Family travels 200 miles to Cornwall Airbnb chalet to find double booked vacations

A couple say they were devastated after driving to an Airbnb in Cornwall to have their phone calls ignored by the so-called ‘host’ before finding people already inside.

When Nicola Valentino, from Warwickshire, left home with her son, Dexter, and partner Oliver Jones for the two-bed cottage they booked in Kilkhampton, near Budé, they thought they were going to have a fantastic holiday.

After booking through Airbnb, they drove over 200 miles to the destination – which had been organized and paid for six months previously – but had no idea how hellish the first few hours of this vacation would be.

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After arriving early at Budé Friday (Aug 27), they informed the Airbnb host in case he had a chance to pick up the keys early.

What followed was the realization that they were completely masked and the likelihood that no one would provide information about entering the chalet they paid for.

Calls and messages to the owner went unanswered, and Airbnb was unaware of what was going on.

Driving up to the property, the final blow was to discover that a family was already registered as the couple desperately tried to save their trip.

Airbnb then canceled and refunded the reservation and they were left with two choices – go home or look for other accommodation.

“Probably about six months ago we booked the chalet in Kilkhampton and we did it with Airbnb just to have that reassurance because obviously the host was quite reputable,” said Nicola, 38.

“We didn’t hear anything then and sent a few messages which we found a little strange.”



Nicola’s eleven-year-old son, Dexter.

The sales manager continued, “We messaged a couple of times when we got here to say we were early and we knew the check-in wasn’t until 3pm, but if it was ready. before, very good. “

She said by 2 p.m. the three of them were on the beach and were starting to panic about whether they would ever get an answer.

“We started to think, ‘is she ever going to answer? “And at this point, we don’t even know where to get the keys,” she said, but as time passed after checking in, the Airbnb host and owners’ phone still went straight to the house. Voicemail.

“We then went up to the chalet just to see if there was any instructions on it or a key box, we just weren’t sure,” Nicola said.

And they found not instructions, but another family in the cabin. They confronted them and found out that they had booked direct through the owner for the same dates.

“It wasn’t their fault,” Nicole said. “But we were absolutely clueless. We had been on the road since 5 am, and then we started looking for a place to stay, anything.”

At prices of around £ 1,700 per week they couldn’t afford most of the alternatives available, but luckily nearby Penstowe Holidays came to the rescue.

But in the end, vacations meant spending more money than expected and having to change accommodation before the last night of their trip due to availability.

“It was money that we just don’t have,” she said. “It ended up costing us dearly.”

Airbnb refunded the money from the reservation, but this was not resolved immediately and the couple appealed to Airbnb to better ‘control’ people before allowing them to use the platform, claiming they were devastated to have found themselves in this position.

“We later found out that another person had visited this chalet and a similar thing had happened,” she said. “The review on Airbnb said the owner had done the exact same thing before and there had been no warning for us.



Oliver and Dexter pictured together while on vacation

“I even contacted directly [the owner] on Facebook because I really wanted her to know the impact she had. It’s been a tough year for everyone and it was our only vacation but she didn’t respond.

“I then contacted Bude Notice Board (a Facebook community group) and the response was just amazing. I feel so angry with this woman, that she could do this to our family, but she didn’t even not reached out to say She read it and ignored me.

“We just don’t want someone else to have to go through this because it could have been so much worse.

“We were lucky to have people around us and to have a good time, but it was devastating, and Airbnb has to take responsibility.”

Airbnb said CornwallLive that he was disappointed to learn of the guest’s experience and that as a result the host was removed from the platform.

An Airbnb spokesperson said: “We were disappointed to learn of this experience and provided the customer with our support, including a full refund.

“The host has since been removed from the platform for not responding to our Host reliability standards. With over 900 million traveler arrivals to Airbnb to date, isolated issues are rare and our community support team is available 24/7 to help. “

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