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AirBnb vs hotels in Poland

A friend and I will be traveling at least three weeks this September in Poland, spending 2 to 7 nights in various cities. Has anyone stayed in Airbnb's in Gdansk, Warsaw or Krakow? I would love to hear about your Airbnb experiences, and what you think are
the advantages and disadvantages of Airbnb's vs hotels.

Posted by
38 posts

I only tried Airbnb once. We walked out and lost our money. Since then we use VRBO a division of HomeAway. I am staying 6 nights in Warsaw this September and am currently deciding which one to stay at in Krakow. I always choose one with a washer so we have clean clothes. I like having the space and a kitchen. Not that I cook. But sometimes nice to do take out after a long day. Or heat baked goods. I have never been disappointed using them. Probably done so at least a dozen times. I do a mix of hotels and VRBO. We will also be in Poland for 3 weeks in September also. Staying at a hotel in Toruń and Gdansk.

Posted by
24 posts

Thank you, I like Airbnb's for all those same reasons! I have used both Airbnb and VRBO here, and Airbnbs in Germany and Italy.

I was wondering specifically about Poland, whether there might be particular challenges or benefits there as compared to other countries.

Posted by
85 posts

In Krakow, we stayed in the Venetian House Aparthotel (http://www.venetian-house.com) which had a full kitchen. Not the cheapest place to stay, but literally right in the middle of the old town square. We had a room that opened onto the square. There is a 24 hour grocery store almost diagonal on the other side of the square too (Biedronka, Rynek Główny 34).

Posted by
25 posts

Airbnb is a risk you are willing to take. Had good and bad experience in Poland.
Just pay attention to reviews, to understand what to expect.
Especially if you are choosing budget options.

But it's a general rule, not really related to Poland.

Posted by
12123 posts

I have visited all three of the listed cities. We stayed in an apt in Warsaw in the old town. This was prior to the AirB&B, ie 2001. No problems, no complaints, very satisfactory, stayed 4-5 nights. The Mrs wanted that and handled all the details to reserve that apt.

In Gdansk we stayed in a Pension in the Old Town, in Krakow stayed in a hotel next to the train station...Hotel Europajski...fine, This was in 2001, am sure it's better now.

Bottom line, I prefer staying in small hotels and or at a Pension, or just hotels in Poland. I don't go for AirB&B.

Posted by
31036 posts

bistoa,

I found hotels in Poland to be quite inexpensive and I much prefer staying in a place that offers a good breakfast and English speaking assistance with touring or whatever if needed. I normally travel solo so Air BnB type accommodations would be more of a hassle and that would mean cooking and doing dishes whilst on holiday - that's NOT going to happen!

Posted by
18 posts

Coincidentally, I just tried an AirBnB for the first time in Gdansk and had a strange experience. I'm not sure if it's a fluke or if it's common. Our schedule worked out so that we were there on the weekend and we were a group of 4 so the hotels were sold out or pretty expensive. I looked at the pictures, amenities, and reviews on AirBnB and thought I made a good choice. When we actually got to the apartment, it was pretty clear that it was not the apartment shown. No wifi, 6 more beds than expected and definitely not "sparkling clean" as described. Called the host and she said she had accidentally overbooked the original apartment. She apologized and offered a refund if we could find another place. She said she had also asked some of her colleagues and they weren't able to help out either. It was a pretty busy weekend, we had no wifi in the room so after a few attempts just decided to stay there rather than spend our time looking. I did request a partial refund and got enough so that it was a fair price. The beds were all clean and comfortable, the bathroom was OK and the location on Ogarna street was great. But we all looked longingly at the Hampton Inn whenever we were near it. I think it will be a long time before I use AirBnB again. We got a private room in the OkiDoki Old Town Hostel in Warsaw and loved it.

Posted by
12123 posts

She made a genuine effort. I don't fault her at all.

As to wifi or the lack of it, I am not sure my Pension in Berlin would even have that since the Pension already does not a lot of "features" Americans would expect. That I told the proprietor. On the wifi matter I never asked, either.

