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Booking.com

I am concerned that the apartment we rented in London on booking.com might not even exist. We need a physical address for the apartment. I looked on all the booking.com info on the apartment and could only find a general location. The "address" given (including on our confirmation) is Glasshouse Yard, Islington, London, EC1A 4JL, United Kingdom. In the US anyway, this is NOT enough information to get to a location. I emailed the agent for the property and she emailed back, "We will not be able to confirm your specific apartment until closer to your arrival date, however, the below address should be enough to assist you with planning your arrival: Flat to be confirmed, Houghton Court, 31 Glasshouse Yard, London, EC1A 4JN." This has me concerned because we arrive in 7 days. Has anyone rented from Barbican Serviced Apartments? I want to contact booking.com to make sure this is a legitimate apartment but cannot find a contact number for them. I used booking.com so I wouldn't be scammed but now I am wondering if there will be an apartment for us when we get to London. I have learned I will NEVER rent from anyone again on any site if I don't know the actual address of the room or apartment before they charge my credit card. Has anyone ever been in touch with a "human" at booking.com? Does anyone have any suggestions? Thanks in advance for your help.

Posted by
6183 posts

Booking.com always has a way to get in touch through their private messaging system (through the website booking)...have you tried? Also, is that address (Houghton Court....) not a real physical address that you can Google and see on Street View? Unless all the independent reviews are fake (I assume this property has reviews, right?), there should be a physical property out there. I don't think you need to panic since someone has responded by e-mail to your query...why would you get a response if there was no property? Did you pre-pay for the entire stay? If you feel like something is really off then cancel (if you can) - otherwise, you may be worrying over nothing. IMHO, I think you're being a bit overly anxious about this. Just make arrangements with the property agent directly as to where to meet and exchange keys, etc. They should have already provided you with this info.

(PS. I used Booking.com at least 50 times if not more, mostly with hotels but some apartments as well. Be sure to read "the small print" at the bottom of your booking for any additional instructions)

Posted by
585 posts

I have used booking.com extensively and once, when I made a bit of an error, spoke to a real live human being there, (or at their call centre, wherever that is) who was nothing but helpful.

From your posting, the address you've been given seems entirely adequate, especially to locate the place. I suspect also that the apartment you have booked is one of several within a single building and booking.com can't be specific about which apartment they will allocate to you in the same way a hotel can't be specific about which room you will get within the hotel until shortly before your arrival.

Booking.com's message to you would suggest to me that there is some sort of reception area within the building where they tell you which apartment you are in and issue you with keys. I don't think you should worry about the existence of the apartment, I'm sure it will be there. Perhaps an e-mail to booking.com asking for clarification on how and when and where your apartment will be allocated would go some way to allaying your fears.

I always carry paper copies of the booking with me so if there's any doubt it's all there in writing. This proved useful once when we turned up at a hotel who said we'd no-showed (and charged us) a month previous. It was the hotel's error and our booking.com paperwork (and copy of our credit card statement) proved that the hotel had screwed up. It was in equal measure frustrating and fun watching them sweat to get us our room, but it was their fault, not booking.com's.

Send the e-mail as suggested above and hopefully the response will set your mind at ease. Have a great trip!

Ian

Posted by
35 posts

Thanks Agnes, we have been in touch with a woman who must manage the Barbican Serviced Apartments. We thought "serviced" meant it was more like a hotel but that does not seem to be the case. We don't know if all of the apartments are in one building or if they are spread out over town or what. We would really like a physical address for the exact apartment that we are staying at. When I used the satellite option on the map option on booking.com (didn't see the satellite option until AFTER we had booked the flat) it showed a street view of what kind of looked like an industrial area. When I googled the address I was given by the manager??? it only came up with the sale value of different flat numbers. I am a little frustrated and wondering how we are going to find our actual flat, assuming there is one. Thanks for your help.

Posted by
6183 posts

Does the property have a distinct website address (aside from the booking.com listing)? Do you at least know what "type" of apartment you're getting? If it helps at all, dealing with apartments is just more of a pain (more opaque) than dealing with hotels that have a 24 hr front desk...but that's normal. I don't think what you're experiencing is all that out of the normal range, it's just that the property manager is not providing you with as precise info as you'd like. Here's hoping everything will turn out just fine (I bet it will). This happened to me in Istanbul (used booking.com for that booking) where the apartment owner took a lot of liberty to select the exact apartment at the last minute (they were spread out within 5-10 minutes of each other) and refused to confirm one way or another at time of booking...for the price, I just needed to be flexible and let the chips fall where they may (everything turned out great in the end).

