Good Morning everyone, I hope your weekend was fun eventful and most of all relaxing.
Yes you read my title correctly I am going to be writing about Air B&B today and it aint good.
I have traveled almost all my life. I have stayed in tents, campers, hotels, motels, hostels, beach houses and B&B's. For the first time, a week ago I tried an Air B&B. It will most likely be the last time as well.
We had Spring Fling happening last weekend, it was taking place in the Catskills of NY. Napanoch NY to be exact, absolutely one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited.
One draw back is the lack of hotels, and motels. There really isn't that many around and what is around is unavailable. So I heard about Air B&B and thought I would give it a try. Bill and I have enjoyed B&Bs in the past and I thought we would be getting something similar. No it wasn't similar at all.
I am not sure if it is normal what we experienced or not, but if it is then Air B&B is not for us.
Every B&B I have ever been in has room for the guest, you know closet space, drawer space, bathroom space. In fact any part of the house intended for guest use would always be void of any personal belongings of the owner, other then decor and furniture of course. That wasn't the case this time. We rented an entire house, that is what Air B&B does, but it wasn't a house meant for us to use, it was a house in use already with no room for guests.
The house was as close as I could find to our event. A short 10 minute to 15 minute ride away, so location was good. The house was billed as a Lovely Bungalow in the Catskills. In the amenities it listed WiFi as one of the amenities, it didn't mention TV and I didn't think to ask because well even the campground we stayed in last year had TV, also in the mountains in PA, so it never dawned on me to ask. Well there was no TV, and in my review I mention that the WiFi is spotty at best, The owner replied, I was lucky to get WiFi in the Mountains. Funny when we found other accommodations not only was there WiFi there was a TV too. Not that we watched TV at all while we there, but still it was there if we wanted it.
The house was not lovely, it has the potential of being lovely once the owner finishes fixing it up. The house was not clean, or welcoming, nor was the owner welcoming, in fact he wasn't there, and the neighbor he said would be there to help if we needed it, felt making us wait around for over 2 hours for him to show up was acceptable and helpful. We had fixed the problem ourselves by then and were already looking for better accommodations.
Lets start with how we got in, I had to slide open a window reach around and unlock the screen door to the porch, then find the key in a location the owner told me it would be. The first thing we see as we open the door is a pile of dirty shoes and a counter top just cluttered with stuff. The cabinets for the dishes have no doors, and while that is a cute style it doesn't help keep dust, grime and pollen of the plates and such, which yes when I reached for a plate it was grimy and dust covered.
We look around a little and think well it aint great but for a few days it will do. So we start to bring our belongings in and slowly we realize there is no where to put our stuff the entire house is full, all drawers, closets, and counter space is already in use. As well as the fridge is full of food not meant for us.
I turn on the water and as the owner had warned me might be the case there is no hot water. He had shut the hot water heater off, then remembered we were coming for the weekend and as he told my husband 10 minutes later he turned it back on and didn't bother to re lite the pilot light, because he figured it hadn't gone out in the 10 minutes the heater was turned off. This is the first of many lies the owner will tell. You see to light the pilot light you have to move the dining table off the the wall, take the wall down, then get on your hands and knees and work the lighter and the ignition button. This took us an hour and a half to accomplish. There was nothing simple or easy about lighting the water heater, and I am sorry but no self respecting landlord would leave that chore for his guests to take care of. It is no wonder the neighbor dragged his feet about getting there to light the blasted thing.
Shortly after getting the hot water heater to work we realize there is no TV, there is some sort of screen and what looked like a projector but we weren't able to figure it out.
I go into the room that would be Mom's room and the are bedroom slippers at the end of the bed, and cloths laying on the bed. Mom would have been wearing it all before the day was over thinking they were for her. Her closet was so full crap was falling out as we opened the door. The dresser so packed full you could barely close the drawers. Again I have never been to a place that didn't make room for its guests, and if this is the norm for an Air B&B I will never use them again. Our room, well to be honest after looking at Mom's room and the bathroom, I really only looked enough to see that those closets and dressers were also full.
After inspecting Mom's room, I started looking for a new place to stay. It took more then several hours but I finally found us a cleaner more accommodating place for us to stay. Nothing fancy mind you, but at least I didn't have to worry about Mom putting on someone elses clothes.
I think the dirty moldy dish rags, on the sink and the dirty tea cup in the sink with a moldy tea bag in was the straw that broke the camels back so to speak. I was absolutely grossed out over that.
