Saturday, December 3rd, 2016

My Sweet Lisbon Apartment — Courtesy of Roomorama

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If you’ve been following travel trends for the past few years, you’ve probably seen the explosion of vacation rental websites.  People can easily rent out their homes or rooms in their home to paying travelers.  And one of these sites is Roomorama.

Roomorama approached me a few months ago and asked if I’d be interested in reviewing a property for the site.  I readily accepted and waited for the perfect trip to arrive.

As soon as my Iberian trip began to materialize, I decided to try out an apartment for a week in Lisbon.  After hearing the Globetrotter Girls rave about the city, it sounded like the kind of place I’d love.

They were right.  I loved Lisbon, and it was a great place to be based for a week!

You Don’t Have To Stay in Someone’s House!

Here’s the thing – I didn’t want to stay in someone’s house.  The idea creeps me out a bit, frankly.  Sleeping in a stranger’s bed with their distinctly human-scented sheets – it’s not for me.

But you DON’T have to stay in someone’s home.  Vacation rental companies use Roomorama, and Roomorama has plenty of apartments used exclusively for vacation rentals.  It’s the perfect hybrid of a hotel and an apartment – with sheets that smell of nothing but soap.

This apartment is owned by a rental company based in Lisbon.

Reviewing the Roomorama Process

Finding a place to stay on Roomorama was easy – I typed in “Lisbon, Portugal” and took a look at all the apartments offered in Lisbon, from downtown Lisbon to the suburbs to nearby beach resorts like Cascais.

What’s nice is that you get to search with your preferred amenities.  For me, wireless internet was the most vital amenity.  I then decided that I wanted a washing machine, as well!

This came up with a host of apartments, and I quickly found my favorite.  But after receiving no reply after a few follow-ups, what I learned is that you should send out inquiries to several properties.  Most owners don’t keep up with availability calendars across every site, so it says it’s available on the site, it may not actually be available.

Now, this is where there was a problem.  Roomorama emailed me saying that if this renter didn’t respond, to email them and they would call the owner.  That’s a fantastic idea.  I replied to the email, but after several days, nobody got back to me.

I then called Roomorama’s line — twice — and both times I was put on hold for several minutes before the line was disconnected.

I then tried Roomorama’s live chat feature.  After 32 minutes, nobody had answered me.

I had tried every way to reach them, and none of them worked.  The only way I could get in touch with them was through the marketing contact I had — which, obviously, most people do not have.  This was not good.

HOWEVER — I brought this to the attention of Roomorama and they will be working with their customer service team to find out what went wrong and make sure it doesn’t happen again.  I trust them on this, and I wouldn’t let this stop me from using Roomorama again.

Reviewing the Apartment

If you want to rent this apartment for your stay in Lisbon, click here to see its Roomorama listing!

I loved this one-bedroom apartment, decorated in shades of lime, honeydew and chartreuse.  It was the perfect size for a solo traveler or couple, though you could fit up to four people if you used the pull-out sofa.

The location in Principe Real was fantastic – right on the edge of Bairro Alto nightlife and a short walk from most sights in Lisbon.  There are two nearby parks and a Mini Preço grocery store, and right around the corner is one of the best panoramic views in the city.

The kitchen came loaded with cookware and appliances – even a Nespresso machine!  (There’s a Nespresso store down the street in Chiado if you want to buy the coffee.)  There were tons of extra duvets and blankets.  And don’t forget the space heaters – Portuguese homes aren’t heated, so space heaters are a must for winter.

The internet was excellent and fast.  I didn’t have a single blip the whole week.

As for my solo female travel concerns, I was happy to see a good, modern lock on the door.  I felt safe in the immediate neighborhood, including at night, but I wouldn’t walk in Bairro Alto at night unless I was with someone else.

My main complaint is that there was an awful mold smell underneath the sink, next to the fridge.  Also, several light bulbs were out, including all the bulbs in the dining room.  I’ve told the company about this, so I hope both issues will be fixed soon.

During February, the cost is 50 EUR per night or 250 EUR per week.  There are supplemental fees for third and fourth guests, and the prices are higher during high season.  It’s still a VERY good price – and cheaper than a hotel.

