Yachats, OR: Drift Inn And Try To Find The Front Desk Or Someone Who Cares … Good Luck!


Drift Inn
124 Hwy 101 North
Yachats, OR 97498
Phone: (541) 547-4477
Prices: $$$$
I found the place on Airbnb and the price was right at $50 per night, but the room was the size of a large closet and the reception I received upon arrival and in the restaurant’s bar was inadequate.

There is no reception for the hotel, so I had to find a server in the restaurant to show me to my room. It was small, but semi-functional with a queen size bed (that took up most of the room), a TV and DVD player, and a small table and folding chairs. When a single chair was unfolded, it was impossible to move or store anything in the room except for under the bed (which I did).

The reservation said “bed and breakfast”, but when I inquired with Gretchen, who I assumed was one of the owners/managers, she said “it was a mistake”, but grudgingly giving me a coupon for coffee and a muffin for ONE of the three mornings I was staying there.

The food in the restaurant was overpriced and the bartender (and co-owner), Ernie, was a rude jerk. Required to sit at the bar even though tables were available (because I was alone I guess), I tried to make conversation and ask a question about the local draft beers to Ernie, but he was either too busy or too important to respond. The guy is a bit of an ass**** and the food was mediocre, so I do not understand why they are so busy. Must be Ernie’s jovial personality!

I stopped for a beer on my way back to the room after eating at Heidi’s Italian Dinners (where the food was good and the reception friendly BTW) one evening around 9:15PM and after being there for about a half hour (it was 9:45PM) I asked for a final draft beer before going to my room, but was told rather rudely by Ernie that they closed at 9:30 and it would not be possible. No “last call”, a crappy attitude, and a bar that closes at 9:30pm … what kind of place are they running?

In all, it was a cheap, very small place to stay, but they obviously do not care about hotel (and I use that term loosely) guests, focusing on keeping locals happy and drunk. Yachats was a quiet, lovely, small town and I had much warmer receptions at other bars and restaurants nearby where I spent most of my leisure time and money.

Combat Recommendation: Call Gordon Ramsey and have Hotel Hell come and give you some tips on how to properly run a hotel, restaurant and bar.

CombatCritic Gives Drift Inn 3 Bombs Out Of 10 … More Bombs Are Better!

Three Bombs Equates To:

Read Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp – Elite ’14/’15/’16

Tabelog – Official Judge (Bronze)

Zomato – #1 Ranked Foodie

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Title: Yachats, OR: Drift Inn And Try To Find The Front Desk Or Someone Who Cares … Good Luck!

Key Words: Drift Inn, drift, Inn, Airbnb, in, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, hotel, bar, Yachats, Oregon, review, Yelp, Zomato, Tabelog

Translation for Civilians: SNAFU = “Situation Normal, All Fucked Up”

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Editorial: Airbnb Condones Unprofessional Behavior And Discrimination By Its Hosts


Airbnb
San Francisco, California

I have noticed a recent trend on Airbnb, in Eureka, California at least, where hosts have either canceled after having made a “confirmed” Instant Booking or ignored my requests to reserve a room posted as “available” on their calendar during the applicable dates.

I requested a reservation on two different occasions at Jennifer’s Garden View Room for a upcoming trip to Eureka, changing the dates due to unforeseen circumstances, but never getting a response despite promises to get back to me the “in next day or so”. Here is the transcript of messages:

July 6, 2016

Hi Jennifer! 

I’m thinking of coming to Eureka for at least a week. Your calendar looks clear and I’m finalizing the rest of the details, but want to make sure your place is available and for how long before I make reservations in other towns. 

Look forward to hearing from you soon.

Thanks!

Chris

——–

July 6, 2016 

Hi Chris! 

Nice to hear from you. I will have to check with a couple of possible renters and get back to you in the next day or so. 

Thanks! 

Jennifer 

 ———-

July 9, 2016 

Change of plans out of my control … Please let me know if your place is available (during these dates) or know (of) another option. Not much available in my price range in town during that period. 

Thanks! 

Chris

——- 

July 9, 2016 

Hi Chris. Good to hear from you. I need to check my calendar tomorrow and get back to you. 

Jennifer

—— 

Not one, but six days later and no response from Jennifer, I sent he another message: 

July 15, 2016 

I’ll take the silence as a no. Not having much luck with Eureka hosts. Thanks anyway! 

Chris 

—— 

July 16, 2016

Sorry Chris, I haven’t been able to check my phone or work on your questions. But I think I’ll pass on this one. 

Extremely unprofessional behavior and bordering on discriminatory, considering the fact that the room is posted as available, but she refuses to accept my reservation. Maybe I should change my profile:

About Me 

School: Los Altos High School (Hacienda Heights, California); California State University, Los Angeles, California 

Work: Retired Air Force Officer, Licensed Professional Counselor specializing in the treatment of PTSD with military and Veterans 

Languages: English, Italiano

After being ignored, then refused, by Jennifer, I checked Airbnb for other options in Eureka during those dates and, oddly enough, Jennifer’s Blue Room – Arcata, CA, United States was still available for the exact dates I was requesting. It seemed obvious that Jennifer did not want me staying with her for some reason. Maybe she does not like Veterans because that was all she knew about me based on what is in my profile, that and the countless positive reviews from hosts we have stayed with.

