Thursday, October 27, 2011

roomorama review part 1: how we found our istanbul apartment

not a roomorama apartment, mirtos, crete, greece
having the luxury to spend a week or two in any given location has been a great experience while on the road. we've taken advantage of our extended stays to rent apartments which typically means we're staying in actual neighborhoods. you know, among "the people." staying for ten days in zagreb, for instance, we got to know our local grocery store, made friends with people we'd seen day after day, and even if it's just a nod of recognition it makes us feel like we're "living" while traveling.

apartments are the perfect mid-category between a hostel and a hotel (or bed and breakfast). typically it costs less per night than a hotel and we've stayed in some great spaces. they've all been clean, they've all been private and they've all been a great way to travel.

there are a few sites on the web now that provide similar services to each other: a secure site to connect property owners with travelers looking for an accommodation not in the hostel or hotel category. in actual neighborhoods. with coffeemakers! we're heading to istanbul next week and we've added Roomorama.com to our arsenal of apartment sites and, as far as the ease, convenience and security while booking goes, it's a huge winner.

essentially, it works like this. you've chosen a city to visit. you fire up your favorite browser, browse to Roomorama.com, enter that city name in the "where are you going" search field, your 'check in' and 'check out' dates, the number of people in your party and click "find now." it's that simple.

sure, other sites have similar interfaces but there are two features we loved that made Roomorama stand out among the others...

SHOUT OUT: a sort of built-in twitter service within the site that allows you, as a registered user, to message property owners in your destination city with something like: "couple, looking for great apartment, close to public transport..." within two hours i had twelve offers. within twelve hours i had twenty two offers. like twitter, you're limited to 140 characters so creativity regarding likes and dislikes expressed in a small format is well worth your effort because you WILL get replies.

WHERE ARE YOU GOING?: when you enter your destination city, in our case istanbul, a very large city with many different areas and their own personalities that may be lost on first time visitors (us), a breakdown of neighborhoods is provided that allows you to narrow your search. HUGE help. it was a tip to us to go back and do a little research.

your apartment could be steps from here
once we entered our contact information, and choice of payment method, and clicked "book it," we received an immediate reply from our host with detailed information on how to find the apartment, who to contact upon arrival and, in our case, a handy "tips of istanbul" paragraph. sweet!

we now have that great apartment we asked for waiting for us upon arrival in istanbul. if the apartment is anything like the roomorama reservation process was, this is going to be a great trip.

we'll report back!


4 comments:

  1. Dude. that does seem pretty cool.

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  2. Now if only that search could be done for the local brewpubs.

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  3. this is soo cool. I didn't really understand what you meant by built-in twitter service btu i went to www.roomorama.com and played around with it - i can literally type in any city i wish to go to and my travel dates and it'll be sent as a shoutout to all hosts! how convenient! am definitely going to try this. thanks for the tip russ! hope you have a gd time in istanbul. cant wait for part2 of this review!

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