Host as a guest - help with review

My husband and I just returned from an overnight trip. I try to book Airbnbs when we travel - to support the brand and because I genuinely like meeting other hosts and interacting with people.

We choose a place that had 12 reviews - all said what a great host “Will” was. The listing was a bit sparse but given it was only going to be one night, I booked it anyway.

The stay was VERY uncomfortable. There were several petty things I am not planning on calling out in the review but they added to our dissatisfaction. (Really - how hard is it to provide shampoo and a hair dryer? Less than 1/2 a roll of toilet paper with 2 rooms booked?) We never met Will but his partner apologized for the inconveniences for amentites that were advertised but difficult to use such as access to the kitchen. That would have required going outside, walking around the building and ringing their doorbell to get into the main house. We didn’t use the kitchen.

I believe this kind of experience diminishes Airbnb and creates ill will. We did not see review given just before our stay. It was written after we had booked. If I had seen it I would have cancelled in time to book another place.

Please check over my intended review - any suggestions? Star rating? Thanks!

"This was not the Airbnb experience we were expecting. At 1:41 pm on our arrival day we received a message there were power difficulties with the booked room as noted by the previous guest. We were offered the chance to be refunded or moved to another room. Given we were already in the city and didn’t have time to seek other accommodations we accepted the new room.

The new room was in the basement and clearly in a construction area.

  • The common areas had exposed wires, unfinished walls with gaping holes with wires where smoke detectors are to be installed.
  • A shop lamp was plugged in for light in the unfinished shared bathroom.
  • The unfinished room was spartan without any closet, dresser or hooks for clothes, or any bedside tables.
  • Both the walls and the curtains on the window are very thin. We could hear gentle snoring and voices (normal tone) from the adjacent room. The window curtains barely closed and there was not any shade. The window looks out on a walkway between buildings.

Safety issues included the lack of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Being removed from the main living area made the lack of bedroom door locks a concern.

We left as expected early Sunday am. I checked the listing; the original room was still available to rent that evening. If offered, I do not recommend any future guest accept the alternative accommodation."


The only suggestion I have is this – if the primary room that you had booked was suddenly not available and the alternative was an obviously “not ready to rent out under construction future room” the minimum the host should have offered was a free stay in the “not ready for use” room and – as a goodwill apology – a complimentary future one-night credit for the “ready-for-primetime” room. Anything short of this was disrespectful to the guest (you). The fact that he took your money (and I am assuming he did, otherwise you would not be in a position to write a review) for a half finished room is basically bait and switch.

If you agree that he shouldn’t have charged for a half-finished, partially furnished room, make his failure waive the fee an over-riding issue. As it stands, your review talks about how the host disappointed you, when – in reality – he did way worse than that: he cheated you, and if it was me I wouldn’t be shy about saying so. If his judgment and instincts as a host are that poor, he has no business being a host.

Every host in this forum busts their ass (and obsesses) about how to provide guests with an experience that genuinely earns a five-star flush for our own property and – incidentally – for the Airbnb brand… and then along comes a host like this who gives all of us a black eye. You’ve been way too kind to him.


I agree with Spark- these people should have been ashamed to even think of putting someone in an unfinished room in the middle of a construction zone and have the gall to charge for it. If something happened to make my guest room uninhabitable and I had a guest due to check in that day, I would offer to refund them in full, but seeing as how they might not be able to find another place on short notice, I’d offer them to stay on my living room couch for free, for at least one night. Or I’d give them my room and go sleep on the couch myself. If whatever made the guest room uninhabitable wasn’t fixable quickly, so the guest could move into it, then I’d expect them to find other accommodation.

As the place had good reviews for the room they normally rent, which I assume has easy kitchen access, I wouldn’t necessarily consider them bad hosts, but rather that they used terrible judgement in trying to accommodate guests in a room that obviously wasn’t guest ready and thinking it was okay to charge for it. They should at the very least have made the entire situation clear- that the room was unfinished, barely furnished, it was in the basement which was currently a construction zone, with exposed wires, etc, and that you’d have to come around the house and ring their doorbell if you wanted to use the kitchen. Full disclosure. Had they done that, you would at least have been able to make an informed choice as to whether to take the refund and just get a hotel room, or stay anyway.

However, I think you have a bit of responsibility here- you said they notified you that there was a power issue in the room you rented and did offer to refund you. You say you didn’t have time to seek other accommodations, but you could, in fact, have gotten a hotel room, or hung out in a cafe while looking to see if there were any other Airbnbs available on short notice. Or you could have simply said the room was unacceptable when you arrived and saw it. No one forced you to stay.

If I encountered a situation like you experienced, I would probably not blast the host in a review right off the bat- they are likely normally good hosts judging from their reviews, they just had terrible judgement in thinking they could put a guest in that room. Maybe they thought it was better to try to accommodate you than to leave you in the lurch with nowhere to stay (and for some guests, it might have been not such a big deal if all they needed was a place to sleep and have a shower, but the hosts still shouldn’t have charged for it, or at least only charged $10 to cover utilities and laundry). So I would write them a private message saying all that, that they should have fully disclosed the situation with that room, and that they never should have charged me to stay there. If their response was apologetic and they refunded me, I wouldn’t leave any review, I would assume they learned their lesson and would never do that again. If their response was other than that, I would go ahead and leave that review.

