First to the funny and admittedly stupid mistake that resulted in us showing up in Hawaii with no rental car and no place to live.
Some of you might have heard about the Date-line – so have we but probably we should have paid a bit more attention when that was covered in the geography lessons in school or when reading the all time classic “Around the world in 80 days” by Jules Verne.
Anyway, we left Australia Sunday evening Feb. 7 at 7 pm and touched down on Honolulu the following morning (or so we thought). Car, AirBnB etc. was booked and everything should be in place so we could drive straight from the Airport to the house we had rented. It would be a huge understatement to say that we were surprised when the pilot announced just before landing that it was now Sunday Feb. 7, 5.50 am local time and that he expected us to land on schedule at 6.50 am. During our flight we had crossed the Date-line and though we took off Sunday evening we had landed Sunday morning after a 10 hour flight.
First thing to solve was getting the rental car a day early and fortunately the woman at Dollar had a car available and to our big surprise she just charged us the same rate for the extra day though we had booked 6 month in advance with a substantial discount through www.discounthawaiicarrental.com. Pleasant surprise.
Next stop was Walmart to get a local local Sim-card so we could call and use data without being ruined. Unfortunately our AirBnB host did not pick up her phone nor answer email (more on that later) or text-message so we ended up booking a room at the Pagoda Hotel instead. At around 130 USD (including all the weird fees they add on top of the displayed rate) it was a bargain considering it is peak season in Hawaii.
The day after we checked in to our AirBnB house/apartment – a nice little house on a Cliffside with a fantastic view. Since our host was in Brazil we were greeted by her friendly mother who gave us the keys. So far so good. Putting down our bags we did notice a somewhat weird smell and a bit of dust and dirt in the corners. But we were in a hurry to explore Oahu and just dropped our bags and left again. We had just spent a month in a small and old campervan so it would take a lot to scare us off.
However when we got back in the evening we were greeted by two cockroaches in the kitchen – well it is the tropics so that happens… Opening the drawers, and cup-boards in the kitchen we found mice-poop everywhere and also in the children’s and our own bed. Every corner was filled with dirt, and the smell had gotten much worse. Sitting down in the sofa we could hear mice in the walls, doors in the kitchen were broken, microwave did not work properly and even putting on the giant “Yes-hat” this was just too much. It was late however so we cleaned the beds put the children to bed, put on a movie and called AirBnB to see what could be done as our host was in Brazil and we could not get in touch with her.
Mice-poop – even on the cutlery
Dirty and broken:
One Cock-roach trapped – one to go…
Check the AirBnB reviews first you might correctly add and we had. But unfortunately the place we originally were supposed to stay had gotten cancelled since our host had gotten a job in Germany and though this place had just been posted and thus had no reviews the description sounded nice and it looked good in the pictures.
But this is where our best customer service experience (from any company) started. After mailing the support agent Ana a few pictures of the problem she immediately got to work.
Being close to midnight it was too late to find something new for the night (though she volunteered to help us should we want to)so we got the option of finding an AirBnB place for the next two days or a Hotel. They would refund the entire amount for the stay we had already booked and would cover the difference of an AirBnB stay up 200 dollars more expensive than we had paid.
Being very late to find an AirBnB stay for the next day we opted for booking a hotel and got a 100 dollar coupon to use on our next AirBnB stay instead.
As if the full refund, 100 dollar coupon and very quick and friendly service was not enough Ana told us that we could go out for dinner the next day and that AirBnB would pay for that up to 150 USD to compensate for the bad experience. We actually ended up spending 155 USD and they reimbursed the full amount.
Since our luck seemed to have taken a serious turn for the better we were even upgraded to a suite at the Aqua Waikiki Pearl hotel we booked. And ended up enjoying two excellent days there with close to 70 m2 space, a separate bedroom, full kitchen, free DVD rental and a giant balcony.