Airbnb Deceived Her: Influencer Says the Place Looks: ‘Prison Cell’

UK travel creator Hatty Morton shared a striking video, garnering over 1.5 million views, showcasing a drastic difference between the listing photos and the actual state of an Airbnb in Bali, Indonesia.

Described as more of a “prison cell” than a comfortable getaway, the video reveals a significant discrepancy that travelers often fear encountering when booking accommodations. Here’s the whole story.

A Disheartening Arrival: The Reality vs. Expectation of Airbnb Bookings

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Image Credit: Diego Thomazini/Shutterstock.

The video showcases a dark room leading to a partially enclosed toilet and shower with cement walls and floors, a far cry from the airy, brightly colored room depicted in the listing. Morton humorously captioned the video, “Gentle reminder: Always triple-check your Airbnbs when staying in Bali just in case you end up in the same prison cell as we did that night.”

The room, which cost over $50 for the night, also had unwelcome guests – bed bugs. Morton shared photos from the original Airbnb listing in a follow-up video, highlighting the drastic difference between the advertised and actual space.

Some viewers speculated that artificial intelligence might have been used to enhance the listing photos, as the disparity seemed too significant to result from mere lighting and photo editing.

Community Reactions

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Image Credit: Antonio Guillem/Shutterstock.

While some viewers shared Morton’s shock and dismay, others offered less sympathy and provided advice on how to avoid similar incidents in the future.

Many suggested opting for a hotel, while others emphasized the importance of reading rental listing reviews before booking.

Morton noted that the reviews for the Airbnb were positive, with comments like, “perfect place, so clean and lovely.”

The Bigger Picture: Bali’s Tourism Boom & Accommodation Challenges

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Image Credit: JumKit/Shutterstock.

Bali has become a hotspot for digital nomads and backpackers, offering a tropical paradise on a budget. However, as tourism has surged, with the island witnessing 1.4 million foreigners from January to June, hotel prices have also escalated.

Several commenters on Morton’s videos mentioned facing accommodation issues in Bali, though not as severe as Morton’s experience.

The Hidden Pitfalls In Airbnb Listings

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Image Credit: Diego Thomazini/Shutterstock.

Morton’s unsettling experience underscores the potential risks and discrepancies in online accommodation bookings, particularly in tourist hotspots like Bali.

It serves as a reminder for travelers to exercise caution, thoroughly vet accommodation listings, and perhaps consider alternative options like established hotels to avoid falling victim to misleading listings.

Short-term rental platforms, particularly Airbnb, have been scrutinized for various reasons, including rising prices, poor customer service, and accusations of negatively impacting neighborhoods. A significant issue arises from listings that, while not outright scams, employ deceptive tactics to entice renters into securing a booking or paying a premium price.

Deceptive Tactics Employed by Hosts

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Image Credit: ArthurStock/Shutterstock.

Hosts have been found to utilize carefully staged, misleading photos, sometimes even photoshopping or using low-resolution images to hide defects and present the property in an unrealistically favorable light.

Omitted or vaguely presented listing details can also mislead renters about the property type and its amenities. For instance, a property might be listed as a “whole house” when it is, in fact, a subdivided property with shared amenities. While seemingly more reliable, videos can also be framed or edited to omit less glamorous details, presenting a skewed reality of the property.

Furthermore, hosts may stretch the truth in listing descriptions, using creative language to embellish the property’s features or proximity to popular sites. Travelers are advised to scrutinize reviews and possibly utilize Google Street View or real estate websites for additional visuals and information to avoid falling into these traps.

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This article was produced and syndicated by Viral Chatter.

Martha A. Lavallie
Martha A. Lavallie
Author & Editor | + posts

Martha is a journalist with close to a decade of experience in uncovering and reporting on the most compelling stories of our time. Passionate about staying ahead of the curve, she specializes in shedding light on trending topics and captivating global narratives. Her insightful articles have garnered acclaim, making her a trusted voice in today's dynamic media landscape.