I first learned about Airbnb when my sister traveled to Amsterdam late last year. Despite her safe return and positive experience, I remained skeptical about the idea of staying at a stranger’s spare room or apartment. Is Airbnb safe? What if my host turns out to be a creepy psycho? Are Airbnb reviews reliable? Or am I better off booking a “legit” hotel? What about room service, housekeeping, and most importantly, towel refill?
Why I Chose Airbnb
- I wanted to try it, and my parents were up for it too. I love how they always give me full control when planning our trips.
“It’s your call. Just make sure it’s safe.”
- It is A LOT cheaper than staying at a hotel in Jerusalem. Israeli hotels are among the most expensive in the world. A 5-star hotel in Manila usually costs $150/night/room for 2 people. In Israel, $150 is just the average nightly rate for a 3-star hotel room.
Where: 21st Floor of Saidoff Building
Maximum Capacity: 8
Property Type: Apartment
Cost per night: $242 exclusive of one-time cleaning fee and service fee
Cancellation Policy: Strict
Our First Airbnb Experience
We arrived at Jerusalem in the late afternoon, and were greeted by a pleasant lady named Jessica. She took us up to the apartment, briefed us on the house rules, and answered some of our questions.
The apartment is just downright awesome, and we loved it the moment we stepped inside. I have to agree with online reviews saying that the photos do not do justice to the real thing. It’s remarkably spacious, well-kept, and modern. I love the glass doors, and how it allows the sun’s rays to pass through it—illuminating the floors and giving the place a dainty feel to it. I love how the red chairs by the bar and the black ones by the dining table perfectly complement the blankness of the white walls. I love how the whole place is eye-catching but not over-the-top. Heck I even adore the giant electronic door for making us feel safe during our entire stay, and allowing us to leave my 10-year old brother alone while we went out to check the market.
The view from the patio is beautiful. I woke up extra early in the morning to catch a glimpse of sunrise, and found myself patiently holding my camera in the afternoon to capture the dramatic transition of sunset colours. The mornings are chilly, and I had to tiptoe through the cold marble tiles, but it didn’t matter. I needed to take a photo.
The kitchen is nothing short of impressive. It has almost all the basic utensils needed to prepare a proper meal. It has an oven, and the fridge is fairly large. Dishwashing liquid, dishcloth, and mops are also provided.
Guests aren’t required to clean up before check-out, but I personally think it pays to do so. In case you didn’t know, Airbnb hosts also review the guests. If you’re too lazy to do some tidying, just make sure it doesn’t look as if a wild college party had been thrown the night before. Leave it the way you found it… or even better if you can.
The bathrooms are complete with soap, shampoo, slippers, and a lot of towels. The water pressure in the shower is good; however, there were times when there wasn’t enough hot water.
Lastly, the location is very convenient. It’s located between Agripas and Yafo Street—two major streets in Jerusalem—and is just a short walk from the Mahane Yehuda Market (Yahoo for market lovers like us!) and the Light Rail Station.
This 3-bedroom apartment on the 21st floor of Saidoff Tower in downtown Jerusalem is absolute perfection, but the best part of my first Airbnb experience is that my family, especially my parents, always looked forward to heading back to the apartment after a long day of exploring the city. I don’t know if it’s the Asian in me (you know, filial piety and all that shebang), but one of the best feelings in the world is seeing my parents happy and knowing that we got the best bang for our buck.