As I mentioned earlier, I made an “Instant Book” reservation (for the very first time) at Terri’s “Serene Views”, a different private room in Eureka, California. Instant Book is a feature that allows you to enter your dates of travel and if a listing’s calendar has no occupancy during that time, you can get an instant “confirmed” reservation instead of waiting for the owner to get back to you. Sometimes it takes days to get a confirmed reservation from some of these ding-a-lings, so when I saw what looked like a nice place at a good price, I cancelled a reservation I had made on another site in the interim and booked with Eureka Terri … BIG MISTAKE!


An hour-and-a-half later, I got a message from Terri:

“Looking forward to meeting you!”

BUT … nearly four hours later, as I was prepping for my trip, I received this surprising, inadequate and unprofessional excuse from Terri:

“My family requests a visit during this time. Hope you find a suitable replacement. Thank you.”

Here is Airbnb’s CONFIRMATION OF MY CANCELLATION:

UNSAT … FUBAR … My week in Eureka was now Tango-Uniform  and I scrambled to find a place to stay in my price range … thanks, for nothing Jennifer, Terri and Airbnb!

I had to pay hundreds of dollars more because a couple of Airbnb Airheads, an unprofessional newbie and a tree hugging liberal, could either not keep their calendars up-to-date or simply discriminate against guests based on the information in our “verified” profiles. It makes Airbnb look bad because they condone this unprofessional behavior and it should not have been allowed. 

What is the purpose of Instant Book if your confirmed reservation can simply be cancelled on a whim by the host? Useless … both Instant Book and Airbnb’s response to the situation … because when I sent them a message communicating my dismay, all I got was an automated response telling me, to paraphrase: “we’re too busy and important to respond to every customer … sorry, you are on your own bub!”

Here is the message I sent to Airbnb, telling them about the discriminatory behavior by their hosts:

I requested a room for these exact dates on two occasions with Jennifer and she told me there was no availability (just yesterday), yet this room in her home is advertised as available during that period. She told me twice that she’d “get back to me” the next day, but failed to contact me after more than 5 days both times, leaving me hanging without a reservation. 

She is the second inconsiderate host in Eureka, having Instant Booked a room at another house (with Terri), only to have (her) cancel four hours later.

Airbnb should police their hosts a little better to prevent unprofessional behavior and/or outright discrimination against Veterans (and many others according to the NY Times and numerous lawsuits). It’s obvious that these “liberal” hosts don’t want a male, conservative, retired, military officer staying with them and that is not just wrong, it’s illegal.

If you don’t do something about it, I will. 

Thanks!

Chris S

I have yet to receive a response from Airbnb, hence, I am writing this editorial. If you would like to read the New York Times article on Airbnb’s condoning of discriminatory behavior by their hosts, you can read more here: New York Times: Discrimination by Airbnb Hosts Is Widespread, Report Says

CombatCritic Gives Discriminatory Jennifer, Cancellation Terri And Airbnb 1 Bomb Out Of 10 And A Spot On MY WALL OF SHAME … More Bombs Are Better!

 One Bomb Equates To:

Read Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp – Elite ’14/’15/’16

Tabelog – Official Judge (Bronze)

Zomato – #1 Ranked Foodie

View my food journey on Zomato!



… And Don’t Forget To Subscribe To TravelValue TV on YouTube


Tabelog Reviewer CombatCriticView my food journey on Zomato!

Title: Editorial: Airbnb Condones Unprofessional Behavior And Discrimination By Its Hosts

Key Words: Airbnb, room, apartment, stay, Jennifer, Terri, Eureka, Arcata, CA, California, accomodation, hotel, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, service, review, Yelp, Zomato, Tabelog, airbnb.com

Translation for Civilians: FUBAR = “Fucked Up Beyond All Repair”

Airbnb – Eureka, CA: Terri Dropped The Ball And Airbnb Fumbled For A Safety


Serene Views (Terri)
Eureka, CA, United States
As a frequent traveler and regular Airbnb customer, I made an “Instant Book” reservation for the very first time at Terri’s “Serene Views”, a private room in Eureka, California with this description:

“My place is close to close to beaches, Old Town, Henderson Center, Hiking, Parks, great views, restaurants and dining. You’ll love my place because it is in a beautiful, private, quiet neighborhood overlooking the golf course, tucked into a green belt forest with a comfy bed, private bathroom, use of the kitchen and big private backyard”

It’s “close to close beaches”, must be pretty damn close, anyway … Instant Book is a feature that allows you to enter your dates of travel and if a listing’s calendar has no occupancy during that time, you can get an instant “confirmed” reservation instead of waiting for the owner to get back to you. Sometimes it takes days to get a confirmed reservation from some of these ding-a-lings, so when I saw what looked like a nice place at a good price, I cancelled a reservation I had made on another site and booked with Eureka Terri … BIG MISTAKE!

