No need to ask if you’ve ever heard of this new lodging option; it seems everyone has. Like Uber, Airbnb is a direct product of technology. Whereas Uber, though, matches cars with riders, Airbnb matches out-of-town guests with rooms.
With on-line booking, who would have ever dreamed that someone could walk around with a small machine with reading options as expansive as a public library? Who thought one would ever be able to go shopping for literally anything while riding in a car or sitting in your home? No one. (Well, someone.) But there is one irreplaceable item not often a part of this new economy: the small and personable inn, such as our Inn on the Alameda.
Let me elaborate. According to Wikipedia, “hospitality” has its roots in the Latin noun hospitalis, which refers to guest lodging or an inn. Hospus, a condensed version of hospitalis, is the root for the English word “host.” Hence, the words hospitality and hotels are tied to guest lodging and inns by their very definition. And what makes our inn different from a short-term rental is its very genuine and personable hospitality.
In a minute, I want to share some real life stories from the Airbnb and VRBO experiences of my family’s iconic 2016 road trip up the West Coast. But to set the tone for the next phases of the blog, the dictionary defines hospitality as the friendly and generous reception of guests, visitors, or strangers, in a warm, friendly, and generous way.
So off we go—my wife, daughter, a poodle, a dachshund, and I, from Tijuana to Portland, driving in a rented SUV. While some short-term rentals were better than others, there were many things missing compared to a hotel stay. I wanted to experience from my family’s eyes how these VRBOs and Airbnbs stood up to our Inn on the Alameda.
First, any SENSE OF ARRIVAL is almost nonexistent. Even with GPS, I sometimes found myself walking to the rear of condo projects, looking for a hidden sub-unit and then trying to find an on street parking place—not easy in summer. Then, a gate code and door code we had to memorize and immediately locating the visitors’ handbook to master the four-control media TV system. (It’s a relief to arrive at our small landscaped and inviting Inn, day or night.)
During our road trip, if we ever had any sort of MAINTENANCE issue, we often had to leave a message on a phone number, and were told that someone would call us back within four to six hours. And that was usually just to have someone walk us through the media system, which we had somehow un-programmed, or to respond to air conditioning or hot water problems. On the weekends, the recorded response, “We’ll get back to you on Monday,” is not the response you want to hear when you call a number for maintenance issues . . . while on vacation.
I don’t know about you, but if I am vacationing, I want and practically need MAID SERVICE. Rarely, if ever, does an Airbnb offer this service. And if they do, it can entail unknown subcontractors—unlike the trained, dedicated, and known employees of our Inn.
Compare a short-term rental breakfast—where you’ll need to go to the store for ingredients, which means finding a store that has what you want—with what’s right there waiting for you at the Inn on the Alameda: fresh fruits, turkey sausages, chiles, eggs, and the Inn’s boulangerie selection of baked goods. Worth writing home about.
DEDICATED SECURITY is a must for me, especially when passing through a new town.
At the Inn on the Alameda, in our patio and our Agoyo Lounge—and I have yet to find a short-term rental that even has a LOUNGE—every day from 4-5, we have a COMPLIMENTARY RECEPTION. We have good wines and an assortment of olives, cheeses, breads, fresh grapes. It is a very good chance to rendezvous with friends you are traveling with or to make new friends by sharing experiences from each day’s touring.
In all I can sum up my short-term rental experiences this way: at the Inn on the Alameda, we have long-term employees and local family people who are always available and always more than happy to help you with whatever you need. And we know Santa Fe. We live here. We love it here. We want to share our city with you and give you the best experience possible.