We got the kids out of bed at 3am & set off on our way in the car from Adelaide to Melbourne . We arrived in to Melbourne at around 1pm but couldn’t get in to our room until 3pm. So we went to find some lunch then made our way to our accommodation. Parking on the streets of Melbourne city seems to be slim so Ben parked us in a no standing zone 😳 in a back alley while he and the girls walked to the hotel to collect the keys & find out where we could park.
So the first indicator that choosing to go Airbnb may have been a mistake was that the person handing over the key had apparently lost them so was 45 minutes late. Ok these things happen we’ll let that one slide.
The car park we’d been allocated is so tiny & I have a Landcruiser! And it’s new & black so you can imagine how tense I was while Ben was trying to do an 10 point turn to squeeze it in between concrete walls that have exposed pipes & bike racks hanging in the most inconvenient places 😳😓
We made a decision then to take the car out as little as possible as parking was a whole thing!
Anyway we’d made it! All would be ok once we got to our room. Except it wasn’t. The first thing I noticed was the smell of cigarette smoke. It was meant to be a non smoking room. I opened all doors and windows in the hope of airing it out. Secondly 2 of the children were meant to sleep on the pull out sofa. It was an L-shaped sofa that had an extra piece pull out to make it in to an odd shaped rectangle. That would have been manageable except that where the three pieces (2 pieces making up the L shape plus the extra piece you pull out) joined up all had hard timber pieces running through them making it so it couldn’t actually be slept on. The floor would have been more comfortable.
But we weren’t going to let that stop us. We googled where we could find an air mattress and decided to take the kids for a swim in the hotel then head down to the local Kmart to get a mattress.
When looking for accommodation the three things that were a must for us was a heated swimming pool for the kids so between sightseeing and shopping we could relax at the hotel. Stella was so pumped she’d even bought new bathers. The second and third things that weren’t negotiable was a car park as we were driving and six beds because, well there’s six of us… So if you’ve read this far you would know that the carpark and sleeping situation are border line. But that’s ok because there’s always the pool. Until there wasn’t.
So in their bathers everyone got and headed for the ground floor to go for a swim. As we got to the door marked pool we noticed a sign. It said “Pool closure.” No surely this must be a mistake. Ben & Stella actually went through the door refusing to believe it was true. Until they saw with their own eyes an empty pool. Yep it was empty. Stella lost it. She cried so hard it broke me heart!! 💔
At this point I was done. Although I knew we’d paid for our accommodation weeks ago and there was a chance we may have to cut our losses and start again I didn’t care. The kids had been looking forward to this for so long as had Ben & I and our accommodation was complete rubbish! And it wasn’t cheap either.
I felt bad for Ben as I am usually the one to organise our accommodation. I don’t like surprises at all so I personally would have been too scared to use Airbnb as it falls in to the “too risky” basket for me. But Ben had suggested using it as he knew of others that had done so and said it was great. So he sourced and organised all the accommodation. And in all honesty in the pictures and description it all looked absolutely fine.
Once we got back from “not pool” Ben got straight on the phone to try and get a refund and I got on my phone to try and find different accommodation. Remembering by this point it’s about 5.30-6.00pm on a Sunday and we need accommodation for 2 adults and 4 children.
Just before Ben got his phone out to sort this situation an email had come through from the host of the apartment to say that the cleaning staff had just advised her that the dishwasher was no longer working also. Ben emailed her straight back (they hadn’t given us a phone number we only had an email to communicate) to explain what had happened and that we expected a refund and we would be leaving immediately. But she never replied.
We managed to find a phone number to call Airbnb directly and they were very, very helpful. They asked for Ben to go and take photos of the empty pool and send them through.
While Ben was downstairs taking photos of the pool a lady knocked on the door. Her English was very poor but we managed to work out that she was the cleaning lady and that she had come to collect a hand towel out of our en-suite. It was neatly folded and hanging on the rail but she unfolded it and showed me some awful looking brown dried up stuff on it and told me not to use it. Apparently she had noticed it earlier when cleaning and why she didn’t dispose of it then and there I don’t know but she took it with her this time.
Within about 45 minutes we received a message to say that we would receive a full refund plus the cost of an extra nights stay for the inconvenience. This was sorted out by Airbnb directly not through the host. So that was a win. They also searched for some other suitable accommodation and sent us links for them. As much as we were nervous about trying another Airbnb we didn’t have much choice. We couldn’t find anything else on such short notice.
It wasn’t until around 8.30pm that we had other accommodation confirmed. On a side note this could be very difficult for a family who was on holiday on a tight budget as we had to pay upfront in full for the second lot of accommodation and our refund could take up to two weeks to come back to us. So that’s probably something to consider.
Our new accommodation was only five minutes from where we were staying. By the time we got our car out of the tiny carpark, I circled around the block what felt like 38 times while Ben ran the carpark fob back up to the room. We drove to the new accommodation, found the new keys in a box, after trying to open the carpark roller door for way too long worked out Ben had to go in to the room to find a different key to open the carpark, parked the car in another tiny carpark, (this one we can’t even open the boot as it will hit the roof!! 😂) and got to our new room it was about 9.20pm!
But we were so relieved to walk in and find out it was all ok! In fact we are better off. This one has three bedrooms so everyone has a comfy bed and the view is gorgeous. It’s a little dated but at this point we do not care. It has everything we need.
At 9.45pm we went on the hunt for food! We were starving and tired. We went to the food court in the Crown Casino, ate, staggered back to our accommodation and put the kids to bed.
Once that was done Ben and I sat down on the couch, looked at each other and both said “what the actual heck happened today?!” and tired giggled.
As I sit here this morning on day #2 drinking my cup of tea I realised this story was too ridiculous not to share. Would I use Airbnb again? Probably not. Unfortunately our first experience was with a poor host so it’s put a bad taste in our mouths but our experience dealing with Airbnb directly with our issue was a positive one.
Now it’s time to take the kids down to the pool. Wish me luck!