I recently stayed at an airbnb condo. I should have been more careful with my homework, but I was in a hurry. I found a place, skimmed the high ratings given the owner and location, then booked it. When I arrived the owner was not there, but his large dog was. I was surprised and a little intimidated by the situation, but the dog turned out to be harmless. Upon returning home, I read the description of this place more closely to see if a dog was ever mentioned. In review after review the wonderful dog was mentioned! I had just skimmed the first line or two of half a dozen reviews and missed the dog entirely. All turned out well. Next time I'll be more careful about reading reviews.
So the fault was yours for not reading all the reviews. Other than the dog which shouldn't have been a surprise it appears you liked where you stayed. I'd change the title of your post then. It's misleading. I expected a horrible tale about an airbnb rental, not a scenario where the renter didn't do her homework.
I'm sure Swan is sorry to disappoint you and leave you without a dramatic story of someone else's woe. She says in her second sentence that she should have done better research. I think Swan's post is a valuable reminder. If you book at a Marriott, you're probably getting a Marriott. Book at a site that is a listing site for thousands of different owners, and who knows what you'll get. As she said, buyer beware.
The principle is the same whether using airbnb, venere, or hotels.com. Read the reviews. Read between the lines of the reviews. Do this before making a committment. I had a problem with a hotel I booked in Paris, I think it was thru venere. Anyway, after I made the reservation I read reviews on tripadvisor. Ugh! It sounded terrible. I cancelled my reservation but was still charged for one night even tho the cancellation was way in advance. In that case, I never did find any notification that one night would be charged even if you cancelled early. In fact, the hotel's website said full refund. I didn't fight it, but will read reviews first from now on.
We just returned from London where we spent 8 nights in a flat leased through airbnb.com. The flat was in the Notting Hill area, was beautiful, just as shown in the photos and we had no problems whatsoever. The flat was a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom, shared with another couple and the cost was FAR less than a hotel would have been, not to mention all the space and convenience we had. It was a great experience! I was worried a bit as this was my first time staying anywhere other than a hotel so I did do a lot of homework before-hand. Really happy, we will use this housing option again for future trips!