Locked in host's bathroom for 3 hours - review suggestions

I know this is a “host” forum, but hosts travel, too. I had the unfortunate experience of being locked in bathroom for 3 hours at one of my Airbnb stays. It was a claustrophobic WC, swelteringly hot, and an 8"x10" window I could not open all the way. Luckily, I had my cellphone with me (bad toilet habits come in handy). The host was unavailable, and Airbnb could not get ahold of him. My main question is, how would one review this stay? Aside from the 3-hour lock-in, the place was nice. It was just an extremely unfortunate experience, and I think I was lucky because I had friends nearby and a cellphone. I got banned from a Facebook host group for asking this question, so I hope that doesn’t happen here. European homes can be deathtraps.

Do you know what happened with the lock? I think it makes a difference if it is a truly odd thing that happened or the lock mechanism was incorrectly installed or some broken part neglected by the host. It doesn’t really fall into the rating categories so you need to decide what weight to give this experience in your overall rating. In your descriptive section of the review I would state the facts. Avoid assumptions about the owner or feelings. Be sure to state the things that were good as well. I pay the most attention to reviews that are factual and balanced when I am a guest. Glad you are OK!

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Believe it or not, I recall a very similar situation from another poster last year. It’s probably a faulty locking mechanism. Did you contact the host so that they were able to change the doorknob and lock?

I would base the review on how the host responded to your situation, once he was informed. If he was dismissive than a would give him a lower star rating but if he can over immediately and tried to get it fixed, then I would give him a higher rating.

Things happen that sometimes are out of the control of the host. It all depends and how the host dealt with the mishap.


I remember this story as well. How long ago did it happen? Are you writing the review now?

I think it is useful to mention any concerns in the review, in a factual way without emotion. That way, if it happens again, it’s clear that it’s an ongoing problem and not just a random occurrence. For instance, I had a guest who consistently parked in the neighbour’s spot. It was very helpful to see the same thing mentioned by a previous host; it gave me a better idea how to handle it.

In your situation, I would want to consider the same things that have already been mentioned— what were the circumstances and how did the host respond once they found out.

I will say that an Airbnb host is not really expected to be available for emergency response 24/7

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As can American ones. The reason we write reviews as guests is to inform others about the place they are thinking about booking.

I imagine that the lock situation was a one-off experience and that the host dealt with the situation?

However, a host who cannot be contacted for several hours when guests are in his/her rental, is not paying as much attention as they should be. (I leave a message for guests if I’m going to be out of action for a couple of hours).

I wouldn’t mention the lock if it was fixed correctly but if the host wasn’t available for a few hours I would consider mentioning that.

Phone, messaging, What’s App, email, Airbnb message system - the only excuse for not being available by these methods is if the host was under a general anaesthetic.

Maybe I’d add something to the review about not being able to contact the host for several hours.

By the way, lucky you having your phone with you. My other half has the same loo habit and I can now see the justification!



??? Because you were asking a guest review question? Weird.

Did you lock the door when you went in or did it just lock itself? (I don’t know why anyone would lock the bathroom door if they are staying somewhere alone- I wouldn’t even bother to close it)


I’m curious what actually happened.
Sometimes, in a strange bathroom, I wonder what I would do if I was accidentally or mistakenly thought I was locked in.

Both would have the same result (freak!) and I wouldn’t have had my phone. But could I have got my head out that window pretty far to scream… ?

I’m waiting to hear what the problem was. I’m assuming that Josiah was in the rental on his own because if not, he would have just banged on the door to alert his companion.

So why lock a door in a rental you’re in on your own? Or is this an American thing?

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'European homes can be death traps ’

  • what a strange comment @Josiah - homes in any part of the world can be a ‘death trap’

Just leave an honest review based on your experience of how the host handled the situation. How did you get out? how did the host respond. Hard to comment when you haven’t provided key information.



I have to say that the hosts availability may be a combination of philosophy and temperament. Although I try very hard to protect my personal time and I need my sleep, I also try to make sure I am available in case of emergency 24/7. My guests are “favorites” so their calls will ring through my “do not disturb” settings. I watch my phone carefully. I usually respond to them within seconds, if only to let them know I will be able to answer more fully at a later time.


The only way to lock the door was with a key. There was no key.

The internal hardware of the door handle shifted forward, preventing the interior handle from turning the square pin.

Almost ALL the homes I ever started at in Europe require a key to open from the inside. This does not fly in the US according to international fire code standards.

I was staying there alone. I only had a small, 8”x10” window to call for help through in an urban city.


That does sound strange. It would be smart for those hosts to just disable the whole key/lock mechanism and put a simple hook and eye closure on the inside of the door.

I have a 100 year old home that I purchased with keys in the internal door locks. Over time the guests have helped themselves to the keys. I had one guest complain that they were not able to lock the door to the bathroom …in my world, if the door is closed, you KNOCK!

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And they should be removed so that your guests don’t get locked into a room. It’s fairly common with these locks, the hardware in them is old and bound to fail. That’s what happened to @Josiah.
The host should’ve either removed the locks or made sure that there was a key inside the bathroom. Really, the old locks should’ve been removed because they often just fall apart in a manner that prevents even a key from working.

You can keep the outside, the plate of the lock, so that it goes with the home in an historic aesthetic but the inside, the guts of the locks should be removed.

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Back to your question about how to review.

What stands out to me is that neither you nor Airbnb could get in touch with the host for 3 hours.

Of course, it’s foolish at best to have a door that requires a key to unlock it from the inside, in an Airbnb no less; however, it must be a common oversight. I think it’s the first time that it’s come up on here and yet it most definitely falls under “guest proofing”. (Fire safety too :grimacing:).

As a guest reading your review what I need to know is that 1. the host is not immediately available even for an urgent issue and 2. to be aware of the bathroom door locking on its own and requiring a key that isn’t available.

Also mention all of the stuff that made it a nice place too. Just say it matter of factly and politely. There’s no reason to tear up the host over it. But, IMO, it’s fair to take off a star or two on the communication rating.

Use the private feedback to tell the host more about the lock and what happened and maybe suggest either 1. removing it or 2. tying the key on a string around the doorknob (that’s what my grandma did) so that someone can get out if they get locked in.

Personally, I don’t know why a bathroom would have a lock. I agree with @Debthecat. I also come from a place where a shut door means that you should knock. But I also know people who want bathrooms to have locks. I’ve even seen reviews complaining that the bathroom didn’t have a lock on it. But if there is a lock then it shouldn’t be able to strand someone inside.


most bathroom doors are “passage doors” and might have a simple push button lock, those can usually be disabled from the other side anyway. And this is an important safety feature, because if someone slips and falls in the bathroom a locked door is not ideal when people come to help.

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The host accepted my request for one night’s refund, a whopping $39.85. If he wouldn’t, I was simply not going to leave a review. Except for that unfortunate situation, his place was perfect. I might even consider studying there again.

I agree with keeping my review factual, and about the space itself, not the personal feelings about being stuck in the bathroom.

Thanks for the tips.

Since he refunded you if you want to stay there again I’d either not review or give him 5 stars. There is no reason for a host to welcome back someone that does not view their stay a 5 star experience.

If you don’t want to stay there again go ahead and review him with less than 5 stars.

If you were stuck in that room, the host was unavailable to you for those three hours, and no compensation was mentioned, why would not leaving them a review based on lack of compensation be a good thing?


I would never stay in a place again where I was locked in a tiny bathroom and couldn’t get out for 3 hours.
If you review, you need to mention this, unacceptable in my book and I’ve stayed in lots of Airs in the US and France.

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