Unless you have very strict requirements, I would not worry about this too much. With 7 days to go, you sort of have to go with the flow because it's likely too late to cancel penalty free (and there's no real reason to ...yet)

Posted by
35 posts

Thanks Ian. I have been in communication with a person at the Barbican property and not with booking.com. I can't find any contact info on the booking.com site. I had hoped to talk with someone at booking.com so that they could reassure me that the apartment I have booked is a legitimate place. Do you know where I might find an email address to contact booking.com? I googled "email booking.com" also but only got the website. I will also get back to the woman who emailed me from Barbican and ask if the address she gave me is the physical address for the apartment building our flat is in. Thanks for your help! I have always booked through Expedia or AirBnB but several people on this site recommended booking.com so I decided to try it.

Posted by
11573 posts

Has anyone ever been in touch with a "human" at booking.com? Does
anyone have any suggestions?

Yes, and they were extremely helpful. You have to be logged in to see contact info.

Go to the page with your booking
Scroll down to the near the bottom: there's a bunch of dark blue text for all sorts or stuff plus "Contact us": click on that
Click on "Go to our help center" on the next page under "Do you have a question"?
Click on "Still need help?" on the bottom of the next page
Type in your info/question and send.
There is a service phone number under box for typing your question but mine (1-917-421-7237) ) is for the Genius phone line as I've used the site a lot. Yours may be different if you are a new user.

There may also be contact info right on the page with your current booking. I just can't check for that because I don't have a booking right now so I'm going off of previous records.

Just adding: it looks to me like the address is perfectly legitimate and all that's missing is an actual flat number. My guess is that they're juggling - just as hotels do with rooms - and will have a better idea in the next week or so which of the type you rented will be cleaned up and ready to go when you arrive.

As far as "serviced", in most cases you're often on your own when it comes to apartments. The fine print (always read the fine print!) on your rental reads:

"During your stay our team will be available 7 days per week, and 24 hours per day for emergency support."

That's your "serviced": as with most apartments, you won't be getting any daily housekeeping or stuff like that.
https://www.booking.com/hotel/gb/barbican-serviced-apartments.html

Posted by
585 posts

Hello again - if you want to splash out on a UK phone call, the number for booking.com's 'manage your bookings' is +44 20 3320 2609.

However if you open the booking.com website and view the specific apartments page, if you scroll right to the bottom there's a section 'Important Information' which has details about check in (somebody meets you there to hand over the keys), times for check in/out and what they require from you in advance and on arrival. If you enlarge google maps street plan it does show you where to head for the actual apartment building.

All seems pretty legit to me, although I suspect that while the apartments look really nice, the building and area around are not especially scenic or attractive. I wouldn't take this as particularly a bad thing, there are plenty of areas of London which aren't that easy on the eye. We recently stayed within a stones throw of the Tower of London, but the hotel was next to a railway line and accessed via a none too salubrious alley. It was fine and a short walk took us to much more pleasant scenery! I'm sure all will be fine. Relax!

Ian

Posted by
35 posts

Thank you Agnes, I just re-googled "Barbican Serviced Apartments" and the address I got was Glasshouse Yard, Islington EC1A 4JL. (Same as on the booking.com site.) Is this telling me a "neighborhood" or an actual location? I do feel more confident that the apartment is there somewhere after talking to you and Ian who also responded to my post. I am very curious why Barbican doesn't put the information Houghton Court, 31 Glasshouse Yard in any of their advertisements. We do need an actual address to complete our plane reservations and print them out and also to hire a cab to take us to the apartment. Thank you very much for your help.

Posted by
15578 posts

Again, it is a real address, right behind the Citadines Goswell Road Aparthotel and next to Therese House Student Housing at 29-30 Glasshouse Yard.

Posted by
35 posts

Thank you Agnes, Ian, Sam, Unclegus, and Kathy. You have given me such awesome and clear advice and directions for getting the information that I was looking for, which I COULD NOT seem to find by myself!! And thank you also for taking the time to google information, and for looking into your old records, etc. You have been very generous with your time. Thank you SO much! I do feel better now because it does appear to be a real apartment. It's really hard for me to give a lot of cash to people that I can't verify especially now, when something just doesn't seem right, and they already have my money and the booking is non-refundable. I will look into everything all of you have found. Thank you.

Posted by
2441 posts

I use Booking.com all the time, there is usually a contact property link on your booking page,I just did this for a trip I am making in a couple of months and Booking.com send a message direct to the property.I got a reply via email within 24 hrs.

Posted by
11573 posts

It's really hard for me to give a lot of cash to people that I can't
verify especially now, when something just doesn't seem right, and
they already have my money...

