We’re never quite sure how a new airbnb rental will work out until we turn the key.


Here’s the main photo from the listing for our Cadiz apartment.

Screenshot 2018-01-14 at 11.34.17 AM

Not too impressive, right?  Here are some more pics from the airbnb listing.


Here are some of the things I’m looking for.

  1. Basics, like a decent bathroom and bedroom.  I like to find a place with an extra bedroom so we invite friends and family from home to spend some time with us.
  2. Kitchen essentials are a larger than dorm room refrigerator, and reasonable facilities for cooking meals in the apartment.  We do that frequently, especially to take best advantage of the great food markets here.
  3. Wireless internet.  The problem is that lots of places advertise wireless internet, but have only very minimal connections.  It seems that without including this amenity, airbnb apartments are hard to rent, so the owners add the cheapest, slowest support possible.  This tends to be frustrating for people who are used to fast, streaming connections (me).
  4. Location, and especially noise concerns.  Airbnb does not reveal the actual street address of its listings until after the booking, so you have only a general idea of where the location.  However, you can judge to some extent how far it is to places you’d like to visit, and have some idea whether it will have good access to transportation.  Noise concerns are most easily assessed by:
  5. Feedback from users.  I want to see pretty overwhelmingly positive feedback, and it’s also important that the apartment owners respond to comments and seem engaged in keeping their renters happy.  I always carefully read the comments, because there are many things revealed there that are not apparent from the listing, such as neighborhood noise levels, any problems with heating or cooling systems, etc.
  6. What floor is it on?  Is there an elevator?  I try to avoid daily use of elevators, but they sure come in handy for moving luggage and groceries.

So, how is this year’s Cadiz apartment turning out?  Here’s our front door.


Up the street.


Down the street.


Only one flight to climb.


So, how is the Cadiz apartment?  Well, the word I’d choose is “workable”.  We’ve had better.

  • The bed is comfy, and we’d sleep well if it weren’t noisy at night.  The ear plugs are helping.
  • The kitchen is mainly usable, though Mary is finding it hard to make friends with the push button stove.  The fridge is adequate, but turns out what I thought in the listing picture was the oven is actually a dishwasher.  We’d much rather have the oven.
  • The place is reasonably clean, though not particularly well-equipped to be kept clean.
  • Cooking utensils are just barely usable.  This could be fixed for just a little money.
  • There is no central heating, and the weather is cold enough to miss it.  I think it’s common in this climate to get by with just auxiliary heat sources, but the electric heater is not really big enough to do a good job.
  • Our location is fine, but it’s hard to find a bad location in a city as compact as Cadiz.  The best part is being close to the ocean.


So, like I said, workable.  Maybe I’ll do better with the apartments in Cordoba and Madrid.

You really can’t tell until you turn the key…