Secrets and Lies in Morocco: Sketchy Addresses

I had been using AirBnb for a long time and actually, I was happy with it. Recently, we planned a road trip in Morocco. We booked a great place in Rabat, then two amazing places in the mountains near Dades Riad – both with local people – and finally a place in Marrakech, which was supposed to be a room with an Italian-Irish couple, Mattia and Erika. I scanned over the reviews and decided it had to be good as they are European so the standards will be up to par. I did not check how many properties and under how many addresses they advertised. I specifically said we were coming by car, asked if there was parking place, and asked for directions. They said that it was best to meet at Roti D’Or Cafe near their place. We were driving for hours, calling them (which cost us over 25 pounds) and could not find it. We asked them if they could come and meet us as we were not even 500 meters away but they refused and said we had to leave the car and take a taxi. Finally, after paying 10 Euro, a local person showed us where to park and directed us to the cafe, which was not accessible by car – it was a pedestrian zone.

We thought that was the end of our problems… how naive! We met Mattia at the cafe and everything seemed to be fine… (silly us)…. He took us to mews nearby and showed us the place. He said they didn’t live there. There were 4 rooms, and 1 bathroom (but 2 loos). All the rooms were rented, so it appeared to be a hostel! You had to wait 15 mins to take a shower after the previous person. When we said we rented a room in a private house, they acted offended. We left our stuff and went to eat something, trying to avoid a discussion when we were angry, tired and hungry. We calmed down and came back, but they were not there. The ceiling was falling down in our room, and we woke up with pieces of debris in the bed. We took photos just in case… As it was not what we booked, we cancelled the last night once we booked other accommodation. We thought, once again, that this was the end of trouble with this nightmarish couple… how naive, again!

In Morocco, when you enter the country they ask you for the address where you are staying. The hosts had sent us this information: “Hi again, At the airport you will be asked for information during the passport check; The custom police will want to know in which hotel you will be staying. They will expect you to write the name of a Riad/Hotel, but seing as this is our private home, you can write the name of the closest hostel to our house. Address in Morocco: RIAD MEDINA in derb Aadham/Kennaria. Call us if you have any problem. Cheers Mattia & Erika. Last Monday at 18:14.”

That confirmed it was their private home. Why did we end up in a hostel with one bathroom? But we wrote this address in the hotel we stayed before going to Marrakesh. We ended our trip around Morocco, and at the airport there was more paperwork… asking where we stayed, etc… Suddenly, the officer asked where we stayed in Marrakesh. We forgot what the fake address was and we said it was the hostel run by Mattia and Erika which we booked though Airbnb… Moroccan people are very nice and friendly, but not when you lie… We finally showed them the email from the couple telling us what we should write and they allowed us to leave after being surrounded by the police. Apparently, they check addresses where tourists stay (there is the reason why they want to know the address) and they could not find us. People from the plane thought we were smugglers… Not a great experience…

Unfortunately, I didn’t leave a very positive review before leaving Morocco, otherwise I would have written all about the fake address. I informed Airbnb about the hosts lying with the address and the trouble with local authorities at our departure. I also attached photos with falling down ceiling, etc. We received a 70% refund and… a super negative review from the host! I asked Airbnb to remove it as it was obvious revenge for the official complaint to Airbnb. Of course, they refused to remove it. As there are many websites I can book accommodation without being publicly insulted, I removed my account. I can’t understand why Airbnb did not react and although it was clear that Mattia and Erika do not comply with local legal regulations what might cause the trouble with authorities on departure, they decided that it was easier to delete my account…

Well, hello Airbnb competitors, pleasure to meet you!

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