Accommodation Review: Roomorama Apartment in NYC
A few weeks ago I had to make the big transition from Germany, where I had been living with my boyfriend for the past 3 months, back to Maui. As I looked for flights halfway around the world I decided to purchase a ticket to NYC and then use my Hawaiian Airlines Miles to get me home on the brand new Hawaiian Airlines Nonstop Flight Between New York and Honolulu for a promotional rate of 17,500 miles! I had pushed off buying my ticket till the last minute and as a result ended up having to spend a few nights in New York Sightseeing to get the best deal. With only one week notice I started scouring the interwebs for a place to stay for 3 nights in or around Manhattan. I reached out to the folks at Roomorama who kindly offered me $210 in credits towards any apartment I wanted in exchange for a review.
The idea of renting an apartment or house while traveling wasn’t new to me. I actually own a house in Hawaii that I have been running as vacation rental property for around 7 years. That said, I have never stayed at this type of lodging and was excited to see how things worked on the other side of the equation. As I started looking for lodging I quickly realized that my credits wouldn’t go very far in Manhattan and expanded my search to the outer boroughs. True I could have used all my credits up for one night of posh living in the city but to be honest I was being a very lazy traveler at the time and didn’t feel like moving accommodations after one night. In retrospect maybe I should have treated myself to a night in the Big Apple!
What I did find was what looked like a nicely styled apartment in Brooklyn. I made contact with the host and within 24 hours had an apartment reserved.
This is where things went astray. While doing research you aren’t given the exact location of the properties due to privacy issues. I fully understand this as I don’t publish my houses location and don’t give it to potential clients until they book. All I knew about the location of the apartment was cross streets.
So what was the problem you ask?
Well I sent off payment and in my confirmation email I was not sent direction or even an exact address to the apartment. I emailed the host and told her I needed direction and that I would be leaving for the airport the next morning so please send them out ASAP! When I awoke I still had no email with directions. I went to the airport and caught my first flight of the two it would take me to get to New York. What was supposed to be a two-hour layover in Frankfurt ended up being 7 and by the end of that there was still no word from my host as to how to get to the apartment. I blame myself a little for this as I did only book and confirm within 36 hours of my flight departing. Yet on the other hand I send this information out immediately upon confirmation to my guests. When I arrived in New York hours later I still had no idea where I would be staying and couldn’t find any wifi in the JFK airport to check my email.
So what was a lost, tired, dirty traveler to do?
The most reasonable thing I could think of at that point… I ended up splitting a cab with the guy I was sitting next to on the flight who was also staying in Brooklyn with a friend and hoped I could find some wifi around there. Only problem was it was 10pm and nothing was open. Kindly some kids who were sitting on the stoop became my new friends and let me use their laptop to check my email! By this time it was around 11pm. I called the host and got the address finally and tried to figure out how far away I was. This is when the kids on the stoop informed me that I was staying in a pretty rough part of town and I shouldn’t be getting out of a cab late at night alone! Gee, thanks! You know things aren’t good when a bunch of Mexican city kids who are born and raised in Brooklyn advise you against traveling to your destination alone. My host kindly sent over a town car to get me and take my to the apartment for only $5 more than a cab ride would have been so $50 and almost 3 hours after landing I ended up safely getting to the apartment a little after midnight. Let’s just say I wasn’t in the best mood by that time.
The apartment itself was nice although the rest of the building and neighborhood left something to be desired. I personally like rough neighborhoods so I wasn’t that put off but if I had been less traveled and not so used to living in rough neighborhoods I would have been very uncomfortable. Let’s just say gentrification has not reached the part of Brooklyn I was staying in. I was only a few blocks from the projects were Jay-Z grew up. The room I found was $70 a night but was one room in a three bedroom apartment and when I was there there was another couple staying in of the rooms who I never saw and only heard. The vibe of the place was a little thrown off by this I think. It wasn’t like staying in a hostel where everyone was quick to make friends but instead had a cold feeling of closed doors. Once again this isn’t Roomorama’s fault or even the hosts but more my bad choice in choosing an accommodation I would feel comfortable in. I think if I had been traveling with someone else I wouldn’t have been so put off by the vibes in the apartment.
I really do like the idea of renting apartments while visiting cities as I think it is the best way to get an understanding of the local culture and I plan to do it a bunch on the road trip I am planning through Europe this fall there are just a few key steps I will follow next time.
Tips To Finding a Roomorama Apartment Rental You Will Be Comfortable In:
- Use Google Street view to talk a walk around the neighborhood you will be ‘living’ on to make sure it seems like somewhere you would feel safe in. Imagine it at night.
- Give your hosts ample time to send you the information you need to find the lodging. If you are doing things last minute and going to arrive into a big city late at night you might be better off going to a hostel or a hotel where that you know cab drivers will be able to find.
- Be careful when choosing your apartment. Make sure to fully read the descriptions to see if you have a private apartment or just a private room.
- Check how long your host has been renting out the property. My host had only 2 completed bookings before mine.
If you are interested in trying Roomorama out for yourself you can book through the widget on my sidebar! I do earn a small commission from these booking that help me continue to frolic around this fine globe of ours!
Many thanks to Roomorama for providing me with accommodation in New York. All opinions, as always, are my own.