our homes away from home: the asia edition

so one thing we found out very quickly into our travels was that although airbnb is a nice alternative to hotels to get that ‘home away from home’ experience, it’s not quite perfect.  i swear that we weren’t trying to nitpick about each of our places but there would always be, without fail, something that was caused an issue.  more often than not it was the shower that had an issue as for some magical reason, puddles would appear on the other side of the bathrooms after using it.  in any case, this is a quick rundown of the places we stayed and the things that made us miss home even more…

niseko (landmark view):

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The common area was huge (stock photo from hotel)

cost/night/person (in cad): $180 (the perils of booking late)
the thing that rocked: a two minute walk to the slopes and one of the best sunrises i’ve ever seen as it creeped into our balcony window
the thing that sucked: a washing machine that refused to dry our clothes which we unfortunately figured out later was because it was not a dryer as well.  you know those clothes that smell springtime-fresh?  these were the furthest thing from that.

rusutsu (westin):

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Westin’s heavenly beds (stock photo from hotel)

cost/night/person (in cad): $180 (much better value than niseko though still priced through the roof)
the thing that rocked: westin’s ‘heavenly’ beds.  also being able to walk downstairs to get onto the mountain via a lift or a monorail.  and the endless powder.  and the breakfast buffets.  there’s really nothing that sucked about this place.
the thing that sucked: oh wait, the price.  our most expensive place per night at nearly 3x our budget.  but hell, it was epic.

sapporo (airbnb 1):

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Roomy enough for 5 ppl

cost/night/person (in cad): $62
the thing that rocked: the tatami room which was really comfortable and amazingly warm considering that it was -10 outside and i was sick.
the thing that sucked: the bathroom and toilet rooms were so. damn. cold.  showering in a freezer would have been warmer.

asahikawa (washington):

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Very tight quarters (stock photo from hotel)

cost/night/person (in cad): $50
the thing that rocked: not much rocked about asahikawa other than we were across from the mall which kept us out of the blizzards.
the thing that sucked: being stuck in that tiny room for 10 days with super slow wifi and barely able to watch movies to keep us entertained.

sapporo (airbnb 2):

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Kitchen is in the closet

cost/night/person (in cad): $37
the thing that rocked: we were only here for two days so all we needed was a bed relatively close to the train station.  it was easy to get to the mountains as well as other places in the city thanks to the underground shopping arcade connected to the main terminal.
the thing that sucked: a floodlight outside our bedroom window with blinds the thickness of one-ply toilet paper.  haha didn’t get a wink of sleep the night before we had to train it to the town of otaru at 6am.

otaru (smile hotel):

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Decor from the 70s

cost/night/person (in cad): $46
the thing that rocked: free hokkaido milk everyday.  i don’t even like dairy but it was like drinking happiness.  the richness of cream (not that i make a habit of drinking cartons of cream) with the consistency of 2% milk.  hokkaido dairy ain’t no joke.
the thing that sucked: pretty cruddy wifi in both rooms and quite dated interiors.

sapporo (airbnb 3):

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Twin beds weren’t even side by side, felt like we were at camp

cost/night/person (in cad): $38
the thing that rocked: our first usable kitchen in a month, albeit the size of a shower
the thing that sucked: the standalone heater doesn’t regulate temperature.  it’s either on or off.  so our options were to freeze before we slept or wake up in a sauna.

tokyo (airbnb 1):

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Had an old house smell

cost/night/person (in cad): $36
the thing that rocked: multiple rooms for the first time in over a month.  the little things we take for granted
the thing that sucked: smelled funky.  like old deli meat mixed with wet cloths.

tokyo (airbnb 2):

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Super spacious and comfy

cost/night/person (in cad): $43
the thing that rocked: two huge and awesome beds, newly renovated
the thing that sucked: the sink faucet was two feet from the bottom of the sink.  washing anything below the sink level results in splashed everywhere.  washing anything about the sink level resulted in splashes everywhere.  usually not a huge issue except for the fact that, you know, you need the sink everyday.

korea (airbnb):

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Lots of room, there was even a second bedroom

cost/night/person (in cad): $45
the thing that rocked: there weren’t any piles of garbage on the inside of our unit.  unfortunately the same can’t be said of the city.
the thing that sucked: our shower/toilet/wading pool combo.  its reputation precedes this post.

taiwan (service apartment):

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Basic but functional

cost/night/person (in cad): $45
the thing that rocked: service apartment so it was very well maintained and on top of a major transit station.  super convenient, comfortable bed, shower worked without any hitches (great success!)
the thing that sucked: elevated door jams that resulted in a lot of smashed toes and swearing.

taiwan (airbnb 1):

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No use for the kitchen, so many great and cheap places to eat in taipei

cost/night/person (in cad): $40
the thing that rocked: a six spray jet shower.  a splashy  mess when in use but who cares when it’s that much fun!
the thing that sucked: nonexistent power outlets.  seriously.  four people are staying in this unit and the only two outlets are under the television.  you can call us technology addicts if you like but seriously… TWO OUTLETS?

jiufen:

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Shanghai palace

cost/night/person (in cad): $41
the thing that rocked: the crown mouldings and venetian styled ceiling.  swag so hard.  also, a communal tv in the hallway that we watched spirited away on (that was based in jiufen!)
the thing that sucked: no windows and a double door to get out of the hallway.  something/everything about this place didn’t feel up to code starting with our reception desk being in an appliance store.

taipei (airbnb 2):

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Felt like a college dorm

cost/night/person (in cad): $33
the thing that rocked: very modern and space saving design with enough for two sleeping quarters (not quite rooms because there weren’t any doors) and a full kitchen in less than 400 sq ft of space.
the thing that sucked: the ceilings in our sleeping quarters are about 3 feet high and i smashed my head in my haste to get up for our early morning flight to hong kong.

hong kong (chez uncle’s):

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Amazing view

cost/night/person (in cad): $0
the thing that rocked: my uncle’s maid, les.  awesome cook, did all our laundry, awesome cook, stayed up to let us in after hours oh and did i mention she’s an awesome cook?
the thing that sucked: internet woes galore.  service provider issues and we really fell behind the 8-ball in terms of researching and planning for our trip as well as blogging

el nido (sei naczioni):

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Very rustic

cost/night/person (in cad): $40
the thing that rocked: a very rustic cabana that felt like we were actually unplugging from life once we got inside.  the bed was surprisingly comfortable and the wooden shutters didn’t let any light in.  i could’ve slept all day especially once the heat kicked in.  oh, and lala!  we miss lala :(
the thing that sucked: water problems.  waking up one day with brown water coming out of the sink and having the water cut out on me twice while showering.  thankfully my planes, trains & automobiles training had taught me to not reach for the underwear.

bohol (bee farm):

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Huge king size bed

cost/night/person (in cad): $40
the thing that rocked: everything.  top notch service that i’ll be comparing all future hotel stays to.  too many things were good from the views to the buffet breakfasts to the seaside massages.  free upgrade to the biggest rooms with a water view thanks to sarni’s philippino charm.  we extended one extra night because it was just too nice to leave.
the thing that sucked: not a single thing.

cebu (eloisa):

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Another room with no windows (stock photo)

cost/night/person (in cad): $32
the thing that rocked: customer service again.  the reception desk made sure we got our wakeup call, organized an airport shuttle and had a breakfast packed for us for our early morning flight.  didn’t use the room for much else other than sleeping for four hours.
the thing that sucked: felt like we were sleeping in a safe.  no windows and when the lights go out, it’s pitch freaking black.  wouldn’t have even been able to see eddie murphy’s teeth in here.

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