The Worst Airbnb Review I’ve Ever Written

I feel slightly guilty about this, but not enough to change it

Time To Read: 3 mins | March 1, 2017

I Airbnb a lot. Not sure if that’s allowed as a verb, but I’m running with it.

And on Airbnb (now a noun), you grade one another after every stay. You rate your host and the accommodations, and the host rates you. Now, much like an Uber ride, these tend to skew high. You’re not actually going to throw a driver a 3/5 because nothing special happened; a 5 means it was a clean car and a safe ride and the driver guessed correctly whether you wanted to talk or not.

So usually, I throw hosts a 5, with 4s sprinkled in when there’s a problem. Something like, “The place was too expensive for the limited amenities,” or, “The bed was made of porcupines,”


or, most egregiously, “The wifi too slow to download The Expendables 2.” That sort of thing. 

In Puntarenas, Costa Rica, I gave my first 2-star feedback. Which I felt guilty about, but only until the last sentence of the copy & pasted review below:


“Juan Jose was sweet and accommodating, even arranging for someone to drive me to the apartment I’d be staying in — I’d accidentally arrived at the very clean-looking hotel he owned, so an employee drove me a few blocks away to… this. Juan’s kindness makes this next bit difficult to write:

Until my arrival, this studio apartment hadn’t been lived in since the Old Testament. When I walked in, Juan was doing his best to tidy up, but not even he could contend with the funk of forty thousand years.

Around the door handle is two-foot long growth of mold; actually, that’s not fair. It could be dirt or poo, I was just too scared to investigate closely. Pink eye and what not.

The two beds aren’t the worst things I’ve ever slept on. Once, during college, I fell asleep on a basement floor. That was worse.

The refrigerator was unplugged when I arrived. No biggie, my knowledge of electronics is not so weak that I can’t sort the bad boy out. I quickly resolved the power situation, but unfortunately, then made the mistake of opening the cold cabinet. I can best describe the smell as sweaty Balrog taint. And I’m pretty sure, over my 18 hour stay, the inside of the fridge actually got hotter with the power hooked up.

But all this was nothing compared to the bathroom. Decomposing mahi-mahi would have been an improvement. Shrek farting on Beetlejuice’s fermenting loogies (sp?) mixed with essence of stinkbug — that scent wouldn’t compare to this.

Still, I was going to throw 3 stars. Juan seems like a stand up guy. But then I actually used the bathroom (couldn’t be helped) and, just moments after he’d tried to clean up, I saw an inch-long cockroach dead on the floor next to the toilet.

These little guys can survive the nuclear apocalypse, but not Juan’s bathroom.”


photo: looked just like that scene at the end of temple of doom. river one hour west of san jose, costa rica

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Malcolm Freberg
Malcolm Freberg
American writer living permanently on the road. Believes rye whiskey is superior to bourbon, Belle is the best Disney princess, and that selfie sticks should be snapped in half on sight. Hosted a travel documentary for AOL & played Survivor a few times.

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  1. Donna Martello

    Reviews are a funny thing…you look to them to tell you whether to buy that item on Amazon or eat where Yelpers tell you too. Yet when it comes to giving reviews, the human-factor kicks in and sometimes we error on the side of compassion and give a better review than might be deserved. With that being said, then how trust-worthy are reviews?

  2. Heidi

    Haha perfect! I wonder if he’s since cleaned up the place … or what the pictures looked like online that lured you there in the first place!? Do tell.


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