If your room for the night was described as a “clean home in Amsterdam with private bathroom”, what would you expect on arrival?
A shipping container with a Portaloo attached was what greeted Ben Speller when he arrived at his Airbnb. The tourist from London, who’d travelled to Amsterdam for a football match, had paid £100 for a one night stay, The Sun reported.
While Speller was on the way to his Airbnb, the host messaged him about the lack of water and said he could cancel the room. Worried he wouldn’t find somewhere at such short notice, Speller declined.
But when he discovered where he’d be staying, he had to admit defeat and check in at £230-a-night hotel room, instead. Thankfully, Airbnb refunded Speller for the hotel room, plus the £100 for the failed listing.
The shipping container was later towed away, according to Dutch news site AT5.
Speller’s experience is one of a several cases of peculiar listings on the home-sharing site. Below is a selection of a few more.
An £8-a-night camping pitch in Peckham
In 2016, a host managed to briefly list a double-bed with a bed-side table, rug and cabinet in a Peckham car park for £8 per night, before it was taken down by the platform.
The “private room in a public space” was described as child and pet friendly, suitable for smokers and with parking available. True to the host’s word, it did come with a real bed.
Airbnb emailed the host explaining why it removed the listing. “While we understand it can be difficult to find a parking space in London, this listing had to be removed for not meeting our occupancy standards.
“In the future, be sure to pick a place with running water, four walls and a little more privacy.”
Hidden cameras, from Ireland to China
Ever worried you might end up with a voyeuristic Airbnb host who uses hidden cameras to spy on their guests?
A select few have had the nightmare realised, from the guests of a highly rated host in Miami who found two concealed cameras pointed at their bed to a man renting a flat in Qingdao, China who realised he was being filmed by a camera hidden in the Wi-Fi router. Closer to home, a family from New Zealand discovered that a camera in the living room of their Ireland Airbnb was live-streaming their stay to the internet.
A $200-a-night novelty New York pad
An advertising art director took a pragmatic, and jovial, approach to the heavy snowfall experienced in New York in winter 2016. Patrick Horton put his creative muscle to work and within three hours had built a sturdy-looking igloo from the snow.
The “boutique igloo for 2” was listed on the site for $200 per night. Horton described it as “handcrafted, and built using only natural elements” – perfect for the eco-conscious.
A bargain tent-for-two
It seems there are a few comedians among the Airbnb host community. Another cheeky listing was found in Belfast where a two-person person tent was listed with the description “Belfast under the Stars.”
The tent was advertised with pictures of a purple tent pitched on some green grass. Perks of the pitch, according to the host, included its proximity to the beach, the zoo and a golf course. The host wrote: “You’ll love my place because of Irish Hospitality. My place is good for couples and solo adventurers.” Sadly, it’s no longer listed.
A last-minute cancellation with a $6,000 price tag
Canadian David Jackel had planned a celebratory trip to Huatulco, Mexico for his 50th birthday. Being well-prepared, he’d booked his Airbnb stay a full six months in advance, but a last-minute cancellation left him scrabbling for somewhere to stay. He had to fork out for accommodation that was $6,000 (£4,688) over his budget, according to a Canadian news site.
Jackel had planned to enjoy a week at an all-inclusive resort with his wife before they’d move onto the Airbnb-listed apartment for five weeks. With its amenities including access to a pool and a gym, the pictures showed a modern, open-plan space.
Jackel had paid $1,300 for the five week stay, but was informed three days before his scheduled check-in that due to complaints from the last guest the host wanted to make some changes. He booked what he said was the only suitable alternative at such little notice, which came to $7,400.
After some back and forth, Airbnb refunded the full difference between what Jackel had paid for the original listing and the cost of the place he eventually stayed.