The Apartment Experience

I LOVED having an apartment in Lisbon.  It was so nice to have so much space to myself, especially after a few nights in a party hostel, where I couldn’t work over the blasting reggaeton.  I’m an introvert at heart.  Does that I mean I don’t know how to be social?  No, that means that I go crazy if I don’t get enough alone time.  In between dancing on tables, of course!

Staying in an apartment saves you an OBSCENE amount of money on food.  I had a few meals out in Lisbon, but I cooked most days, and the amount that I would spend for a nice dinner bought me enough groceries to last a week.

But the greatest benefit of renting an apartment was the aforementioned downtime – rather than relaxing in a hostel lounge or cheap hotel room after a day of sightseeing, I got to stretch out on my own couch or cook on my own stovetop or make myself a cup of tea without fielding the constant  “Where are you from?  How long are you traveling?  How do you make money travel blogging?” questions.

I am officially a convert – from now on, I’m going to look into apartment rentals when I’m traveling!

Many thanks to Roomorama for providing me with accommodation in Lisbon.  All opinions, as always, are my own.

Comments

28 Responses to “My Sweet Lisbon Apartment — Courtesy of Roomorama”
  1. Great reading about your write-up on your time in Lisbon. Had a good experience with them in Malaga too!

  2. Phil says:

    Have a similar partnership coming up with Roomorama so glad to hear that things were mostly positive. Funnily enough, I may also be in Lisbon – it’s either that or Madrid. If I end up in the same place, I will let you know if they fixed the lights. And perhaps I’ll just avoid underneath the sink 😉

  3. Amanda says:

    I’m trying out a Roomorama apartment for 3 days next week in Reykjavik! So far, the host has been very helpful, sending me maps on how to get to the apartment from the nearby bus station, as well as a long list of links to recommended restaurants. Can’t wait to actually see the place! I agree that it’s nice to have a place to yourself after a long day of sightseeing.

  4. EurotripTips says:

    I’ve tried Roomorama before (in London) and had a somewhat negative experience despite excellent customer service from them. The owner of the flat I rented was one of the rudest person I ever met, and he even went as far as yelling at me when I informed him that there was no hot water in the flat. Like I said in my review, however, is that I just picked the bad apple in the basket and that could’ve happened with any booking service, hotel or flat.

    I would definitely book with Roomorama again without a second thought, because I love the idea of having my own flat in a city, and saving on food costs.

    • Totally, Marie — there are bad people everywhere, and sometimes you just end up with them by mistake. Not Roomorama’s fault at all. And I will definitely book with them again — hopefully for Croatia this spring!

  5. You are in one of my favorite cities in Europe! I love Lisbon and think Portugal gets a little overlooked due to its Iberian neighbor. It’s a beautiful country with great people and culture.

    As for the apartment, I think that is the perfect way to travel! Love your place in Lisbon!

    I really miss Portugal now! Makes me want to go back to my nude beach on the Algarve and hang out in Lisbon again! 🙂

  6. Thanks for the honest review! I think that these companies have a difficult job dealing with so many different renters, but nothing should stop them from responding quickly. It’s nice to see that overall you had a great stay in a wonderful city!

  7. Looks amazing! Don’t you just love Roomorama? We may have to snag this place if we visit Lisbon this summer!

  8. Alex says:

    This sounds heavenly…. a room to yourself and privacy for a week? I’ve had a lifetime of roommates and busy guesthouses. Sign me up!

  9. UnhappyRoomoramaHost says:

    I am an unhappy host with roomorama. Here’s why. My guest checked in at 1am, no problems. Next day at 830 am they sent an email saying they are leaving, complained of issues with bathroom and the sheets. If there are any issues, hosts usually try to work out with the guests. We never heard of any issues. Roomorama never called me; guest never called me. And now roomorama won’t pay. Almost 30 emails with roomorama CSR later, nothing is resolved.

