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Alternatives to AirBNB

Hello! Looking to rent an air-conditioned 2 bedroom apartment in London for 4 nights in July but the inventory on AirBNB is rather limited. Anyone know of other websites or alternative ways to find apartments? Thanks much!

Posted by
7514 posts

Vrbo.com has been around longer than Airbnb, with listings in many countries. We’ve used them for years.

Posted by
332 posts

Hi Amy,

I haven’t looked to see how many/if any of this agency’s properties have air conditioning, but they have been very helpful and good to work with thus far for us. We are staying in one of their flats this June. The company’s name is ivy lettings. Website is ivylettings.com. Good luck with your search!

Posted by
11406 posts

I usually start with www.booking.com. I don’t see an A/C filter for London apartments, but having checked a random 4 nights mid July, there is a lot of inventory.

Posted by
1065 posts

Aircon is very uncommon in private homes in this country so I think you will struggle to find an Airbnb or similar that has it. Customers just wouldn’t expect to find it so there’s no incentive for it to be installed and paid for.

An aparthotel would probably be more likely to include it if it was purpose built as a hotel type property catering for international and business clients.

Posted by
7417 posts

I normally avoid AirBnb because it is so harmful to the local real estate economy, and tends to drive out year-round residents.

In Europe, I'd be afraid that many places that claim they have A/C would actually have some awful water-cooling device with a hose vented out the window or something. Icy American A/C is uncommon, especially in bargain places. I've even been in luxury hotels (in Germany, at that) whose A/C could not keep up with a serious heat wave.

Posted by
27279 posts

Umm.

People's expectations differ. For many Americans traveling to Europe, being comfortable without air conditioning (or not) depends on the building--how well it's insulated, whether it has good shutters, etc.--and what floor your room/apartment is on. A full-fledged apartment could well be different, but I don't think I've ever had cross-ventilation in a European hotel room. The rooms are too small, and there's only one exterior wall where a window could be placed. Folks living in houses with windows on multiple sides may get breezes a hotel guest would never feel.

On the positive side, I've not had a problem with the little cooling units used in many budget hotels--the ones mounted on the wall up near the ceiling. I don't know whether they're genuine air conditioners or not, but they've always cooled my rooms sufficiently to keep me comfortable. I suspect it helps that my cheap hotel rooms are usually very, very small. The same equipment in a US-size hotel room might be totally inadequate.

I've rolled the dice, and won, in England from the end of August through September. Otherwise, I find a place with a/c if I'm traveling in the summer. In Scotland I took a chance in July and survived some unusually warm weather in Edinburgh. I was provided a fan, and it wasn't bad at all. As a solo traveler, the additional cost of a room with a/c can be rather substantial, so it's a conscious decision for me on every hotel stay.

Posted by
565 posts

I’ve mostly used VRBO in London but used Ivy Lettings my last trip a couple of weeks ago. A/C wasn’t even on our mind but you can definitely email them with your preference and they can help you. I looked at apartments with London Perfect too but they didn’t have what I needed. I’ve rented with Paris Perfect before and they were great.

Posted by
5322 posts

You don’t need air conditioning in the UK. Ever.

There have been times when I would appreciate it. When summer temperatures are hovering around 30°c having all the windows open and fans operating isn't sufficient in my home and I live on a hill with an unobstucted sea breeze so being in a property in London during such heat isn't fun. Notwithstanding American's are used to A/C so it's not an unreasonable request however I don't know anyone in the UK who has A/C and I can't imagine there are many private residences that do have it so AirBnB, VBRO and other sites aren't going to offer much. Hotels and such are the only places that generally provide A/C in the UK.

Posted by
483 posts

You don’t need air conditioning in the UK. Ever.

Of course, NEED is a very strong word, as most people in human history got by without aircon.

But, while your statement may be true about the past, things are changing.
https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-63244353

More than half of the UK's oldest active weather stations recorded
their hottest day ever in 2022, according to Met Office data. New
all-time highs were set at 56 of the 109 longest standing stations
during the July heatwave. One west Yorkshire village broke its
previous record by a whopping 6.3C.

Looking at the chart in the linked article, and doing a bit of metric to fahrenheit conversion, you have Blackpool hitting 99F, and Cranwell, Nottingham and Bramham hitting 104.

You don't NEED AC for that, but it's a lot better to have it than to not. And I would expect, as more hot summers like the one just past happen, more Britons to add some form of at least a swamp cooler, if not full on modern American AC units.

Posted by
1065 posts

I don’t think AC will become widespread here. Maybe the odd bedroom unit. There’s not an easy way to retrofit it into our houses in an aesthetically pleasing way and we have far more trouble keeping warm. Summers here are short and the cold weather lasts far longer.

I also think people will balk at the cost of running it. Summer is a chance to save on energy bills and bring the overall monthly direct debit down.

Posted by
118 posts

Just a thought … these changes in climate are primarily driven by human activity burning fossil fuels. If we start installing air conditioning everywhere won’t that increase our fossil fuel use in the manufacturing, transport and running of the systems, contributing to further climate change?

Posted by
41 posts

Yes ac is not common for apartment rentals. The company SACO rents out a few locations with ac. We ended up just booking an apartment without ac for part of our trip and a hotel with ac for part. If ac is a must, hotels are much more likely to have it.