I booked a one-bedroom apartment for a three-night stay in Hong Kong. The reviews were good, and although it was somewhat pricey (the equivalent of £100 a night), I knew that prices would be high in HK, and ‘sucked it up’.
The flat consisted of a bedroom, a small living room with an open kitchenette and a small bathroom. I assumed the owner rented it out all the time. It dawned on me later that she actually lived there, and moved elsewhere when she had a booking. The street, described as ‘quiet’ though with a little noise from a restaurant downstairs, was actually a party street with bars and restaurants open until the early hours every night. People would stand outside, smoking, laughing, and shouting.
Worse than this noise though, was the racket made by the ancient window-mounted air conditioner. The owner said it was a little noisy and needed servicing. That was an understatement – it was like a diesel engine rumbling away making enough noise to wake the dead. At times it started to pulsate and make the whole room vibrate. If the owner knew it was problematic, why didn’t she have it fixed before I arrived and paid £2,100 up front for my stay? Not using the aircon was not an option since it was so darn hot. I managed to sleep with the aid of earplugs.
I am a vegan, so wanted to cook my own food. Impossible – there were no pots and pans. There was no connected stove (a non-working gas ring). Even the microwave was useless since the power cord would not reach the plug socket. The windows were also filthy; you could barely see outside. The owner cleaned them one day, after I complained. I left after five nights and asked for a refund, but guess what? They only refund 50% of your rental fee. I wrote a damning review which Airbnb edited. All they posted was ‘amenities need improving’.
Is Airbnb really that selective that they censor renters’ reviews? I checked in to a serviced apartment. For an extra £10 a night I get a lovely serviced room and use of the residents’ gym and laundry room. Never again, Airbnb. Never again.