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The peculiarities of the apartment rent via Airbnb in Dubai

Published on January 5, 2017 by Dubai Apartment

We travel a lot with my husband, and what is more – we haven’t used services of any tour agencies for 5 years. The reason is simple – you get to know much more about the country you’re visiting if you travel on your own instead of taking a package tour. Yes, even though it’s more difficult and usually costs more, it’s still worth it: even during a single trip you’ll see and learn a lot more about the country than if you take a few package tours to it.

Renting an apartment in Dubai on Airbnb: an opinion of an experienced traveler


In most cases we book accommodation on Airbnb, and during our last trip to Dubai we noticed that renting an apartment via this service here has a few particularities.
The Airbnb itself works the same way as in any other city of the world, but both apartments and their owners are different from what we’re used to deal with in Europe, or for instance, SEA.

I’ll try to describe these particularities and figure out what they’re based on, so that our colleagues-travellers would be prepared for everything.

Very few apartments with direct owners

For some it might seem as an advantage, but for us it’s clearly a disadvantage. As you have a conversation with the apartment owners at supper, you’ll learn much more than on any city tour or website. In addition – the owner of the place is your new acquaintance in town who could give you some important info or help you out if you need that, but without him (or her) – you’re on your own. In the Dubai segment of Airbnb you’ll either find inexpensive studio (or regular) apartments placed there by real estate agents, or you’ll find luxurious penthouses and villas directly from the owners. There’s no in-between, almost no cheap apartments from the owners directly.

Very many real estate agents

Actually, agencies infiltrate Airbnb almost in every place on Earth, but in Dubai – there are extremely many of them. At least me myself have never seen such a number of brokers throughout my whole history of using Airbnb. They’re easily distinguished by almost identical apartment descriptions, standard photo packages as if they were taken from a real estate newsletter, and by typical advertising articles they write. After viewing a couple of apartments placed by an agent you start recognizing his “style”.

Renting an apartment in Dubai on Airbnb: an opinion of an experienced traveler

I can’t say it’s certainly bad. On the one hand, agencies create diversity, on the other hand it’s more difficult to find what you need in a flood of propositions. Over and above, if you rent such an apartment you’ll have to pay a double commission – both to the website and the agency. And what’s the need in Airbnb then if you can book an apartment directly on the agency’s website? Though Airbnb let’s you read opinions about apartments, which is good.

rent an apartment airbnb Dubai

Arabian persistence that evolves into obtrusiveness

Have you ever tried taking a cab in the Cairo airport? Fighting off a dozen of drivers, while each of them is trying to grab your hands, clothes or luggage and pull you in his direction?
Well imagine yourself in the same situation as this, but on Airbnb. Right after you ask one lessor a question – you’ll never get him off you anymore. At first you don’t pay much attention to this, but after a few days, when you find yourself swamped with emails and messages – it becomes quite annoying.

A risk to rent the wrong apartment

It did not happen to us, but it did happen to our friends. They negotiated the rent of one place, they paid it, but after they arrived the realtor took them to some other area of the city. When they resented being taken to another direction, the agent explained that their apartment had already been booked by someone directly, and that he would take them to an apartment as good as they’d paid for. And indeed, the apartment was as good as they wanted, but the area was remote and inconvenient, so it kind of left a bitter taste in their mouths.

rent an apartment Airbnb Dubai

No soulfulness and sincerity

For most of the people – it’s not an important thing at all, but it’s very noticeable if we compare booking a place via Airbnb in Dubai and in other cities. Somewhere in Rhodes or Sri Lanka homeowners settle you in as if you were their relative. They always keep in touch, help you, invite you to different events, acquaint you with their family, feast you, even if they live separately. Renting a place in Dubai has a “just business” attitude: you arrived, got the keys, live there for some time, return the keys when you leave. That’s it. I know, that’s exactly what many people look for, but as for me – I really like interacting with the world, especially while traveling. So this kind of formality really embarrasses me.

Renting an apartment in Dubai on Airbnb has several peculiarities that tourists and travelers should be aware of.

And now the revelation: after we’d been searching apartments on Airbnb we booked it via agency. We found a good apartment on Airbnb, we were ready to send out the payment, but as our application was being reviewed, my husband decided to browse some other websites of agencies and he found a very similar apartment in the same building, but 5 dollars a day cheaper. Both offers came from agencies, so we decided to book it directly. Many thanks to HouseDubai for organizing it all on a high level and for the punctuality of their manager Marina. And we learned now that we always have to consider alternative options.

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