By Anton Constantinou
The sharing economy has seen its fair share of comical moments. From passengers throwing up on themselves in the back of taxis, to drivers delivering food to the wrong locations – and eating it en-route – we’ve witnessed some truly outrageous situations take place, and with that, a number of scandals.
A certain short-term rental company (we all know who they are) is no stranger to a funny write-up. As successful as this accommodation provider’s become, it’s certainly had its mishaps along the way. Its reviews – which sometimes involve a crazy guest or host – make for hilarious reading, even if you know you shouldn’t be laughing.
Here are some of the best examples we’ve come across.
Occasionally, things get serious. Disasters do happen, either due to bad hosting, poor guest behaviour, or a combination of the two. Several travel bloggers we spoke to were not praising of the short-term rental company in question.
1. The Mystery of the Host’s Black Curtain
A quirky apartment is one thing. But, what happens when you discover a strange curtain in your apartment that you’re not allowed to look behind? This guest certainly knows a thing or two about weird furnishings.
“Instructions arrived promptly, and I collected keys from a gruff local shopkeeper. On arrival at the property, I dropped a line to my host to let him know I was safely inside. He immediately replied – like in two seconds – insisting that I gave him a five-star review before I’d even put my bags down. He added ominously “do not touch any of the belongings behind the black curtain.”
“I glanced across at the curtain in question. It was a very flimsy piece of sheer fabric hung over a kitchen alcove stacked with plastic boxes. I thought no more of it until the following day. I received umpteen abrupt, accusatory texts from the host (which I have saved as screenshots) that put me on edge to say the least.”
2. The Toe-Tickler
Never trust a guest with a pocket knife dressed as a Viking. They might just do something crazy like manhandle your feet in the middle of the night.
“Not me but a friend of mine (D) living In Holland had a guest staying from a small mountain town in Germany. Anyway the guy was kind of odd, referred to himself as Ragnar, with his long brown ponytail and role played Viking pretty much the hole stay. First odd thing was (D) waking up in the morning having his toe tickled at the bottom of the bed by the guest, whilst he stared at him blankly to ask where to find something. Then Later on (D) went to the bathroom for his usual morning routine only to find the mirror wasn’t there. The thing is this was a mirror that was screwed into the wall. He knew it could only be “Ragnar” that would know where it is as no one else had been in the apartment. So he goes to the spare room and finds the mirror in there. Turns out “Ragnar” wanted to brush and tie his ponytail and decided to unscrew the mirror from the wall with his handy pocket knife and relocate it to the room he was staying in.”
3. The Uninhibited Swedish Chick
A guy and his girlfriend got more than they bargained for when a guest staying with them started walking around naked. Talk about awkward!
“My roommate was away for the weekend and he had rented his room out to this Swedish chick while my girlfriend was staying over. This girl just absolutely never had clothes on in the apartment. She just walked around in the nude, sat down on the couch and talked to us nude….as if she wasn’t nude. When she first walked out of the bedroom naked, my girlfriend and I sort of looked at each other oddly without saying a word. But just let it go as she just carried on normally and chatted with us about our lives, the city, and her plans for the weekend.”
4. Elderly Guest in Germany Kicks Cat, Steals Keys
Beware of the old Spanish lady in high heels with a flower for a profile picture. She’s extremely demanding and will settle for nothing less than a cooked breakfast, as one host discovered the hard way:
“The guest asked to stay in my flat for a month. She told me she was visiting to improve her English, and used a picture of a lovely flower as her profile picture. I assumed (big mistake) that I was going to host a young, open minded student… never ever take bookings from people who are not verified and who hide their real photos using pictures of flowers, cats, dogs, etc. I did not know that I was going to host a narrow minded 70 year old from Spain who was expecting me to be her maid.”
5. Clothes Stolen by Host, Company Does Nothing
Picture the scene: you arrive at your apartment, fully-clothed, ready for the trip ahead. Next minute, your garms go missing. Well, this guest had to go through that very ordeal on a holiday to Kiev.
“The next morning, I had a bad surprise as I could not find half the clothes that I had left in a plastic bag. I called the host, who sounded shocked, saying “Oh man, I did not know these were your clothes!” He told me that he had put my clothes some place in the apartment but did not know where exactly; I should call him in the evening. I waited until the evening, when I received a message from him saying: “The bag of clothes that you left in the apartment – I did not touch it, so try to remember where you left it!”
6. Sleepwalker Guest Approached Me Naked
Knock Knock. Who’s there? It’s only a sleepwalking man with no clothes on. Not exactly the sort of thing you expect to see every day.
