My first Airbnb stay was so wonderful that a) I lucked out that the owners likely once ran the place as a B&B, and essentially still do, and b) Airbnb will only go downhill from here, for me at least.
I do not believe I am a fully converted member of the Airbnb brigade, but my first experience was nothing short of phenomenal.
I wrote recently of my difficulty in securing accommodation for a long-weekend exodus from London, when I visited the beautiful English county of Dorset.
While staying in the gorgeous middle of nowhere near the village of Winterborne Stickland, I did not know what to expect. The owners of the property, which had four guestrooms, had complained online that a previous guest had arrived several hours after the time they said they would arrive. I definitely belong to the group that regards punctuality as courtesy, so I was not going to get roasted over that potential transgression.
I had not seen any criticism online from guests, though, and after staying there, I am not surprised.
A pot of tea was offered as soon as I arrived, which I sipped on a patio while overlooking a pond, large garden and the Dorset hills drifting off into the distance, broken only by the occasional church spire. It was all very English and wonderful.
The proprietors also offered dinner for guests, as an added expense, and their learned conversation, interesting stories and excellent home-cooked meals from quality sources were invaluable. Breakfast was provided, and it included more home-cooked food to order.
This all sounds too good to be true, one might say.
My thinking, after two fulfilling days, was that this place was formerly a traditional bed and breakfast, which the owners decided to migrate into an online platform of stunning worldwide reach.
Perhaps they had worked too long to attract potential guests to a remote spot and sensibly decided they would gain more business via Airbnb.
Yet they were hoteliers at heart, so even though the property was listed on Airbnb it still operated as a hybrid, or still as a B&B, and my hosts exuded the definition of hospitality.
It was obvious they cared about guests’ stays, and I would uncharitably say that this is not always the case.
My first Airbnb experience was so good that I worry my next Airbnb stay will inevitably pale in comparison. I need only look as far as Samantha Worgull’s Airbnb column, in which she admitted she was not so impressed with her experience.
Plugging the gap in customer service
Rarely do I take a bath.
I should retract that statement to add I usually take showers, and every day, too, before the rumors start.
Last weekend I stayed at the very nice Hilton Garden Inn Tupelo in Tupelo, Mississippi.
It gets hot in Mississippi in early September, so I decided to take a bath, only to find that there was no plug in the tub’s drain.
I went down to the reception desk to ask for one, and the front-desk staff was happy to comply.
Now, is it true that hotels do not provide plugs in rooms because with 100, 200, 300, etc., rooms in a hotel, someone at some point will run a bath and forget about it, thus causing a potential flood?
I’d love to know. This is the kind of thing that has never occurred to me as a guest but probably has to you via bitter experience.
I am all ears, and much cleaner.
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