Before we checked out of our HomeAway apartment to catch our train to Edinburgh, I asked property manager Mike to show me other properties he had. Mostly because I wanted to see more baby-friendly, accessibility-friendly options and partly because if I was going to recommend a vacation rental as family-friendly, it better be beyond its good looks.
Our rental was located in the revamped neighborhood of Balham which reminded me of Foggy Bottom in Washington DC, and was just spitting distance from Clapham South tube. The variety of ethnic restaurants alone was enough to convince me to come back and stay in this neighborhood. It really was a hidden goal of mine; to get my ethnic food fix before returning to Stockholm’s pickled herring.
Before I left, I hopped into Mike’s jeep and we drove around Balham, checking out some other rentals – from cozy basement level one bedroom apartments with their own back patio and garden, to larger three bedroom units that screamed “family reunion” time.
Mike, along with his Canadian partner Julie run Holiday Rentals London – a management company that oversees 19 properties in some of the best locations in the city. All their properties are listed on HomeAway‘s site as well as some others.
My verdict in a nutshell?
Yes, I will use HomeAway again.
Not because they covered my lodging in London which I’m certainly grateful for. Partly because of their professionalism throughout the process – from working with their PR team to working on the ground with Mike, just one of many property managers listed through their site. But mostly because the apartment looked exactly like it did on its HomeAway listing (maybe even better in person), and had all the amenities advertised.
While the company can’t really vet every single listing, I did get some excellent advice from property manager Julie. If an apartment located along the Thames River with views of Big Ben is renting for just 50 pounds a night, you should definitely smell a rat.
So next time I use HomeAway, I’ll have this handy checklist I compiled next to me so I don’t make the mistake of choosing a furnished apartment that reminded me of the condo I owned during my single years.
I know, nostalgia superseded practicality.