Host Left a Bad Review Because Kitchen… Smelled like Cooked Food

Let me start by saying I have OCD and am generally kinda fussy about other people’s space, so I clean pretty much everything before I leave wherever I’m a guest, whether it’s a hotel room or a friend’s house or an Airbnb. I’m a total rule follower (I admit it) and my goal for wherever I stay is to essentially cause as little bother as possible. So all of my Airbnb reviews have been stellar, with one exception.

I stayed at a cabin in a fairly rural area with my wife for a long weekend. The day we checked out, I got up and made breakfast, then cleaned up, packed, and left. The trip was completely uneventful, and I left a positive review. The host left me a lengthy negative review because she went into the cabin right after we checked out and found a problem: she smelled cooked food in the kitchen area.

It was a tiny, one-room place where the windows didn’t open, and even if they had, it was January. Also, there was no vent system on the stove. Everything was put back where it belonged, we followed all the rules, the dishes were clean and put away, the pots and pans and utensils were all clean and put away, I took the trash and recycling out, and even cleaned the stove, countertops, etc. But none of that bested the part where it still faintly smelled like scrambled eggs and bacon (it wasn’t even smelly or unusual food, or something that permeated even the entire cabin — just the kitchen area, by her own admission).

The review went on and on about how offensive it was that I had left the air dirty, I guess? I actually contacted Airbnb, just because this was my first negative review and I was fairly baffled. The customer service rep was audibly suppressing laughter and finally said (this is not a direct quote): “You didn’t do anything wrong, but also we can’t take the review down because there’s nothing false in it.”

I don’t disagree with this — nobody broke any rules, it’s just petty, and hopefully that CSR at least came away from it with a funny story. I’m probably never going to use Airbnb again for other reasons — just because nothing bad has happened to me doesn’t mean I’m going to ignore what happens to other people — but if I did, I hope future hosts look at my reviews and get a good giggle out of the only negative being “the air smelled kinda like food in the kitchen, an hour or so after somebody cooked.”

Anyway, I just wanted to share a story where no one’s life got ruined and nobody got scammed out of a ton of money. Turns out you can do everything technically correct and your host can still get salty because you didn’t clean the air.

A side note: my parents gave me a fairly androgynous name that a lot of English-speaking people assume is male, especially online, so it’s possible she didn’t realize she was renting to a lesbian couple until we showed up. But I don’t want to assume it was ‘homophobe looks for things to be mean about’; that’s just the only thing we could think of that might’ve made her weird towards us specifically, as she had been completely normal and friendly until she saw us in person.

Is a Kitchen a Kitchen without a Sink or Stove?

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This is most of the message to our “host” after fleeing an Airbnb… I tried to be polite. Airbnb support was no support at all. They left me hanging and kept referring to their TOS (which is very lengthly; kind of unreal, really) instead of just walking me through it. They sided with the host.

“You advertised your “entire apt” as having a kitchen. A kitchen would include a kitchen sink (and some kind of stove, but I will concentrate on the sink as that was my main concern). Saying that you have a kitchen would be like saying you have a bathroom and then when the guests show up, it has no toilet.

I know that you mentioned in your listing that there was a fridge and microwave; you even picture the toaster and a kettle but you fail to mention that you do not have a kitchen sink. With all the explaining you do on your post, why would you fail to point that out? It is very deceptive.

A kitchen means that you have a sink to wash food, hands and dishes. It seems that you expect guests to use the bathroom sink, which is gross and unsanitary, but not even feasible as it is a small sink and very slow moving drain. Using the same analogy as above, it would be like describing the bathroom as a “nice bathroom with walk in shower and hold bar, pretty red rugs and a small sink to brush your teeth” and then when the guests show up they find out there is no toilet.

It is a given that a kitchen has a sink. It goes without saying. It is listed as an amenity on the front page and comes up in the search as such. It also comes up as an “entire apt”. It goes without saying that it would have a door to it, such as the door into your quarters. A shared entrance does not explain the situation. Again, with all the words and long explanations, this is something that would need to be clearly stated.

Having a lockable door to an “entire apt” goes without saying. Just like the one you have to your quarters. Guests would be out in the open just coming out of the bathroom (which is too small to get dressed in). This is not private or secure. It took me trying to make a can of soup for it to really sink in.

We realized how unsafe we felt and that it was not a livable situation. I texted you a polite message as it was in the middle of the night, to which you did not respond. We called an Uber and left immediately. I did not hear from you until much later.

Other facts: The walkway is not well-lit as advertised (it was so dark I could not see the items we dropped). Flushing the toilet directions should also be in your explanation as you expect your guests to use very little toilet paper and keep flushing and flushing. There is obviously a problem with the plumbing as evidenced by this and the slow moving drain.

You asked us to be discreet (very strange). The boiler would not turn on; there was no heat. There was a stain on the heated mattress pad that you didn’t know how to wash (meaning the bedding was unclean). The ceilings were low with no noise protection at all.

