Experiment #1: Airbnb
On a recent trip to Hollywood after booking two different hotels in less than ideal locations I changed my mind cancelled them and instead rented an apartment using the airbnb.com service.
End result, instead of getting a room in an hotel with modest services I stayed in a great studio apartment with spacious lounge, fully equipped kitchen, full size bathroom, dishwasher, coffee machine, large flatscreen TV with NetFlix, Hulu and Pandora subscriptions, WiFi and clothes washer / dryer. Great light streaming in the windows, and not a peep from the other occupants of the building (unlike hotels where you can often hear the neighbors or foot traffic).
Also, the apartment was slap bang on Hollywood Blvd a few blocks from Hollywood & Highland - which is where it all happens, aka: the Dolby / Kodak / Nokia Theatre (depending on which season of your favorite music reality show).
Not only that, I saved money on the cost of an “off boulevard” hotel which may have had a restaurant for breakfast / dinner but I was surrounded by restaurants and after a quick walk to the local grocery market I was stocked up with cereal, juice and milk. I was all set with my breakfast needs. The apartment came with free coffee facilities.
Downsides: I had to prove to Airbnb that I was a responsible citizen before they would let me apply to rent somewhere, which seemed like a reasonable screening requirement. Some Airbnb property owners don’t know how to be business like and blamed me for their own failing to communicate. The Airbnb review system gives you a good indication of who you are dealing with.
Other downsides, none that I have thought of so far. OK, so I happened to know the Hollywood area pretty well so whether I would do the same in a totally strange town with no concierge to ask I don’t know, but I’m definitely sold on the concept as it made the trip so much more enjoyable to have such a relaxing place to rest instead of a small noisy box room with bad air conditioning…. for the same price.
Finally the shameless coupon, because, why the hell not save money… Coupon
If you are thinking of trying Airbnb, use this link and save yourself some dosh on your first booking, or not as is your choice…
Stay tuned for experiment #2 (Using Uber instead of car rental)