But see, you didn't give them "cash." You reserved/paid with a credit card. That IS the way to go because it there is any problem you can have your C.C. company refute/reverse the charges. It's when they want CASH - as in a wire transfer - that I'd be nervous. We've rented through homeaway, VRBO, booking.com and even some localized agencies, and I won't even look at a property that won't take a credit card and doesn't have a decent amount of legitimate reviews.

booking.com is as legitimate as they come, IMHO. Unlike Trip Advisor, you can't submit a review unless you've actually stayed in the property, and they contact YOU to do that after the date of your stay. Doesn't mean there can't be a snag now and again but our bookings have come off without a hitch so far.

Posted by
6183 posts

Kathy's right. Credit cards give you protection and should minimize stress in case something goes wrong. I usually don't pre-pay unless I absolutely need to, but a credit card is the way to go. I've had one issue many many years ago when I booked in Croatia with a totally unknown consolidator that went belly-up (yes, that was a real shell game)....well, I simply went to my credit union and they reversed the credit card charges within a day or so, it was a breeze (that was a credit union though, I'm not sure how long a bank/credit card company would take to "investigate" the claim).

Posted by
11681 posts

Using Google street view I found the door marked Houghton Court. It is right on the elbow bend of Glasshouse Yard, which is the street. "walk" down the street to the next door, on the straight section, and you come to Therese House Atudent Accommodation at 29-30 Glasshouse Yard. So Houghton Court is 31, although the number is not clearly visible.

Many Londonnflats are in apartment blocks that look fairly "industrial" like this one. Step inside and you are likely to find a modern and well-equipped flat. Our st Shad Thames last year, with a similarly unimposing entrance, was wonderful.

Posted by
2819 posts

The reason for not giving a physical address outright in such case could be very trivial: they operate several properties in the same location, but each has its own street number (common in several European countries), instead of a sub-number/letter within an address. That way, you will not be allocated a specific property until very close to your arrival, more or less like a hotel would not give your room number one week in advance!

Posted by
585 posts

If you land at Heathrow and take a cab from there, that will cost you the proverbial arm and a leg! I'd suggest rail: either Heathrow Express then Tube, or more economical (but slower) Tube all the way to Barbican which is your nearest stop, just south of the property. Or if determined to take a cab Heathrow Express then cab. Personally, I'd do the whole trip by Tube, although I'm sure you'll have to switch lines at some point. (Forgive me, as a non resident of London, I don't have my Tube map handy - you can probably pick one up on arrival at the airport and with a modicum of study even I can work it out!).

Glad that between us we may have been of some help. Come to London, have a great time then tell us all about it!

Ian

Posted by
15578 posts

From Paddington you switch to the Circle line or the Hammersmith & City line to Barbican, just a block or two away.

Posted by
11613 posts

If you are expecting a number in the street address, like "1234 Main Street", not all European buildings have that.

I, too, have reached a real person at booking.com when I thought I was stranded in Castelvetrano, Sicilia (not bad to be stranded with my favorite olives), and the booking.com agent called me back at least twice, once with a solution and again to make sure it had worked out.

Stop worrying and enjoy your stay.

Posted by
35 posts

Thanks again everyone. All of the information you have given me has been very helpful. I didn't get an actual address for the building until I emailed the manager of the Barbican. (Whatever the Barbican is.) Anyway, I needed an actual address to finish the paperwork for our plane tickets so we could print our e-tickets and find out our arrival information, and to check on the cost of sending either ourselves or our luggage to the apartment. The address on all of the Barbican advertisement for THAT particular apartment and on our flat confirmation was not sufficient for me, or for any of the places I needed to give the address to. The FULL address (but maybe not the flat number) could have easily been on the advertisement and confirmation for that particular apartment building, but it was not. That is what made me concerned that "The Barbican" was not a legit business. Also, we could not even print our tickets without an address. I am not worried any longer thanks to all of the people on this forum who helped me SO much. I feel 100% confident that the apartment is there. (The name "Houghton Court" was not mentioned in anything either --including any advertisement-- but they did show pictures of the actual apartment so they did know the actual street address, they just didn't post it, even in their confirmation email.) Bad form for the Barbican company. Thanks everyone for your help. This forum is AWESOME and so are the people on it!! XOXO

Posted by
11432 posts

I have never heard of airline tickets that require you to have an address , how interesting . What airline are you using ?

The Barbican sounds like thename of the comapny that owns all those flats , bookin.com is just middle man ( a good one though, I have used them dozens and dozens of times now , in many countries )

Booking.com is not a scam and doesn't rent imaginary apartments .

Posted by
11573 posts

I've never heard of having to have the address of one's accommodations for plane tickets either.

Posted by
58 posts

Personally, I prefer Orbitz to Booking.com, because the customer service is easier to access.

Posted by
23587 posts

Barbican Serviced Apartments is a company who provide apartments.

The Barbican is an extremely large post war housing and business estate famous for not touching the ground which looks really brutal but very convenient to The City.

