Thursday, December 1, 2011

roomorama review part 2: lessons learned

not istanbul. our bungalow on koh lanta, thailand.
back a few weeks ago while staying in istanbul we had the good fortune of being hosted by roomorama, an online short-term apartment rental service matching apartment owners in cities all over the world with travelers looking for a temporary home. (see our review part 1)

this added boost of spending money let us shop for an apartment a level up from what our budget typically would have allowed. however, what we found were that photos, and a VERY friendly host, can really sell a place. we've used short-term apartment rentals before and have loved all of them. even this one, in its quirky way.

take a look around at some of the apartments available on and you will start to drool. ours in istanbul looked unbelievable. the location could not be beat (galata tower neighborhood, if you're looking) and the views seemed unbeatable. all of it was true, kind of. we were down a ragged alley lined with garbage bags and chewed up pavement. istanbul is old, we get that, no problem. but that's one of the pitfalls. be prepared for a neighborhood that might challenge your ideals. such is travel, yes? the apartment was described as being in a romantic, turn of the century, french-inspired building. well, it certainly was turn of the century.

through a heavy iron, more of a gate than a door, up four flights of stairs to #5. we stepped inside to the living room hardwood floor and we tilted to the left. oh, i see, that must be the "romantic" part. there was a pretty damned good view, though. overall, the apartment worked, but that's because we were determined to make it work. dangnabbit, we were in istanbul and we we're going to enjoy the hell out of it. and we did.

we can deal with loud, squeaky, horizontally-challenged floors. and we can deal with chairs that were purchased at a turkish version of ikea, and a satellite dish staring us in the face out one window and, dang it, NO COFFEE MAKER! ok, got that last bit off my chest. luckily, we bought a press pot in athens. :)

now this is istanbul. mosques for days. istanbul, turkey.
the point being is that one's expectations when booking an apartment online, as wonderful as the experience has been for us, can also come with some challenges. sometimes that next level up may not provide exactly what you think you're getting and sometimes it will. just like anything purchased "sight unseen," do your research, be prepared for reality not matching up to dreams and, in the end, have fun anyway. i mean, for god's sake, you're in istanbul! or athens, or berlin, or madrid, or.... wherever, but use to get your juices flowing and you'll be buying a ticket somewhere sooner than you think.

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