Here is my confirmed Instant Book reservation:

An hour-and-a-half later, I got a message from Terri:

“Looking forward to meeting you!”

BUT … nearly four hours later, as I was prepping for my trip, I received this surprising and inadequate message from Terri:

“My family requests a visit during this time. Hope you find a suitable replacement. Thank you.”

Here was Airbnb’s CONFIRMATION OF MY CANCELLATION:

UNSAT … FUBAR … My week in Eureka is now Tango-Uniform  and I am scrambling to find a place to stay for a week in my price range … thanks, for nothing Terri and Airbnb!

Now I’m going to have to pay hundreds of dollars more because some Airbnb Airhead, an unprofessional newbie, could not keep her calendar up-to-date. It makes Airbnb look bad because they condone this behavior and should not have been allowed. What is the purpose of Instant Book if your confirmed reservation can simply be cancelled on a whim by the host? Useless … both Instant Book and Airbnb’s response to the situation because when I sent them a message communicating my dismay, all I got was an automated response telling me, to paraphrase: “we’re too busy and important to respond to every customer … sorry, you are on your own bub!”


CombatCritic Gives Eureka Terri And Airbnb 1 Bomb Out Of 10 And A Spot On MY WALL OF SHAME … More Bombs Are Better!


One Bomb Equates To:

Read Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp – Elite ’14/’15/’16

Tabelog – Official Judge (Bronze)

Zomato – #1 Ranked Foodie

View my food journey on Zomato!



… And Don’t Forget To Subscribe To TravelValue TV on YouTube


Tabelog Reviewer CombatCriticView my food journey on Zomato!


Title: Airbnb – Eureka, CA: Terri Dropped The Ball And Airbnb Fumbled For A Safety

Key Words: Airbnb, Airbnb.com, Terri, Eureka, California, room, private, serene, view, accommodation, hotel, reservation, confirmed, cancellation, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, review, Yelp

Translation for Civilians: FUBAR = “Fucked Up Beyond All Repair”

Airbnb – Brooklyn, NY: Jose’s Bedroom In Front Of Prospect Park


Jose’s Bedroom In Front Of Prospect Park
Website: Airbnb
Jose was a wonderful host. The apartment is centrally located next to Prospect Park and a 5-minute walk to the F Train Station (Fort Hamilton), so getting around Brooklyn and NYC was a breeze.
Jose sold us a weekly transit pass ($31) upon arrival, providing us with unlimited subway and bus access throughout NYC and its burroughs for a full seven days, quite a bargain in a city where one subway ride costs $2.75.

The apartment is on the second floor of a six-story brick building and there is an elevator for those with heavy bags. Being a fashion designer, the flat is simply and tastefully furnished. Access to the kitchen and bathroom were never a problem and Jose provides filtered and bottled water, coffee and tea, clean linens and towels, and privacy. 
The private room is large, although there was little closet space to hang our things. The bed is large and comfy, there is a large flatscreen TV with cable, and a large desk is provided along with fast, free wi-fi. We did not spend much time in the room, but while we were there we were quite comfortable. There is also a window air conditioner in the room which came in handy as the temperatures were unseasonably warm in Brooklyn during the end of May.

There is a small market next to the subway station, but you must walk 10-15 minutes to find a selection of supermarkets, restaurants, and other shops. Parking can be a challenge because of the street sweeping schedules, but we were very lucky to park right in front of the building during our entire 8-night stay. The area is very safe.
Jose was not around a lot, but when he was, we enjoyed his company very much. He even made my wife two lovely bags with some leftover material he had in his work room as well as giving us souvenir bag tags to remember our visit … Muchas gracias Jose!

The apartment was clean, comfortable, convenient, and cost-effective at just $68 per night plus fees (less than $80 per night, including a $20 cleaning fee and a $68 Airbnb service fee), an excellent value in one of the most expensive cities in the world!

CombatCritic Gives Jose’s Bedroom In Front Of Prospect Park 9 Bombs Out Of 10 … More Bombs Are Better!



Nine Bombs Equates To:

Read Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp – Elite ’14/’15/’16

Tabelog – Official Judge (Bronze)

Zomato – #1 Ranked Foodie

View my food journey on Zomato!



… And Don’t Forget To Subscribe To TravelValue TV on YouTube


Tabelog Reviewer CombatCriticView my food journey on Zomato!

Title: Airbnb – Brooklyn, NY: Jose’s Bedroom In Front Of Prospect Park

Key Words: Airbnb, Jose, Prospect Park, Brooklyn. New York, Prospect, park, room, apartment, accomodation, private, bath, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, review, Yelp

Translation for Civilians: OOH-RAH = “U.S. Marine Response To A Verbal Greeting Or As An Expression Of Enthusiasm”

Philadelphia, PA: Nice, Clean Airbnb Room With Shared Bath in Central Philly … Excellent Value!


Airbnb

Leane’s “A Fabulous Night’s Stay”
Website: Airbnb.com – A Fabulous Night’s Stay

The room and home were very clean and the price reasonable for such a central location near downtown Philadelphia. 

