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Reviews From Guests
Hi Revika, I'm sorry to read your very negative response, where I tried to 'meet in the middle' while reviewing you... As you can understand, I wasn't very happy about things myself... I'm afraid that you've responded quite bitterly and not at all objectively... I therefore would like to rectify some things, as they seem a bit dishonest to me... First of all, I wouldn't recommend booking at the last minute... It is just not pleasant and not worth it, not for the guest, and not for the host. It is just too stressful, because you feel rushed to make sure everything is alright. It is my experience that you would want to make sure to accomodate your guests the best way you can, and I always try to do that... When Revika booked the apartment for one night, I was at work. When she needed to check out, I was at work again... Of course, this was a weekday, so most of us are at work... I did however leave work to let her in to the apartment, explained everything, talked to them for more than an hour (while I should've been at work...) and went out of my way to make sure she had clean linen and towels... As it should be, I should add!!! I find this really important!!! I also asked Revika right then and there if it would be possible to return the key at the museum (where I work, and which is located 5 minutes from the central station) the day after, as I knew I had a whole day of meetings ahead of me, and it would've been too difficult to return to the apartment. I trusted everything would be alright, also with regards to the payment, as airbnb had not confirmed any form of payment yet. (again, logical, because of the late booking, so nobody's fault!!!) Also, I have no reason whatsoever to not trust Revika as a person. I really want to stress that this is not what this is about. I believe Revika to be a good guest, a respectable adult, so I really do not want to attack her personally in any way. For me, I felt I had to defend my position on the arrangement we had made concerning check-out and the way we would go about this. And I feel I should get a chance to rectify some things that just didn't seem right to me when I was reading Revika's e-mail. I will come to that now: They actually agreed with leaving me the key the next day at the museum, so I was happy about that. Also, from the first e-mails, I had explained to her I was having other guests arriving the following day, so I had to get the key back in time... Revika completely agreed to this... As I work at the museum, I was happy to provide them with tickets for the museum (as I offer other guests as well... why pay if you don't need to....) and they were happy to take this offer. I had reserved tickets the next morning, but of course... they never came to the museum... I tried to help them out with interesting things to see in Brussels as well, so I'm quite sure I have taken my time to help them out. I even told them they could contact me to get more information about the Toone theater they were interested in visiting. They never contacted me with regards to this in the end, but that's okay.... Another thing, as airbnb only gives out telephone numbers and adresses once everyone has confirmed, both parties need to respond quite quickly and then you need to wait. We both tried to send our telephone numbers and adress via airbnb mail, but airbnb blocked this, as the confirmation had not been accepted at that time. Nobody's fault... This did mean however that it was quite difficult at first to contact each other. I was only able to give my phone number to Revika when we saw each other at the apartment. This also proves that I did not give an incomplete adress at all... Airbnb however blocks part of the adress and phone number up until a confirmation on both sides has been made... I had confirmed, but it takes some time apparently... There is no name for the building... so it would have been amazing if I would have been able to give a name... I did however give the complete adress and my name and the name on the bell... And I did give directions, as I do with all my guests... So far, everybody found the apartment quite easily. As Revika mentioned herself, she arrived at the apartment on time as well... So I don't really see the problem there... With regards to the neighbourhood: the train ride is 9 min from the central station, which is the main station in Brussels... There are about 6 different train stations, but I always recommend the Central Station, as it is the biggest and the one in the center of town. Actually, the North station is even closer to the apartment - only 1.5km away from the apartment and easy to reach on foot, but I feel tourists feel safer in the central station, the South station is not even in the center of Brussels, but in another community... So yes, if you go through the South Station, it takes a lot longer to get to the apartment, but there is absolutely no need... Both the apartment and the central station are close to the historic centre of Brussels (10 min by bike and plenty of public transportation). I suppose it is possible Revika took the wrong train... or that she got lost in some way. I don't feel that that is my responsibility.... We are all grown-ups, right? What tourists often don't realise is that Brussels is bigger than they think... I guess most tourists feel like Brussels is a small medieval town, but that is not the case anymore!!! Brussels consists of many different small communities, so I guess one might have a feeling of not being close to the historic centre when actually you are... Also, if you're only in Brussels for one night, I guess mistakes are easily made, so I guess it's easy to take the wrong train or metro in a city you don't know... I've done it myself... I have never blamed the host of the place I was staying in however... I think we should all take our own responsibility in this... So if it takes you 20 min to get to the South Station (instead of 9 min to get to the Central Station), don't blame your host... As regards to the apartment, I distinctly remember Revika saying she loved the apartment... I guess her reaction now is a bit excessive and not very objective... The neighbourhood is an up and coming neighbourhood, very artistic and multicultural, as I mention in my profile as well by the way... A ghetto, it is definitely not... There is no ghetto in Brussels... :-) Maybe Revika is not used to different cultural identities living together in a community, but that is the