I had stayed with a friend outside of La Rochelle for a few days. Not having a car, when this friend went away it seemed wiser to rent a place in the city to be able to get around, take a boat, etc, more easily. I rented an Airbnb for a Sunday and Monday.
After accepting my reservation, and after I had paid, the host never gave me the address. This was a bad sign. The place was in an industrial area, not a residential area. She had probably rented an old boat sales place (looked like a car sales place) and transformed the downstairs kitchen into a catering place where she prepared food she delivered to clients, and the upstairs had a kitchen living area for her, her bedroom, a bathroom and a few small bedrooms.
The outer wall was floor to ceiling windows (since it was a showroom-type place) with a very tiny slit for an opening. Outside in the evening it was a pleasant 65° F: nice for sleeping. However, inside it was about 85°. It was impossible to have darkness as the shades didn’t reach all the way down to the floor, and if one opened the shades, one’s whole bedroom was broadly visible from the street. There was no lock on the bedroom nor bathroom door.
The pictures were ten pictures of the pretty living room with pictures of boats just out the window and the accommodation appeared to be close to the sea – surely we had a seaside view? No, it was an industrial boat repair area, with noisy boat repairs going on all day Sunday.
Though the pictures of the living room and view were promoted, the host said this was for her and she didn’t want me to come into the living room much or to use the kitchen much. She did allow me to put half a cucumber and a piece of cheese in the fridge but didn’t want me to use the kitchen or electric kettle. I had to walk half a mile down to a park every time I wanted to eat as I couldn’t eat in the apartment. There was no restaurant nearby.
The listing said it was quiet, but in fact on a Sunday night at midnight there were many cars passing all night just in front. I recorded this on video and sent it to Airbnb. They said I could be refunded the second night. The lady kept yelling and yelling and pointing to her good reviews. I booked a small room in a very cute hotel for a similar price, thank goodness: ten times better.
By accident I had left my phone charger, personal journal, and a philosophy magazine at the place. The lady read my personal journal and made critical personal comments. She would not fix a time to give me my charger and journal back. I had to spend some hours contacting Airbnb. She told people at Airbnb that she would be there to give me my stuff but didn’t answer the door. I had to go around back to see that she was already there, and call Airbnb so that they would call her and she would finally give me my stuff.
While on the phone with Airbnb, they gave me a 50-euro credit for the bad experience. I wanted to note this on my review, but they said I was not allowed to. I wrote a poor review (just facts) while she wrote a very insulting one, and slightly xenophobic. She got a few more good reviews and then her listing disappeared.
Many of her reviews seemed to be from other hosts and seemed to be arrangements between hosts, to give one another good reviews. There were lots of reviews from people who had only given one review and were hosts and to whom she had also given a review as a guest (very reciprocal reviews).
Good riddance to this lady. Glad to see her place with the “boat views” (AKA boat repair shop views) is off the map. Airbnb should have cancelled her listing immediately and allowed me to post that they had refunded me the second night and given me credit for the first. Thank goodness I found a very cute hotel to have a nice last night.