Call your host before you go go: Kiwi traveler booked AirBNB villa for US$80 a night, only to find a dilapidated building

A Kiwi traveler shared her AirBnB story in a TikTok clip that went viral. Photo: Screengrab.
A Kiwi traveler shared her AirBnB story in a TikTok clip that went viral. Photo: Screengrab.

Kiwi travel writer Bree Robertson thought she booked an idyllic vacation home in Bali via AirBnB last month to celebrate her and her partner’s anniversary. Little did they know, the villa that they booked for US$80 a night was, in fact, a dilapidated building.

Speaking to Coconuts Bali to tell her story, Bree, who is currently staying in Canggu, said she booked the two-storey villa located on the eastern part of the island for the night of July 16.

“I had chosen it because it looked beautiful [on the AirBnB listing], it had great reviews,” said Bree.

That same day, Bree, who founded the travel blog Atypical Adventure, said that it took her and her partner two hours on a motorbike to get to the villa from Canggu. Unfortunately, the location that was provided via AirBnB was inaccurate, and it took them almost another half an hour to finally locate the building.

“On the listing, it said there would be someone there 24/7. I knocked on the door, but there was no answer so I walked around the back which was when I realized the place was obviously abandoned,” she added.

To say that Bree was perplexed when reality sinked in would be an understatement, as she told us that all she could do was just laugh about the whole situation. On TikTok, she uploaded a clip depicting the dilapidated building and its smashed windows, drained swimming pool, and overgrown vegetation. The clip got 163,100 likes and 1031 comments per this article’s publication.

“I didn’t think much of it when I posted it to be honest. I thought it might get a few thousand views and that would be it. I never expected this reaction,” she said.

In the clip’s comments, Bree said that because AirBnB afforded the host an hour to confirm her villa booking, she “assumed it was still open” so she and her partner traveled to the site without establishing contact with the host.

Luckily, AirBnB did give her a full refund after she explained to them what happened. “It was a simple process,” Bree quipped.

There was no bitterness whatsoever from the New Zealander’s tone as she told her story to us. In addition to still recommending Bali to everyone, Bree shared that she hoped her misadventure this time would serve as a lesson for those who are looking for a place to stay.

“Make sure you have contact with the host before you go,” she said.

AirBnB said in a statement that they were “disappointed” with the incident and the villa listing has been removed from their platform.

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