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Underwhelming Stay as a Guest

I’ve already mentioned a couple of things about this host in another post Why Guests Leave Something in a Review that They Didn't Give You a Chance to Correct but want to go into some details because I am torn about the review, even so much as to whether I should even leave him a review or not. He was a nice guy and there are a lot of cool things about his listing, but there were some issues. Maybe some are what we’d file under “good advice from a better host” but some could’ve gotten us a refund.

More than just some disappointment on my part, I think that these kinds of issues bring us all down, in that having decent standards for Airbnbs is a branding that we all depend on. In real life, to be plain, this is a 4-star listing, but I know that a 4-star review on Airbnb is a problem. More than ever I wish we didn’t have this skewed rating system because I could just give the guy his 4-stars and move on, but… (it’s going to be a long one).

Cleanliness: Let me preface with, I have no issues with dust or cobwebs as a guest. My standards are high for my listings but low for me personally. But I had to wipe down two different toilet seats and one toilet entirely just so that I wouldn’t have to squat to pee. They were visibly dirty. I didn’t do any lab tests but it was yellow and brown dirty.

My cousin and her husband were arriving the day after us and I had to wipe down the shower enclosure in the bathroom that would be theirs before they came (I felt embarassed). Our bathroom had black sinks with obvious toothpaste splatters in both of them. We also had a jacuzzi tub with an attached head rest that was covered in that pink/orange slime that grows on shower curtains as well as some mildew (we chose not to use the tub because of this).

After pulling out 5 different plates and 6 different cups/glasses that were greasy and visibly dirty we ended up putting enough dishes to get us by through the dishwasher. Some little things too:

Old popcorn that came out by merely sitting down on the couch, a stray bikini in the closet, smelly nasty sponge and dishrag at the kitchen sink, sticky and visibly dirty light switches/plates (most of them), sticky and dirty fridge including the handle and door (it looked like it got skipped during cleaning entirely), an burnt foil-wrapped cob of corn in the oven, upholstered dining room chairs all with lots of stains (some that were 3-D and sticky), tupperware type container lids (4) all with dark mold in the grooves (unusable even though my cousin spent 20 minutes working on them with, lol), the bulk of the kitchen utensils/dishes/cookware had to be washed before they could be used (we spent a lot of time washing dishes), several pillows were badly stained (I wasn’t even looking, it was part of the pillow that shows with a short pillowcase) and some apples. There was a box of apples in the fridge, presumably as some kind of gift but they were shriveled up and most were rotten and when we placed them on the counter we almost immediately got fruit flies. The date on the box was Sept 12 on Nov 19. And the outdoor cushions were grubby but that’s kind of understandable. There was also a huge workout room with tons of equipment that was too dirty to use, including the little sauna and the massage chair which we had originally thought we’d use. It was surprisingly un-dusty which I would have preferred. And not that it should matter but all this for a $200 cleaning fee.

Communication: Detailed in my other post but besides that there wasn’t really any at all. The night before our check-in I waited until 9:45 pm but hadn’t heard from him so I reached out and let him know an approximate arrival time. I heard back from him by being woken up by a message at 5:30am. I let him know when we had arrived and he popped-over. The next day my husband saw him outside next door (he had a workshop over there which he had told us we could find him at) and approached him about the temperature of the “heated” pool (it was chilly). He sort of wavered but agreed to increase the temp and popped-over 20 minutes later through the patio door. He also said we could leave the hot tub on under the pool cover to help warm the water but it was mysteriously turned-off when we went in for an early morning dip.

The pool never got warmer and he didn’t follow up about it (I suspect he was being stingy with the heat). He never asked us if everything was alright or anything at all. We didn’t contact him again and didn’t hear from him again. I always send a message to my guests after the first night making sure they’re comfortable and that everything is working as it should and that habit was validated by this experience. There were two main amenity attractions to the listing: the pool and the fireplace. I was disappointed that it was electric instead of wood burning (I couldn’t tell from the photos and it wasn’t mentioned in the listing either) but even more disappointed when we found the remote that had been completely melted on top of it. I chose to focus on trying to get the pool warmer and let it go but if he had inquired (at all) it would’ve made it easier to mention it (and possibly get to use the fireplace). I also did not want him busting into the house again, sans mask of course.

Accuracy: Not that big of a deal but the listing said it had shampoo, conditioner and body wash. There was none of any of any of those things and I had to go to the store and buy some. Listing says it’s an “entire residential home” which it is except that we weren’t given a key and so could not lock it up when we went out. We were also told (and then reminded) to leave a door to the poolhouse unlocked so that the host could get in, the inference was that it was to check on the pool, but there is no lock between the poolhouse and the house (no locks inside at all).