Posted by
24 posts

Thank you everyone for your comments! I will go with the idea that Poland is like anywhere else and you have to vet each place the best you can before you book. Mary's experience was rather strange but I'm glad the host didn't summarily cancel at the last minute. I hear sometimes that happens and never book a place that has that comment.

I have just booked an Airbnb in Gdansk that sounds amazing (not on Ogarna Street), and for the rest of our itinerary will be looking at both hotels and Airbnbs, and go with whatever looks the best. I like hotel breakfasts too! I will check out the Okie Dokie in Warsaw.

Posted by
18 posts

Fred, I agree that she made an effort and it worked out OK. But wifi was one of the amenities listed when I had booked and was one of the reasons I had picked that location.

Posted by
24 posts

Mary, I completely agree that it's really hard without wifi! Without a good phone plan with roaming, you're stuck.

Actually, I guess phones in Poland are another topic.

Posted by
4695 posts

This is a very interesting discussion, and we're going to Poland towards the end of 2019.

I'm sorry to be party pooper, but I want to remind people that AirBnb usually distorts the local housing market and removes apartments from availability for local people. Even my ritzy ($550,000 Average Sale) NJ suburb has banned rentals under 30 days because of noise and other transient problems. It's not (to put it conservatively) always true that AirBnb allows impoverished locals to share an empty room to continue to afford living in a desirable location. What happens is that the full-apartments are so much more lucrative than monthly rental to locals that they become hotels. Just saying.

I've spent 600 nights in Europe, and I don't believe that having an apartment is the same thing as "living like a local" with a warm feeling of Rick Steves "moments." It's, rather, a pleasant fiction.

Posted by
24 posts

That is an interesting viewpoint.

What I have found in my recent searches in major tourist cities like Gdansk and Krakow, however, is that an awful lot of hotels offered on booking.com and hotels.com are also apartments, so I don't know if you can just blame Airbnb. I don't care for the big ritzy hotels and would love to stay in interesting smaller places, but I am not finding that many. (Torun has a lot.)

I just tried searching "with free breakfast" and that filters out a lot of the apartments.

Posted by
17017 posts

There are definitely lots of apartments listed on booking.com. I'm sure some of them (maybe most) are also listed on airbnb. Folks have commented on finding the same place on multiple platforms with the rate often being higher on airbnb, apparently because airbnb's commission is higher.

I am not familiar with other third-party booking websites, but booking.com allows you to filter for type of lodging, so you can screen out everything except hotels if you want to. But there are hotels, and then there are hotels, which is probably why there is often also a "24-hour desk" filter. I hate-hate-hate arriving in a new city and having no place to at least leave my bag until check-in time. I stay in a lot of rather small towns where they may not be a luggage-storage option elsewhere. Just last werk I found I had booked myself into a hotel whose reception desk closes from noon until 3 PM daily. I am in France, not Spain or Italy, and it was not a teeny-tiny hotel! A major reason I pay more for a hotel rather than looking at less-expensive apartments is that I assume I won't have to worry about meeting up with someone to get the key or wander the city pulling my bag behind me for hours.

Posted by
242 posts

We stayed in an apartment in Krakow last May and loved the experience. It had a small kitchen and washer and dryer, so it was perfect for a four-day stay. We found it through booking.com and were pleased in every respect. I would probably use a local hotel for a shorter stay.

Posted by
73 posts

I am going to Krakow Poland for the first time in October with my son and plan to stay in this airbnb: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/26432261?s=67&shared_item_type=1&virality_entry_point=1&sharer_id=48340433

I'm excited about it and the reviews are amazing. I've asked a couple of questions and the host is very responsive.

My family has had very positive experiences with airbnb throughout several different countries, though I realize some have had very negative ones. Some reasons I like staying in apartments is:
-There is typically free parking if you have a rental car (as we will).
-I don't like to check luggage, so having a washer lets me get by with only a carry-on for even a two-week trip.
-As a family with a teen, it's nice for us to have our own separate bedrooms.
-I enjoy visiting local markets and this allows me to buy fresh ingredients and occasionally cook simple meals, or have breakfast in.

Posted by
242 posts

Wow that folk apartment is cheap! Let us know how it works out. Sounds lovely! It is not far from Stary Kleparz, the oldest market in Krakow. You can buy some foods there for cooking.