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Reviews Sept - Nov 2018

Seattle Get-Away! Sept 2018

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A great find in Seattle! In the Madrona section, it was easy to get to anywhere via the local bus system, Lyft, etc but quiet and peaceful at night with beautiful views of the city from the high vantage point. If you wear a activity tracker, you'll get your flights in for sure!  We were walking distance to a small main street with coffee shops (hemp milk for our coffee and vegan cupcakes? yes, please!), restaurants, a winery and a small grocery store where the friendly proprietor called us family even after our asking a million questions about the wine he carried and then spilling coffee beans on the floor.   We felt the love.   <3 We at LAR also love to live vicariously through others and enjoy the clever and stylish decor of the places in which we stay and this home didn't disappoint!  The bathroom  was well-supplied with amenities and the  water pressure was spot-on.    A full size washer/dryer was super helpful with our tight travel requirements (did we mention that for the time being we only travel with a carry-on bag and a backpack?  Washer/dryers are a must during our travels!) . A firm mattress with lovely bedding made for a great night sleep.   Easy access to the home with  keyless entry.   We had a question about the TV and the owners responded immediately .  The family upstairs was quiet.  We notified the owner about a small issue with the heating unit in the bedroom and based on their prior responsiveness, we have no doubt they'll address the issue.  Overall, this was a great space for our 3 night stay.  Affordable space in Seattle is hard to find-- this home put this visit in our price range and was comfortable to boot.  LAR gives this listing 4.5 Boba Teas out of 5... and we each probably had about 4-5 Boba Teas during our visit!  https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/14468790

Bellingham, Washington Casita Sept 2018

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With our daughter going to school in Bellingham, we have stayed in more than just a few hotels as we've moved her in and out every year.  This year, we decided to give Airbnb a try.    This unassuming newly-converted garage by the Chuckanut Community Forest was a delight! The owners took a compact space and made it the perfect place for our 3 night stay in Bellingham. Charming decorations- love the fairy lights and the hand-painted kitchen table. Great water pressure and shower head in the bathroom plus extra toiletries for those we forgot. Comfortable bed.   Terrific couch for lounging with plenty of blankets for cooler days and nights. Eat-in kitchen with Keurig and pods and some sodas in the fridge. No stove and just a small fridge so not really suitable for cooking but that worked out fine for us-- our impoverished college student wanted every opportunity to go to restaurants while we were there.  We only wish we had stayed just a bit longer to use the rustic backyard patio with fire pit just off the path to the woods.   Easy check in with lock box but we did meet up with the owner Erica in the end and had a great conversation exchanging travel stories. LAR gives this listing 4.5 Boba Teas out of 5- it was great for our needs but maybe not for a longer stay where you want to save money on meals.  

https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/25675878 

Stunning Vintage 1927 Bungalow in Tucson--Sept 2018

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Can a home be exotic, captivating and adorable at the same time? The Peacock can! From the moment we walked through the door, we couldn't stop oooohhing and aaaahing! Stunning decor at every turn, amenities we haven't seen before in the many Airbnbs we have stayed at, a wonderful shower and even chocolates on the pillows! Our host spared nothing for our comfort. We were amazed to find how well-stocked the kitchen was- eggs, milk, butter, juice, cereal, scones, coffee pods and Keurig and an array of flavoring syrups-- we were all set for our first breakfast without having to traipse around clueless before our caffeine hit. And to be able to have it at our leisure in such a beautiful patio made us truly feel we were on vacation. When we did want to cook a meal, the kitchen was fully stocked and ready for our culinary whims. There was also available to us a great barbeque and charcoal on the patio. Did we mention the additional snacks and beverages in the fridge? Well worth paying a dollar for each when cocktails and snacks were available to us after a day of exploring. Tremendous TV in the living room and smaller ones in both bedrooms for relaxing at the end of the day. The walk-in shower had great water pressure with high-end shampoo/conditioner/body wash available. While it is a 2 bedroom bungalow, it could prove tight quarters for 4 adults for longer stays - the kitchen and LR are small.    We loved the location of the Peacock-- our daily walks through the U of A campus and nearby 4th Ave made this home our favorite in Tucson so far. One of the joys of Airbnb is staying in places that are nicer than your own home-- and this one was! LAR gives this listing a solid 5 out of 5 Boba Teas!  https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/18735933

That LA life--October 2018

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When we first saw this townhouse available for our dates and in our price range  (comparable to staying at a hotel for a week), we grabbed it, hardly believing our luck!  And this place did not disappoint.  Three floors and 2 terraces of style and comfort, including an attached garage-- no need for street parking!  Impressive design and large spaces throughout, including a well-stocked kitchen (was all that food really available for us??).  The outdoor space was one of the biggest draws- we spent every breakfast on the patio off the kitchen and many an evening in the upstairs patio, taking in the palm trees in the distance and counting the many, many helicopters flying by (the largest # at any one time- 14!)-- such a luxury to have such outdoor space in LA!   

The bedrooms were comfortable and having the choice of two firmness of mattresses was crucial.  We ended up in the 2nd bedroom because of this and ultimately a good thing because come the weekend, the next door neighbor by the front door played their guitar/music very loudly.  Not all the time but it was noticeable when they did.   