I do take a bit of exception to your comment “Really-how hard is it to provide shampoo and a hair dryer?” Not all hosts provide the same things. It’s not a matter of whether it’s hard, it’s a matter of what you provide for what you charge. As a host yourself, you should know that if the listing didn’t state it had a hair dryer or shampoo, you shouldn’t expect it to. (You didn’t say whether the listing stated it provided those things) By the same token, I could ask “How hard is it to pack a travel size bottle of shampoo and a travel hair dryer, if you can’t do without those things?”

I have never provided either shampoo or a hair dryer, nor does it state in my amenities list that I do. I’ve had exactly one guest ask if I had a hair dryer since I started hosting in 2016 and no one has ever complained about the lack of a hair dryer or shampoo.

I also don’t understand your comment “less than 1/2 roll of toilet paper with 2 rooms booked”. Which 2 rooms? I thought you just had one room. And were only staying for one night. While I provide full rolls of TP for each new guest and use the partial rolls myself, how is somewhat less than half a roll of toilet paper not sufficient for a one night stay? Or do you just mean it showed a lack of attention and care? I’ve never had a guest go through more than a roll of TP in about 5 days.


I would give one star and write an honest review. Just state the facts: Space was under construction and many amenities were missing. I can’t recommend this place to our Airbnb community.

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I’m not really clear on the details from your description - when the original room had an unexpected issue and they offered you this alternative, did they tell you the issues? Or were they offering this alternative as an equivalent? Given that it sounds like an unexpected issue with the original room, I would clarify in your review that this does not pertain to the original room.


First and foremost – your review is about a thousand words too long! Keep it short and simple. All you need to say is:

“As an AirBnb host myself, I simply cannot recommend this listing. It simply does not meet the normal standards for an Airbnb accommodation.”

All that other stuff could be sent to Air itself. Call your own Support person and ask where to send the details of your visit…

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I agree no one forced us to stay. But we had been traveling all day, had an appointment in the afternoon (the host knew about) and didn’t get to the room until 7:30 pm. We were on our way to the appointment when the change of room message came in.

We can agree to disagree on the shampoo and hair dryer comment. Different perspectives. I don’t expect travelers to have to use suitcase space for things I can easily provide.

To clarify - Another couple was also in the unfinished basement. We did not see them in the common areas so I do not know what they originally booked. The tp comment was an indicator or lack of thought. 4 people with less than 1/2 a roll of cheap tp seemed like a problem waiting to happen.

Btw, they are not new, inexperienced hosts as I first thought. Upon further checking I saw they had some reviews from other rooms and have been hosting for 4 years. I saw they had 12 reviews for this room and were a superhost. If I remember correctly the rating was a 4.85 when we booked so I didn’t look further than reading the reviews for that room. With so few reviews (for that room) I thought they had probably gotten someone “who never gives a 5* because no one is perfect” bringing the overall down.

I chose their place based on the good reviews I saw, the location, and the price.

I will consider the private message first because we did stay. I wasn’t planning to ask for a refund, again, because we did stay. If I do decide on a private message, I will probably not mention they should have discounted the room given the conditions because I don’t want them to have a reason to remove my review if they respond badly to a private comment.


1* across the board. Don’t give them private feedback - send your pics and legit complaints to ABB CS. Get a refund. You did NOT get what was advertised or paid for.

"Cannot recommend this host. Day of check in, we were informed the originally booked room (pictured) was not available and offered what we were told was “equivalent” accommodations. Instead, the basement! was under construction with exposed wires and holes in walls and a shared bath with another couple (half a roll of TP for 4 people!). Purported kitchen use meant walking outside and around the house to ring the hosts’ doorbell. "

As someone else said, folks on this forum bust their asses to provide over and above the 5* experience to their guests - garnering repeat stays and direct bookings from said guests. This gives the ABB brand and hosts a very black eye.


Thanks for clarifying about them having been hosts for 4 years and that there was another room rented out. I thought what with 12 reviews they may have only been hosting for less than a year and just didn’t know how to best handle an emergency situation.

Now it sounds more like they try to cram as many people in as possible in make-shift spaces and deserve your very honest review.

And I wasn’t suggesting that you demand a refund, as you did stay, but that if you send them a private message, a response from them apologizing and offering to refund might make me less prone to give them a bad review.

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I’m not sure I’d take that approach. Although it’s not equivalent to getting paid to not leave a bad review, the end result is the same.

To me, the important question is whether this was a one-off situation or not. Since @Terryathome said the guest just prior to them mentioned the power outage, I’m not sure it was.

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Thanks for all the feedback.

I shortened the review, borrowed some of the wording suggested here, and gave careful thought to each of the star catagories.

I really hesitate to write anything that would hurt a hosts business - but this experience would sour any new guests from using Airbnb and that hurts my business.


It really isn’t matter of agreeing to disagree. It’s a matter of a host providing what they say they provide, that’s why there’s an amenities list. If the host says they provide shampoo and a hair dryer, the guest should expect those things to be there. If those things aren’t listed, guests have no reason or right to expect them.

Unless you are a very unusual host, I doubt you have everything that appears on the amenities list checked off. And I doubt you would appreciate your guests having the attitude of “how hard would it be for them to provide that?”