of the world homes. These cities are often located near mountain ranges or high-elevation areas, providing the necessary terrain for such properties.

  • Aspen, Colorado: Known for its luxurious ski resorts and stunning landscapes.
  • Lake Tahoe, California: Offers a mix of lakeside and mountain properties.
  • Park City, Utah: Renowned for its ski slopes and vibrant arts scene.
  • Bozeman, Montana: Offers access to Yellowstone National Park and a thriving downtown area.
  • Bend, Oregon: Popular for its outdoor activities and craft beer scene.
  • Bar Harbor, Maine: Offers ocean and mountain views near Acadia National Park.

Common Amenities for Top of the World Vacation Rentals

While the amenities in top of the world vacation rentals can vary widely depending on the property, there are some common features you can expect to find. These typically include a fully-equipped kitchen, heating for cooler high-altitude nights, comfortable lounging areas, and often a fireplace for that added mountain home feel.
Unique amenities often found in these properties include:

  • Outdoor hot tubs: With stunning views to enjoy during a soak.
  • Fire pits: Perfect for evening gatherings under the stars.
  • Floor-to-ceiling windows: For taking full advantage of the surrounding views.
  • Home theatres: For entertainment on those cozy nights in.
  • Ski-in/ski-out access: For homes on or near ski slopes.
  • Sauna/Steam rooms: For relaxation after a day of mountain activities.

Common Activities and Attractions Near Top of the World House Rentals

As a host, you’ll want to inform your guests about the many unique activities they can enjoy near your top of the world rental. These could include:

  • Mountain sports: Such as hiking, skiing, mountain biking, and rock climbing.
  • Wildlife Viewing: Guests may enjoy spotting local wildlife in more secluded areas.
  • Stargazing: Higher elevations often mean clearer skies for stargazing.
  • Hot Springs: Some high-elevation areas have natural hot springs to explore.
  • Photography: The landscapes surrounding these properties are a photographer’s dream.
  • Local Cuisine: Mountain towns often have unique local dining options to explore.

How Much Does a Top of the World Vacation Home Cost?

The cost of top of the world vacation homes can vary greatly depending on the property’s location, size, and amenities. On average, these homes tend to be priced between $350,000 to well over $1 million.

  • Aspen, Colorado: $1.5M – $5M
  • Lake Tahoe, California/Nevada: $400,000 – $2M
  • Park City, Utah: $600,000 – $3M
  • Bozeman, Montana: $500,000 – $1.5M
  • Bend, Oregon: $350,000 – $1M
  • Bar Harbor, Maine: $400,000 – $1.2M

What Factors Affect the Cost of a Mountain Vacation Rental?

Various factors, including location, property size, condition, and proximity to popular attractions or activities, influence the cost of top of the world vacation rentals. Other elements, like the quality of the view and the presence of unique amenities, also play a significant role.

  • Location: This is often the most crucial factor when pricing top of the world vacation rentals. Proximity to popular attractions such as ski slopes, national parks, hiking trails, or town centers can dramatically increase the value of a property. Properties located in prestigious neighborhoods or exclusive communities also typically demand higher prices.
  • View Quality: The view is a key selling point in top of the world vacation rentals. Properties with panoramic, unobstructed, or unique views of mountains, lakes, or landmarks command a premium price. If the property offers sunrise or sunset views, it could further increase its value.
  • Amenities: High-end, unique, or tailored amenities can significantly impact the rental price. Features like hot tubs, fire pits, fireplaces, saunas, home theaters, or ski-in/ski-out access add convenience and enhance the overall guest experience. Furthermore, the quality of these amenities matters as well; for example, professional-grade kitchen appliances or high-quality audio-visual equipment can justify higher rental prices.
  • Seasonality and Demand: Rental prices can fluctuate based on the season and overall demand. Properties in ski resort towns may command higher prices during winter, while those near lakes or hiking trails may see increased prices during summer. Events, festivals, or other local happenings can also increase demand and higher rental prices.
  • Exclusivity and Privacy: Many guests seek top of the world rentals for the exclusivity and privacy they offer. A secluded property with private access, away from busy roads or noisy neighborhoods, can justify a higher price.

How to Make Your Top of the World Rental Property Stand out to Guests

As a property owner, you have the power to create a unique and unforgettable experience for your guests. Offering top-notch customer service, maintaining your property to high standards, and providing local insights and recommendations can set you apart from other rentals.

  • Observation Deck or Sky Gaze Area: With your property at a high elevation, you can offer unobstructed views of the sky. Consider adding an observation deck, sky gazing area, or even a small observatory equipped with a telescope. Guests will appreciate the chance to witness breathtaking celestial events or simply enjoy stargazing. Costs can range from $3,000 for a simple viewing deck to over $10,000 for a state-of-the-art observatory.
  • Themed Decor: Use a ‘top of the world’ theme for your property’s interior design. You could incorporate world maps, compasses, or decor inspired by famous mountaineers and explorers. It’s not about completely revamping the property, but adding thematic touches that remind guests of the property’s unique location. Depending on the extent of the changes, this could cost anything from $500 to a few thousand dollars.
  • Customized Local Experiences: Arrange partnerships with local tour operators or adventure sports agencies to provide your guests with exclusive experiences such as guided mountain hikes, ski lessons, or wildlife spotting tours. These special arrangements will make your property more enticing to adventure-seekers. The cost would depend on the partnerships but could range from being free (in exchange for referrals) to a few hundred dollars.

Our Thoughts

Top of the World vacation homes are a lucrative investment, offering hosts a chance to provide unique experiences to their guests while benefiting from significant returns. Property owners can make informed decisions and set their rentals apart in a competitive market by understanding the nuances of these high-elevation properties, from their unique appeal to the factors affecting their costs.

Written by

With over six years of short-term rental hosting experience, Karolyn has helped hundreds of guests have an enjoyable experience. I love writing and am passionate about real estate, hospitality, and photography. Karolyn holds a bachelor's degree in Journalism and enjoys sharing her experiences to help others.