We took advantage of the great location of  restaurants, coffee shops, groceries, etc within walking distance and easy access to  the bus around the corner (we at LAR have taken a liking to exploring the public transport during our stays - when we do this full time, we won't have a car and public transport will be crucial. )  We're morning walkers and the neighborhoods around the townhouse are a beautiful distraction. We even came across a weekly farmers market in nearby Brentwood on Saturday. 

Did we mention the amazing MBR shower? Shower heads galore and terrific water pressure.  There was also a jacuzzi tub but we didn't test it out.  

A couple of things to consider-- Air con/fan was very noisy— we couldn’t use it at night and still sleep but fortunately the  weather was mild.  

We did have a bit of a hard time trying to figure out, of all things, how the light switches worked. Overall, a guide on lights, wifi, nearby amenities, where does garbage go, how to access the garage, what are the remotes in the bathrooms and how do they work,  did they want us to use MBR closet with much of their stuff still there would have been helpful.  

This townhouse is in a city so expect some city noise.       

Note that the home has many staircases so it would not be suitable for those with mobility issues. 

Overall, a terrific stay and should we need a home for a longer period of time (as we may in the future for work),  it would fit our needs perfectly!  Thank you, Kourosh!  LAR gives this listing 4.5 out of 5 Boba Teas!  https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/23488309

Viva la CDMX!-- October 2018

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When we encouraged our son to move to Mexico City (or la CDMX as it's known from its name in Spanish), sure, we had his best interest at heart.  But we also saw it as a great excuse to visit a city we loved from a past visit.  This home was located in charming Coyoacan district, where the artist Frida Kahlo grew up.  Coyoacan has everything you'd want in a traditional Mexican town- restaurants, groceries, street vendors galore on the weekends and a magnificent plaza in which to pass the time and people watch... or catch a wedding or two at the City Hall (the former home of Hernan Cortes).   This home fit into that traditional theme-- just around the corner from a main street, it was surrounded by a large wall for privacy and security (although Coyoacan is a very safe district).  

There was no heat but it wasn't really needed- the weather in la CDMX is wonderfully moderate with low humidity.  

The small bathroom was functional but in need of an update. The hot water wasn't reliable-or were we just taking showers that went on too long ?? Our host graciously left for us numerous toiletries.  

The kitchen was also in need of an update but we'll blame our initial inability to light the gas stove on our naivety--  who knew one had to lift the glass cover from the burners before using them???  Travel is all about learning!

As we're coming to realize with all this travel, the firmness of the beds is of paramount importance-- and these beds did not disappoint!  Super firm with many pillows to choose from.  

The patio in the back was beautiful with native plants and a pretty  but not comfortable mosaic table and  benches.  We enjoyed a couple of sunny breakfasts on the more utilitarian table also outside.  Other meals were had on the huge dining room table in the first room of the house.  (It was also a great space to work on planning our next trips!) 

Coyoacan is a walking town and we made use of our terrific location.  On the flip side, the proximity had us thumping along on a Saturday night as a nearby club played on past midnight.  And just to add to the authenticity of it all, we were awoken every morning at 6 am by what we could only imagine as the scrawniest rooster imaginable from the way it sounded.  He didn't go on for long but he did his job every morning. There is a family living upstairs that is generally quiet but up and out early during the week.  

Our helpful host Jimena was there at check in to show us around the home, give us emergency info/phone # and ultimately arrange for a doctor visit for one of us when needed.  Gracias, Jimena!  

La CDMX holds a special place in our hearts now that our son is there and we were happy to have had the experience of this traditional home to give us a taste of his daily life.  LAR gives this listing a 4 out of 5 Boba Teas.  https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/14746939

A designer dream in Buchanan, VA-- Nov 2018

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Heading down the highway, looking for adventure!  And so began our trek down south and cross country.  First stop-- Asheville, NC!   We want to break up the drive a bit so we booked this charmer at the halfway point.  Edifice Rex, cleverly named after the big, goofy dog next door (make sure to give him a scritch-- he's a cutie) is located on the top floor of a converted garage (not handicap accessible) on a large plot of land not far from the highway.  Pete, the host, lives in a house on the property.  The location was ideal for our 1 night stop but we wouldn't chose it for a long-term stay as there few amenities around it.  Also, the view from our second floor deck featured the abandoned horse farm next door-- a great place to take brooding, artsy photographs but a bit of an eyesore... and a bit fragrant.  For those reasons, we would have loved to have taken this loft  apartment and moved it to a different space because when we walked in, we were instantly smitten!  Pete definitely has an eye for  design and color.   We loved his use of recycled wood and materials to make side tables, art, distressed doors, and the amazing bench at the foot of the bed. And we couldn't stop looking through the atlas from 1897!  The bathroom was a good size and supplied with many high-end amenities.  The loft included an eat-in kitchen with full size stove and fridge.  If the weather had cooperated, we would have taken our breakfast to the outdoor table and chairs on the small deck.   There was some highway noise at night but Pete thoughtfully provided on a bedside table a white-noise maker. Pete was also very accommodating when we needed to make a change to our reservation dates.   LAR gives this listing a 4 out of 5 Boba Teas-- it served our needs perfectly but wouldn't it be nice to stay here longer if it were located in, say, Asheville?  https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/25726036