Thursday, February 04, 2016

My First (and last) Airbnb

Our Airbnb stay in the Hollywood Hills

Last year, during my first visit to California, I stayed at my first bed and breakfast.  I was apprehensive about staying at a bed and breakfast, me who works at a hotel and is used to staying at hotels.  A bed and breakfast?  Isn't that someone's home?  Well yes, but from my experience last year at the Hollywood Bed and Breakfast, I found the experience to be totally satisfactory.  In fact, I loved it so much I returned this year.  


Our accommodations at night - first night back we couldn't find the place! Kept ending up on the Santa Monica Freeway after missing our turn. This was the one time we were glad to get back "home". 

However, this year my Travel Buddy (Pat from Toronto) suggested we also stay at an Airbnb.  He saw this modern home nestled in the Hollywood Hills that looked intriguing.  I too thought it would be interesting to stay at one of those homes tucked into the Hollywood Hills.  Plus, I had never stayed at an Airbnb so this would also be a new experience for me.  Well folks, with all due respect to Pat and his good intentions, this move didn't work out too well.  In fact I was very disappointed.


I had a couple problems with our new accommodations.  My biggest problem was that the place just wasn't clean.  Here are few of the cleanliness failures:


Grout needs cleaned in the shower - also black hair on tiles - neither Pat or I have black hair - someone didn't clean the shower before we checked in

More hairs on the floor of the bathroom - not good 

  • Hair on the floor and tile in the shower
  • Dirty grout in the shower
  • Dust on the floor
  • Black sheets that didn't feel clean 
  • Rough towels
The "couch" - very uncomfortable

The "kitchen" - pots and pans but no stove - room above the garage heated by space heater

The bathroom - rough towels - no soft and plushy here

The bathroom sink and shower - I liked the above head shower - bathroom not a total disappointment



Our room was above the garage and plenty big but the furniture worn and very uncomfortable. To say the furniture was "rough" would be generous. And with all the furniture, one of the basic requirements of accommodating guests was there was no luggage rack.  Hey Airbnb proprietors, provide something for your guests to place their suitcases other than the floor or a chair. 



View from the black sheeted bed - my suitcase is on the chair behind the TV

Actually, I felt like the proprietors lost an opportunity to provide a really nice space for their Airbnb guests because they have the space to do it.  But I felt like they just threw in some old furniture and a space heater and figured out that was enough.  It was a shame because this could really be a cute and desirable space.  


A nice, big open space - could be made to really be comfortable

Another problem with this location (and not the fault of the proprietors) was the location.  We thought it would be cool to stay in the Hollywood Hills but be careful what you wish for.  During our stay at our previous accommodations (the Hollywood Bed and Breakfast on the corner of Hollywood Boulevard), we could walk to any location including Hollywood and Vine.  Not so this location.  Oh no.  Oh for sure we were tucked into the Hollywood Hills. We weren't going to be walking anywhere.  In fact, I had a very hard time even maneuvering around and walking up those steep steps to our Airbnb.  Again, not the fault of the aforementioned Airbnb proprietors but not a place that is conducive to my aging, arthritic riddled body.  And one day, Pat was on the receiving end from a blast from one of our Airbnb proprietor's neighbors.  Pat had dropped me off and before he left to visit one of his modern furniture stores, waited to make sure I made it up the steps.  The neighbor came out and started to yell at Pat "You can't park here!  You are so rude!"


Not the actual neighbor, the real one was much nicer looking but still very angry

Pat tried to explain to the irate woman that he wasn't parked in front of her house but she wasn't hearing any of it.  Obviously she has had problems before with her Airbnb neighbors' tenants parking in front of her house.  While Pat was trying to explain to her that he was moving on she continued to yell at him "We have the biggest area in the Hollywood Hills to turn around and you park in front of my house! I can' believe you!"  I paraphrased her words but that she was very angry and not willing to listen to any reason for a car in front of her house, even if it was to monitor an arthritic old man climbing steep stairs, was very apparent. Welcome to the neighborhood Ron and Pat.  Hey lady, don't worry, we won't be back.


Pat at the "desk" behind the refrigerator

Oh, I almost forgot.  During our first morning this is what I saw out on the back patio.  Obviously we didn't partake of the patio.  One of my really big fears is being "skunked" on vacation.  



However, all was not a loss. We always wondered what it would be like to actually stay at one of those houses in the Hollywood Hills. Now I (we) know.  Curiosity satisfied. 

14 comments:

  1. Oh well. Think of the experience as having been a favour to those of us who've never tried an Airbnb and now never will. It's never too late to learn! ;-)

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    1. Ray,
      I may try another Airbnb in the future but not for awhile. We have a nice place to stay while we're in California so we'll just stick with that. It's a shame that they didn't just take a half an hour to clean this place where we stayed. it would have made a much better first impression. And as you know, you never have another chance for a first impression.
      Ron

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  2. Hey Ron - our time in Hollywood remained great til the end - tho - I agree, the last accommodation didn't work out the best. It's a very cool house and actually was in Dwell Magazine right after I made the booking. It caught my eye when I opened up my copy in the mail. I know the owners (successful media couple) were in a rush to leave to somewhere when we arrived - and we couldn't check in a couple of hours earlier because the present guests were still occupying. Perhaps they didn't get the house duties done. The Hollywood Hills are interesting - but it's not really an easy access for some not attuned to the windy, hilly and very very narrow roadways. Once I remember mistaking someone's driveway for the road at a bend. Driveways (if owners are lucky enough to have a bit of extra real estate) and roadways look pretty similar. But this we each can add to the bucket list - we stayed once in the Hollywood Hills.

