Whenever possible we stay in apartments in preference to hotels, and over the last six months we have used Airbnb for accommodation in Phillip Island, Australia, Long Island and Manhattan, USA, and our current five night accommodation in Mexico City, the last stop on our trip.
Airbnb offer three types of accommodation, shared rooms (too old for that), private rooms where you share communal space with others (probably too old for that) and private houses or apartments (perfect).
An apartment offers much more space to relax in than a hotel, more privacy (no house staff interrupting), a washing machine, better wifi and you can eat breakfast in your pj’s instead of sharing it with strangers. Of course there is also no one to ask how to get to places, but quite frankly our experience of hotel staff is that they have not been that much help.
Turning up at an Airbnb apartment is a different travel experience from staying in a hotel. Firstly you need to get the key! In New York it was located at a key café, in Long Island the door was unlocked and in Mexico we were met at the front door. To date the system has worked well but I admit to having concerns about delayed planes or random life events which would mean we’d be stranded, but this has never happened.
Opening the door to the apartment is a bit like unwrapping a gift from a stranger, even though we have checked out the accommodation on the internet there is always that apprehension when you put the key in the door. Firstly will the key open the door and then what will the accommodation really be like. So far we have not been disappointed and Borda House in the historic area of Mexico City is a fabulous home away from home.
Borda House was built in the 18th Century by one very rich Frenchman, José de la Borda (Joseph de Laborde) as a gift for his wife. Originally it covered an entire city block and Wikipedia tells me “The interior had a monumental library, four dining rooms, 25 alcoves, three kitchens, two stables, three offices and two chapels. The entire interior was richly decorated with carpets, heavy curtains, paintings, porcelain, clocks, sculptures, and richly carved furniture”.
I would have loved to have seen it in its original state. The building that we are in once housed the harem’s bathhouse and is the only building left which has much of the interior intact, only the facades remain of the other buildings.
The tile picture is of Neptune and is all that remains of the bathhouse.
Here’s my list of what has made Borda House the perfect place to stay.
- The building is a destination in itself.
- It’s beautifully decorated, trendy, clean and welcoming.
- The bed is enormous and sooooo comfortable.
- The lounge is also comfortable with plenty of room for weary travellers to put their feet up.
- There is a sound system that Steven plugged his ipad into and we had an apartment full of music.
- The kitchen had everything we needed and I love being able to make a cuppa when I want one.
- It’s within walking distance of many sights, restaurants and close to the metro.
- It’s very quiet, you close the door and leave the chaos behind.
- The owner left a manual of how things work and where things are, including directions to the nearest supermarket.
- He also left suggestions about restaurants close by and we had one of our best meals at a restaurant on the second floor of a building that we wouldn’t have discovered by ourselves.
- There is a pile of information about Mexico City, some left by travellers before us.
- There are books on Mexico to browse through.
- The wifi is fast.
- A 20 litre bottle of drinking water was provided.
- Umbrellas waited, unused but available, at the front door.
- There are a pile of videos, some in English and we watched Seven years in Tibet (very fitting) Top Gun (Steven’s favourite movie) and Flight (about a drunk airline captain….why did we do that!).
- Staying at Borda House cost AUS$700 for five nights (including the cleaning fee) which I think is excellent value.
Steven booked Borda House and I reckon he picked a winner.