Woman’s Airbnb is opening a restaurant in New York
Desiree Baker shared her bizarre experience on TikTok, garnering millions of views.
NEW YORK CITY, NY – Picture this: You and your partner are planning a December trip to New York City three months in advance, just in time to take in all the city has to offer over Christmas time.
At the time of your planning, COVID-19 cases are down and you’re ready for a getaway. What better place to visit while on vacation than New York?
Even better, you found an offer on a room and the listing describes it as having a city view. It even has pictures, adding to your excitement.
Sounds pretty much perfect, right? Well, for Boston’s Desiree Baker, it was anything but.
Baker and her boyfriend booked their room on Airbnb in September. She says it was near Times Square, walking distance to everything they wanted to see. Their room was what one would expect of a standard hotel room: two beds, a television, the essentials. After all, Baker said she really only needed a place to sleep and they weren’t going to be in the bedroom much. So the essential was all they were looking for. The view, though? This was going to be a big plus.
However, when she lifted the blinds expecting to soak up the sun and a view of New York, she was instead within reach of a table inside a restaurant. If there had been guests seated at the time, she would have been in the perfect position to write down their order.
Baker shared her experience on TikTok and her videos have since garnered millions of views.
When Baker and her boyfriend first arrived in the room, she said it was late – around midnight. They went straight to bed, noticing anything out of the ordinary… Yet.
“There were blackout blinds there, so we woke up and it was just dark,” Baker described. “I was so excited to just roll up the shades and look at the view. So here I am just rolling up the shades and I’m like, ‘What is this? And I look, and I’m like, ‘We’re in a restaurant! It’s like tables!'”
His first instinct was to immediately lower the blinds. She had no idea what was visible on the other side of that window.
“So I shut it down because I’m like, ‘Can they see us?’ I didn’t know what the situation was, so I was like, ‘Can they see what we can see? Is it like a simple window?” she asked.
“Confused” and “shocked” were words Baker used repeatedly to describe what was going through her head.
“Ummm, I don’t get it. We’re completely in a restaurant right now,” Baker recalled.
She shows in her TikTok videos that the window, the only thing separating her bedroom from the dining room of this restaurant, even opened.
“I could open the window and touch the restaurant table,” she said, adding that it opened about a foot. She also explained that there was a piece of tape on the window.
“I’m like, ‘Like what? What’s it going to stop?'” she said of the duct tape.
His confusion eventually turned to concern for his privacy and safety. She had to go investigate on her own. So she walked towards the restaurant to see what could be seen on the other side.
“In one of the videos I posted you can see my boyfriend is on the other side and I knocked on the window and you can see him opening it,” she said. , describing one of his now-viral TikToks. “And when you look at him from there, I’m like, ‘Oh my God, I can see his silhouette. Like, I can see like – I can choose what it is. I’m like, ‘That’s the bed, there’s the light.”
In her most viral videos — we’re talking over 9.4 million views — she again lifts the shades within hours of making the discovery. This time it was for TikTok. And, this time, there were guests at the table, seemingly oblivious to the fact that they were being watched from what appeared to be a few feet away.
To the One-Way Mirror’s credit, Baker thinks you have to really look to be able to see what she’s seen. She wondered what kind of restaurant patrons would stare intently into a mirror, assuming they were seeing something on the other side.
“So I guess if you’re eating out, you would — well, why would you expect that? You wouldn’t know,” Baker said.
She explained that her concern extended beyond herself to include restaurant patrons as well.
“Like, it’s clearly a privacy issue, like I said, on both sides. People eating out, like, you can be watched and heard. We’re literally right there,” he said. she stated.
Disappointed with its lack of city views, replaced by front-row seats for unsuspecting people’s dinner parties, Baker decided to reach out to the host. But that didn’t get her far.
“I’m like, ‘Hey, the photos are inaccurate. I’m in a restaurant,'” she messaged the host.
“I don’t hear back, and then I try to reach out over and over again. And, she finally responded with the weirdest response. Just being like, ‘We see you’re having a good time. Glad that we may welcome you.'”
Wondering if the purpose of her message had passed, she felt at the time that there was not much more she could do. The trip was going to be short, most of it spent outside the room, so she decided her next course of action would be to simply leave a review when the stay was over.
“I didn’t really know — which I guess seems naive — that I could get in touch with Airbnb itself,” she admitted, adding that her unique situation didn’t exactly match the listing. issues from a drop-down menu. the app would have provided. “It’s super hard to explain.”
Airbnb finally contacted Baker after seeing his TikToks. She said they offered her two options, a credit for a future stay or a partial refund for this one.
She said she was happy with their offer, although she wondered if she would have received the same treatment had it not been for her viral TikTok videos.
But, Airbnb says they “support” Baker.
Ben Breit, a spokesperson for Airbnb, told 10 Tampa Bay that they were able to locate his reservation and issue him a credit. He also said they were investigating the hotel, Cassa Studios, where she said she stayed.
Breit explained that Airbnb has “various quality control measures” focused on homes, condos, and other traditional Airbnb stays. But, he says, a hotel isn’t a traditional Airbnb stay, so things work a little differently. He likened it to booking a hotel room on a number of travel sites – photos posted online are unlikely to be your exact hotel room.
However, he says that when they sell you a city view and you get a situation like this instead, “that’s not OK”.
If you ever find yourself in a similar situation, Breit recommends contacting Airbnb and the hotel directly to see if they can make accommodations to resolve the issue.
As for where Baker says she’s been staying, the Cassa Studios website offers an array of options for stays, including long-term and short-term options. It states that “the interiors of the rooms and suites at Cassa Studios are designed to evoke the feel of an elegant Manhattan apartment, rather than a standard hotel room.”
A description of the rooms and suites goes on to say, “Our large windows are perfect for letting in natural light while enjoying city views.”
Although Baker couldn’t quite see that natural light or the city view from her hotel room, she said she got a $200 refund she asked for, an agreement that thought fair and a deal she said Airbnb called “more than fair.”
She also said she’s glad to have a platform like TikTok to educate consumers to watch what they order and to be “a little more skeptical” even when they’ve just had dinner.
“You kind of have to know what’s going on,” she insisted.
We’ve reached out to Cassa Studios for comment, but haven’t received a response at this time. If or when we do, this story will be updated.