reality of Brussels... And it is quite okay! It is a very safe neighbourhood and there is a big community feel as well. The police station is right across the street and both the European and military school are just around the corner... The atomium, you can see from the terrace. The atomium is actually the nr. 1 tourist attraction in Brussels, so you do get a lot of tourists in the neighbourhood. I don't think they would build the nr. 1 tourist attraction in a ghetto... It is really close to the city center, but of course, you need to not go as far as the South station... Then you do get the feeling it's far away, while actually, you're in the wrong place... Most people in Brussels speak French or Dutch, not English... If you go to the international or touristic part of Brussels, you will here a lot of English... but not where people actually live... English is for most people their 4th language, after French, Dutch, German or Arab... I can understand that, when you're staying just for one night, and have been travelling through Europe, you might not really get the right feeling of a new city... You do get a lot of new sensations travelling around... So again, I'm willing to 'meet in the middle' here... As to the checkout, I really want to stress that I had never asked to leave to key with someone... on the contrary... I don't think anybody in their right mind would ask this... As I said before, we had arranged to meet at the museum, where Revika and her friend would have been welcomed with two entry tickets. At a certain time I received a text message saying they were on their way, so I was not worried at that time. A telephone call a bit later saying that had arrived at the central station and they wanted to know whether the museum was closeby. I explained to them they had only to go up a hill and they would get to the museum. A few minutes later another telephone call saying they would not be able to come to the museum, since their train was leaving in half an hour (I didn't kick them out of the apartment early as this clearly shows...), so they asked if I could meet them at the central station, at the international departures office. I agreed to that. Unfortunately, Revika must have made a mistake, as I later found out she was at the South station... Unfortunately, instead of warning me they were at another station, they told me they were going to call me right back... I was still waiting by the international departures desk at the central station, not knowing what they were going to do... I waited around for quite some time before I called them back myself. As I was actually supposed to be at work at that time... They just told me they had taken the train and had left the key with some random stranger they had just seen. I could pick up the key there... I was flabbergasted... To me it was just hallucinating to find out a stranger who you had just met the day before would just leave your key with another stranger they had never seen... No one in their right mind would do that??? Or am I overreacting? I don't know, but to me, this was... not done... So yes, I reacted that I couldn't agree to that... I was in meetings all day and was nervous I would not get my key back, while all the time, the other guests were waiting... I returned to work, to the meetings I was supposed to be in, called the other guests quite nervously I must admit (I was glad that they were really sweet about everything!!!! :-) ) when after leaving one of the many meetings, I found that Revika's friend, who I was not expecting to get a call from anymore, had tried to call me. I called back immediately after seeing this. He told me at that point he had gone and left the key at the international departures desk at the central station. Revika explains in her mail that this was 'on my instructions'. I can assure you, it was not. Why would I myself suggest to leave the key with a stranger, while just before I was shocked to find out they had left the key with a stranger?... Also Belgium is very small... In every station you go, there is an international departures office. You travel an hour either side and you're 'abroad'. As a local I know this... Revika seems to reproach me the fact that I didn't know the international departures office at the South Station. If I had known she was at the south station, I would've gone there... (And yes, the South station is further than the central station, but I advise everyone to pass through the Central Station) I really don't want to keep any bad feelings about this... I am even willing to take part of the responsibility: I guess both of us were really nervous... Revika was nervous about not knowing Brussels I guess (and as I've said, in one day, not even a whole day, you don't get to know a place) and about probably missing her train to the Netherlands as they left the apartment too late I guess (although there was no need, as there are many trains). And I was nervous about my other guests, about getting my key back and about being able to get the apartment ready... and about getting back to my meeting...Crazy as that seems! :-) I still don't think it is unreasonable to ask to get your keys back in person, as I was in town myself... I regret Revika's very negative response. I feel she went a bit far in her mail (tantrums, ghetto etcetera...). Maybe she just has a very different background than I do. That is of course very possible. I know that for me, leaving the key with a stranger was not acceptable. Maybe others wouldn't have mind... I guess that's possible! I guess if we would have been able to meet at the end, as was intended, everything would've been okay. Things have gotten a bit out of proportion now, I'm afraid... Another thing I regret, as this is not my style... But I felt I had to respond... even though in fact I am normally calm and reasonable... If you've gotten as far as these last few lines, thanks for reading the whole mail and sorry to have had to bother you with this! :-) I just wanted to clear the air, as I really felt that the mail didn't represent the facts (although I respect the fact that both parties might have different opinions). I did learn an important lesson: renting out at the last minute is not a good idea, especially when you have other guests the next day, so I am not going to do that anymore... I do prefer to be able to get in touch with my guests beforehand, so everything can be arranged between us... I do wish Revika and her friend a good vacation and I wish them a lot of positive airbnb experiences!!!