Check-in to an Airbnb
Searching for the “right” hotel for your weekend road trip or romantic getaway can be exhausting. It’s fidgeting with a sensitive scale as you try to balance price with amenities with star rating with location.
Zach and I always want to find a uniquely designed hotel, a good deal on the price tag, and a close proximity to night life when picking a spot to rest our heads on vacation. We often find that hotel search sites aren’t the best route to land the atmosphere we desire.
Unless we’re travelling to a resort or Disney World, we search Airbnb for all of our destination stays. Whether you are asking, “Why,” or shouting, “Preach,” it’s because for usually less than a price of a standard hotel room, we get an entire house, apartment, or private room and bath with the style and comfort we love in a home. We avoid overpriced or grimy hotel situations by taking the selection into our own hands.
The best part of Airbnb is that you end up smack dab in the middle of the area you want to be on your trip. The descriptions written by the homes’ host help you pinpoint the neighborhood and nearby attractions, so your radius of driving or walking is reduced. (Addresses are private until you book.)
I’m a firm believer that you don’t truly experience a city or country unless you explore like a resident, not a tourist. Don’t get me wrong, some landmarks and sites are simply must-sees on a vacation. I mean, if you didn’t visit the Colosseum, did you even go to Rome?
But, for the most part, we opt for the dive bar or local eatery over the largest ball of twine display and gift shop. Airbnb fits with that outlook on travelling, because you stay in a local neighborhood and roam like a resident for a week or weekend. It’s the closest you can get to walking in another person’s shoes.
The modern meets vintage look is right up our alley for Airbnb rentals. We want comfort, style, and another lifestyle perspective that speaks to the culture of our getaway spot.
Zach’s and my top Airbnb stays are the little but chic below ground apartment we booked in Toronto a few years ago and the completely renovated and modernized attic space above a Victorian in Denver, CO near all the best bars that we cozied up in last month.
We took a weekend trip to Grand Rapids to visit a family friend this past Saturday. Especially on quick trips such as this, we want to ensure that we are staying at a location close to all the activities we want to do to get the most out of our time. Naturally, we hit up the Airbnb website.
Grand Rapids, MI has a lovely historic district with renovated and restored million dollar vintage homes. Owners of a stunning property called the Hydrangea House open a private room with a private full bath to guests in what feels more like a bed and breakfast than an Airbnb.
We spent our one night in the mitten state (after a few fancy cocktails with our friend) at this home and could not have been more pleased. It’s located right down the street from a home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, the Meyer May House. We were able to not only see inside one of these private homes in the historic district, but pretend like we lived there for a night. Such a blast!
Here is a peek inside of our Michigan retreat (Outside pictured above!):
I adored all of the vintage details still there, such as the hexagon tiled bathroom floors, along with their modern interior design. If you still feel hesitant to try out this newer digital form of hotel booking, let me calm your nerves. These are not hostels; Airbnb hosts go through background checks, receive reviews and ratings, and more. Look for a “Super Host” certification mark to ensure you’re getting a top rate experience.
The search tool also helps you select if you are willing to stay in a private room where the resident will be staying under the same roof or if you want the entire house/apartment to yourself. We usually choose the latter, but our Grand Rapids stay swayed our opinion on that for sure, since it basically felt like a bed and breakfast.
And, hosts now are so professional that you’ll be confused why this was an economical option and not the star treatment. At all of the Airbnbs that I’ve stayed at, each one had its own system via a code or lock box key to have guests safely enter and lock up. Many leave coffee and snacks for you to enjoy as amenities as well. And, I’ve never been to an Airbnb that didn’t provide a binder or folder of house rules or things to know (such as trash or location of towels) and a huge list of travel tips with places to see and restaurants to dine at during your stay.
Our next Airbnb booking will most likely be a spontaneous one when we need a quick getaway. It’s a simple, cost effective, and entertaining way to experience a city!