    Pat

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    1. Pat,
      The place wasn't cleaned from the previous occupants, that much was obvious from the used sheets to the hairs on the floor and tile in the bathroom. I guess the owners just didn't have time to clean the room but that really isn't an excuse. We would never do that in the hotel where I work. Sometimes we have a late checkout and not time to clean the room. We just tell the guests "We haven't cleaned the room yet." I think you're right, the owners of this Airbnb just didn't have time and thought we wouldn't notice. Perhaps "regular" guests wouldn't have but me, being a longtime hotel employee, this was the first thing I noticed. However, the experience wasn't a total loss because I always wondered what it would be like to stay in one of those houses in the Hollywood Hills. Now I know. Driving and parking is very rough and you do not have the freedom to walk wherever you want. You absolutely need a car and understanding neighbors who don't bite your head off when you pause in front of their place to make sure this old man makes it up the stairs.
      Ron

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  3. Ron, I don't know why I laughed when I read this - but there is some humor in misery. And I really laughed at the skunk on your patio. If there is a bright side, at least you got to experience life in the Hollywood Hills.

    I'll bet the BITCH who yelled at Pat was one of those holier-than-thou newcomers to Southern California, who has lived there for five months and thinks she owns it. Probably from Hoboken (hey, I'm merely guessing, but my guesses are always accurate).

    From the photos and videos that you've provided, I would MUCH prefer to stay at the bed & breakfast - it's perfectly clean, absolutely charming, and centrally located. The Airbnb place reminds me of a college dorm.
    And it's very easy to get lost in the Hollywood Hills and wander around forever. I've done it.

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    1. Jon,
      Again, everything you said was right on the mark. The woman who hollered at Pat was one of those holier-than-thou types. I spotted that when she said "We have the most space in the Hollywood Hills to turn around!" We la de dah, excuse me. She didn't give Pat a chance, even though Pat said he was sorry and was moving. She followed him, bitching all the way. What a BITCH.
      We got lost about five times trying to get back to our place in the Hollywood Hills. At one point I was so disgusted I just wanted to go back to our previous place. It was getting that ridiculous. The two main things I disliked about our "place in the Hollywood Hills" was that it wasn't clean, not comfy, and certainly not centrally located. I loved the ability to walk anywhere I wanted to go at our previous stay. And the proprietors of the Hollywood Bed and Breakfast were so accommodating and friendly. At this place in the Hollywood Hills, we (at least me) felt like red headed country cousins interloping on their Lifestyle. Wasn't made to feel comfortable at all, especially with that dumpy furniture and the dirtiness of the place. Never again.
      Ron

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  4. It is a neat space, I wouldn't let the skunk keep inside. I have rented houses / apartments in england and France, they usually have a housekeeping service between guests, in one case if the stay was less than 5 nights the guest paid extra for the maid service.

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    1. David,
      It was a neat space. We both thought was a shame they didn't put a little more effort into it and furnished it with inexpensive but comfortable (and clean) furniture like from Ikea. It felt like they just dumped trash furniture in the place to make a quick buck. At least they could have cleaned it but I think they didn't have time because the previous tenants had just checked out and the proprietors had something (more important) to do. At least they could have provided us with fresh towels. Funny thing, those towels never dried out unless we put them on the space heater. We roughed it in the Hollywood Hills for sure.
      Ron

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  5. Anonymous1:14 PM

    airbnb is for 30-somethings, not old farts.

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    1. Right! They would like the grunge.

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  6. Ron,

    Looked like you were living in someone's basement. It reminded me of the inside of the Pei Building in Wilmington, where I worked for a while. He might have been a world renown architect, but his building was totally unwelcoming and impractical.

    Anyway, I was wondering if this was really a bed & breakfast. Where was the breakfast? And the surrounding area looked ugly, with those house tumbled atop one another and the narrow twisty roads. This is what money gets you?

    Lar

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    1. Lar,
      As the above "Anonymous" commenter stated, "Airbnb's are for 30 somethings, not old farts." One thing is for sure, the old fart won't be staying in any more Airbnb's. Which by the way, the name "Airbnb" is a misnomer anyway because there is no "Bnb" in the Air. All you get is a spare room in someone's home. You're lucky if you get any privacy and cleanliness. If you're into grunge, which I think 30 Somethings wouldn't even notice, then that's the place for them. Go for it kids!
      Ron

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  7. Randy in NEB.2:02 AM

    Ron, The first thought I had when I saw the photo of your AirBnB house, was this is one of those places were people get murdered in their sleep, shades of Sharon Tate. And Jon is correct I bet said crabby neighbor is a So. Cal transplant out east. So. Cal seems to attract all the crumbs, nuts and flakes. People born in California for the most part are totally cool. Hope this place didn't rip you off too badly. Have a better one! Randy in NEB.

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    1. Randy,
      I wondered what a stay in an Airbnb was like. Now I know. Not even a fresh towel and certainly not clean. And the neighborhood where we stayed we (me at least) didn't feel welcomed. And the Angry Neighbor, that was awful. And you know Pat, he's so kind an considerate and she just kept going off at him. I don't know what the place cost, Pat paid for it. I paid for our previous accommodations. We were curious what an Airbnb rental was like. Curiosity satisfied. I won't be staying in any anytime soon, that's for sure. At leasts with a real bed and breakfast they have certain standards. Then just don't put you in a dirty, dumpy room above their garage. There are no standards as far as I know with the current Airbnb's other than reviews that you can write and I couldn't even write one on where we stayed because I didn't pay for the lodgings. And Pat is too kind to write and say anything unkind. My only solace is to never go to one again which I won't.
      Ron

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