Pros: 
1) Easy walk to the bus or Metro and central enough that you can walk to many places around downtown. 
2) There are markets, pharmacies, shops, and restaurants within a 10-minute walk of the house. 
3) The room is reasonably large and private, having nearly everything needed for a short stay, including a large closet, fold-down desk, and folding chair. 
4) The shared bathroom is very big and has plenty of supplies (hair dryer, shampoo/conditioner, extra toothbrushes, etc.) 
5) The neighborhood is clean, well kept, safe, and the people in the area were friendly. We felt safe and welcome in the neighborhood and were not concerned about our safety, even after dark. 
6) There is a washer and dryer in the home. 
7) The wi-fi is fast, free, reliable and we never had a problem connecting, loading pages, or watching video/movies. 
8) The host stays to herself mostly, does not “hover”, and was helpful when we asked questions about the area. 
9) Coffee, tea, instant hot chocolate and cookies are provided in the dining room downstairs for breakfast. 
10) No TV in the home, so you can spend more time seeing Philadelphia! 

Cons: 
1) Parking on the street near the house was scarce when we arrived, but I managed to find a spot down the block after dropping our bags. 
2) The bedrooms are upstairs and the staircase is narrow, making it tricky to maneuver large bags to the room. 
3) The bathroom is shared among three rooms and access was occasionally a problem. 
4) There is no ice or bottled/filtered water available, so bring/buy your own if you like ice and do not want to drink tap water. 
5) The coffee was nearly gone and the host unavailable when we awoke on our first morning, so I had to figure out where the coffee and filters were stored to prepare more. 
6) The host did not respond to the text and email I sent the day before arrival nor did she answer two phone calls I placed when we first arrived and had difficulty locating a parking place. However, she did answer the door once I found a temporary parking spot to drop our bags and was very responsive thereafter. 
7) No TV in the home if you want to catch up on news or your favorite show(s). 

In summary, Leane is a very personable host, the room an exceptional value, and the home in immaculate condition. A comparable hotel room would cost well over $100, making this Airbnb option an excellent value if visiting central Philadelphia. 

CombatCritic Gives Leane’s “Fabulous Night’s Stay 2” 8 Bombs Out Of 10 … More Bombs Are Better!
Eight Bombs Equates To:
Leane’s Response:

“Thank you so much for the review. It was lovely to have met you both and I am pleased you would stay again when in Philly. Sorry I missed your call, I have a 100% response rate and take communication very seriously. On occasion I will miss a message because I am physically unable in the moment, but fortunately we spoke within 10 minutes of your call. My response time is within a few minutes if I happen to miss you, which most of my guests will tell you rarely happens. It is so funny you mentioned about bottled water. Before seeing your review I actually went out and stocked the fridge with sparkling water, an assortment of flavored, natural lemonades, orange juice and of course… bottled water. There is also ice, chocolate fudge and vanilla ice cream and fruit bars available in the freezer for guests. You should have stayed one more day! Now folks can make iced coffee and oreo cookie sundaes to beat this Philly heat! Lol! Thanks again for all the feedback and happy travels!”

Read Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp – Elite ’14/’15/’16

TripAdvisor – Top Contributor

Tabelog – Official Judge (Bronze)

Zomato – #1 Ranked Foodie

View my food journey on Zomato!



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Tabelog Reviewer CombatCriticView my food journey on Zomato!


Title: Philadelphia, PA: Nice, Clean Airbnb Room With Shared Bath in Central Philly … Excellent Value! 

Key Words: Airbnb, Philadelphia, PA, Leane, Pennsylvania, Philly, room, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, hotel, motel, B&B, bed and breakfast, review, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Zomato

Translation for Civilians: WTFO! =“What-The-Fuck … Over!”

Washington DC: Airbnb – Private Suite Near The Capitol


Private Suite Near The Capitol!
1644 Gales Street NE #B
Washington, DC 20002
Host: Kelley And Summer

Prices:
$75 x 6 nights             $450
Cleaning Fees        $10
Airbnb Service Fee    $55
Occupancy Taxes*     $74
Total                       $589


Not sure why we paid $75 per night when the room is advertised at $65, but the room was clean and the price very reasonable for a central location in DC just a 10-15 bus ride from the National Mall. 

Pros: 


1) Easy walk to two buses, the X2 which takes you down H Street to the White House and the X8 which goes down Maryland toward the Capitol, terminating at Union Station (for transfers/Metro).

2) There are Safeway and Aldi supermarkets within a 10-minute walk of the house.

3) The room/bath are private and have nearly everything needed for a short stay (microwave/small fridge/Keurig coffee maker).

4) The neighborhood was relatively clean and people in the area were extremely nice, courteous, and helpful.

5) There are numerous diverse and reasonably priced bars and restaurants along Benning/H Street and within a short walk from the location.

6) There is a washer and dryer in the home (see cons) as well as a laundromat just a block away.

7) The wi-fi was fast, free and reliable. Never had a problem connecting, loading pages, or watching video/movies.

