How an airbnb should really feel like
Hey everyone! What have you been up to lately?
We’ve finally got a few days ago the keys to our apartment in Barcelona for the summer and getting used to the new life: new flatmates, loud apartment building (I can even hear when the neighbours pee), permanent hot weather, high prices, way too many tourists stumbling drunk on the streets at all times, no spot to place your towel on Barceloneta beach and the general feeling of what-the-f-are-we-doing-here? But hey, I’m in freakin’ Barcelona, so I shouldn’t be complaining!
It was painful to look through and select last week’s captures from Sitges while preparing this blog article because I miss that place so, so much that it hurts! But yet here I am, alive and kicking, left with the beautiful memories to cherish forever (or until I start forgetting stuff, which with my goldfish memory doesn’t seem to take much more time anyway).
What touched my heart the most wasn’t the town itself – although Sitges being a cute white jewel itself helped a lot – but our airbnb accommodation. If by now you still haven’t heard about airbnb, then long story short it’s an online service that connects you to people from all over the world that rent their properties for visitors. I’ve been using airbnb since 2012 and seen it evolve tremendously over the past years. I never had any really bad experience, but right now everyone seems to want to “make it” on airbnb, so it gets harder to find good options at affordable prices. Depending on how popular a location is (see: Barcelona), sometimes you have to dig through a pile of shitty accommodations in order to find a really worthy one. But it wasn’t the case with the one we found in Sitges.
We were having our daily cafe con leche at the cutest cafe when I was looking for an airbnb for the following 2 weeks before the apartment we wanted became available. After having a few mini heart attacks while seeing the huge prices people were asking in Barcelona for the shittiest rooms, I had the brilliant idea to look at the surrounding villages too. Costa Brava area proved to be very expensive as well, so I headed South on the map and this pretty little thumbnail with a gorgeous garden caught my eye instantly. Clicked on the property, fell in love with the rooms and the house instantly, double-checked if the price was as good it seemed and.. booked it without thinking about anything else.
You know how the least planned experiences turn into the best (or at least most memorable ones)? Well, this was exactly like that.
We arrived in Sitges during the Pride Parade, which meant the town was buzzing with people and colorful decorations and garments everywhere. Our accommodation was around 40 mins from the center so we took a bus and obviously got off at the wrong stop, so we had to walk around 15 mins through the harsh midday sun and carrying our luggage up and down the hills.
Finally, we found the house, rang the doorbell and heard a dog barking furiously from inside. I gulped a little bit, but then the hosts joyfully opened the door and greeted us in French (I might have written on my account that I also speak French, but I haven’t really done it in.. 10 years?!), followed by the most lovable and friendly Golden Retriever.
Guys, this house and the hosts were truly AMAZING. We booked only one week but ended up extending our stay just because we loved it so much and we were sure nothing else could top it around Barcelona. By the end of our stay we were basically part of the house, seeing other tourists come and go and making new friends.
So, the house. First, the property is located in a gorgeous residential area on the outskirts of Sitges. A bit far away to walk everyday to the center of the city or to the beach, but with the bus or a car it’s very convenient. However, except grocery shopping, we didn’t even feel the need to get out of the house as we had everything we could have wanted right there.
The gorgeous kitchen was directly connected to the lovely terrace that also flaunted a hidden pool, perfect to take a refreshing dip from time to time. It was the ultimate pleasure to work from the kitchen island while having coffee and looking at the terrace from over my laptop. I actually put that on my bucket list, for when I’ll have my own house: “kitchen island with view to the garden”.
The bedrooms and main bathroom were upstairs – 3 double rooms for visitors and the master bedroom for the hosts. Ours even had a cute tiny balcony filled with cactuses and succulents, with views to the street and the hills.
It wasn’t just the design layout of the house that got to me, but also the way it was decorated: beautiful old pieces of furniture from different eras (I have a soft spot for old furniture) and tons of decorations of all kinds that despite their wide variety, still looked pleasant together.
Every space of the house had it’s own personality, yet everything came together seamlessly. The interior of the house being previously painted all white worked as an empty canvas for the rich decorations – so it didn’t have an overwhelming or dark feeling.
My favourite of it all was definitely the garden, with a play of textures, greenery, blooming flowers and lovely decorations. Ground stone tiles painted white, wooden decks, white gravel around the blue pool, plenty of cozy seats here and there behind plants loaded with foliage, feeling like hidden nests. Plus the tall walls surrounding the garden that gave it intimacy.
The cherry on top was represented by far by the hosts. Fun, smart and easy to communicate with, always there if you needed something or just felt like engaging into a conversation but never in your way or giving you the feeling you’re unwelcome or interrupting.
By the way, they are both antique sellers (they even have a wonderful shop in Sitges’ center called La Brocante Francaise, spacious and bathed in natural light, nothing like the dark, crammed usual antique shops, so make sure to pay them a visit) so it only makes sense why the whole house was reflecting this.
These guys really fuc*ed up our airbnb expectations forever. The location and accommodation were nothing short of stunning, the hosts were welcoming, the price was fantastic for what we were receiving and, most importantly, we felt so much at home there that I can’t see how any another airbnb accommodation will be able to come barely close to this one.
This is what every airbnb should really feel like. This is what the core essence of airbnb represents in my mind: hosts receiving you into their lovely houses, treating you as their guest and making you feel at home. Of course, there’s no need to go over the top for each of your requests – it’s not a hotel after all – or spend their whole time with and for you. But at least make you feel WELCOME and ensure you have a nice stay in their homes.
Have you traveled with airbnb before? What was the most memorable experience you had? Share it with us in the comment section below!