Thursday, April 24, 2014

Not everyone runs a hospitality business

The Barcelona Cozy Rooms. They can be found lurking on every booking site from airbnb, hostels, guesthouses, and These rooms might have been mentally survivable if they had been under $20 a night and the people who ran it had been remotely pleasant or helpful in any way. Neither was the case.

The airbnb host we were going to stay with cancelled on us the day we were going to arrive. In a pinch, we used in to find a place quick. The descriptions and pictures made it appear like a charming guesthouse. It was more than we had paid anywhere else in Europe but we decided to splurge a little.

From the moment we found the street it was a disaster. First, we drove around endlessly trying to find the building which was completely surrounded by construction. So much for a view unless you like gazing at cranes.

We entered into a dark, dingy stairwell to find that the “ground floor” room was actually on the fourth floor. The timed light was on just long enough for us to get to up one flight, leaving us stumbling up three more in the pitch dark, dragging our bags while trying to carry and calm our 8 year old, who is scared of the dark.

When we managed to get ourselves into the apartment we were shocked. Guest house? This was a  bad hostel at best; flop house was really a better term. The only common area was the kitchen (or was it a hallway?).  The tray table and 3 stools made it instantly overcrowded. There was no heat in the bathroom or kitchen and minimal in our room. Flys and their splatted remains were all over the walls. It seemed odd for late December. Then we looked out the window and saw the moldy, rotting piles of fallen laundry on the rooftops. Now it made more sense.

We emailed management immediately, which was the only contact method we had. We asked to be released from the other nights we had booked because it was so uncomfortable for our family. Their reply? We were welcome to leave but they would not refund us a dime. Since we had already splurged for this room, we certainly couldn’t afford to pay for another too. We were stuck. Nor did they do anything to try to make us more comfortable. We asked if they could at least bring in a heater and they ignored us completely. They didn’t even offer to send an extra blanket.

The bed was a futon on a rickety loft that creaked and shook whenever you moved. Not that we could sleep anyway since the walls were so thin that you could hear everything going on in the building. I never got to meet Nate but I really hope he can get his grades up and work out his dating problems!

 I can’t say that it was because of the room conditions that my daughter came down with a 103 fever the last night we were there but I certainly believe that the cold and lack of sleep definitely contributed.  I can’t describe the relief when we were able to take our daughter to a clean, comfortable place to get well!

For Note: Reports were filed with Consumer Affairs and BBB. This is the only time I have ever asked to leave a place early or felt that they should be reported for their business practices.
A room with a view

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