It was a nice area and I didn’t fear for my life or anything (and we had our dog with us) but it didn’t feel like an entire entire-house especially with the host unabashedly showing up and coming inside. I think if I was traveling with a couple of other women and without a dog I would’ve been more uncomfortable with it. (But hey, if you want to sneak into a poolhouse and go swimming, I can set you up ,) It was not mentioned in the listing that there would be no way to lock the house or that he’d be routinely entering to check on the pool. And the entire basement workout area was obviously something that was primarily for their personal use (they live next door) with the second fridge that was advertised as an amenity taken up with their personal medicine and cold packs and open sodas.

Another amenity was a ping pong table. We did find it in the basement workout area and it was folded up in a small room. We couldn’t figure out where we could’ve unfolded it for use without moving several large pilates machines so we just let it go.

The kitchen was showcased highly in the obviously professional photos with a viking stove and stainless steel appliances but it was a mess. Most of the cookware was non-stick that was nearly completely removed (not just scratches), there were 5 spoons of varying sizes for a house that sleeps 10 and we had to buy some of those disposable foil pans because there wasn’t any bakeware or pyrex or anything to cook something in the oven.

This is not an Airbnb requirement but in a house that costs $1000+ per night for 4 people I’d think that there could be some kind of beverage available on arrival, at least a bottle of water and the towels and sheets, etc were all 50 years old, which seems like a weird thing to have in an expensive listing. Also a whole 2 teaspoons of sugar for a 5-day stay and 2 inches of aluminum foil, lots of little stingy things like that.

This is getting too long and it sounds like I’m just bitching now so I’ll leave it here. Sorry it’s too long.

TL;DR: it was dirty and there were missing amenities with an intrusive host who didn’t follow covid precautions in a house that we couldn’t secure.

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Give him the review he deserves. That he seemed like a nice guy is completely immaterial- he’s a lousy host who should step up his game or stop hosting.

Dirty, inaccurate and poor communication isn’t even slightly okay. This is the sort of thing that turns people off Airbnb.

If it was just a couple of things that needed tweaking or that got missed in cleaning, sure, mention in private feedback, and not ding the host in the ratings, but this actually seems more like a 3* stay than a 4*. Definitely not 5*.


So, I’m in a similar dilemma. I posted on your other thread. Most of the previous reviews said the place was great and I feel like these people did a disservice. Heck, half the plugs weren’t mounted correctly and falling out. Pictures of balconies for the listing that weren’t part of the actual unit.

I’m going to post a review and mention the good, bad and ugly but in a very factual way. I’m also only going to mention a couple of issues I had. Personally, I think you had more claims and I would have requested resolution for at least the cleaning fee. (Always take pictures).

I think it’s hosts like these that don’t take the time to care that give all of us other hosts a bad name.

  1. We are SO SORRY
  2. You are forgiven for not having more paragraphs :wink:
  3. Yep I read the whole thing and THEN showed it to Amy. She was horrified with so many issues, especially at that price point.
  4. Give us some time and we’ll draft some review stuff for you. Perhaps the hard part is being honest without being overly verbose. He WILL NEED private comments to help fill in the FIX THIS LIST.
    It seems like he has been overly complacent for a very long time. Time for a level set. We honestly can’t see past giving 2 Stars.
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It sounds terrible at any price. I’ve said this before, I don’t care what the price point is, it should be clean. I understand why you are torn but it doesn’t sound like you should be. Review honestly.

I’ve decided that a lot of people don’t understand mold and mildew. They spray it with some sort of cleaner and wipe it and they think it’s clean, and maybe it is. It’s unsightly though.

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One more thing - is it just me or does “cousin” always sound like it should be male? When you wrote “cousin and her husband”, it threw me for a sec. English is so weird.

It’s because men married to men is still so weird… to some people.


No. Never sounded gender related to me.

@JJD Dead teflon cookware in a $1000/ night place? I hate to be sexist, but does this guy have a wife? It sounds to me like he just has no idea what constitutes clean, or what he should be providing and replacing. Like he seriously needs a hosting mentor.

I’ve never understood this. Mold and mildew indicate a lack of adequate ventilation or poor sealing and grouting technique that allows water to sit there instead of running off. And if there is a ventilation issue which can’t be remedied, or the climate is such that things just get like that, cleaning with a bleach or oxy solution every time you clean will prevent it from ever looking moldy or mildewed.


The way it works is that my daughters’ sisters’ children (all my grandkids) are 1st cousins to each other. The children of my grandkids will be 2nd cousins to each other.

One of my recent Airbnb stays was in a very arid climate but the bottom of the fabric shower curtain was still orange tinged. I should say something but it’s someone who is now my friend and she gave me a $1000 airbnb stay for free during a local music festival. The idea of critiquing free stays is unpleasant at best, rude at worst. I already told her about a burned out bulb and a mini fridge freezer with a busted door flap that was heavily iced up.

