A woman has shared online how she arrived at her holiday home in Bali, Indonesia, to find that the pre-booked villa was completely abandoned.
Bree—who uses the TikTok handle atypical_adventure—is from New Zealand and has been traveling on and off since 2018, but just a few months ago took the plunge to quit her nine-to-five job and travel full time.
Sharing her adventures on TikTok, Bree has over 3,000 followers, but the video of her carefully selected Airbnb gained over 3 million views this month.
On July 17, Bree posted the video of the villa in Bali, which she had booked for $80 a night on the popular online vacation rental platform Airbnb.
She told Newsweek: “I tried to book the villa as a surprise for my boyfriend,” but she explained that things were a little off right from the start. “The location on Airbnb was completely wrong and had us go up this side street and then down a shared driveway. We spent at least 10 minutes looking until we googled it and realized we were in the completely wrong spot.”
The couple drove another 10 minutes down the road and found the vacation rental, with a big sign up and a dedicated area for reception, but nobody was there to greet them.
“On the listing, it said there would be someone there 24/7,” said Bree: “I knocked on the door when I realized the place was obviously abandoned.”
In the now-viral video, Bree shows shots of the vacation home, with the text overlay reading: “Completely overgrown”, “no one home” and “smashed windows.”
An Airbnb spokesperson told Newsweek: “We were disappointed to learn about this experience and provided our support to the guest at the time, including a full refund. We hold hosts up to high standards and the listing is no longer on the platform. In the rare event something isn’ t as expected on arrival for a stay, our Community Support team is on hand 24/7 to help.”
Airbnb was set up in 2007 when two roommates started a casual bed and breakfast on the living room floor of their San Francisco apartment. Unlike the vacation rental companies that came before, Airbnb does not own any of the properties offered to rent on their site, but it generates revenue through service fees as a platform for hosts to offer their homes for rent around the world.
In 2021, Airbnb was valued at $113 billion, and in the same year reported over 300 million booked nights and experiences through its platform.
By the time the couple had found the location and discovered it was abandoned, it was getting late and it had started to pour with rain. As they tried to figure out what to do, they managed to get in touch with Airbnb, which apologized and immediately offered a refund.
One viewer of the viral video commented: “Did you stay? I would’ve stayed.”
Eventually, Bree and her boyfriend drove over an hour away to another villa to spend the night. As a content creator, Bree had collected footage of the experience to share on her TikTok, Instagram and website atypicaladventure.com, but she didn’t expect such a huge reaction.
Popular in New Zealand
“There are 5 million people in New Zealand, which means that over half the population of my country have seen a TikTok I made,” she exclaimed.
Replies on the viral video were filled with people shocked by the woman’s experience.
“Such a shame that it looks like a wonderful place if still running. Many places in Bali shut down because [of the] pandemic,” said one commenter.
“I always check the newest reviews,” said another TikToker: “If they are older than a year I don’t book there.”
Another viewer joked: “Stunning, 5 stars.” While one commenter said: “At least there is a swimming pool.”
Airbnb told Newsweek that it’s incredibly rare for a host to be unresponsive prior to arrival. It also notes that all guests are protected by AirCover features, which include a booking protection guarantee, check-in guarantee, get-what-you-booked guarantee and a 24-hour safety line.
“If a guest checks into a listing that does not meet our accuracy or quality standards, we’ll rebook the guest into a new listing of equal or greater value, or offer 100% of their money back,” explained Airbnb.