I just had to rent this South Philadelphia rooftop tent on Airbnb


A look at one of the most unique Airbnbs in town.

The Airbnb tent on a rooftop in South Philadelphia (photo by Victor Fiorillo)

I’m a big fan of Airbnbs and VRBO, and I’ve stayed in everything from a posh penthouse with a private pool in the Middle East to a tiny cottage on a blazing beach in Malaysia to an eco-friendly suite with a compost toilets in the Andes. So when I heard about an Airbnb rooftop tent in South Philly, naturally, I had to pay it a visit.

The South Philly Airbnb rooftop tent debuted this summer near 20th and Mifflin streets in Point Breeze. I rented it on Friday for one night. The original price of $49 listing on Airbnb literally doubled (well, “literally” minus 46 cents, so $97.54) once they added the $25 cleaning fee, $10.45 service fee, and $13.09 of these “taxes and occupancy charges”. But it’s still one of the cheapest Airbnbs in Philadelphia.

The process that takes place after Airbnb confirms the reservation is as unique as the property itself.

Once you receive this Airbnb confirmation email, the real estate company behind Airbnb (they also have tentless Airbnbs in the area) sends you an external registration form that you must complete before letting you in. I have never seen this in any of the other places I have stayed.

The registration form asks you to upload a state photo ID. They also require photo ID for all daytime guests, who are allowed in until 10 p.m., and all nighttime guests (a maximum, for an additional $25). Then there are fingerprints. Yes, fingerprints. The host scans your fingerprints once there, as they have chosen to use fingerprints on their smart lock rather than a standard door code. (I actually evaded this requirement, because the host was unexpectedly unavailable, and they sent me a one-time door code.) Hella strict.

You can also request additional services on the registration form. For example, there’s a wash and fold service for $3.99 a pound. They will also rent you an official residential parking permit for the neighborhood (the price ranges from $10 to $15 per day, depending on the number of days), which does not guarantee you a parking space in the densely populated area but you allows you to bypass the two-hour parking limit.

But enough about the unusual foreplay. Let’s go to the tent.

Once you arrive at the address given, you walk through the front door and up a flight of stairs. Through another door you will find the roof and the tent. If you think this is a three story rooftop tent, it’s not at all. The tent rests on a one-story section of the roof. But even though it’s low, you still have a view of some of the tallest buildings downtown, as seen here:

a view of the philadelphia skyline from the tent

The Philadelphia skyline, as seen (zoomed in) from the Airbnb rooftop tent in South Philly (photo by Victor Fiorillo)

And here is a view of the street below:

a view of the street below from the Airbnb rooftop tent in South Philly

(photo by Victor Fiorillo)

The tent is not a pop-up you’ll get at Walmart. This is a sturdy canvas tent made by white duck. Inside you will find a fairly comfortable double bed, a bath towel (there is a shared bathroom with a marble shower inside the house), a padded armchair, two camping chairs, a lighter , a power strip (you have to recharge this phone) and a heating lamp. And yes, there is wifi.

inside the tent

Outside the walls of the tent there are very small room on the roof covered in astroturf for hanging out but, then, you can only have one guest, so it’s not like you’re having a rooftop party.

This drone video will give you an aerial view:

Nice touch: the host left a bag of Angie’s Boomchickapop on my pillow. Once you’ve checked in, you can also have items delivered to your “suite”, as they call it, using a QR code. Deliverables include a toothbrush and toothpaste ($5.99), Cracker Jacks ($2.99), and Vietnamese coffee ($5.99).

If you need food beyond Boomchickapop and Cracker Jacks, you can find the best roast beef sandwiches in philadelphia blocks from Old Original Nick’s, drinks and snacks at Second District Brewing, pizza at Stina and breakfast sandwiches at Brunic’s Luncheonette.

When it’s time to check out in the morning, the real estate company sends you another external link to a payment form. On this form, you must verify that you have completed all necessary payment tasks, including stripping the bed, using cleaning spray and emptying the trash. Then they ask you to tip the housekeeping staff on your credit card.

Is that a lot of hoops to jump through just to sleep in a rooftop tent in South Philadelphia? May be. But where else can you spend the night and say you slept in a rooftop tent in South Philadelphia?

Comments are closed.