After a slew of technological setbacks {the details of which I won’t bore you with}, I’m finally ready to share details of our recent trip to Amsterdam.

In short, we had an amazing time. Despite its somewhat sordid reputation, the city has so much to offer in terms of history, culture and beauty. It’s an excellent destination to explore with children and we were spoilt for choice when it came to keeping the kids entertained.

However, our adventure had a rather rocky beginning…

Our Amsterdam Adventure - An Airbnb Disaster and Arriving in Oud-West

  • Getting There

We flew from Bristol to Schiphol Airport with KLM. The journey was incredibly speedy and we arrived in Amsterdam around lunchtime. One of the first things we did was collect our I amsterdam City Card from the Visitor Information Centre. We went for the 72 hour option and used it extensively during our stay, taking advantage of free entry to some of the city’s best museums and attractions as well as free, unlimited use of GVB public transport.

We then purchased train tickets to Amsterdam Central Station and tried to make contact with our Airbnb host. At first, my calls kept going to voicemail, so we headed into the city feeling a little anxious. When we arrived at the other end, we finally received a response, but something still didn’t feel right. Nonetheless, we jumped in a taxi and made our way to the apartment we’d booked in the Jordaan area.

Our Amsterdam Adventure - An Airbnb Disaster and Arriving in Oud-West

  • ‘The Rickety Place’

The chap who arrived with our keys seemed nice enough, but we quickly realised he was a representative from a letting agency. The friendly ‘local’ I’d exchanged messages with prior to our trip was a myth. As we were one booking on a very long list, I don’t think they were particularly bothered about keeping us happy.

When we stepped inside the apartment, the first thing that hit us was the horrendous smell. I’m pretty sure something had died underneath the floorboards in the main living space. The bedrooms were downstairs in the basement and along with the bathroom, they also smelt of stagnant water and mould. The whole place felt grubby and the small courtyard outside was full of stinging nettles. So far, so terrible.

For the first twenty minutes or so, I think Mr L.A. and I both did our best to put on a brave face. I mean, how much time would we spend in the apartment anyway? In my head, I imagined popping to the shops for some cleaning products and air freshener, but as I started to explore the kitchen, my heart sank even more.

The drawers and surfaces were littered with mouse droppings and every cup, plate and bowl in the house was filthy. A second look at the bedrooms revealed more evidence of a pretty serious rodent infestation. At this point, I sat down and had a little cry. We knew we couldn’t stay.

Our Amsterdam Adventure - An Airbnb Disaster and Arriving in Oud-West

Mr L.A. managed to reach Airbnb on the phone. The representative we spoke to was incredibly sympathetic and very helpful. First, she asked us to send photographic evidence of what we described. We then had to give our host an hour to respond to our complaint, but in the meantime, she advised us to start looking for a hotel.

This was probably the most stressful part of the entire experience. Everything I found online seemed to be fully booked or unable to accommodate two adults and two children. By this time, it was already around 7pm and the children hadn’t eaten since we were on the plane.

We eventually found somewhere to stay and when Airbnb agreed to release us from our booking because the host had failed to respond, we jumped in an Uber and made our way to the Grand Hotel Amrath.

The only room they had available was the Monumental Suite. I doubt we’ll ever stay somewhere so luxurious again! It consisted of three large rooms and two bathrooms beautifully decorated in an Art Deco style. As it was included in the price, we raided the minibar before heading out in search of food. We found a pizza place nearby and our meal was surprisingly good.

After dinner, we wandered back to the hotel and put the children to bed. Before he drifted off, Jesse dubbed our original apartment ‘The Rickety Place’ and told us how glad he was that we didn’t have to stay. I ran myself a bubble bath, poured myself another G&T and did my best not to worry about where we’d end up for the rest of our trip.

Our Amsterdam Adventure - An Airbnb Disaster An Airbnb Disaster and Arriving in Oud-West

  • Off to Oud-West

The following morning, we grabbed breakfast at the hotel before checking out of our room at 11am. Mr L.A. occupied the children while I spent most of the day in the bar, using the hotel’s wifi to communicate with Airbnb and organise alternative accommodation. After scouring the website for suitable listings and exchanging multiple emails, I finally found somewhere to stay in Oud-West.

Our host, Mirco, agreed to meet us at 4pm, so we decided to kill a little time by strolling to Dam Square. We stopped for lunch on the way back, picking up a few cones of Amsterdam’s famous chips and mayo. We sat on a bench in the sunshine and I finally started to believe everything would be ok.

I think it’s worth mentioning at this point that although Airbnb were extremely helpful during the initial crisis, we’re still out-of-pocket for the extra expenses we incurred. Along with a hotel bill of almost £500, we forked out for extra taxis and lost an entire day of our holiday. They’ve offered us £150 plus £50 credit towards our next booking. Moreover, the original listing is still live and as our stay was technically cancelled, we’ve not had the opportunity to leave a review. As you can imagine, we’re less than satisfied. I’ll keep you posted as we proceed with our complaint.

Anyway, back to Amsterdam. The second apartment was lovely and we were thrilled to find ourselves in such a great neighbourhood. I’d had my heart set on the Jordaan, but having experienced Oud-West, I’d highly recommend it. As you can see from the pictures throughout this post, it’s a beautiful area and a great base from which to explore the city.

After a quick trip to the local Lidl for supplies, we ventured out for dinner. The food at Geflipt was delicious and their Las Vega is one of the best veggie burgers I’ve ever tried. Finally able to relax, we sat outside in the early evening sun and had a good laugh about the events of the previous 24 hours. Things could only get better…

Love Audrey xxx

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