I travel. I hate hotels. I personally find them stuffy, small and irrespective of what the stars say, inherently characterless. I chose to experience someones home instead, a room or the entire space.
Thus far, I have stayed at
⊗ an attic in Paris in the trendy Le Marais with very interesting neighbours,
⊗ an artist’s extremely quirky villa in the old town of Nice decorated with large murals made entirely of impressions of her lips dressed in various shades of red lipstick and a bright pink bathroom dedicated entirely to dolls,
⊗ a doctors plush sea-facing apartment in Nice from where we had the best seats in the house to the season’s super moon rise over the water in all its magnificently large fiery glory,
⊗ a true-to-form rustic-esque villa in Ubud,
⊗ a duplex 2 bedroom flat in Venice over the busy Venice Art Biennale season of 2013
⊗ and most recently, a lawyer’s eclectic loft in London filled with books and edge.
Nice: an artist’s quirky villa 5 minutes from the tram line in the Old City
Nice: view from the balcony of our vacation rental
Ubud: rustic villa living in Bali
London: homely eclectic loft in zone 1
Basics while using Airbnb
1) Always, ALWAYS read reviews
2) Check the listing’s rating basis – Accuracy, Communication, Cleanliness, Location, Check-in and Value; with a maximum of 5 stars to a minimum of none.
3) Check the ‘Amenities’ tab to see what the host provides with the space, safer bet than making an assumption that will cost you time and mental peace. Is there a lift in the building? / is breakfast included? / does the apartment have cable TV and/or wifi? Or email the host should you require further clarification.
4) Check the maximum number of guests allowed by the host and if there are any charges for extra guests (usually a per person/per night charge) over the minimum.
5) Check what the host stipulations are on check-in/check-out and cancellations.
6) Most listings provide a google map reference, check this before making the final booking. My listing in Singapore also provided a street-view link.
7) Get to know your host should you be sharing the space with them.
8) Review the security deposit clause, not all hosts take a deposit, so be careful with the ones that do (+ make sure it is reversed back on to your credit card after check-out).
9) Write a review to encourage and educate other travellers on your stay & experience.