You mention in your ad that we would hear footsteps as you got ready for work, but that is an understatement as we could hear your TV. It sounds like elephants are tromping on above your head. The ten steps into the “lower level” are very steep and narrow, which definitely should be noted in your ad since you go to the trouble of saying you have the bar in the shower. For someone with a minor injury, how would you expect them to go down those steep stairs? This is a bit deceiving. The single bed was just a cot with no room to get in and out comfortably.

Please refund the full amount less one night and the cleaning fee. The condition of your “entire apt” caused us to cancel our trip and return home as we had counted on these lodgings. This will be the last attempt to settle this with you amicably. I will take further action if necessary.”

Obviously, she is not refunding our money (about $2000 for a month’s rental). Even though I pointed all of this out to Airbnb support, they have sided with the host, ignoring this falls under travel issues per their TOS.

Here is the link to the advertised “entire apt”.  ‘The photos I took were not good (I admit it) but you can see beyond the table the supposed kitchen area in which there is no sink or stove. She admitted she had to take the kitchen out due to complaints from neighbors. How can you take a picture of something that is not there anyway? The cot was right up beside the bed, with no way to get in or out of it other than crawling from the bottom. I thought the cots she mentioned in the description must be extra as it listed a double and single bed in her ad.

Locked Our Child in the Room to Avoid Bad Hosts

Lesson learnt. Don’t ever use Airbnb. I used it once and cancelled my account. Airbnb will not check the size of the room and the number of people that it can accommodate; it’s up to the host to decide. Even in a small room they will accommodate many people for money. No mercy for kids, either. They will fake the review, even if you call them and complain. They will talk to you nicely and will tell you that they will file a complaint and send you an email copy regarding that. In fact, they will not do that.

My wife got a job in Lake Mary, we moved from NJ to FL. The place was totally new to us. I was trying to book a hotel for a five-day stay (because we got an apartment for rent near my wife’s office after five days) with my family. One of my friends suggested booking an Airbnb based on the host’s reviews, which I am regretting now. Since I was traveling with a kid and the area was totally new, my wife and I decided to rent a place with a kitchen to cook fresh food for my son. The rent was $100 than a residential hotel. Since the reviews of the host were good, we booked the place.

The property was hosted by a young couple from the same land where I am from. The first day we reached the place around 7:00 PM and the hosts were so good; they asked us to feel free to use the common area since the room was very small for three people to stay. Starting the second day, the nightmare began. When we started cooking around 1:00 PM on the second day and since they were very friendly and set very high expectations, we started asking about little items like salt, sugar, etc. We cooked with most of our pots and pans. Even though they put in the Airbnb listing that new stainless steel equipment was available in the kitchen, we didn’t see anything there. When we asked for some, they were not happy.

Since we were new and we didn’t have all the items we need and no car, we could not go to the shop and buy everything on the second day. The host was not there and his wife was messaging him about everything happening and keeping him updated. So far so good. The guy came home. He had spoken nicely to us the previous day. However, he entered his home with anger in his face. My kid went and talked to him; he never responded properly. I noticed something was going wrong. I went and talked to him. He was telling me that we were asking for items which we should not ask, overutilizing the kitchen and not cleaning the dining table area properly. In addition, he was very arrogant telling me that if we did not clean the dining table area properly, he would cancel the booking. I was scared that with three big suitcases, three big hand bags, and a little kid, in a place which was really new to me, where would we stay?

I quietly told him we booked the room because we had a kid and we had to cook fresh food. To my knowledge, we were also cleaning the table. He told me that when they eat food, they clean the floor around the dining room table because small food particles might be there. I told him that I would clean the floor if that’s the case. Then I went to the kitchen and saw a piece of rice in the sink. His wife was there and I told her I would clean that up; otherwise, he would not be happy. After hearing this, he told me in a rough voice, “Come here, don’t talk to my wife. Talk to me. What did you say…?” as if I was going to do something to his wife.

I never expected that kind of harshness from him and I explained what I had said. After having our lunch, we went to the room. I Googled around and found some hotels nearby. I told my wife we should get out of there. However, my wife was not completely okay because of our kid and the amount of luggage we had. We went out to talk to the hosts to tell them we were ready to move out. They said that they will not be at home starting the next day so we could use the kitchen. However, we had to clean it properly. My wife said this was okay and convinced me to stay.

After that incident we didn’t want to go out when they were there and kept our son in the room. We basically locked him in the room. The room was so small for three people. I don’t know what kind of verification Airbnb is doing if someone is ready to host by allowing a certain number of guests, especially kids. The room can accommodate only one queen size bed, so they put a bed on the floor by the side of the main bed for my son.

As they said, no one was there for first two days. I went out and prepared something for my son and fed him as my wife left for work. During dinnertime, we went out because they were there. On the third day his wife was there the entire day, so we never went out. We had only oats for my son and I and at night, as usual, we went out. I was waiting for the fourth day because that was the day we were checking out and going to our new apartment. I was so happy when we stepped out of the room. Please don’t use Airbnb and suffer like I did. It’s better to use a hotel.