While looking for a space to teach dance classes in Keene, Jaclyn Cole stumbled across a listing on Roxbury Street.
“It has two commercial units, two residential units, and then it has a big dance and yoga studio in the back ...,” the Keene resident, 27, said. “But it felt more like somewhere that you’d want to spend a cozy vacation than what you’d want to live in 12 months of the year.”
Not too long after seeing the building, Cole decided to take it. But rather than live there herself, she decided to turn one of its apartments into an Airbnb — a listing available on the online marketplace for temporary lodging, primarily in people’s homes.
Now, she’s been named Airbnb’s best new host in New Hampshire.
“It was definitely very shocking ... but it’s nice to feel that success,” Cole said.
The two-bedroom apartment is close to downtown Keene and has a rooftop view. Cole bought it in October 2020 and began listing it in February, after giving the space a facelift.
She worked with a stylist to choose furniture, hardware and paint colors, so that the space has a “sophisticated but cozy kind of feel.”
“It’s pretty much been booked ever since,” Cole said.
Guests are always greeted with a snack basket, seltzers in the fridge and a very clean space — key amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Cole. She also has a binder filled with recommended restaurants, businesses and other things to do in the Elm City.
Additionally, the apartment has a private entrance and key lockbox so that Cole doesn’t need to interact with guests.
As the best new host in New Hampshire — published by Airbnb Wednesday for each state — Cole holds the highest number of bookings in a given year and is at Superhost status (hosts with the best reviews and limited cancellations).
Her guests have ranged from parents of Keene State College students to someone stopping in the city for a tattoo appointment and needing a place to stay.
The property has about three new guests a week, according to Cole, and stays can be between two days and a whole month.
“The perfect getaway,” one guest said in an online review. “[A]n amazing mix of privacy and serenity with a great downtown to entertain us.”
“This place is amazing and picturesque,” wrote another. “It’s within walking distance to everything. So clean and comfortable. Would definitely return in the future!”
When not hosting, Cole can be found running Ember Studios, a dance and yoga studio in the same location, which previously housed Keene Yoga Center. The building’s other spaces are occupied by previous tenants, she noted.
Cole is also a graduate student at Antioch University New England for dance movement therapy, which is why she moved to the area from Milwaukee in August 2020.
“The Airbnb is not my main focus ... so it feels like this thing that’s just plugging along,” she said. But “I honestly just really enjoyed creating this space and knowing that it is this really nice retreat for people.”