“Always Triple Check Your Airbnbs” — Woman Shares "Nightmare" Rental She Likens to a "Prison"

A young woman traveling ended up in a prison-like Airbnb stay that was nothing like its original listing. We unravel her nightmare in Bali.

Jamie Lerner - Author

Sep. 6 2023, Published 3:47 p.m. ET

When was the last time you booked or bought something online that didn’t live up to its expectations? Sometimes it’s just a little thing, like a dress you thought would fit better. But other times, it’s a game-changer … like an Airbnb that’s nothing like its listing. I travel a lot, but my biggest travel fear is paying money for something that isn’t what it seems, like a botched flight booking or an unlivable hotel room.

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Airbnbs are tricky — in many countries, they’re now illegal as a way to not drive up rent prices, but the website will still operate. There’s no way to properly see and vet the property before booking, so there’s no way of knowing if what you see is really what you get. And TikToker Hatty Morton (@hattymorton) definitely got something completely different from what she booked in Bali. So, she documented her Airbnb nightmare on TikTok.

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Hatty warns to “always triple check your Airbnbs” after likening her nightmare Bali Airbnb to a prison.

After seeing what Hatty went through, we’re honestly afraid. In a five-second video showcasing her “Airbnb” in Bali, Hatty wrote, “Gentle reminder: Always triple check your Airbnbs when staying in Bali just in case you end up in the same prison cell as we did that night.” She then shows us exactly that — a cement cell with the bare minimums.

The room (if that) is covered in mold and has no furniture, no decor, and barely any windows. There’s a toilet and a showerhead in a block room with no towels or racks. The bed isn’t a bed at all, but just a block of wood. And if you’re thinking, "She should’ve checked the reviews," you better think twice because our girl did check the reviews.

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People can make a lot of money off of an Airbnb scam, and Hatty is clearly a victim of one of those scams. When commenters asked for a comparison with the listing, it became clear that the listing was probably an AI-enhanced version of the actual place. Hatty also shared that she paid 50 euros per night, which may sound cheap but might be on the high end of pricing in Bali.

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Commenters quickly shared their horror and fear at the sketchy Airbnb situation.

Usually, when an influencer or TikToker likens their Airbnb to a prison, they’re overexaggerating, but Hatty is definitely not hyperbolizing. One commenter even said, “Girl did you book a room at Kerobokan?” Kerobokan is one of the biggest prisons in Bali with a long and complicated history of riots.

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People thought she might have been joking, that the space had been robbed or vandalized, or that there was a fire. That’s legit how scary it looked. When they said to read the reviews, Hatty not only read them, but they were good reviews! She explained, “The reviews honestly were like ‘lovely and clean.’” Clearly, those reviews were bots, but it’s always hard to tell when you’re looking for a good place to stay!

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Other people chastised Hatty for staying in an Airbnb in Bali. Some TikTokers said they don’t use Airbnb at all anymore, while one said, “Maybe don’t get an Airbnb in a third-world country.” However, Bali is a popular vacation destination so plenty of people do book Airbnbs.

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For the most part, however, people were empathetic. Some shared stories of their own travel struggles, while others worried about their future Bali bookings. But check all Airbnb bookings — not just in Bali!

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