8) We were alone in the home the majority of the time, except for Lola (their sweet chihuahua) who kept us company occasionally, and it was relatively quiet (for a big city).

9) Ample parking on the street near the house and we were provided a city parking pass for our entire stay, never moving the car.

10) No TV

Cons: 


1) No Metro in the area and the X8 bus only runs until a little before 10pm, so plan returns wisely.

2) The room/bath are small and there is no place to put clothes. We had to keep everything in our suitcases, storing one under the bed and one on the sofa, leaving only one space on the sofa and the bed on which to sit. If you have a lot of luggage (more than one or two bags), this may not be a good option for you. 

3) The neighborhood is a bit on the rough side. The homes in the area are somewhat run-down compared to areas near the Mall and we observed some rather “sketchy” characters (I won’t elaborate on what they were probably doing) around the laundromat two blocks away on Benning. A man we met at a bus stop told us that someone was robbed at gunpoint one evening just two blocks from the house. However, we felt relatively safe and welcome in the area, and were not concerned about our safety, even after dark.

4) We were “discouraged” from doing laundry in the home due to complaints of “high water usage” by Airbnb travelers.

5) We were alone the majority of the time, but it would have been nice to meet both of our hosts (we met Summer on day one for a few minutes), get to know them a little (one of the perks of Airbnb), and get some “local flavor” and tidbits about the area and city. 

6) No TV

CombatCritic Gives Kelley And Summer’s Private Suite 7 Bombs Out Of 10

Seven Bombs Equates To:

Read Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp – Elite ’14/’15/’16

TripAdvisor – Top Contributor

Tabelog – Official Judge (Bronze)

Zomato – #1 Ranked Foodie

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Tabelog Reviewer CombatCriticView my food journey on Zomato!


Title: Washington DC: Airbnb – Private Suite Near The Capitol

Key Words: Airbnb, Washington DC, Washington, DC, Kelley, Summer, private, suite, Capitol, US, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, hotel, accommodation, review, Yelp, TripAdvisor

Translation for Civilians: S&G = “Shits & Grins”

Forget Overpriced Florence Hotels, Rent A "Little Florentine Retreat" For Your Best Value And Comfort


Little Florentine Retreat
Via di Pilastri 36, Firenze, Italia
Web: Airbnb
Prices:  €  € € 

Accommodations: Apartment

Via Pilastri and Chiesa Sant’Ambrogio (Far Right)

We spent two months in Florence, one month in July 2012 and the other this past July (2015), staying in apartments both times. The first apartment was small, but nice in the Santa Croce/Sant’Ambrogio area and the cost a very reasonable $1000 a month or a little over $33 per day. It had a small kitchen and bath, living room, loft (open) bedroom, air conditioning, wireless internet, and a clothes washer.

Living Room

We tried to rent the same apartment this year, but the owner was not cooperative, so we found another place in the same area, our favorite, and are we happy we did!

Main Bedroom

This apartment, just around the corner from the Jewish Temple and down the street from Chiesa and Mercato Sant’Ambrogio, is on the top floor of a historic villa. With no elevator, the 54 steps (no elevator) to the apartment became tedious over the month, particularly with heavy bags and 100 degree temperatures practically every day, so we limited are exits and entries as much as possible. After all, who wants to spend most of the day in an apartment when in one of the most beautiful and culturally abundant cities in the world?

Main Bedroom and Wardrobe


Kitchen

The owner greeted us warmly upon arrival, explaining the intricacies of the small, but very functional two-bedroom apartment. One decent size bedroom with queen size bed and wardrobe and one smaller bedroom with a pullout bed, desk, and chair were all we needed for the two of us and the occasional guest. Entering into the small kitchen-living room area, the bedrooms and bath were readily accessible. The small bathroom has a shower and bidet as well as a skylight providing ample natural light. The bedrooms both have air conditioning, but the kitchen, living room, and bath do not. However, with the bedroom AC units on and doors open, which we used sparingly, the main living area’s temperature was tolerable in the 100 degree heat. The apartment has a TV with limited English language broadcasts, fast (cable optic) wireless internet, a dishwasher and clothes washer. The furniture was modern and functional, and everything necessary to live comfortably (pots, pans, dishes, silverware, toaster, microwave, etc.) was provided.

Entry and Kitchen

The apartment has been renovated inside, but still retains some of the charm of a historic building with exposed wood beams and terra cotta tile roof. The floors were also terra cotta tile. There are windows in each room, medium sized in the main bedroom and living room with views of the pallazzo across the street and a small window with no view in the smaller bedroom. The windows have wooden shutters which can be closed to provide darkness for those who may be sensitive to light when sleeping.

