This is in reference to a farmhouse in Osmate, Italy reserved via Airbnb. We were a group of eight adults (four couples) who wanted to tour the Northern Italy lake area after a seven-day cruise which ended in Venice. We reserved a villa which received a 5-star rating on Airbnb – the pictures looked good and the reviews were excellent. We reached the “villa” at around 9:00 PM on a Friday night.
The person who opened the property for us was a friend of the owner. Our first shock was when we tried to reach the entrance to the property; the second shock occurred when we tried to get our car into the property’s parking lot; and our third and worst shock of all was the “villa” itself.
The owner advertises private parking. She doesn’t advertise that it’s nearly impossible to navigate a jeep in the extremely narrow alleyways to get to the property’s parking. At the entrance to the property, we were greeted by all kinds of leftover building materials. The area looks like a storehouse / garbage dump.
The first thing that struck us when we entered the house was the strong odor of mildew. There was mildew on the walls which is probably what was causing the very unpleasant odor.
The property’s lighting (and lighting fixtures) was extremely frugal – everything was so dark and depressing. The property did not look clean. Airbnb advertised two living rooms on the property. We only saw one living room with two couches covered with two different colored blankets and we were told that this is how we should sit. I assume they were covering up some very old couches.
The owner advertised 14 steps on the stairs. However, two of the bedrooms are situated on the second floor (17 steps) and the other two bedrooms are on the third floor (an additional 14 or 15 steps), a total of 31/32 steps to reach two of the four bedrooms. When I told the owner that the steps are a very serious problem for us, she offered this solution: bring the two beds down to the living room and have one of the couples sleep there. I asked her “what about privacy?” She couldn’t answer.
The beds in the bedrooms were like beds in very cheap motels: sloppy sheets, low beds with a metal frame. I’m not sure how much weight each bed can hold. The ceiling of the two bedrooms on the third floor is slanted so that when you go into the bedrooms, you need to bend down in order to avoid getting hit on the head.
The owner advertised four bedrooms and four baths. She doesn’t advertise that the fourth bath is two floors down from the bedroom and that this bath is more like a laundry room than a bath.
They advertise BBQ facilities, which are a joke. The grill (if you can call it that) was filthy and so old that you couldn’t call it even a simple, normal grill. We didn’t see the advertised ping-pong table anywhere.
The actual condition of the property and the surrounding area is much worse than what you see in the online pictures. Nowhere is it advertised that the building has three floors (without an elevator) and that two of the bedrooms are located on the third floor. After seeing the property, there was no way that we could have stayed there for even one night.
We decided to try to find four hotel rooms somewhere nearby. You can imagine how difficult it was to drive around in a foreign country, in an unfamiliar area, at 10:00 at night trying to find a hotel with four available rooms. We were tired and hungry and after driving in from Venice and touring some of the surrounding area (we drove nearly 400 kilometers on this day), the only thing we craved was reaching the property, taking a shower and going to sleep. You can imagine the aggravation we felt at seeing this terrible house. After several inquiries at local restaurants, we finally found a hotel that had four rooms available; this is where we stayed for the duration of our trip.
It seems to me that Airbnb does not visit the properties that they advertise. Because if they did, there’s no way that they would have advertised this on their website as a 5-star property, if at all. In view of all of the above, and in view of the aggravation that was caused us, we demanded a complete refund of all the money we paid (over $1,400 for four nights). The owner was willing to refund us the cleaning fee and Airbnb the service charge (100 Euros + $150).
I did not accept their offer. I was told by the Airbnb representative that they transfer payment to the owner only 24 hours after the guests check-in. The representative asked me why I didn’t notify them that we were not staying there. I did notify them the next morning (within the 24-hours from check-in time) but someone at Airbnb screwed up and did not handle our case properly. Besides, the owner informed Airbnb that same evening (while we were still there) that we decided to not stay at the villa.
I contacted the Airbnb office in Ireland and spoke to someone who promised to send my complaint to management, marked urgent, but I am still waiting to receive a reply. This is the second time I have made a reservation via Airbnb and both times, the advertising on their website did not reflect the actual condition of the property.