Response from Katherine:
Thanks Jayashree for taking so much time to outline your concerns. Its extremely clear you never read what you were booking, which is why we ask guest to provide the code. Then its obvious that you know our house is 160 years old, being restored, is like a living museum, and that we do indeed live here with our personal belongings. This is not a hotel.
Let us address some issues. Firstly as we clearly explained to you, we don't accept midnight checkins but you had ignored that and already booked, so we yielded ( our mistake) and picked you up from the airport at that time. Again we did inform you that there is no UBER, but there are taxis or us. You chose us to pick you up. And you also chose us to drive you back to airport when you checked out. The fares for this and all extra services are clearly outlined in the house rules, before you book. So there is no surprise that you were charged. We charge what we feel its worth for us to be out of bed at 1 am, waiting in a car park, when we both have to be up very early every day to look after breakfast and everyday commitments. It is totally up to all guests as to whether they wish to use us, or a taxi, or shuttle bus. At the end of the day, we arent a taxi service. It is an extra service, that guests choose to take up as they feel it makes their trip more relaxed and hassle free.
I'm sorry that you were scared of Niagara Falls. Again we do mention that Niagara Falls is exceptionally poor. This is not our fault. We are part of a wave of new residents empowering and moving the city forward. In regard to you worrying about walking from your car, you didn't have one, remember, we picked you up from the airport.
You are correct we do not have locks on every bedroom door, as we are sourcing the original keys for our old doors, and as this is our home and we are here, with security cameras in all public areas, nothing is going to happen to your room.
Those very cameras, are what alerted us to you breaking into our black cabinet in the front parlour, and helping yourself to our wine, uninvited, and then leaving the sherry glasses (definitely not offered for use) in your bedroom. As you are aware, Airbnb were provided with these photos, when we claimed the broken lock, because it is an antique cabinet, that used to , until you broke it, have a hidden spring lock that worked. Apparently the only thing our guests need to worry about - is guests like you. which is why we have those pesky cameras. We find it sad that we need to point out again that this is our home, like most Airbnb's, everything is someone's prized possessions. It is infrequent, that we find a guest rude enough to go through our private drawers, or cabinets. For the life of me, it leaves me baffled. Just one example. In one of those little cupboards is a tea cup collection worth about a thousand dollars. And yes, I do put them out for use, and I do drink from a different one every single day. They are my joy. Why on earth would you be risking opening up my cupboards and rummaging through something like that?? Again 99 percent of guests, would not even think about it. If they needed or wanted something, they would just ask. Politeness and etiquette are not restrictions unless you have none!
You also seem very concerned about children. You didn't have any, we don't have any young ones, and we actually clearly indicate that because of the type of home, filled with irreplaceable antiques, and silverware, let alone a 150 year old organ, that we do not in fact allow children as guests. Again this is in the booking details on Airbnb platform.
This brings us to the next issue. The hidden bathroom. This is a civil war house. It has hidden passages, doors and lots of wonderful history. We are not getting rid of its character for anything. A high light for 99 percent of our guests. ( you being the 1 percent) I'm not sure why you thought the door was heavy. It is on four wheels that take the weight, and the secretariet you refer to is, indeed full of toilet paper rolls and hand soap balls. The displayed area is secured for its safety and as a bi product our guests.
On to breakfast. Yes we offer a lite complimentary breakfast to start your day. we clearly state it is laid out between 8-9.30 when we clear it away. In fact we message about breakfast several times. ( generally we clear a bit later as often people are sitting chatting together. ) We believe that is ample time to sit and eat, and if guests choose to not enjoy what is there, we feel it is their choice, maybe they want to sleep in like your wife..... We are surprised, you question us clearing away fresh milk, and cereals, the yogurts and breads. We cant leave them out to go off.
This brings us to cleaning. You are right. This is an airbnb, short term rental. Not a five star hotel, or villa with a butler. Im sure as adults, you realise the difference. We dont say we are entering your room to clean. Airbnb is not what you book if you are wanting room service, nor is our price... just saying...... champagne tastes on a beer budget.
We did actually know of the pigsty you were leaving us in your room, as we did message you asking where our personal iron was. We then had to go into your room, with permission, to find that you had hid it under the bed, still hot, beside the paper bag. ( not impressed)
All in all, we are a home. A historic, curious, quirky old home. We ask our guests to respect it, and most do, but guests like you who dont realise they will be caught if they go through our private cupbaords and area, and held accountable are the bain of our Airbnb experience. Thankfully we love the wonderful 99 percent, who read the guidelines and descriptions and understand what we provide.