After deliberating at length, I’m sharing my story and advice. I planned a trip to Paris, my favorite city, to celebrate my birthday. I carefully chose an Airbnb based on reviews and location, with price being my least concern (but still looking to minimize). My host notified me via email the morning of my departure that my check-in could be two hours earlier.
My transatlantic flight, which included a layover in London, touched down just after 14:00. After claiming my luggage, getting my bearings and securing train tickets, etc., I headed to the city. Combining these activities would warrant at least a two-hour window, even if I knew the exact location already, which I did not (though after eight previous visits I know Paris somewhat).
Once off the train I texted the host again, noting I was in a cafe for a break before heading over. It was 30 degrees F and sleeting outside, and I needed to consult my map and have a quick bathroom break, unsure of just how close/far I might be. The host rang my phone immediately and was very curt, saying I was late. I knew I had been expected at a certain time, and he had been waiting for 30 minutes.
I stated that based on weather, my fatigue and (obviously) his displeasure I was happy to seek hotel refuge and regroup, to start over the following day. I had paid for six nights. He said he would not be free any other day to meet with me and pass over the keys. Following this statement to me, as I made an effort to explain my situation, he hung up. I was shocked and dismayed, so I went to a hotel.
What transpired afterwards was just more and more of my precious vacation time texting, emailing and phoning with Airbnb. To sum this up as I see it now, a hotel (even a small privately owned one), would have been available based on the demands or shortfalls in my schedule, and would have recourse for a complaint, refund or even cancellation based on my customer experience, without requiring added time and energy.
I will use Airbnb again, but strictly within the US, where there is little or no language barrier added to the experience. I did receive a portion of my fees returned, but my hotel stay far outshined and surpassed what that apartment could have offered, for the same price. Lesson learned.