Airbnb has been present since 2008 and it has garnered revenues over $2.6B in 2018, but it’s my first time trying it now…in 2019. 🙂 I’ve always preferred staying in a hotel just because I thought it’s more convenient with the service staff and the usual hotel amenities. Also, I usually check out agoda.com for our hotel bookings. When I get discount offers from the site, see a clean room with a comfortable bed in a location accessible to public transit, I’m happy. If there’s complimentary breakfast and free Wi-Fi, I’m over the moon!
Call me an Airbnb snob, and my husband is quite the opposite. He prefers having a unique experience and staying in a beautiful room with a homey vibe and creative interior design. Our trip to Taipei was the perfect chance to stay in an Airbnb and that’s exactly what we did. In this post, I’m sharing my review of Uruztopia201 at Shilin Aegean Decor and my experience as a first-time Airbnb guest.
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Review of Uruztopia201 at Shilin Aegean Decor (Taipei, Taiwan)
Location: We wanted to be close to any night market in Taipei since food tripping and shopping are the two main reasons why we came here. At first, our top choice was to stay in Ximending Area or Taipei Main Station. However, there wasn’t a lot of good accommodations available. We also checked online booking sites for hotels but most hotels are farther away from the MRT and are quite pricey. When we turned to Airbnb, we found Uruztopia201 at Shilin Aegean Decor. It’s walking distance away from Shilin Night Market (500 meters from Shilin MRT Station). Note: Exact location will be provided once booking is confirmed.
Space: For only $39 a night, my husband and I shared one room but we felt like having the entire place to ourselves. It’s like staying in our own temporary home in Taipei. How awesome is that! The design was great with the aegean blue and water theme, which was very pleasing to the eyes. The room is also neat. We had to wear bedroom slippers when entering the house. There was good shower water pressure in the private bathroom. It’s also remarkable that safety features are in place: fire extinguisher, carbon monoxide detector, smoke detector, and even a first aid kit.
Amenities: The one downside of staying here is that we didn’t get free breakfast like we normally do when we stay in hotels. That wasn’t a problem since Family Mart and 711 are nearby. We did enjoy a lot of amenities: use of Wi-FI, cable TV, water boiler, mini fridge, blender, small oven, toaster, microwave, and electric stove in the small kitchen area. We were also allowed to prepare and cook our meals. Cooking basics like pots and pans, oil, salt and pepper, dishes and silverware are available. Bathroom essentials (towels, shampoo, soap, and toilet paper) and bed and bath stuff (hair dryer, clothing hangers, bed linens, extra pillows and blankets) were also provided. As mentioned, it’s literally like living in our own home while outside of the Philippines. I can’t ask for more.
Flexibility: Instead of worrying about strict check-in and check-out times that might interfere with our travel itinerary, we had the pleasure of having a kind Airbnb host who offered flexibility throughout our stay. We worked our arrangements prior to our visit and everything was fine since from our first day to the last.
Service: I used to think that Airbnb has the drawback of not having hospitality. I was wrong. Our host, Alan Chen, was friendly and approachable. He answered all my questions even before coming to Taipei and provided his recommendations and local tips as well. He’s free to talk online via WeChat and he showed genuine care to help. He sent me reminders, maps, links to good places to visit as well. I guess this is why many Airbnb guests have rated him 5 stars and also why Airbnb users say that this platform is a fun way to meet locals and learn about local culture.
Thoughts as a First-Time Airbnb Guest
We had a wonderful experience staying in Uruztopia201 at Shilin Aegean Decor and I recommend it to anyone planning to go to Taipei soon. I guess we got lucky in having a supportive and engaging superhost or we might have just chosen a great place. Because of this, I’m more open to trying more Airbnb space next time! To wrap this post up, here are my some tips when booking your Airbnb:
- Apply filters. When booking with Airbnb for the first time, apply the many filters available in the site to narrow down choices. These will really help you show results according to budget, preferred locations, amenities, facilities, etc.
- Read the reviews and looking for a good rating. The reviews are a good basis for choosing where to stay. Check out what other people say about the location, check-in and check-out process, cleanliness, price for value, and all other factors. For us, a rating of 4 and above are worth looking at. If you’re a first-timer like me, it may also be best to book with a superhost, so you can be rest assured that the host already has received good ratings from fellow travelers. Superhosts are the type to reply quickly to inquiries and offer the most secure booking transaction.
- Pay attention to details. Don’t miss out on every photo uploaded on the Airbnb listing to have a better view of the entire layout and ambiance. Learn which rooms can be entered and which amenities can be used so you won’t be disappointed upon arrival. If unsure, you can send the host a message to reduce the guesswork.
- Choose the most convenient location for you. It’s best if it’s near restaurants or stores and accessible for public transportation (near a bus stop or MRT). Explore what the neighborhood has to offer before booking. The nearby places and activities you can do in the area are also important in the decision-making process.
- Do your homework and do compare prices. AirBnb is not always more expensive than a hotel. Accommodation pricing depends on the season and availability for the most part. If hotels don’t fit the bill, give Airbnb a try. At best, you’ll have a good experience as we did. Otherwise, it will be a good experience also to learn for next time. Either way, you’ll have a story to tell your friends and the world. 😉