    Here my message to CSR
    1) You first said Roomorama called on day of check in. Guests arrived at 1am. did Roomorama call at 1am?
    2) Now you say Roomorama called before guest sent an email, which was at 830am. Did roomorama try to call us the day after the check in, before 830am?
    3) When did roomorama call? Guests never called us. Did Roomorama call us, if so when? From your previous emails, it seems that you are making it up.

    4) Also you totally ignored my quesion about “Do guests have any pictures to show what they complained about? Can you explain to me why roomorama is so one-sided in this case?”

    Bottom line is that I am being treated very unfairly by Roomorama. This would never happen on Airbnb. Airbnb requires that guests document issues they have and they actively reach out to hosts.

    What seems to me is that Roomorama is under-staffed and underfunded and chose to not have a phone number to reach anyone live. 30 emails later, I am still looking to resolve this issue.

    Take it for what it’s worth.

    • Hi, UnhappyRoomoramaHost — posting here is not going to solve your problem. I’d redirect your efforts to speaking further up the chain at Roomorama.

      • Lisa says:

        Hi Kate,

        You suggest that the previous poster redirect their efforts to speaking further up the chain at Roomorama. My question to you is, how exactly do you suggest that the poster do that? You yourself wrote that you could not get any response from their Live Chat, phone number, or email…. and that is exactly the same experience that I (as a host) and the previous poster have had. No one at Roomorama bothers to respond… and as you also said, the rest of us don’t have the phone # of the marketing contact that you were able to call. You say that contact assured you that they would be working on improving their Customer Service; I can assure you that they have obviously NOTdone so! Perhaps you could share your marketing contact’s phone # with those of us who Roomorama refuses to respond to?

        • Lisa, I don’t share any of my business contacts with strangers. Furthermore, I haven’t spoken to anyone from Roomorama in a year and a half.

          I suggest just going through their website like anyone else. I wish you the best of luck in getting someone to talk to.

          • David says:

            I have had the same experience of being completely unable to contact Roomorama customer support (as a renter). Your comments are irresponsible, to say the least.

          • Really? It’s irresponsible to say “contact them through the proper channels”? I’m sorry you’ve had a bad experience, but what do you want me to do? Change my post?

    • Lisa says:

      David,

      I would advise you (and all others looking for accommodations) to avoid Roomorama, despite Kate’s belief that she could trust that they were fixing their issues. Since my earlier comment in August, I have attempted to contact Roomorama numerous times, and found that the company remains understaffed and completely unreachable by phone. Someone did eventually respond to the emails I sent, but the response had absolutely nothing to do with the issues I raised in my emails and made it very clear that no one at Roomorama had bothered to actually read my emails. For this reason, we no longer accept bookings through Roomorama.

      We use Airbnb and Trip Advisor’s FlipKey. Airbnb is the easier one to use, and has the best phone support for both hosts and guests. I have always been able to reach someone at Airbnb, as their phone lines are staffed 24/7. FlipKey’s lines are staffed weekdays only (I think from 9 AM to 5 PM EST…. but even if their lines were only staffed from 12:01 AM to 12:09 AM on the first Sunday after a full moon in months that start with the letters “J” and “A” they would still be easier to reach than Roomorama is!).

  10. Dinnerware says:

    My partner and I stumbled over here from a different website and thought I should check things out. I like what I see so now i’m following you. Look forward to looking over your web page again.

  11. Joyce says:

    I’ve tried Airbnb before on my trip to Miami, the experience was slightly bad that AirBnB customer service is poor, thank you for this review Kate, a very good reference for bookings, I hope Roomorama is more helpful and more easier to use.

  12. Nyah says:

    Hi, UnhappyRoomoramaHost — posting here is not going to solve your problem. I’d redirect your efforts to speaking further up the chain at Roomorama.

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  1. […] get me wrong, as Kate pointed out in her Roomarama review, you don’t have to stay in someone’s home. Thanks to the many places Roomarama has on […]

  2. […] Peach has done the same. I can deal with sleeping in a stranger’s bed for a few days ( I know Adventurous Kate is not a fan), but NOBODY wants to stay in a place fearful of who or what might have been touching the small […]

  3. […] check out this link to go to another blog site which did a very detail review on Roomorama. This blogger also explain […]



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