There are two supermarkets (Conad and Carrefour) within a five minute walk as well as shops, restaurants, bars, hardware stores or pretty much anything else you could find elsewhere in Italy. Santa Croce is a ten minute walk, and the Duomo, Ponte Vecchio, and the train station are just fifteen to 20 minutes away by foot. The best pizzeria in Florence, Il Pizzaiuolo, is close by, serving delicious Neopolitan-style pizza at fairly reasonable prices. Mercato Sant’Ambrogio (open 7:30am – 2:30 pm Monday thru Saturday) is also a short stroll away where you can buy clothing, shoes, housewares, fresh fruits and vegetables, bread, meat, salami, cheese, bread or anything else you might need in the kitchen. They also have a small restaurant where you can get an inexpensive lunch for less than €10 per person. It is much smaller than the touristy Mercato San Lorenzo (a ten minute walk away), but has everything you need, is frequented mostly by locals, and has better prices.

Bathroom


The owner has recently listed the apartment on Airbnb at $106 per night, but if you plan on staying for a length of time, contact the owner to see about getting a reduced rate. As I mentioned earlier, we paid $1100 for the month of July, about 1/3 of the published daily rate, so it is worth a try!

Bedroom 2


At $106 per night, you may find better values in Florence ($75-$80 per night would probably be a more appropriate price), but for the $1100 per month that we paid, this was an exceptional value and I highly recommend it for long-term stays.

 
CombatCritic gives  8 Bombs Out of 10 … More Bombs Are Better!






Read more reviews of Florence restaurants, attractions and day trips as well as ways to save money in CombatCritic’s “Definitive Florence (Italy)” …

Wood Beam and Terra Cotta Celing
View
Main Entry


Read Reviews By CombatCritic:
Yelp – “Elite ’14/’15”
TripAdvisor – “Top Contributor” – Tabelog – “Official Judge (Bronze)
Zomato – “Super Foodie”
… And Don’t Forget To Subscribe To TravelValue TV on YouTube

Tabelog Reviewer CombatCriticView my food journey on Zomato!

Title: Forget Overpriced Florence Hotels, Rent A “Little Florentine Retreat” For Your Best Value And Comfort

Key Words: Florentine, retreat, apartment, hotel, accommodation, Pilastri, Santa Croce, mercato, Sant’Ambrogio, Duomo, restaurant, Airbnb, Italy, Florence, Firenze, travel, value, definitive, review, guide, 

Andre’s "Cozy B&B" (Airbnb) … Close To Center, Port, Stations, and Restaurants


Andre’s “Cozy B&B” (Airbnb)
Near Malaga’s Main Train/Bus Station
Malaga, Andalucia, Spain
Prices: € € € € 

Close to the main train and bus stations, and just a 15 minute walk from Old Town Malaga and the port, this accommodation was “as advertised”. Andre, short for Andreina, was very welcoming, friendly, and helpful, explaining about the apartment, breakfast, and her three simple rules when I arrived.


The room I stayed in was very small with hardly enough room to pass the bed to get to the window, but it had everything I needed (comfortable double bed, wardrobe, TV, fast wi-fi, ceiling fan) for my short stay of two nights.


The apartment itself is small, but has everything needed. Breakfast is included (make it yourself) and Andre had a nice selection of coffee, teas, and light breakfast options as well as unlimited access to the kitchen and refrigerator. The single bathroom (for two guest rooms) is also small, but the shower is large with plenty of hot water and shampoo, towels, soaps, even sunscreen were provided. If you plan on going to the beach, pack your own towel as Andre does not want her towels leaving the apartment.

In all, for $30 per night (including Airbnb fees), the room was a very good value and I would recommend staying with Andre if looking for an inexpensive option in the heart of Malaga.

CombatCritic Gives Andre’s “Cozy B&B” 7 Bombs Out Of 10 … More Are Better! 






Title: Andre’s “Cozy B&B” (Airbnb)

Key Words: Airbnb, cozy, B&B, room, apartment, Malaga, Andalucia, Spain, downtown, old town, old, town, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, food, definitive, review, guide

Marsana Wellness in Rincón, Puerto Rico Is Neither A Beachhouse Nor A Spa


“Marsana Wellness Beachhouse and Spa” is neither a spa nor a beach house, it is a large house with four guest rooms a couple blocks from a beach with hardly any sand and with an empty hot tub.

When we arrived after having informed the owner of our exact arrival time, his daughter Marina met us at the gate and asked “can I help you”, not in a friendly manner but as if we did not belong in the neighborhood. Once I told her we were guests, she was very friendly and escorted us to our room. We did not see her again for the next 7 days although it would have been nice to get some local information.

The room was nice, medium in size with a queen size bed, pull out futon-type sofa, a small fridge, wardrobe, TV with cable, and an air conditioning unit. Our room faced the back yard and had a large terrace with a table, two chairs, and a hammock and where we spent a majority of our time. The small bathroom was functional with a large tile shower, toilet and vanity.

Marina’s brother Yuri was around more than she was, doing odd jobs around the house and although friendly enough, never stopped to talk. The house is a work in progress and has a large terrace taking up 2/3 of the roof where there are tables, chairs, and the empty hot tub. The stars at night were fantastic as Rincón is a fairly small town far away from the bright city lights.