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So maybe the curtain is a little too long and stays wet, or it’s pushed back into a bunch when wet, so never gets a chance to dry out?

I agree, it’s sometimes hard or seems rude to complain if someone has been generous with you. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, I think is the expression.

I know some people really object to little white lies, but in a case like that, I’d be tempted to say something like “You know, I had that same thing with the bottom of the shower curtain turning orange like yours and what I did was…”

Or just let it play out as it will, with some of her paying customers making her aware of it in their reviews.

We get that on ours too but we’d never leave one in there like that for a guest. Is it possible that your friend didn’t change out the curtain because you guys are friends and it was free and she just thought you wouldn’t mind?

The cleanliness issue sound revolting to me. And the whole stay sounds substandard. And at $1000 per night, even for four people, I’d expect high standards to get true value for money.

If I have a less-than-perfect review to deal with as a host I ask myself what I would say if those guests were going to stay with a member of my family, or friends. I’d be honest, of course.

I once left a stinker of a review for a host who provided only a few of the listed amenities - including internet which we need as both of us work online when we’re away. There were also cleanliness issues and the photographs on the listing were inaccurate. When writing the review, my stance was ‘would I recommend this place to my mum? My sister? A close friend’?

The host was a lovely lady (despite doing nothing about the internet problem which we mentioned every day) but her charm didn’t negate the green slime in the swimming pool and other issues.

A bad host is a bad host, even if they are lovely people. And personally, I really don’t want my potential guests to think that these sub standard places are typical of Airbnb rentals.


She has a cleaner come in and she never does the cleaning herself. She probably doesn’t know. As I say, I lot of people have no idea. I’ve seen a lot of mold and mildew in my lifetime.

Holy :poop:, @JJD! No way you should waiver. I’m literally stunned; not that fake “It was stunning!” kind of stunned.

Like @jaquo said, no need to be anything but honest.

It sounds like a 0 to me. I’m serious. @JJD should have been refunded more than a cleaning fee. I’d be so ashamed of myself if I were that host.

Imagine a “same caliber” situation with a guest. We’d be yelling “1 star across the board”. @KKC is right. We’re going easy on our fellow host. Honest and fair still gets this stay 1* in my book.


When someone lists all the things that were wrong with a place, it’s easy to just read it and say to slam the host in the review.

But just as it tends to make guests more respectful of a place if the host is onsite, or meets and greets, as there is a face and person attached to it, rather than some anonymous remote host, I think it could also make guests second-guess whether to complain about things that really aren’t okay, as seems to be JJD’s dilemma.

If a host is nice, personable and friendly, it’s natural to feel bad about being overly critical.

But reviews aren’t meant to review the host as a person, but as a host. The guy might be perfectly great if he were a handyman or a shopkeeper, one might even become friends with him. But if he chooses to run an str, and obviously doesn’t “get it”, he deserves to be reviewed on that basis.


Yeah, it sounds like this host needs a reboot and to get his act together. At least provide inside locks so the guests feel secure.

My Mom rented an airbnbn for the family several years ago and the beds were not changed/made and it was dirty. Host asked us to change the beds! He clearly had a co-host situation that was dysfunctional. They gave us the run of the huge veggie garden and provided some of that bounty in house. I would have given a bad review, but my Mom was lax and did not.

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OMG that is bad even if it was $100/per night. This host doesn’t have a clue.

I’m curious, what were the reviews like, did he have many? I can’t believe anyone would think the cleanliness was normal.

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My ex was a carpenter. He did really nice work and had built beautiful cedar cabinetry in his kitchen. But he never cleaned them- there was food and gunk all dripped down the fronts, bits of bread dough stuck to them.

I asked him why he would take the time and energy to build such nice cabinets and then never clean them, so they just look gross. He had no explanation. He just didn’t notice things like that, or if he did, it doesn’t bother him.

We were together for 7 years, although we each had our own homes. We were together for a year before I just couldn’t stand it anymore and started deep cleaning his house. He had a cupboard on the back porch with canned goods and unmarked jars full of spices. I asked how long the spices had been there, as the colors were all faded out and they had virtually no smell left.

“I guess since Kathy moved out”. That was his ex-wife, who’d moved out about 8 years previous.

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Beautiful location, art/ artistry, friendly host, but filthy and not worth 10 percent of $ outlay to come stay. I’m guessing he got some bad reviews and started over with a new host name.
We also offer location, friendly and artistry but wouldn’t dream about not cleaning stuff or not having soaps, shampoo, paper towels, cooking basics and supplies, and full sets of flat and dinnerware. My guests feel really cared for and not ripped off, its not that hard to make them feel that way.
I’m not the cleanest spoon in the drawer either and I don’t clean with my glasses on…

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