Abbreviating names in England is often a recipe for confusion because there are so many similarly named places and roads and companies. Better to spell it out.

Was the manager you spoke to at "the Barbican" the manager of The Barbican or the manager of Barbican Serviced Apartments?

What kind of airline requires a London street address? The address they gave you surely would have sufficed. Even if it wasn't the airline but the information of the Landing Card.

Posted by
2762 posts

31 Glasshouse Yard IS the street address. And why did you need it for your flight tickets---never heard of that.

Another thing to bear in mind is that postal codes cover a far smaller area than zip codes. Short of giving you the actual flat number, that address could not have been more specific.

I have learned I will NEVER rent from anyone again on any site if I
don't know the actual address of the room or apartment before they
charge my credit card.

Seriously? Have you ever been given a specific room number in a hotel when booking? I doubt it! You have the name of the flats and the exact street address and postcode. All you don't have is the unit number, similar to not knowing a hotel room number.

When you fill in your London address for the purpose of visa waiver forms on the plane, or whatever the equivalent is for US visitors, 31 Glasshouse Yard, London EC1A 4JW will be perfectly adequate - that is a street address.

Posted by
35 posts

The info and advertising for the place I rented gave the street name but not the ACTUAL NUMBERED ADDRESS. I did not know anything was missing until I tried to complete an airline form, look up the view of the apartment on google street view, put in the address to find the bus and stops, etc. needed to get there from the airport, get an on-line estimate for a mini cab from the airport to the apartment, and hire a mini cab to take us to the apartment. Why ANYONE would feel comfortable spending thousands to rent an apartment without knowing the numbered street address is beyond me. (Googling Barbican Serviced Apartments and Glasshouse Yard AFTER making my nonrefundable reservation did not give me any satisfactory information, or the apartment building's numbered street address.) In addition, I did not know that Glasshouse YARD was a street, it sounds like a location. If I told someone to come to my house on Main Parkway it might take them a couple of hours of knocking on MANY doors to find MY actual house. THERE IS NO REASON the booking company could not have put 31 Glasshouse Yard rather than just "Glasshouse Yard" in the advertising on Booking.com, and especially in the confirmation email I received. Not doing so sent up a red flag for me as I'm sure it has for many others. 31 is NOT the flat number, it is the numbered address for the building.
Some answers to some of the questions I've received: (I'm sure some people did not intend to make it sound like I was ridiculous for wanting an actual numbered address.) 1. If I rent a place and pay a couple thousand dollars for the privilege, I want to know the street address before giving them MY money. If it doesn't bother other people to send money into the unknown that's their choice. 2. I am flying with IcelandAir. While filling in the details for my booking under "travelers info" the airline asked me for my destination address. Why? I don't know and I don't care. I have been asked that question before so I'm surprised others haven't been. I want them to have my London address. If only because now they will know where to send my bags if they should be delayed for any reason. 3. I wanted to find out what it would cost to hire a taxi, which is easily done on-line if you have the numbered street address. I also wanted to find out what other options I had for public transportation.
The "manager" of the place got back to my email a day later and added "Houghton Court" and the numbered address "31" which made it EASY for me to do what I wanted and needed to do. The whole experience made me wonder about the legitimacy of "Barbican Serviced Apartments." I could not find a way to contact booking.com to talk to them about my experience and to see if Barbican Serviced Apartments had a good history with them.
Thank you to those who answered my actual questions. As I said earlier, YOU REALLY helped me to be more comfortable about the apartment I rented.

Posted by
23587 posts

Your last post worries me a little. It sounds like you sent the money directly to the landlord rather than through the Booking.com. It sounds like you have contacted the landlord directly too, rather than using the Booking channels.

I always stay within the system to avail myself of thee protections provided by them.

Posted by
3441 posts

You could have saved yourself a lot of frustration by using Google Maps. There you would have seen the street you are worried about is barely one block long and it is indeed a proper postal address all of its own. London works like that. Be careful: it is not Glasshouse Street or any other variant. As others indicate, Booking.com is reliable; it has to be to have become one of the world's leading on-line services. But Nigel is right: Demands outside the Booking.com system contradict its service. Ask them.

Posted by
41 posts

London cab drivers / hire car drivers input that number in the address 'EC1A 4JL' into their GPS/SatNav, and will take you straight to where you have booked. If you have your own GPS you could do it yourself. I navigated form one end of the UK to the other last year and found my accommodation first time every time. I have found Booking.com to be excellent.

Posted by
52 posts

Just to confirm an earlier comment. UK postcodes are quite unlike American zip codes - they refer to a small number of houses or even a single building. My postcode includes only seven houses in a small country village. Booking.com is an extremely reliable organisation. I think you are worrying unneccessarily.