My Worst Airbnb Experience
This is a short funny piece, unlike my usual ones. In fact, it’s not even a piece. It’s an Airbnb review, which I decided to copy-paste here for your amusement.
But first, a little context.
For those of you who’ve been to London, it’s not news that the rent here is crazy. You can’t expect to get anything decent for less than £100/night. If you are really lucky, you get to spend the night in a cupboard for £70.
And because renting an apartment for long-term is an incredibly time-consuming experience, when we (yours truly and his girlfriend) decided to move to London, we spent the first two weeks — while we looked for a decent apartment — in an Airbnb.
The photos were amazing. To us — young travelers from Russia — it looked like heaven. Classical English interior. Vintage furniture. A good neighborhood (Fulham Broadway, Chelsea). Parks nearby. This was to be a great start of a new life in a new city.
And yet, descriptions, photos, and high expectations can tell a too-good-to-be-true story.
Everything about that temporary Airbnb apartment turned out to be bad.
But I’ll stop here and just let you read my Airbnb review which I wrote on our way (riding in the back seat of a black London cab) to our new, real apartment.
It was in September 2019, one month before I discovered Medium.
Here it goes.
“There are a lot of things I want to say about this apartment. And although our stay was all in all good (we are not very picky Airbnbers) — there are several minor and serious “things” that need to be addressed.
Let me start with the good ones. The apartment is in a great location, it’s spacious and the Underground station is a 30-second walk.
But let’s not stick here for too long and move straight to the BIG “things”.
There are three.
“The Key” Problem
What will surprise any curious traveler after a 4+ hour flight is the fact that you’ll have to travel.
Yup, not resting — not taking a bath, nor having a “Welcome-City” sex with your significant other, but actually traveling (by foot) to Earl’s Court to pick up the keys. And then, sweaty and tired, travel back home — to Fulham.
It may be that by the time you get home sex is off the table…
“The Kommunalka” Problem
I am from Russia — and in the Soviet Union, we used to have this concept called “kommunalka”.
In short, it’s a type of living space (for lack of a better word) — in which 6 families live together in an apartment that was supposed to be used for 1. Hence, you share the same bathroom, kitchen, smells, and sounds — all your life. When Stalin KGB officials come to pick somebody up, everyone is scared as if they came for them.
Well, this place we rented, reminded me of “kommunalka”.
On the second night of our stay, I woke up — sweating and shivering from fear — when I heard that somebody entered the room next to our bedroom.
I saw the lights turn on and could hear the steps loud and clear. I took my phone from the lampstand and crawled slowly towards the sound, yelling “Who THE FUCK IS THERE?!”.
It turned out, there was nobody. But the sounds were so clear and the presence of somebody was so real — because nobody tells you that this is a joint apartment.
One apartment = 2 exits = 2 Airbnbs.
“The Hole” Problem
People warned us that it is supposed to rain in London. We believed them.
What we didn’t expect though, is that you can’t hide from the rain. It rains even inside.
That’s exactly what happened on our last day at this apartment — there turned out to be a hole in the ceiling that made raindrops come through and wet our things.
(Before I realized that, I almost admitted to myself that I peed in my sleep the night before )
Again — the apartment was in a great location, and the descriptions don’t lie.
Just be prepared to smell Grandma for the whole time of your stay — and beware of spiders in the showers.
One of them is named Jack, and he is quite sad. He recently lost a brother to a traveler from Russia.
He rests in peace in the sink.”