My worst Airbnb ever

Ugh, I wish people would just be honest with their Airbnb listings. Then I would be saved having to type long ass blogs about how shit people are.

Happy New Year! My first trip of this year was to Malindi. I had wanted something cozy and secluded, preferably with a pool for night time shenanigans. Simple enough, yes? I haven’t spent a lot of time in Malindi, except to eat and go to the airport, and I’m trying to widen my Kenyan travel experience, so I thought why not?

It’s funny, isn’t it, how Kenyans only go to 3 places for the holidays. Places like Rusinga are rarely considered, even though Rusinga has a truly beautiful sunset; nowadays Coast has widened to include Watamu and Lamu, but that’s about it. What about the beautiful rolling tea fields of Kericho? The epitome of romance is a fireplace, after all – chilly weather outside, cozied up inside. What about the vast pristine desert dunes (which, by the way, you can also find at the Coast) of Chalbi? Not every day every day beach beach…

The Airbnb that ended up fitting the bill was a room at the Yatching Club. It was private enough, with a number of rooms but with winding entrances to each one that made it worth my while. When I had read the reviews, there was a mention of a kitchen.

First red flag: there was no kitchen. The outside was nice enough, but the inside…was nothing like the photos. Second red flag. They must have taken these pictures when the apartment was new, or hired a professional photographer to take and edit those pictures and remove all the yellowing spots of the mosquito net, the sagging sofas, the faded and frayed rug in the sitting room, the rusting fridge…it was a mess.

But, because I’m often considered a Debbie Downer where standards and holidays are concerned, I tried to take it in stride. Key word: tried. The bed was great, as was the aircon – sturdy bed, functional A/C. The guards and the housekeeper were very friendly, except for a weird confusion about whether or not housekeeping was included in the rate (it was). Bathroom, ok too, with really strong shower pressure. The pool was ok – it didn’t really have a deep end and was quite warm and salty (?), but it was secluded. The walk to the beach was a minute, they have one of those gates at the back of the property that just pops out onto the beach. It was a public beach, which I didn’t mind – honestly, more beaches should be public, surely our beaches can’t just be for white tourists – but a public beach also meant that the foot traffic from about 6 am outside our room was cacophonous. Bodas, bikes, people…and then it would start again at 3 pm. I sleep like a log. But for those who don’t…

I tried to reach out to Tawfiq, whose name was listed for the Airbnb, to ask if it was too late to cancel or get a partial refund (there were three days left, yo!). We had factored in cooking for this holiday, so that no kitchen thing was just not acceptable. By day 2, we were decided on moving Airbnbs. The one great thing was the bed, but all the other little things were ruining the experience for me. Including but not limited to, lying on the listing, and Tawfiq not responding to any messages after I finished paying . His phone went off after I called him a few times. So that…was that.

Airbnb experiences like this make me feel like I have no idea what to look for when I’m trying to go on holiday. And like I should only go where someone I know and trust has been (funnily enough, I saw a review from someone I knew who had stayed in one of his other properties, and it was a positive one?) It’s quite disheartening to spend money and time looking for somewhere to…spend money and time, and that a dipshit omits major components of the property, and the quality of his service.

Oh well. It was so nonsense, I didn’t even take pictures of the joint. :/ Guess where I went to temper my disappointment?

(if I find photos, I’ll share them on my Instagram, @abigailarunga)

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