Julia responded to our booking request very quickly, which was great when we were booking at short notice.
Unfortunately Julia was away and her brother was looking after the apartment. He works till late, so we couldn't check in until after 20:30, which was very inconvenient, since we had to check out of our other hotel at midday!
We specifically asked if anyone smokes in the apartment and Julia said no, so we booked the room feeling relieved.
As soon as her brother opened the front door, it stank terribly of smoke inside!!
When we commented and said Julia told us it's a non smoking room, he said OUR ROOM has no smoke!!
We both felt sick and couldn't stand it. We contacted Airbnb to cancel the booking immediately.
Unfortunately we had to stay 1 night as it was very late and we had nowhere else to go.
Also our driver on the way there told us the area is unsafe, especially not recommended to go outside at night.
The neighbourhood is in a more affordable area of Beijing, and many short term renters live there.
There are many people coming and leaving with suitcases. The streets have piles of rubbish on the ground, and the area is very run down and feels like a ghetto. Our driver said the room was extremely expensive considering the location!!!
In the end we didn't even have dinner, ended up staying one night and left the next day.
I am very happy to say that Airbnb customer service was amazing, they offered a full refund and allowed us to stay one night at no cost since it was so late and we had nowhere else to go.
In future, hosts should be explicitly clear if anyone is smoking in the apartment.
In China smoking might be common and tolerated by many, but that is not the case in other countries and when guests are told it's a non smoking apartment, it's expected no one will smoke inside anywhere.
It's winter and below 0 outside, so hardly pleasant to open windows and bring in fresh air. Not to mention, when anyone smokes inside the smell stays forever, you will never get rid of it!!