So first, the one positive I will say is that the owner was wonderful in getting us checked in the day of our arrival. I completely forgot to email her caretaker the week before to let her know of our arrival time but the owner was very helpful in getting us in. We were able to get into the home the night we arrived on Christmas Day. The rest was downhill from there. The reason in writing this review is to hopefully give the owner an opportunity to make improvements on the home and for travelers to be aware of the discrepancy in the conditions of the home seen in the photos (which appear lovely) in comparison to what my husband, children and I found upon our arrival.
I have traveled to 47 countries, I use TripAdvisor and VRBO for all of our travel, not to mention I am a top reviewer on TripAdvisor. We don't need fancy, or any bells and whistles, but clean and properly maintained is a must. The red flag I missed in renting this property was there were no reviews posted. I don't expect to get money back, although TripAdvisor states there is "payment protection," but after one night, we left the property, thankfully able to find something else in a pinch in Le Marin through another rental search engine, and will gladly forfeit the money from the remaining 6 nights.
First of all, the kitchen is extremely small, which is fine, but there is no where for people to sit inside, whether it is to escape nightly mosquitoes or rainy weather. The only seating is outside on the courtyard which you share with adjacent people (no privacy). More importantly though, here were the issues we encountered: towels appeared in a condition where they looked like they were used to mop the floors, looked extremely dirty in addition to the fact that we were not left enough towels; the toilet seat was broken; there was no hot water in the shower; the shower curtain was fashioned out of chain links (unfortunately I did not take a photo of that); kitchen lights were burned out; there was no garbage bag in the entire home; mosquito screens on the shuttered open windows were missing on 3 out of 4 windows; the kitchen cabinets and the general condition of the kitchen were extremely poor- holes in the wall, cabinets peeling away, and a rusting refrigerator. The pool also was not the clean looking blue water, but rather murky and milky, not looking tended to. Looking back at the photos on TripAdvisor, none of these defects are seen in the online photos given the angles the photos were taken. There were also no blankets in the bedrooms and our 2 young daughters, and we, were cold at night, so the recommendation was not to use the a/c.
I notified TripAdvisor only so other renters won't be misled and I also sent TripAdvisor photos of the conditions to support my claims and review. Other people's reviews help me, so I do the same in return and take the time to do so for this reason. Being a rental owner myself on VRBO, I take pride in my rental home and make sure it is in top shape and representative of the online photos I post for all of my guests. I hope this is seen as opportunity to help the owner. For us to have paid nearly $1000 for this property is unimaginable. Perhaps for backpackers on a budget, like I was in college and medical school might be different and acceptable, but in comparison, checking into a rental the next night for the same rate, which was pristine and in impeccable condition with a large new kitchen, large living room and 2 large bedrooms with en suite bathrooms in Le Marin says a lot. If I could add photos to this review to support the above, I gladly would.
It is unclear when the last time the owner has been in her property, as the list of issues was also sent to her, but she was in disagreement that my claims could not be true.