A COUPLE was devastated after they arrived at what they thought was a luxury hotel – only to find that it was not what they expected.
Sebastian Alexander, 33, said he suffered a “vacation from hell” when he and his wife Amy arrived at their Airbnb hotel in Costa Rica to discover it had been abandoned nearly two years earlier.
The couple spent more than £1,000 on a 10-day stay at the Casa Blanca hotel in Tamarindo on New Year’s Eve.
But when they arrived at the end of December, they found the hotel empty and closed.
The listing on Airbnb promises blue skies and palm-fringed beaches, but Sebastian claims he’s instead faced with a desolate, bleak enclave.
The couple contacted Airbnb but did not hear back for five days, at which point they were forced to pay £2,000 for alternative accommodation.
Sebastian, from Hertfordshire, said: “It was a nightmare. It was one of those breaks from hellish situations.
“When we got there, it was all up. It looked pretty nice with the top fence and no foliage outside. It was like being left there.
“It’s like a literal prison camp. You can’t go in there, it’ll be gutted.
“We’ve looked at [other websites], everywhere, every property is fully booked. Tamarindo is the New Year’s Eve venue in Costa Rica.
“The only other place we can find is [a large chain hotel] is £4,700 a night. Is crazy.
“We travel quite a lot and this is our thing. It’s been two years and it’s been a nice trip to Costa Rica for three weeks.
“After the experience, I don’t want to use Airbnb anymore.”
On its website, Airbnb advertises a stylish and well-kept hotel with great surfing beaches nearby.
The couple couldn’t believe what they were seeing as they were taken outside the ‘luxury hotel’.
Sebastian said: “The driver said ‘yes we’re here’ and that’s just looking at the pictures and asking the people next door [that we found it]. We were just disappointed and sat in the bar next door.
“We got to the place we boarded around 2pm and we were like ‘s**t, it’s going to be dark in the next two hours’. We needed to sort out a few things.
“We were sitting on the beach and there were crocodiles in Costa Rica. There were big signs everywhere that said ‘be careful – the crocodiles’.”
“Luckily, the waiter next door helped us. His wife works at a hotel in the hills and we managed to book a place for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day for £400 a night. .
“We stayed there for two nights then moved down to the other end of the beach for around £1,200 for eight days.
“We were at the restaurant next door and those guys said ‘that’s terrible. Immediately after Covid hit, the owner handed over the key and it has been vacant ever since”.
‘HOST FROM HELL’
The couple said they contacted Airbnb as soon as they discovered the problem, but they did not receive any support from the company.
“We reached out to Airbnb and they kept closing the chats. We pressed the ‘I’m having a hard time’ button to try and get some help, but to no avail,” said Sebastian. said they promised to contact us within the next hour.
“We don’t know where we’re going, what we’re going to do, or if we’ll ever get our money back.
“For 10 days we just sat there in this really expensive hotel. We had to pay around £1,500 to £2,000 more which we’re not going to get back.
“We really only had money. We had to book a hotel last minute so we had to pay a premium.
“Airbnb’s legal team came back and said” due to our terms and conditions we will refund your stay and give you a goodwill token for your next stay yours” because we didn’t re-register through Airbnb.
“We ran out of money and weren’t very happy. You wanted to splash on the beach and relax, but instead it took us days to move hotels.”
The couple said Airbnb initially refused to offer any compensation for the money the couple spent on alternative accommodation, which was higher due to last-minute booking prices.
But after being contacted by journalists, Airbnb claims to have offered to ‘refund additional costs’ incurred during their stay.
However, when asked if they have any process in place to check with landlords to see if the property has been vacant since the pandemic hit, Airbnb did not respond to the question and only said that if guests notice the host is ‘unresponsive’ when coming to their customer support. The team is always ready.
An Airbnb spokesperson said: “Our initial handling of this has fallen below the usual high standards we set for ourselves.
“We’ve reached out to the guest to apologize and offer further assistance, and have suspended the Server from the platform.
“With over 1 billion visits to date, negative experiences on Airbnb are rare, but if they do happen, we work hard to get things right and our customer service team is always there. ready to help 24/7.”
In another Airbnb news, a woman booked a place for her friend and was left with a £5,000 bill after they left the burnt mattress and dog poop behind.
And a man was stunned by a ‘tropical’ in Birmingham for £50 a night – only to find it was just a tent.
https://www.thesun.ie/travel/8242000/luxury-hotel-holiday-costa-rica-shocked/ Couple devastated after arriving at luxury hotel