There are plenty of restaurants in the area, including Das Alpen Café, a German and Italian restaurant in the center of Rincón with small portions and large prices, El Tapatio, a good, inexpensive Mexican restaurant just north of the house on PR-115 going toward Aguada, and several bakeries, the best being Panaderia Eileen just a block south on 115 where you can get wonderful pastries ($1 each), cheap sandwiches ($2.00-$3.75), and assorted drinks and beer. The bakeries in Puerto Rico have a little bit of everything, including a hot table with carne guisada (beef stew – $2), ribs, chicken, rice, beans, and other local foods. They are a great place to pick up a quick lunch or take some food home for dinner and many have tables where you can eat your toasted sandwich or carne guisada.

Being winter, the winds blew from the East most of the three weeks we were in Puerto Rico, making for poor snorkeling and challenging swimming. The seas around Rincón were rough most of the week we were there, so we found a very nice beach about 10 miles north in Aguadilla called Crash Boat Beach. Crash Boat is clean, has nice sand, a shallow, sandy bottom, and because it faces southwest it avoids the swells and large waves from the north, making for clear water and good snorkeling. There is a bar in the parking lot with cheap beer (Medalla – $1.50) and drinks (piña colada – $4), and there are a few food vendors adjacent in the lot with grilled chicken, pizza, frappes and other snacks. There is not a reef in the area and few rocks, but the visibility was 40-50 feet and there were occasional visits by small schools of fish and a few large Jacks from time to time.

The only snorkeling beach in Rincón at this time of year was Balneario Rincón, a small beach just north of town of Route 430 with a reef that can be accessed from the small sandy beach on the north end past the boat ramp. Steps Beach, named after the set of concrete steps precariously perched on the reef, is reportedly the best snorkeling beach in the area and is quite beautiful, but the water was inaccessible during our stay due to the rough seas and lack of a sandy bottom, only reef. We saw Sandy Beach and Pools Beach, a mile or two north of Steps, but although quite pretty, neither were good for anything but sunbathing because they face north and water was rough.

The description of the property on AirBnB was deceiving because there are no spa services available, no meals or breakfast as advertised, and parking is a challenge with just two spaces available (unsecured) for at least four rooms. The “Jacuzzi” was empty and there are no doctors on staff. The highlight of the week were their four dogs who kept us company and were the sweetest they could be. If you do not like or are afraid of dogs, this is not the place for you. There is an outdoor kitchen for guests to use with few plates, utensils, or pots/pans, so cooking would prove challenging if so inclined. But at $45 a night the room was a decent value, but nothing special. I saw that they raised their rates to $60 since we booked and believe you can find better value elsewhere in the area, possibly on the ocean or with a sea view.

CombatCritic Gives Marsana Wellness Beachhouse and Spa 6 Out of 10 Bombs … BOMBAS ARE BUENAS!


PostScript: AirBnB asks guests to review the properties where they stay as well as providing feedback to the host. This is the feedback I provided to Dr. Michael Morales, our host, who was not on the property during the week we stayed at “Marsana Wellness Beachhouse and Spa”:

“We enjoyed our stay, especially your sweet, wonderful dogs. We were pleased overall with the accommodations, but felt your description was misleading. As a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel, honesty and integrity are very important to me and I do not like being misled. My decision to stay at your “beachhouse and spa” was partially influenced by your description:

“mountain-beach views” 

– I could barely see the water from the roof, not a beach in sight 

“organic natural macrobiotic and vegan cuisine” 

– Yuri and Marina may be eating it, but we were never told about it

“wholistic therapies, treatments, classes” 

– Where, when? Why were we not informed of these options and who was leading them? 

“natural foods catering, meals available” 

– Again, we were not informed of this option 

“concierge services, natural beauty care treatments” 

– If you call the 5 minutes Marina spent with us the evening we arrived “concierge services”, that is misleading 

“2 naturapathic doctors on site” 

– Are Yuri and Marina naturopathic doctors? 

“acupuncturists, herbalist, nutritionist, physical therapist ,massage therapist, cooking classes and surfboards available” 

– Available where? 

“we have installed our outdoor Jacuzzi” 

– True, but it was empty the entire time we were there and by the rust on the metal, it looks like it probably does not work 

My recommendation is to be more honest in your description or actually provide the options you say you have. My 6 Out of 10 rating is very generous and strictly based on the value of what we got for what we paid ($45 a night for a basic room) and I did not deduct for the deceiving description. 

Again, we were not displeased with our stay, only the misleading description. 

As a travel critic I have the duty to report honestly and accurately to my readers and followers and would be doing them a disservice if I omitted the facts I described above. Because this review will be published  on AirBnB and my blog, http://www.CombatCritic.com, I would be remiss if I were not completely honest. I hope you understand. 

Finally, I think you should consider reducing your rate to the $50 per night range as your new $60 rate is probably more than the room is worth. 

Thanks for having us!”

