Advice on neighborhood/flat thru airbnb in London

We are 3 couples traveling to London May 2-May 6, 2013. We want a 3 bedroom flat, preferably with at least 2 bathrooms. One of our group found this flat: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/215969 I've read the short term apt rental thread here, and have also read lots on airbnb elsewhere. I feel like my head is going to explode with everything I've looked at. I've also researched all the short term flat rental sites that RS recommends in his London guidebook. I'm curious about this neighborhood, and the price. We've been quoted $1878 USD for the 4 nights. Doesn't look close to a tube stop. One of the people in our group has a strong leaning toward Kensington. I think that most posters here will say it's a pricey area for what you get, and I probably wouldn't disagree. The rest of my crew are standing pretty firm on being as centrally located as we can (don't want a 10-15 minute tube ride into town) because we are really only in London for 3 full days before we head to Paris. We'd prefer to stay under $2k USD total. Preferably closer to the $1700 mark if possible. I'd appreciate any feedback.
Thanks!

Posted by Laura
Virginia, USA
2888 posts

The rest of my crew are standing pretty firm on being as centrally located as we can (don't want a 10-15 minute tube ride into town) ... I'm pretty familiar with this neighborhood as I used to work near here. This location is about a 10 minute walk to the Holland Park tube station (central line). Once you get on the tube, it would be about 15 to 20 minutes (including a transfer) to get to Covent Garden or Westminster. It is also about a 10 minute walk down to the Kensington High Street where you can pick up the #9 bus ( a pretty convenient bus for a number of tourist sights) or walk to the High Street Kensington tube station (circle line). The apartment is not in a bad location (it is a reasonable place to stay on a short trip to London), but there are more central locations. Avoid the Kensington Olympia station - limited trains there. Things in London are spread out that no matter where you stay, you are going to have a 10 to 15 minute tube ride somewhere.

Posted by Lisa
Bellingham, WA, USA
13 posts

Thanks for the quick response. My head is swimming, which I'm sure you've seen posted a thousand times by people like me:) We are all in our 40s/50s so we aren't looking for wild nightlife:) My husband is a fab cook, so we may eat a dinner or 2 in the flat. Otherwise, I think we are looking for a London neighborhood experience, but not something inconvenient to public transportation. I understand that London is spread out and that we will be spending time getting where we want to go no matter what. We are just trying to minimize that as much as possible. Having some shops/restaurants/grocers in the neighborhood would also be helpful. I think maybe something more vibrant than sleepy. Any other suggestions in terms of areas?

Posted by Laura
Virginia, USA
2888 posts

As far as groceries, there is a huge Whole Foods on the Kensington High Street so no problem finding a wide assortment of foods for this flat. Also, one of my all time favorite London food places Ottolenghihas a carry-out shop near there ... fabulous salads and desserts. What days of the week would you be there?

Posted by Lisa
Bellingham, WA, USA
13 posts

Thursday, May 2, leaving on the 9:22 train to Paris on Monday, May 6. I'm open to other areas. I'm not convinced this flat is the flat. The reviews are decent to good, but...

Posted by Lisa
Bellingham, WA, USA
13 posts

Here's another interesting possibility:
http://www.flipkey.com/london-condo-rentals/p444806/ No reviews:(( I know... But, I'm also seeing that several of these apartment buildings have many apartments for short term rental and are listed on more than one site. Trying to figure out if this is one of those:)

Posted by Laura
Virginia, USA
2888 posts

I lived on the South Bank (near London Eye) and loved that area for its convenience, but it is very urban ... not leafy like the area near Kensington. If you want Kensington & Chelsea, the area around the Gloucester tube or South Kensington tube station is pretty convenient because both serve multiple lines (Piccadilly, Circle, and District). Borough Market is open Thurs to Sat which is great for food shopping, but it is a long way from Holland Park. Since you are there on a weekend, before you book your flat, check the tube closures on tfl.gov.uk to make sure you are not staying on a line that is closed due to engineering works the weekend you are there.

Posted by Agnes
Alexandria, VA, USA
616 posts

Does the blue Porsche (in one of the photos) come with the rental? What a conspicuous signalling device...that was a good laugh. Nice looking apt though!

