Led by chief operating officer Rachel Agnell, Domus Stay brings together private, design-led homes with a dedicated guest services team and curated cultural experiences. Whether it’s a week-long staycation in the heart of Notting Hill or a month or more in a dynamic apartment in Shoreditch, Domus Stay sets a new standard for short stays, not just for guests but homeowners too.
From storied family townhouses to immaculate apartments, guests can live in style in private homes—handpicked for their architectural merit—with an acclaimed personal service and curated cultural experiences. Homeowners too can make the most of vacant properties and enjoy our dedicated end-to-end service that makes the process effortless.
How did you get the idea for the Domus Stay? Domus Stay was co-created by the team behind Domus Nova. This long-standing local business in West London prides itself on its design-led, architecturally interesting portfolio and its loyal, well-connected client-base.
Furthermore, Domus Stay launched as a response to clients’ demand for trustworthy, expert care of their most valuable assets and the increasing interest in short stays in well-designed, private homes.
How do you describe what you do to someone at a dinner party? I tell them I hold the keys to London’s most remarkable properties, with a little black book to match!
Travel is a saturated market—what in your mind does the Domus Stay offer that wasn’t already available? The key difference is very much our people. We’re committed to delivering a highly tailored, relationship-based service, based on authenticity and a spirit of generosity. Our team combines over 20 years of experience in the best of British luxury hospitality and prime London real estate.
To our homeowners, we offer genuine property expertise, an unmatched breadth of market knowledge, and the security of knowing that their property is in safe and capable hands. In turn, we can offer our guests a premium product with complete confidence, together with a dedicated point of contact to take care of every wish—from the point of enquiry through to departure and beyond.
What are some of the elements that make a property right for Domus Stay?Our specialist team hand-selects each property for its architectural merit and distinctive design. We don’t work to a checklist. It goes without saying that the property will be well-situated, and beautifully appointed. We’re looking for style, a home with unique qualities or a story to tell.
What are your plans for the future—what cities beyond London and Ibiza can we expect to see Domus Stay in next, for example? London will always be our home turf, but we’re excited to spread our wings when the time is right. We’re having some very exciting conversations with homeowners in the Cotswolds right now… watch this space!
Tell me about some of your most striking properties? Take Courage House in Borough is definitely a standout home. It’s an elegant house with a lot of heritage and character—the homeowner is a designer, and it shows. It’s just off Borough Market and next to the highly anticipated Borough Yards development so it’s an excellent location.
St Petersburgh Mews is another home with a lot of history that is wrapped up in its most striking features like the exposed timber beams and high, vaulted ceilings. There’s a country-pile feel to it—one that’s quite surprising given its central Notting Hill location. And, packed with modern art, it’s an aesthete’s dream.
We have a penthouse in Mayfair—Chesterfield House—that has been designed by Maurizio Pellizzoni. The interiors are very modern and the artwork there is thoughtfully curated. It’s got amazing views of the London skyline, too; you can the Shard and Big Ben in the distance.
How has the luxury travel and hotel market changed since you first launched Domus Nova in the 1990s? Today’s scene is totally unrecognizable to the London of the 90s. Take food, for example. Back then, stars like Marco Pierre White were blazing a trail—now we can confidently claim to be a food capital of the world. That said, service is as important today as it has always been—perhaps even more so in a luxury market, which is more and more competitive. Today’s global travellers are sophisticated, savvy, and incredibly busy. They expect exceptional service, based on personal recognition and respect. Great service doesn’t have to be complicated, and it doesn’t have to be delivered in white gloves (though that’s always splendid). But it does have to be as authentic as it is efficient and it must come from the heart.
What are some of the specific personal touches you offer to guests? It totally depends on the guest, but it’s the little details that make the difference. For example, on a hot day this summer, we arranged for a young family to be able to pick up three ice-creams from a local gelataria on their way home from the school-run. We had a family arriving for Thanksgiving, and we sorted a special delivery of pumpkin pie for their arrival. And for a little boy arriving in London for the first time just recently, we made sure that Paddington—in soft toy form—was there to greet him.
What’s the wildest or more challenging thing you’ve ever had to procure or make happen for a guest? Memorable requests include commissioning a special set of steps for a particular diva’s poodle to be able to climb into bed and colour-matching a set of table stationary for an intimate Sunday lunch with the Queen.
You offer a range of curated experiences—how did you build that programme? Our clients—guests and homeowners—are culturally sophisticated, affluent professionals with global lifestyles. They’re used to the best of everything and want it delivered through a lens of cultural awareness. By actively championing local entrepreneurs, craftspeople and brands (people like artist John Booth, vintage icon Bay Garnett, and tailor Caroline Andrew), we both contribute responsibly to our commercial environment, as well as enhance our service offering to our clients.
What are some of the brands you’re currently partnering with and how do you choose your brand partners? We’ve tried hard to cultivate relevant, thoughtful partnerships with local creatives, entrepreneurs and artisans that offer inside access for guests: connecting them with the best of British while at the same time strengthening their attachment to our brand. It’s because of this that we can select bedtime reading from the legendary Notting Hill bookshop, Lutyens & Rubinstein; arrange private viewings at the White Cube Gallery; or stock your larder with the best of Fortnum & Mason.