Key Words: Marsana, wellness, beachhouse, spa, AirBnB, hotel, room, beach, Rincón, Aguada, PR, 115, Puerto Rico, puerto, rico, CombatCritic, combat, critic, TravelValue, travel, value 

Punta Santiago Apartment: Spacious, Friendly, And A Bit Noisy Dog Lover’s Delight


Punta Santiago Apartment: Spacious, Friendly, And A Bit Noisy Dog Lover’s Delight


First of all, Bonnie, Tony, and the boys and girls are a delight, wonderful human beings and dogies (all 10) who made our stay in Punta Santiago comfortable and caring … THANK YOU ALL!


Found on AirBnB at $75 a night, the apartment was the most expensive of the three we reserved during our 3-week stay, but it is an entire private one-bedroom/one-bath apartment with a kitchen/dining room, living room, and a HUGE terrace just a few blocks from the beach.


Furnishings are basic and somewhat dated, but in working order with the exception of the stove which we were unable to use. There are AC units in the bedroom and living room and were sufficient in providing cool sleeping conditions. The apartment gets plenty of air from trade winds, so the AC really is not necessary much of the time. There is an older color TV with cable in the living room (be sure to ask Tony how to get rid of the “blue” screen) and the wireless internet worked well the entire week we were there.


There is a market down the street with most everything you need at reasonable prices and several small restaurants (see Taco Rico review) and bars just across the street, so food is abundant. Playa Naguabo (ten minute drive North) has several seaside restaurants including Waterfront Cantina and an outdoor cafe with three food stalls that serves fresh fish to hundreds at a time arriving on busses.

The towns of Humacao and Fajardo are close by, so restaurants are abundant and the islands of Vieques and Culebra are a little over an hour away by ferry from Fajardo. The Humacao Nature Reserve is less than a 10-minute drive, offering trails, a secluded beach, wildlife, and mangrove swamps.

The primary drawback as other guests have mentioned is the noise at night from the bar across the street, blaring music at decibles in the hundreds as well as the occasional vehicles with custom stereo blaring music at all hours of the day and night running up and down PR-3 adjacent to the house. Bring earplugs and/or a white noise machine as we did and unless you are a very light sleeper, you should not have any problems.

If you love dogs, the sea, friendly people, and life in a relatively quiet fishing village, you will love the time you stay with Bonnie and Tony in Punta Santiago.

CombatCritic Gives Bonnie and Tony’s Punta Santiago Apartment 7 Out of 1o Bombs … BOMBAS ARE BUENAS!

Key Words: Bonnie, Tony, Antonio, Punta Santiago, AirBnB, punta, santiago, Humacao, Puerto Rico, puerto rico, travel, value, CombatCritic, TravelValue, apartment, room, hotel

Keith’s AirBnB Miramar (Avenida Miramar – San Juan), Puerto Rico Apartment … Central, Afforadable, Friendly!



Living Room and Balcony

We found Keith’s apartment in Marimar (San Juan) by chance and were we glad we did! For a reasonable price considering the location, we had a bedroom and access to the living area (bath, kitchen, living room, terrrace) of a modern apartment centrally located between downtown San Juan and Old San Juan (less than 2 miles). 


Kitchen

Keith was visiting relatives stateside when we arrived, so Tiffany (a student at University of Puerto Rico and tenant) was there to let us in, orient us to the area, and give us the keys, all on Christmas Eve. She was friendly and helpful before leaving for Ponce to spend the holiday with her family.


On Christmas day there was not a lot open, so we went to El Escambrón, a nice public beach between the apartment and Old San Juan with clean sand, public restrooms, snackbar, and parking ($5).

The next day we took the bus (M1) to Santurce Corazon station where we caught the train (Rio Piedras Station) to Mercado del Rio Piedras, a vibrant indoor market frequented by locals.



Bedroom
The apartment is on the 3rd floor of a modern high-rise with street parking that was at times difficult to find close by. We had to walk a few blocks much of the time there as the parking spots out front were occupied by static vehicles after day two.


Access to a fridge, stove/oven, washer/dryer was very convenient although we had to go out on Christmas Eve and find a Walgreens that happened to be open to buy enough toilet paper to get us through the holiday. The apartment was relatively clean with a lived-in feel and nice, although dated furnishings and decor. There was one beach chair and one beach towel, a thermal lunch bag, and small umbrella available for beach use and we took advantage of all on our trip to El Escambrón.


There is a tub/shower combo in the bathroom with plenty of hot water despite what the previous reviewer had written. Keith provided soap, shampoo, and conditioner as well as laundry detergent and fabric softener (which we replenished prior to departure), but I would advise bringing your own or purchasing at the local market just a few blocks away on Avenue Ponce de Leon, the hub of the area with upscale restaurants, markets, cinema, and fast food (Subway, Papa John’s are close by). Having access to a washer and dryer was an unexpected luxury, and a definite advantage to staying here.


CombatCritic Gives Keith’s Miramar Apartment 8 Out Of 10 Bombs … BOMBAS ARE BUENAS!

Key Words: Keith Poimboeuf, Keith, Poimboeuf, apartment, airbnb, Miramar, San Juan, Puerto Rico, puerto, rico, washer, dryer, kitchen, bath, bedroom, terrace, balcony, CombatCritic, TravelValue