Walking down the cobbled street we assumed lead to Mette’s apartment, we felt a little nervous. Mette had been nothing but friendly and helpful so far, and there were plenty of very positive reviews on her Air B&B page. But what if the reviews were fake, and the apartment wasn’t anything like it was described? What if Mette didn’t really exist? What if we’d managed to get our dates mixed up and we were only due to stay for two nights and then we’d be accomodation-less and forced to stay in either a dump or fork out over the odds for somewhere more salubrious? What if, what if…
As it turns out, it wasn’t Mette that greeted us that night. But only because she was on a plane to London when we arrived. Instead her sister had kindly agreed to let us into the apartment instead (all of which we knew about). Once she’d showed us around and handed us the keys, that was it: the apartment – which looked exactly like it did in the photos (ie. stunning) – was ours for five days.
Despite our trepidation, we chose Air B&B for two main reasons. Firstly because our trip was five days and nights, and having a kitchen/dining area meant we wouldn’t have to eat every meal in Copenhagen’s infamously expensive restaurants. Secondly, city breaks are exhausting. All that walking and exploring and unfamiliarity is wonderful, yes, but also, sometimes, draining. I know that some nights the last thing I want to do is spend it trying not to look knackered in a restaurant or bar. Yet most city hotel rooms (or at least, city hotel rooms in a sensible price bracket) are really just somewhere to sleep. Functional and perfectly pleasant, but small and claustrophobic if you spend too long in them. Choosing an apartment would give us the space we’d like to really relax on the evenings where our feet and brains were kaputt!
We chose Mette’s apartment partly because it was beautiful and spacious, but mainly for its location in Vesterbro. It was within easy walking distance of the main train station and most tourist attractions, but residential enough to feel like you were seeing the ‘real’ Copenhagen (and so we could avoid dodgy tourist trap bars and restaurants!). I’ll write more on the area in a separate post, but I’d highly recommend staying around here if you can. As many will say, Istedgade is still ‘interesting’ at the end closest to the main station but it’s nothing to really worry about; while I’m not sure how comfortable I’d have felt walking along it alone in the dark, during the day, and with John, I never felt unsafe. There are also other route options if you really didn’t like it. Otherwise, the area is wonderful: full of interesting, independent restaurants, bars and shops just waiting to be explored.
I couldn’t recommend Air B&B highly enough to anyone considering whether to make their first booking. The booking system is more long-winded than your standard hotel ones (you have to get in touch with a host first to see if their apartment is free, and many would – understandably – prefer not to take bookings too far in advance as they don’t know their plans. That said, Mette took our booking in October, six months before our stay, so you can still plan reasonably far ahead). However, for us, it was absolutely worth the effort. Just make sure you do your research so you know what you’re booking. Key things to take note of: is it a whole apartment or just a room? Where is it in relation to the city centre/places you want to see on your stay? What have previous guests said? Any other rules or important information to note? All of this should be clear and easy to find on the listing. Having to make contact with the host before booking also has its benefits, as it gives you a ‘sense’ of them (are they fast to respond? Friendly? Helpful?) before you commit.
The only people I wouldn’t recommend Air B&B to are those who enjoy the extra comforts a hotel offers: room service, bed made, no cleaning up after yourself or cups of tea to wash up. Personally we didn’t miss these, preferring the independence and freedom self-catering gave us (picking up pastries from a local bakery for breakfast, a quiet evening in with pizza and reading on the sofa, not having to worry about fixed breakfast times or when a maid will come to clean the room), but I know that wouldn’t be the same for everyone.
But for the right people and at the right apartment, Air B&B is brilliant. I’d highly recommend it and will definitely look into using it again next time we’re on an extended city break.
Post not in association with Air B&B – I know I had my doubts beforehand, so wanted to share my positive experience with others in case anyone feels the same way and is wondering about booking. Do it!
All photos except one featuring breakfast from Air B&B listing
Breakfast photo my own, please credit if using.