I booked an Airbnb and ended up in a brothel. It wasn’t the only surprise

The first time my partner, the botanist, and I booked an Airbnb, we ended up in a brothel. In Perth. For three nights. On our spring foray into the wildflowers in WA.

Now Flowerman will say I’m exaggerating but I’m willing to swear on his West Australian Orchards Guide that it was a disreputable building. Granted, it was super clean inside our pad but what was going on in the neighbors’ rooms I can’t and shouldn’t divulge. Maybe it was the sleazy look of the place from the outside. Or maybe it was the assortment of guys who came and went at odd hours of the day and night. Call me skeptical, but they weren’t there to replace Gideons’ bibles.

Drum roll…Credit:iStock

The problem with Airbnb is that you really don’t know what you’re getting until you get there. It can be good, bad or hilarious. While motels are pretty predictable, Airbnbs are always full of surprises.

The other surprises in our brothel were the mysterious hair dryer and the mysterious shampoo. The shampoo was mysterious because it wasn’t there. But the hair dryer was and refused to work. It was no big deal, but the host informed us after our stay that the hair dryer is connected to the electric fan and works perfectly when the fan is on.

There seems to be some confusion about what Airbnb hosts should and shouldn’t provide. Apart from a clean bed, cooking facilities, running hot water and bath towels, there is a bit of ‘chance’ involved. Travelers may appreciate a small carton of milk on arrival, tea and coffee, sugar, soap and shampoo. And our different hosts had all of these things but not all of them at the same time.

I invented an Airbnb All Supplies bingo game. Whoever had the most Airbnb supplies won the all-important 5-star review: Margaret River had tea and coffee but no milk, Bunbury had shampoo and soap but no sugar. Busselton would have won hands down if not for the missing toaster.

Anyone for Airbnb All Supplies Bingo?

Anyone for Airbnb All Supplies Bingo?Credit:iStock

What I hadn’t considered when booking Airbnb is how very personal it gets. On a physical level, you are acutely aware that you remain close to a stranger – even if you don’t usually meet. For the first hour of every trip along the southwest coast, I took to tiptoeing like a meerkat. When the Margaret River red wine started flowing I was more than happy to feel at home knowing that host Ken was in the next room watching a doco dolphin.

At Bunbury, the closest encounter occurred. Flowerman left in the morning to snoop around the bush, slowly leaving me to rise and shine. None of us realized he had left his key in the front door. Our hosts naturally thought we were gone. As I was leaving the bathroom after a shower… Vasili’s wife entered the room to clean. She screamed louder than me and we both left the stage left and right. It could have been worse. It could have been Vasili. It could have been Vasili’s father. It could have been Vasili AND his father.

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