Airbnb Reservation Canceled Last Minute!

Here’s our story: On January 15, 2016, I booked a condo on Singer Island (owner “Sherry”) in West Palm Beach, FL for my family’s spring break vacation. We were vacationing with a group of friends who were also staying on the island. My husband, daughter (12 years old) and I were set to check in on Saturday, March 19 staying through March 26. My daughter and I went a few days early to visit with family in the Orlando area.

On Wed, Mar 16, I received a text from the owner asking when we would be checking in on Saturday. I responded that we would be there about noon. The following afternoon (Thursday), I received a text from Airbnb that my reservation was cancelled. I then called and texted the owner and asked what was going on. She texted me back confirming she cancelled the reservation because she “had been sick with pneumonia” for a long time. Begs the question, then why did she wait to cancel 2 days before we were to check in, right? So here we are, already in Florida and trying to find a place to stay during the busiest time of the year. I can’t begin to describe my level of stress. While there are worse things, this was our nightmare for the next 10 hours while I called every hotel and vrbo ad trying to find a place for us to stay.

First I called Airbnb and they said they would find us a place. The representative I spoke with was extremely nice. So she sends me 9 listings. Great, right? Not so much. All of the listings she sent were booked for the time we were there. Now why would they send us listings that are not available? Unbelievable. I called back to let them know none of the listings were available so they refunded my money, gave me a $200 credit (that’s helpful when there’s no place to stay) and said “sorry we couldn’t find one for you, good luck.”

Finally after calling every resort and realtor in the area, I finally found a room at the Palm Beach Marriott on Singer Island – literally the last room available – in which I ended up paying an additional $2,000. And because the room was equipped with a “coffee kitchen,” we spent another small fortune eating out for lunch and dinner everyday and paying $30/day for parking.

This was our first time using Airbnb and, needless to say, is our last. When I posted my story on Facebook – the stories were endless about similar situations. More people should know about the risks of using Airbnb. Hope you’ll be writing another article soon.

Paying $40/night to Walk on Eggshells to my Room

Overall, I would call this an uncomfortable Airbnb experience. The host was Beverley in North Port, Florida and the room was called “It’s a large private bed and bath” Yes, it was clean, and Beverley provided 3 mini bagels plus some fruit, which was nice. The bed was super high and a bit wobbly, and the mini fridge goes off loudly for intervals in the night–but those are non-issues for a moderate/deep sleeper. However, much as I am the kind of guest who made myself scarce and basically used the room to sleep each night, I didn’t get the sense that common areas including the kitchen or living room were truly open to guests. That was one of a few unspoken rules/expectations that I encountered here, and I was walking a bit on eggshells by the end. I suggested things like the 10pm curfew could be put up front in the house rules section for everyone’s benefit. That there are children in the house REALLY changes the dynamic. I was accosted on the 2nd night by Beverley for coming home at 1am–she said her children were disrupted from their routines from asking about my whereabouts and the noise even though I tiptoed in each night. I felt bad and her children deserve to sleep, but this was something I completely didn’t anticipate. I figured if someone’s putting up her house for airbnb that they would have thought of the possibility that the guest may not follow their sleeping schedule. I didn’t pay $40/night to come home early every night on my vacation for fear of disturbing the sleep of children, and would have considered that before booking, if I knew that was an expectation.

There were other things which I won’t go into, because I don’t want to speak ill of a person who seems like an OK person, but the place just wasn’t suited for Airbnb. She did say some things that were slightly racial (I am Asian) and I talked to her about that and will give the benefit of doubt. Yes, I reached out to Beverley privately before writing this review. We talked out some things up there, but it was not an easy convo (she accused me of some things that I did not do and insinuated that her daughter had abilities to perceive when something is “wrong” with someone, and that she perceived that about me when she first saw me, which was VERY uncalled for) and there are some other things that I am leaving unsaid. I don’t think Beverly is a bad person, and I wish her well. I made one mistake which I apologized to her for, which was bringing my boyfriend in for 15 min after I had given her an estimated time frame about an hour earlier. He came later and I forgot to text her before entering the house, thinking we would just drop off the items quickly, but when we stayed a few more minutes to apply sunscreen before heading out, she had covertly entered the house and saw/heard us, and later accused me of purposely coming in the house with my bf while she went out, which was so not true. It was just a mistake on my part and I did apologize.

Conclusion: I just don’t think this was a house that was ready for prime time on Airbnb. If I could do it over, I should’ve just paid more to get a place where I could feel free to be a normal person operating on my own time and feel free walking around. I wanted to post this since it couldn’t get posted on Airbnb in time.

Dog (un) friendly, Lying AirBnB host!

I needed the impossible- an affordable place to stay near A1A (name of beachside town) in Florida in mid-December that was both near my parents (Alzheimer’s mother and terrified father) and dog-friendly, as I would have just finished showing all weekend at the biggest dog show in America, in Orlando. I could not believe my luck when I found this cute bungalow with an almost-oceanview, under $100 a night and sure, I could keep my dogs there, in their crates. I explicitly told my host that the dogs would be alone for several hours each day while I visited my parents (and talk about ‘those things’ with my dad), at their beachfront condo (no dogs allowed there), only a mile away. She was very nice about it, saying ‘of course, no problem.’ Totally understanding! What a relief. This was 4 whole months prior to my Florida trip and I felt quite secure knowing that this little annoying detail was taken care of in an affordable way. I had just finished spending nearly $1000 in hotel fees during the dog show at a fancy high rise hotel near the convention center, so I really needed a stress-free financial break at that point. Especially dealing with my parents at this time. They’d spent their lives alienating some of my siblings, including me, and the visit was potentially volatile. But—oh boy, my host was so COOL and relaxed and welcoming and friendly!

Every day I had coffee with her in her living room (she stayed in her other bedroom) and we talked about all kinds of things. I made sure to bring up ‘how are the dogs behaving when I’m not here?’ each day. She always replied, ‘Good! Fine! No problem.’ I told her, ‘Well, if they bark or whine, you can just pop your head in there and tell them to shut up’ and she was just like ‘No, don’t you worry about it- it’s all good.’ I just wanted to make sure she was happy and every day I was so very careful to pick up each and every dog turd from her tiny back yard. I had 3 medium sized show dogs with me, so that was something I did want to make sure was perfection. Half of her back yard was covered with very old, rotted and broken decking and of course that is where the dogs preferred to poop. I am not tiny, so walking on this decking was dangerous to me but I was very careful in my foot placement so I would not break through it and stretched (thank you, yoga!) to get every brown surprise out there.

I was there exactly 2 days and 3 nights, from late Monday night to Thursday mid-morning. Imagine my shock when I opened the email notice of my host’s review of me- and discovered that she had patiently waited to air her grievances about allowing dogs not during our morning coffee discussions, but on the public review page on AirBnB. She complained about the dog’s barking, her relationship with her next door neighbor (who has loud children! Plus I was careful each day to say hello to said neighbor), that the dog poop smell was coming into the bedroom (I have a very good nose for dog scat and no, it was not. There was no hose out there and if there was, I would have used it. It is not my fault that she has broken decking on the ground in her back yard. How do you clean poop residue from that? I did not leave much, if any, residue anyway. Dog show people are notoriously good at cleaning up after our dogs). She ended by angrily stating that she would not allow dogs anymore, as if I was one of ‘those’ dog owners. I was so mortified that I deleted my 100% perfect AirBnB profile and will never use AirBnB again. She ruined my trust of AirBnB hosts.

Moral of the story: hosts are liars. If they seem cool, believe me, they are not. You get what you pay for at fancy high rise hotels!!