“At about 3:30 am, I saw the bathroom light come on, heard someone use the bathroom, and saw the bathroom light go off. Then I saw the person who had used the bathroom coming towards the living room where I was lying on the couch for bed. As he got nearer, I was surprised that he was approaching me and asked, in a normal speaking voice, “What do you want?”
7. Host Had Dog Pee All Over Laundry Room …
There are pet-friendly apartments, and then there are apartments with pet stains everywhere. Pardon the vulgarity, but this property leaves a lot to be desired.
“Host had dog pee all over laundry room area. The home featured private pool, nice blue water. When arrived, was full of nasty green water. Owner said it was my responsibility to have it cleaned, yes you heard that right. He refused to let me end reservation early and is trying to get his greedy paws on rest of reservation. Horrible, false advertising.”
8. No Better Way to Put it: The Guest Smelled
What’s every host’s worst nightmare? A foul smelling guest, of course. Sadly, this host didn’t have any incense sticks at the ready:
“I had a guy book for a week in my very nice home since my kids are off in college now. He claimed he worked in accounting for a bookstore and was needing a place while he looked for an apartment. From the second he stepped into my home, I knew something was wrong. He was twitchy, awkward, and filthy, smelling of vomit and faeces. He had horrible shoes, filthy clothes, no socks, and a trashed suitcase he drug over my good wood floors.”
9.) The Inadequate, One Sock Host
Dressing-down in your own home is one thing. But, if you’re entertaining guests, put some blooming clothes on! Travel blogger, Naddya from NTripping, fell victim to a seriously odd looking host in some very questionable attire:
“Through the front door, we heard noises of someone stumbling in the hallway, looking for the key. A moment later, a man in unzipped jeans and one sock only opened the door. He looked inadequate and confused.
He didn’t introduce himself or greet us. We inquired if that was indeed the right place. It was. He let us in while searching for his other sock. He continued dressing himself while we carried our bags in.”
Click here to check out Naddya’s blog.
10.) A Suspected Carbon Monoxide Leak
What’s that smell? Could it be that there’s a major gas leak in my apartment? Poor travel writer, Jeremy Scott Foster, aka the Travel Freak, experienced exactly that on a visit to Miami and was left seriously perplexed by the whole ordeal:
“Upon entrance to this wonderfully charming home my companion and I were so looking forward to enjoying, we both laid down on our respective beds for a quick rest and fell deep asleep—at about 1pm. Upon awakening about three hours later, both of us felt dazed, confused, and totally disoriented. I couldn’t even walk in a straight line! None of it made sense.
We knew something was up but we didn’t know what. We immediately booked another place. Once in a safe environment, we called our host to let them know that there was obviously something strange happening—perhaps a carbon monoxide leak.”
Click here for Jeremy’s website.
11.) A Windowless Room with Grimy Furnishings
Okay, so not all accommodation is five-star, but, in the very least, your apartment should be in a decent working condition. Not falling apart at the seams like Nora’s property in Macau was. She may call herself The Professional Hobo, but this definitely wasn’t what she bargained for:
“For $50 a night I got a windowless room, shoddy furniture, a mouldy air conditioner, dirty sheets, and a grubby shared bathroom. The chap taking care of the place (on behalf on the hosts), was lovely but didn’t speak a word of English. His definition of cleanliness was “questionable” to say the least.
Click here for more content by the Professional Hobo.
12.) A Broken Foot and a Dodgy Location
Suzanne from PhilaTravelGirl developed an awful foot fracture after stumbling on a loose step in her apartment. To add insult to injury, her apartment was unclean and teeming with bed bugs. Nice!
“There were stains on the furniture, exposed nails on the picnic table, and a green algae-like substance in the swimming pool. My boyfriend woke up covered in bug bites, and I seriously damaged my foot after tripping up on a loose step in the apartment – which shouldn’t have been there to begin with.”
Click here to read Suzanne’s story in full.
13.) A Midnight Intruder and an Unapologetic Host
Welcome to Rome: home of beautiful architecture, awe-inspiring art, vibrant streets, and the odd lurker or two. 50 Shades of Age blogger, Kathy Marris, awoke to the sound of someone trying to get in her apartment, in what proved a thoroughly terrifying experience:
“They had a key and were trying to get into the apartment. Luckily, we locked it from the inside. We screamed out to the intruders, and, thankfully they disappeared. It was an extremely scary situation, and we slept very poorly for the rest of the trip. Our host barely apologised for the incident.”
Click here to check out the 50 Shades of Age blog.