- Bree Robertson’s Airbnb in Bali looked like a glamorous villa, but it turned out to be abandoned.
- Robertson recorded the experience on TikTok, where the video garnered more than 4.3 million views.
- Airbnb reimbursed Robertson and removed the listing. Next time, he says he’ll take a closer look at the reviews.
Bree Robertson thought a nature lodge in Bali would be the perfect place to celebrate the first anniversary of her move there with her fellow traveler.
she found a villa on airbnb with an infinity pool, on-site restaurant, and rainforest views, and booked a room for one night in mid-July after reading some good reviews.
But when Robertson and his partner arrived at the property, the village was abandoned. Instead of bright blue water, there was a pool covered in algae. The restaurant was closed and scores of chairs lined the outside. Not a single person was on the property.
“All we could do was laugh. We were so exhausted and tired, it was the perfect ending to a day that wasn’t so great,” Robertson, who shares his adventures on his website. atypical adventurehe told Insider.
The couple splurged on what they thought was a romantic Airbnb to celebrate a month of living in Bali.
In June, Robertson and her partner moved from their homes in Wellington, New Zealand, to Canggu, a seaside town on Bali’s south coast.
Until now, Robertson said the change from windy, rainy Wellington to Bali hot and tropical has been “simply brilliant”.
“It’s a nice change to go from the freezing cold and wind to Bali, where it’s sunny and beautiful,” he said.
As the couple neared their one-month mark in Bali and their 10-month relationship anniversary, Robertson began looking to Airbnb for a romantic getaway to celebrate.
The private room she landed in at the nature lodge seemed impressive with its positive pre-pandemic reviews and an Airbnb host that had a 100% response rate, she said.
So he booked the Airbnb for about 750,000 Indonesian rupiah, or about $50. In Bali, Robertson said it was a more expensive list and a waste for the couple.
On their anniversary day, the couple hopped on their scooters and drove about two hours from their apartment in Canggu to Sidemen, a town in eastern Bali.
The couple initially went to the wrong place. When they finally found the property, Robertson said she and her partner were shocked at how neglected the area looked.
Robertson said they parked in the driveway, passed through an empty reception area and headed to the main building where the large wooden doors closed.
“We walked around the back of the main building and that’s when I saw everything was overgrown,” he said. “The pool had turned green, and where the restaurant should have been, all the chairs were up and there was just dust.”
The couple realized that the hostel had become a ghost town.
Robertson said that all they could do was laugh.
“What you don’t hear on TikTok is him saying, ‘What have you done Bree? What’s going on?'” he said.
After exploring the abandoned shelter for a few minutes, it began to rain and the mood wore off, Robertson said. So they found another property in Ubud, got back on their scooters and spent the night at another property.
immediately requested a refund from Airbnb. Airbnb responded, and Robertson said a refund was issued the same day. About a week later, the listing was removed from Airbnb’s website, he said.
“We were disappointed to learn of this experience and provided our support to the guest at the time, including a full refund,” an Airbnb representative told Insider. “We hold hosts to high standards and the list is no longer on the platform.”
Going forward, Robertson plans to book Airbnbs with more recent reviews.
Robertson’s TikTok comments section is full of others sharing similar experiences with Airbnbs in Indonesia. According to Bloomberg, many resorts and villas closed and put on the market during the pandemicso it can be a challenge to know which ones are still working.
One TikToker said that they “always ask for a live video to see the current condition.”
Others said just book Airbnbs with recent reviews.
Robertson said that is what he will do in the future and he will make sure to hear from the host.
“I 100% recommend Bali. It’s a beautiful place,” he added. “I feel like this is a needle in the haystack story that happened to me.”