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5 star rated Airbnb listings

Currently back in Warsaw. When I was here in September I stayed with a five star rated listing where the live in host:

Didn’t provide any hanging or storage space in the room
Needed to access the room several times to get additional clothing during my stay
Once knocked but then immediately walked into the room, catching me in a state of undress
Had a very infrequent cleaning regime; I watched dirt build up in the bathroom
Took too long to replace used up toilet rolls (48 hrs on one occasion. Yes I went out and bought my own.)
Was very untidy; piles of clean washing everywhere, every surface in the kitchen covered with something in the process of being used. Toys all over the place etc
Huge bag of recycling under the table which was attracting a lot of flies.
Location was terrible. Yes technically 25 minutes to Warsaw IF you drive. If you’re using public transport make that an hour sometimes more due to infrequent bus services.
The host was a lovely guy mind you.

I stayed three weeks, and left a 3 star review.

Roll forward and I am now staying with a superhost, another 5 star place.

Problems so far include:

Arriving at 8.15 to an overwhelming smell of curry, including in my room. I love eating curry but I hate smelling cooking smells especially in my sleeping area.

On the tour he showed me my room. I started to unpack before I realised I didn’t know know where the bathroom kitchen or loo were. Nor did I know if I was able to use the fridge etc… nor had I been given a key. I found the host and asked for all the above but felt his tone was a bit off as he replied.

The kitchen was also a tad untidy.

I had a mega restless night because the sheets are shockingly bad. They’re very rough, the type where you feel you’re rubbing against something mildly abrasive. I’ve never noticed this problem before and I’ve slept in a tonne of Airbnb’s since august.

In the bathroom I found silverfish and a little mould on the ceiling. I have not seen these since my student days or some shady house shares I’ve lived in. The decor is tired, think once white walls and a shower curtain that is severely frayed.

This guy has all 5 stars except cleanliness. I already know I won’t be giving 5 stars for this stay.

Now we move to my listing, which has a rating of 4.5 stars. I provide quality sheets, am a stickler for cleaning, I don’t even cook when I have guests in the flat because of smells, provide breakfast etc. The whole flat is freshly decorated; any signs of wear on anything and I ditch them. (for example I’ve gone through three toilet brushes) What am I missing ?? I do have 5 stars in all categories except location but I have had quite a few four and one three star review.

Am I imagining that there are serious issues with these listings or am I missing something? So far I’m finding that highly rated listings aren’t turning out to be so when I arrive …

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I agree with you that some 5-star/Super Host listimgs are overrated. Stayed in two 5-star listings recently. One property was okay, but towels provided were smelly and host took a long time to respond to messages. She wasn’t very helpful when her wifi didn’t work. The second property looked nice, but it was dusty and musty. And lots of mozzies. I wondered why other guests were so generous with their good reviews? Maybe their standards and expectations are not as high as mine?

I am a Super Host myself and have received 100% positive reviews.


I think people rate home stays higher (private room) because they have personal contact with the host and do not want to offend. I have seen some 5 star places that are not 5 star but the host is charming.


It’s not surprising to see a huge gap in opinion over what qualifies for 5-star or otherwise. Some people will be tolerant towards things that a lot of other guests can’t ( sleeping on the floor with a thin futon, climbing 4 flights of stairs with a heavy suitcase, etc ).
So yeah, like you mentioned, I’ve never trust those 5-star ratings either. I guess you’ll never know when you’ll get the short end of the stick.

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Ahhh are you a futon user by any chance? (light topic derail but since it’s my thread!) I have a shikibuton that I use on a tatami mat and its getting mega uncomfortable. Should I be doing something to it that I don’t know about?

returning to your comment - huge gap is the word. I would have expected though that the law of averages would have prevented that happening!

yeah the charm is very much part of it; it nearly stopped me leaving a three star review but there were so many issues. When I compare it to when I got a 3 star (because guests got lost and ignored my advice on how to reach the property) I was generous.

I sleep on a bed ( which has become the standard here! ) but we provide futon in a tatami room for our guests. We had some westerners complain but it’s a matter of getting used to.
You should get a thin mattress to lay under your futon if it’s too uncomfortable.

ah but I need to roll it up during the day. Nevertheless I will look and see if I can find some foam or something that will also roll up. I spent A LOT on the shikibuton but my god, it kills my back!

I didn’t realize soon enough to check the star status after every guest leaves to try and find out which guest did not give four stars. I think Airbnb should tell you what they gave you. Somebody had given me 2 stars on cleanliness. I’m guessing it was one of the guests I did not like, but nothing was said directly to me or put in the review, and I provide a very clean space. Other reviews all comment on the cleanliness. If you have a few reviews, it just takes one to bring your stars down; if you have a hundred reviews, on reviewer’s lower star wouldn’t change it. Just keep doing what you are doing. You evidently had somebody weird who did not communicate with your directly about issues.

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