I had spoken on the phone to the owner something like 4 times upon our arrival and he knew I wasn't happy. He wasn't all that concerned after all he was 100 miles away in his home and he already had my money. So he wasn't to surprised when I texted that we weren't going to stay in his Lovely Bungalow and that I would be seeking a refund. In fact he texted back " No Problem, make sure you lock up when you leave, and I knew this wasn't going to work out."
The owners first action after that text was not to find out why we weren't happy, but to put a bad review on my profile. I at least waited for the weekend to be over before I did my review, and started seeking a refund.
This is where AirB&B failed as far as I am concerned. They should have looked at the pictures and gotten involved from the get go. That is not their policy first you have to deal with the owner and then if your not satisfied, 72 hours later Air B&B will step in, or so they say. I've been home 1 full week now and Air B&B hasn't stepped up yet. I have a partial refund, but not as much as I think I should get. I understand if the owner keeps one nights rent, but not two nights which is what he has done. To get the little refund I did get I had to put up with rude, disrespectful comments from the owner. He out and out lied in his reply to my review, he accused me of staging the photos, and stopped short of accusing me of lying. Here is a sample of the owners communications with me.
Still Air B&B did not intervene. Now when I was renting the place back in Feb, Air B&B only wanted you to use their service to communicate with the landlord.
I have sent a new request to Air B&B this morning trying to get the rest of my money back. So now I will wait and see if this request gets answered. I just found the "involve AirB&B" button, so maybe they didn't see my earlier emails.
Here is my review of the house and the owners response to me.
My husband and I chose not to stay at Adam's place after arriving to find the hot water heater turned off, it took an hour to get it started and by Adam's own admission he turned the hot water heater off, knew we were coming in on the weekend and did not return to his place to turn it back on. There was dirty dishrags on the sink and dirty dishes in the sink. In the bathroom all the owners toiletries were left out on the counters and sink, including the used toothbrushes. In the fridge was open and used food, and it wasn't really clean, no space for guest to use. In the bedrooms the closets were full of the owners stuff as well as the dressers leaving no room for guest to use. There is no TV, the internet is spotty, and the neighboring homes were empty and run down. It felt like instead of renting a house to use, we rented a house in use. It was as if Adam and his family left just hours before we got there. We won't be back.
Yikes. You know. My record speaks for itself [I think i have like a 4.9/5 rating?] and like my mamma taught me 'you can't please everyone'. a few facts: I did not turn the darn heater off knowing you were coming. In fact, what i told your husband was i turned the car around and drove back to the house to turn it back on. What happened was the HW heater used all the propane in the system. You also failed to mention that minutes after you called me I arranged for my neighbor to get it turned on! Anyway your further complaints..don't know what to say, other than you can not please everyone. My son did apologize to me for leaving his tea cup in the sink once we had headed out the door. [PS. no TV was ever promised ] 'the internet is spotty'.. Joan. this is the country. I am thrilled to have ANY internet. The 'neighboring homes were empty and run down' Its my community, this is our home and according to most of my reviewers.. they think otherwise and enjoy the laid back 'tude that we promote. The top 2 drawers of the bureaus are where you put your stuff! And when you texted me at 8pm to say you weren't coming back.. what shall I do? no warning whatsoever and no communication to me in any manner. Anyway. Best on your future rentals. ps. you didnt mention the fact that you asked if i left the state park passes for you and I said.. well no, but.. take them as a courtesy. [i hope you had left them for us.]
I did leave the passes, which if they weren't meant for guest use, they should not have been out in the open. Here is a photo of the dresser I was suppose to use.
And the passes I left them right where I found them.
I think 4 phone calls to the owner is communication, and since I wasn't happy on any of those calls, nor was Bill, I think Adam knew we weren't going to stay. In fact the text he sent me said as much. Had he been present I would have told him we were leaving in person and why I was not happy, but since he was some 100 miles away a text was the next best thing.
The question just begs to be asked. Would you stay in a strangers house and pay for it with all their clutter just sitting around? Would you be comfortable putting your toothbrushes next to theirs, or your other personal hygiene products next to theirs? Would you pay to have to live out of your suitcase when there are drawers in the room? Well for me we know the answer, absolutely not.
We didn't let this little set back ruin our time in the Catskills, in fact we gave it little thought until we came home and started trying to get a refund. Our time in the Mountains is the only vacation we will get this year and we made sure we got to enjoy it all.
This is not the best photo I have ever taken, but for the memory it brings it will do just fine. I need a 600mm lens for shots like this to be good. A favorite spot for me in the Catskills.
Look close and you can see Mom and Dad Eagle taking an afternoon rest.
And this is my favorite shot of the trip. A 600mm lens would have been nice for this one too, but I did okay using 300mm. It is clear and sharp, just not as close up as I would have like to have gotten.
Have a wonderful day!