Posted by Swan
Napa, CA
2855 posts

For any rental, but especially for airbnb, read everything about the rental then read it again. You will want to know fairly exactly the location and access to transportation. You may want to know if the owner will be on the premises, if there are animals, if there is an elevator, if a deposit is required, how complicated is it to get the key, does the Porsche go with the rental!? Is a grocery store handy; what appliances are in the kitchen; how many bathrooms? Then, call the owner and talk about the place and logistics. Read reviews. Don't rush this project; it's good to give yourself time. BTW, the best places are taken early, so start looking as far ahead as possible. I think I would be looking at apartment rentals rather than airbnb, especially for 6 people. Just an opinion based on experience. I've used both and found apartment rental people to be more straight-forward and professional. And there is no question that you will be sharing the kitchen with the owner.

Posted by Kinjal Madiyar
London, UK
1 posts

I have dealt with FG Property Management in London and they are super nice and easily accessible. They seem to have good range of properties at affordable prices. I think you should directly call them (+442074602832) and they will send you a list of relevant properties you can from. You should also try to email them on info@fgpropertymanagement.com

Posted by Rebecca
Nashville, TN, USA
645 posts

"One of our group found this flat: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/215969" Personally, I'd be jumping on this place. It is lovely, the neighborhood is lovely. You said you've been quoted $1878 USD for the 4 nights. "We'd prefer to stay under $2k USD total. Preferably closer to the $1700 mark if possible." The price you were quoted IS under $2K, so I would be satisfied. That is reasonable for a good neighborhood in London; split 3 ways between 3 couples, my opinion is that it's a good deal!($626 per couple) I would not give up quality and a good neighborhood just to be "closer to the $1700 mark". Just my opinion. "Doesn't look close to a tube stop." Walk north a couple of blocks (2 to 3) to Holland Park tube station. Up on Holland Park Ave./Bayswater Rd. many buses come by with routes taking you all over the city. Agree with Laura, the Flipkey place is in a good location, but no reviews...bad sign. Also dealing with a rental agency...how much can you find out about that agency. The one person who has posted one time? Let's see if that's the only poster on this board who's ever dealt with them... Agree with Swan; find out all the details before committing.

Posted by Lisa
Bellingham, WA, USA
13 posts

I agree that it looks good. What I didn't realize when I posted this was my husband did some cross referencing and decided this listing wasn't legit. I haven't had time to get the details from him on his conclusion. So, I think we are still looking.. I so appreciate all of the feedback! These forums are so helpful:)

Posted by Rebecca
Nashville, TN, USA
645 posts

Lisa, how did your husband find out this one wasn't legit? (https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/215969) How did he "cross reference it" to research that? Please give details, because we all need to know whether some of these listings are legit or not. All of the reviews on the airbnb site are positive for this apt. I also did a Google search of the title of the rental unit, and lots results came up, none of them negative. So what are you and your husband seeing that makes it not legit?

Posted by Nancy
London, UK
159 posts

Lisa - I am from Bellingham living in London. We have a mutual friend. PM me if you want me to check something out for you here.

Posted by Lisa
Bellingham, WA, USA
13 posts

My husband is out of town for the weekend but when he gets back I'll ask for the details. I have the Trip Advisor London forum's list and am now working from that. Super helpful. Both of these forums have probably saved people tens of thousands of dollars in the aggregate avoiding fraudsters. Makes me sad and frustrated that we have to contend with that element, but oh well. I appreciate everyone's concern and thoughtful responses. I am narrowing things down and will repost our vetted options in a new thread. And, I will post after I talk to my husband about this particular airbnb listing. Thanks again!

Posted by Victor
Chicago, Illinois, USA
2 posts

In the end, shopping for the best flat rentals is really important. Happy travels everyone!

Posted by Claudia
Land of La
1999 posts

If the listing is/was with airbnb you need to contact them immediately. They go out of their way to make certain their properties are legit. I've used airbnb places twice in London and VERY pleased. I've also used airbnb in Los Angeles (suggested to friends), San Francisco, and Seattle. Never a bad place or host.
Good Luck with your search and enjoy your stay.