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View from back of house. Renters live on the other side of this condo-style dwelling.

We’ve been pretty clear around these parts about our desire to stay in vacation rentals when traveling. It’s easier to do that once your family exceeds 5 people and it allows you access to your own kitchen (which also helps to keep the cost down). On our recent trip to the Oregon coast we were looking for a house in Rockaway. We wanted to spend a little bit less than usual on a house because this was sort of a last minute trip and we are presently saving up for a different vacation. At the same time, we hoped to find a good house that would serve us well and we settled on this particular home which we found through Airbnb.

Usually we write up only good reviews about the places we’ve really loved but that doesn’t always provide a good and accurate picture of travel now, does it? Certain things are always bound to go a little wrong but you can make the best of them and that’s what we tried to do with this house. We did provide a bit of negative feedback to the owner, based on our experience, and we want to note that right upfront in this review because their response wasn’t a very happy one. (Negative feedback might not always be happy, but as business owners ourselves, we recognize that although it can sometimes be unpleasant, it can also be useful to improve one’s self and your business.)

I’ll list the pros and the cons of the house because – as in all of life – there were some of both.

Pros:

  • There is very easy access from the house to the beach. There is a nicely maintained trail from the backdoor to the sand that our family thought was pretty fantastic (and that’s not an exaggeration). Along the trail there is a little foot bridge that our kids delighted in crossing and also a good sized private “camp” area for a campfire and picnic.

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  • The beach next to the house is sparsely visited which makes it feel very private. Most of the people who were on the beach at the same time as ourselves seemed to be visitors or residents from neighboring houses. We had a great time digging in the sand and playing in the waves. You could not ask for a better beach to play on if you choose this home. Note: sand toys are also provided for the kids which was awesome because we had forgotten ours.

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  • The house was conveniently located to everything that we had wanted to do during our stay. It was central to Tillamook and Astoria, both places we had planned to check out. It is located right off Hwy 101 and is remarkably easy to find. The owners give great directions to the house and we had no troubles at all with its location.

Cons:

  • The pictures on the Airbnb are fair and accurate, with the exception of the basement room which we supposed would be where our children would sleep. The walls in that room were covered with wallpaper-like pictures which had been partially scrapped off and the paint clearly needed some attention. There are a total of 5 “twin sized” beds in the basement but only two were partially made up (the fitted sheet was all that was on; no pillows to be found). Three of the beds are very narrow, not quite twin sized, and have no railing on them which effectively made them unusable to us with our small children. Furthermore they were not made up at all, with the foam-style mattresses fully exposed. I could not find extra bedding in that room. (Turns out, all extra bedding was located in the upstairs bedroom.)
  • The bedding was our main complaint about the house as it was all sort of old and musty feeling/smelling. One of the upstairs bedrooms bore a distinct odor of old vanilla scented perfume that was concentrated on the bed, making us feel very much as if the sheets had not been washed prior to our arrival. When we put on replacement sheets obtained from the second bedroom, we discovered holes in the fitted sheets. The bedding just generally came off as being old and/or unclean. We very well know that the owners of the house never intended for any of these bedding difficulties and yet they did exist. 10:30 p.m. at night is not the time you normally call up housekeeping to lodge a complaint at a vacation rental, so we just went with it.
  • There is a musty smell in the house which is evident after being outside in the great outdoors for awhile. It just felt like it needed a good airing.
  • The pots & pans in the kitchen are very worn down, with scrapes and some food residue. The owner said the thing to have done was just to wash it and we can agree that’s the thing to do! However it isn’t something that you really want to do as a new guest coming in. It feels a bit gross (quite frankly) to clean up other people’s messes in a vacation rental.

Our days were mostly spent out of the house so these were items we only dealt with in the evening. These things were issues to us and so we wouldn’t stay there again and would want for other families considering this property to know about.

It is very true that we did not contact the owners while we were present in the house in order to address these concerns. As we say, we were only there at night and that didn’t seem the time. It felt better just to work with what we had, make the most of it, enjoy the parts we could and note the bad to the owners afterward so they could care for things as they saw fit (i.e., air out that bedroom, buy new bedsheets, perhaps some new non-stick pots and pans, etc.)

We’re are totally good with cleaning up a vacation rental and starting loads of laundry, etc.,. That’s rather an expected aspect of vacation rentals which we have done before and we’ll do it again. Our objections aren’t to cleaning but age and smells, both surfaced here during our experience.

Again, it’s a great location and it has great potential! It just needs a little TLC to bring it up a notch. Just things to make a note of if you are sensitive to these issues. If not – go and expect to enjoy it thoroughly!

Additional note: this is a pet friendly location. Which could account for some of the smell.