On a quiet Monday evening we had the pleasure of attending an Airbnb meet up at Il Lido Canteen in Cottesloe. The evening was a chance to chat with Sam, the country manager for Australia and New Zealand as well as connect with fellow Perth hosts.
For those that do not already know, Airbnb is an online community for finding a place to stay, be it a room or an entire home. The concept of the collaborative sharing website surfaced a few short years ago when Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia living in the tech start up town of San Francisco rented out three airbed mattresses from a website they put together called airbedandbreakfast.com. The idea grew into something fantastic and today members can find a place to stay in 190 countries.
I couldn’t really tell you how I stumbled across Airbnb, apart from the fact that a website link appeared on my computer screen when I was looking for accommodation for our European holiday back in 2010. My first reaction to the website was this is too good to be true! Accommodation websites before Airbnb were cluttered and difficult to navigate. The Airbnb website was clean in design and the photos of each listing looked perfect, how could it be? The answer I know now is that Airbnb offer the services of a professional photographer. Our European holiday was a big deal for us – 5 weeks and 5 city stopovers. We had been saving for a long time. We had no real intentions to stay in a hotel preferring somewhere low-key, a place where we could live amongst the locals. We went for it booking Richard’s apartment in Paris and Maria’s in Berlin.
For me personally, Airbnb altered the way in which I travel and explore a city, turning the smallest of experiences into meaningful moments. One afternoon in Paris we cycled around doing grocery shopping returning to the tiniest apartment I have ever stayed in to cook up a meal. We made quatro fromage, cut up a crusty baguette to go with even more cheese and salami. We shared a bottle of 2€ red wine sitting around a small poker table in the middle of the room. Our Parisian apartment was above Cafe de L’industrie in Bastille, it was a brilliant experience. In Tokyo, our host Jacob lent us his two bicycles and we cycled around Harajuku and Shibuya for the day passing through the cherry blossom parties at Yoyogi Park.
I think the Airbnb experience is what you make it. It might not be for everyone and some of us travel for the pampering experience that hotels can provide but if you are flexible and possibly a modern day explorer I know you will gain more from your travels. www.airbnb.com
Seth Porges wrote up an excellent article on How to Use Airbnb Like a Pro and you can read it here.
Il Lido Canteen
Airbnb is all about experiencing life as a local and the venue at Il Lido Canteen was the ideal setting for enjoying the best that Western Australia has to offer. Il Lido is located across the road from the iconic Cottesloe Beach, just a small portion of Western Australia’s pristine coastline that you must explore if you happen to be travelling in Perth. The evening unfolded in a room off the side of the restaurant, not too far from the action of the dining room.
The dinner menu offered meals in the form of shared plates, light meals, pasta and main meals. The staff were exceptional, quick to serve us throughout the evening as well as rearranging the table for a few late comers. Osso bucco, quinoa salad, potato gnocchi – we all admired each other’s dishes as they arrived to the table.
My dish was the tortellini stuffed with ricotta and pumpkin, it was finished with a light sauce and a generous amount of crispy sage. The combination of the sauce with the sage was absolutely delicious. I am not one for creamy pasta but this dish is a worthy exception.
I am a creature of habit when it comes to dessert, always ordering a chocolate based dish. The dessert menu had some great selections and this time was to be different! Rum and raisin semi freddo and poached rhubarb, that sure did sound interesting! The semi freddo was soft and creamy, the combination of the rum based ice cream with the sweet rhubarb was just delicious. I would return for this dessert alone!
Towards the end of the evening Sam mysteriously announced that airbnb were plotting away at something in the background. We were given part of a manifesto, sealed in an envelope. I am a little excited to see what the future holds for this sharing concept company and mighty happy to be a part of it.