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AirBNB - like a Pension in Germany?

For my upcoming trip to France (mid Sept to early Oct), I've booked some AirBNB lodging and some hostel stays. I've stayed at hostels many times but this will be my first AirBNB experience.

Since I'm traveling solo and only booked rooms, not full apartments, I imagine they will be similar to the pensions where I've stayed in Germany - not so much like a bed and breakfast.

A typical German pension is a person's home with one or more rooms available for paying guests. Sometimes the shower/toilet is private and often it's down the hall. When you arrive, they normally give you a rundown of everything you need to know for your stay and give you a way to come and go on your own schedule. Meals might be provided, and there may be an added cost associated with them, but they aren't an integral part of the normal offering like a bed and breakfast.

Do I have a reasonable expectation or should I be prepared for something else?



Posted by
29679 posts

You can get most of those answers on the AirBnb page for each property.

The one thing I have noticed about AirBnb is that they are all unique.

What is true for one may well not be true for others, and there are no standards to measure against.

You need to read the reviews carefully, check the reservation strictness, carefully check the ground rules, and check the list of what is and is not included.

Posted by
18619 posts

A typical German pension is a person's home with one or more rooms
available for paying guests.

That description sounds more like a Privatzimmer, a room in a private home. I've stayed in some places called Pensions, and sometimes the host has lived there too, but it was more than just a person's home.

But the terms seem to be a little vaguely used.

Posted by
7520 posts

Agree with Lee: every place I've stayed that called themselves a pensione is a small hotel, not a place with "zimmerfrei" available. I think the term "bed and breakfast" has been corrupted by American usage of the term.

Posted by
3380 posts

I've stayed in private rooms in people's homes in Airbnb numerous times.
You have to read the listing carefully to know if breakfast is included or not, whether you have kitchen privileges or not, whether you will have a private bathroom, etc. If you are unsure you can message the property owner via the Airbnb website and ask. Airbnb listings are much less formalized than what you find with a traditional pension or inn...each owner determines how they will run their business...there is no standard to be met so read reviews carefully, inspect the pictures on the listing, and ask questions!
I have always found that renting private rooms via Airbnb is an amazing experience! I have met the loveliest people who know and love their cities and who are happy to help and share their favorite spots.
Have a great trip!

Posted by
12074 posts

I'll go back and read each listing more carefully. I did read each listing, although not all information is translated into English and some isn't translated well. I noted that some listings talked about meals, at an additional cost, and others didn't mention it at all. I don't really care about meals but I also don't want to take off in the morning not knowing they prepared a breakfast and I didn't stop to eat.

One reason for my question is a place in Etretat, Normandie didn't say anything about meals in the listing. The first review (in French), however, complemented her eggs (oueffs). My French is limited but it made me curious whether breakfast is always included?

Come to think of it. I have stayed in German Pensions that were run more like hotels. When traveling alone, I seemed to end up in a private room (zimmer) type of accomodation in a family home, usually with a sink in the room and bath/toilet down the hall.



Posted by
11294 posts

The thing to realize about Airbnb is that is is merely a listing service. There is no such thing as a "typical" Airbnb - which is why I find it very amusing when people try to generalize them, as though saying "Airbnb" is like saying "Sheraton," a chain where (rightly or wrongly) people have a certain set of expectations.

Each listing is different, and there is no consistency. Breakfast or not? Ensuite bathroom or private bathroom down the hall or shared bathroom? Owner in the next room, in the same building, in the same city, in the same country, or anywhere in the world? Yes - all these and more are possible. You have to look at each listing for the particulars.

This individuality is exactly why some people like Airbnb so much and others don't (nothing cookie-cutter about it). Well, it's one of the reasons.

Posted by
12074 posts


I'm pretty easy to please. I care about clean and quiet. From lodging I only want a place to sleep and get cleaned up in the morning. Anything above that (washing machine for example) is a bonus. I can get meals and entertainment elsewhere.

Air BnB's website talks about getting to know people. It's not off-putting but leans that direction for me. I've always figured (with pensions and hostels) the hosts have better things to do than entertain me (or clean up after me), so I try not to consume too much of their time or effort.

Posted by
1014 posts

I have stayed at several airbnb in several countries. Read the whole listing. If it is not listed, you probably will not get it. Some allow kitchen privileges, some do not. My Valencia did and it was great. Ate two meals there daily. The Berlin, no privileges. Increases your cost to stay because you have to buy 3 meals a day out. If you have a question about a listing, email them. You are encouraged to do so.

Posted by
151 posts

In France at least, AirBNB is not always synonym of B&B (in French, "chambre d'hôtes"). On Airbnb, every ad should precise what the guests can expect (private room or ground, common or private bathrooms, breakfast included, access to a kitchen, etc.).
Some owners lease one or more rooms of their house/apartment just for an additional income and without having done special arrangement to receive guests.
On the contrary, some Airbnb ads are also B&B on other sites (airbnb is just a mean to be more visible for the owners, but both owners and guests pay a commission). It's not easy to determine if an ad is a B&B or not, but with a "B&B" or "Chambres d'hôtes" mention, you can expect a better service at least with private bathroom and breakfast included.

So, offers on Airbnb can ve very different and only the description and reviews for every ad can let you imagine it suits your expectations.

Posted by
13675 posts

In Germany the Pension establishment is run like a hotel. Do you notice that a hotel takes up the entire building, be it 4 floors or 10 floors. That's obvious. The Pension only takes up 2 or 3 floors is a building that may have 4 or 5 floors. The other floors could be that of a tax consultant, or a therapist, and so. What I've seen in Pensionen is that they are run by a family.