We were very disappointed when our Airbnb rental turned out to be just the space underneath a table at a Red Lobster restaurant. We’d been led to believe that our rental would be a stand-alone room, including a bed, walls, and a door. By the time we realized the true state of our accommodations, there were no remaining hotel vacancies in the area and we were stuck under the table for the duration of our five-day vacation.
Our stay was unsatisfying for numerous reasons, the lack of privacy being chief among them. Since it was our honeymoon, my wife and I looked forward to being intimate without an audience of strangers, but that proved impossible under the Red Lobster table. Most diners who noticed us seemed alarmed and not always receptive to sharing the space.
At one point, I was repeatedly kicked in the neck by a restless toddler. Another time, a diner spilled coleslaw in my wife’s hair and she had to rinse off with half-drunk water glasses from the table. Though it was never explicitly stated, we’d been under the impression that bathrooms with showers would be included in the rental.
While we believe that the Airbnb ad was purposely written with the intent to deceive, there were a few aspects of our stay that did deliver on the promise. As a banquet table with seating for eight to ten, our under-table rental was much more spacious than the accommodations of a nearby couple, who rented the underside of a booth. When the noise died down after closing time, we had room to stretch out and sleep reasonably well.
We also had no issues with the Wi-Fi or air conditioning, and the free parking was a nice perk. Our table was centrally located, within easy walking distance of everything in the restaurant, and the price was reasonable—significantly cheaper than that of the Marriott next door. I’m not sure that’s a fair comparison, though, since the Marriott price included a mini fridge, sufficient room to stand upright, and a far lower chance of getting stabbed in the eye with a crab fork. And the claim that our rental was “close to fine dining” seems a stretch, considering Red Lobster is known as a casual-dining establishment.
Though we were able to make the most of the situation and enjoy a tolerable honeymoon, we felt the twenty-dollar-per-night cleaning fee was excessive, as the cleaning consisted only of a two-minute vacuuming at closing time. Mitch, the Red Lobster server covering our section, required us to wipe down our table between customers. He also expected us to change the water in the lobster tank, even though neither task was mentioned anywhere in the rental agreement.
We’re not 100 percent sure that Mitch, who placed the Airbnb ad, did so with the knowledge or consent of restaurant management, so we’d like to be directed to the appropriate person to address our concerns. It’s been a week since our honeymoon, and we still can’t get the New England clam chowder smell out of our pants. If it weren’t for the free unlimited Cheddar Bay Biscuits, I honestly don’t know if we’d ever book this place again.