The five star rating that left me cold

Posted December 30, 2018

The five star rating that left me cold

Do you give your departing house guests a rating on a scale of one to five? I hope you said no to that, otherwise what kind of weirdo host are you? 

What about a paying guest? Me, for instance. Say I’m renting your holiday apartment for a week. I’m there to chill out and unwind. The last thing I’m expecting is to be conscripted into a popularity contest. Yet bizarrely I was.  

Earlier this month I spent a week in Northumberland. I had booked my stay through Homeaway, a company I now realise is obsessed more with its own metrics than the customer experience. Not only did it prompt me to give feedback on the rental property, it also encouraged the rental owners to give feedback on me.  It was a nightmarish leisure industry version of the 360 appraisal. 

These are the categories I was rated against and my thoughts on the process:

Overall experience 

What does this even mean? Presumably it’s the owners’ experience of me, not my experience of their apartment which I can only describe as Baltic. They had left a handwritten note explaining that the storage heater in the living room wasn’t functioning properly. What they neglected to say was that none of the other heaters worked either. So let’s just say I did get a chance to chill out but not in the way I’d expected. More like chilled to the bone.

As for their impressions of me? We never met but I’m guessing it was something along the lines of … Who in their right mind books a holiday on the Northumberland coast in the bleak mid-winter? She’s either intrepid or odd. In fact, I was house hunting (lovely area by the way - friendly people, castles, stunning landscape!) and using the apartment as a base. I suppose I could have tried harder to sort the heating issue but my days were taken up with viewing properties. 


Steady on. You’re talking to a house proud Irish woman. The very thought that I might not leave somewhere in tiptop condition (most times cleaner than I found it because once I’ve got those Marigolds on, I may as well give everywhere a good once over) is bordering on a hate crime. It's a total insult. 

House rules

Oh plleeease! I’m on holiday. If there are rules, I won’t read them. Hold on. My husband says he did read them. He especially remembers the ‘Do not let your dog go into the shower’ rule. What?? Actual dogs had showered in there before me? 


How does this work, given that the only communication I had with the owners was through the confusing and annoying Homeaway app? Seriously - it would be easier to hack into GCHQ’s central server than sign into that torturous piece of software. Were they assessing me on resilience and perseverance?

I scored top marks in every category which made me feel a little guilty about not providing a reciprocal rating for the apartment. My guilt was made worse when I received an email from the owners, apologising yet again. They had just discovered that the thermostat was broken and had immediately replaced it. They hoped we hadn’t been too inconvenienced. 

Here was my final chance to get everything off my chest and what did I do?  Ever the stoic, I said we’d been a bit cold but we’d managed.

add a comment  no comments

Previously on Vanity Fizz

This is your captain speaking

Posted on August 30, 2018

We were flying Ryanair from Stansted Airport. 

We were.. >>> more

Let the wind blow high, let the wind blow low

Posted on June 27, 2018

I spent last week on the island of Skye. It was lovely, apart from the wind... >>> more

Thirty minus one

Posted on April 29, 2018

Thirty years married. How could it have slipped our.. >>> more