Picture yourself in a Vermont tree house or Miami Deco penthouse…ahhhhh, you can practically smell that balsam fir and coconut sun tan lotion already. If only there were scratch-n-sniff Airbnb listings, right? Enter Yosh Han, the intuitive perfumer behind Aromascapes and custom scents based on Aztec pyramids, Neolithic caves and Silk Road caravans.
How do you match a scent to your space? Can scents help capture a sense of place for a guest? We challenged Yosh to recommend aromas to match six architecturally intriguing Airbnb listings, from a Vermont treehouse to a Kerala beach hut. Just follow your nose to create the perfect escape—all it takes is some well-chosen guest soaps, a spray of flowers, aromatic local products, or suitably scented cleaning products.
Aroma recommendation: Alpine birch, fern, balsam fir needle
“Treehouses give you that incredible sense of being suspended mid-air, so I’d emphasize that with a light, leafy scent. You probably can’t have a campfire in a treehouse, but you can create that radiant, woodsy warmth with a hint of fir.”
Home tip: “For big spaces, you want scents that make the place feel cozy—but in a small space, big smells can take over. Think of a pine-tree air freshener in a New York taxicab… ooh, too much! It’s like you’re being smothered by Christmas trees in June. What you really want in New York is just a hint of a green fern aroma that will take you back to that primordial place where there are no honking cars, no fumes, no rush at all.”
Aroma recommendation: juniper berry, white sage, red chile, piñon pine
“Heaven meets earth in Santa Fe. Below intensely blue high desert skies are these adobe homes that look like they’re made of chocolate. Next to the front door painted turquoise for luck there’s always a ristra, that braided strand of red New Mexico chiles. Inside you can’t miss the kiva, the round clay fireplace used for rituals and cooking. I’d capture that everyday magic with aromatic desert plants like white sage and juniper that are used in Santa Fe for cooking, but also medicinal and spiritual practices.”
Home tip: “To make guests feel really welcome, put out a basket of fragrant local treats. Sage tea, hot cocoa with chile, and clay facial masks would make the perfect Santa Fe gift basket.”
Aroma recommendation: gardenia, tobacco, dark rum, talcum powder
“Everybody mambo! This place is like a 1930s Latin jazz club, with that fabulous pink façade, South Beach mural and the vintage bamboo club chairs. Those were the days of Cuban rum and Havana cigars, before revolutions, bans, and health warnings. Gardenias remind me of the Caribbean and Billie Holiday, so they’d fit right in here too.”
Host tip: “Bring back bygone glamour by adding a mirrored vanity tray in the bathroom with vintage amenities – a big fluffy powder puff, maybe an engraved compact, and definitely an atomizer with some retro floral perfume.”
Aroma recommendation: kawaka cypress, water lily, ginger flower, teak
“For me, New Zealand is a total fantasy destination, so pristine and diverse—there’s English high tea and Maori haka dance, untouched tropical forests and key Asian-Pacific trade routes. I’d take fragrance inspiration here from the garden reflecting pool, looking back at that pagoda roof that reminds me of a teak temple.”
Host tip: “There’s a myth that to make guests feel at home, you must bake cookies. In such a spectacular natural setting you would really just want to bring the outdoors inside, maybe with some garden flowers or soaps made with local plants and herbs.”
Aroma recipe: thyme flower, aloe, geranium, cactus, fig
“A classic Californian bungalow deserves a classic fragrance. I’d emphasize homey culinary scents like thyme, rosemary, lavender—all those herb-garden aromas you’d breathe in when you’re chilling out on that big, shady front porch. San Diego is near the ocean, but also Mexico and the desert, and I’d want to bring some of that sunshine indoors with scents of aloe and cactus.”
Host tip: “People think of San Diego as a beach community, but it’s also got a deep history as one of California’s oldest Spanish missions. With historic properties like this Craftsman, any industrial scent would seem out of place. So instead of heavy-duty ammonia-based cleaners, I’d recommend something citrusy or herbal.”
Aroma recommendation: sandalwood, saffron, coconut, jasmine, salt
“When I travel I want to feel like I’m getting the quintessential experience of a place. But that local flavor can be complex, both iconic and unexpected. You might associate coconut curry and mango lassi with South India, all those fragrant spices and exotic tropical aromas. But this gingerbread beach cottage architecture calls for more woodsy notes, with a bracing hint of salt air.”
Home tip: “On your first visit to a tropical destination, intense floral smells can be overwhelming. So as a host, I’d keep those fragrances to a minimum indoors. Brewing South Indian coffee or milk tea can add inviting aromas. But when you’re in a lush setting like this, you don’t really need aromatherapy candles—just open the doors and let scents waft through.”
Yosh creates custom fragrances for private and corporate clients in addition to her Estate of Mind fragrance series, based on icons of domestic architecture.