There are few things scarier in an Airbnb than the possibility that the owners have nefarious intent. I mean, OK, there’s always the fear of bed bugs or a too-early checkout time. But one man shared a TikTok video on his fiancé’s account, @Heyylexa2, and described her bachelorette party’s experience of finding a hidden door and staircase in their Airbnb.
In the video, we see his fiancé Alexa greet her bachelorette party guests at a San Rafael, Calif., Airbnb called Tranquil Waterfront Retreat Haven. As we see a tour of the house and the decorations from the party, the TikTok user’s voiceover explains that Alexa and her friends found not only the hidden door and staircase, but also tons of cameras on the property and a strange window in the bathroom.
A woman found a hidden door and staircase in an Airbnb rental.
We’ve all stayed in an Airbnb that had locked closet doors for the owner’s private belongings, or disclaimers to let us know that the owners live close by or even on the same property. And all of that is par for the course when it comes to Airbnb rentals.
But in this case, the guests weren’t made aware of a livable second story to the house, let alone the possibility that the owners were inside the house while they stayed there. The video also details the women going outside to sit by a fire and noticing a light turn on upstairs and the figure of a man in the window. (A chill literally just went through my body right now and I may currently have all the lights on in my home. I mean, it doesn’t get much creepier than this.)
The video explains that the discovery of a hidden pocket door and staircase “wouldn’t be an issue,” had the Airbnb listing actually disclosed this information. And, spoiler alert, it did not. "The Airbnb posting said that there was no staircase and that this was a single-family home," the TikTok says in the voice-over.
When the women called the police and contacted the hosts, the host showed up within just a few minutes, which only added fuel to the fire of where she had been that she arrived so quickly.
There’s a follow-up video about the Airbnb and its hidden door and staircase.
In a few follow-up videos, Alexa explains that the original listing did disclose the security cameras. However, she also says that when she and her friends stayed at the house, they received texts about not touching certain things on the property, which gave them the uncomfortable feeling of being watched.
In a follow-up TikTok, Alexa reveals she did eventually get a full refund. But she also mentions a mysterious window in the bathroom with the opposite side of it facing where the hidden staircase is. And you’d better believe that the comments under these videos show how literally everyone else would feel just as uncomfortable as Alexa and her friends.
One user commented, “What a horribly scary [and] violating experience! Airbnb needs to ban them from their website! I'm so glad you guys found out [and] called [the] police!” Another agreed that “some Airbnbs are shared spaces,” but that the information is supposed to be in the listing.
And after this video, some Airbnb guests may be just a tad more cautious when they stay in strangers’ homes in the future.
“So many Airbnbs I’ve stayed in have locked closets/basements/garages,” one user commented. “They say it’s the owners stuff or cleaning stuff, but it makes me wonder.”
Honestly, same. I may be a bona fide scaredy cat, but I think I have every right to be worried and suspicious of rentals after this hidden door and staircase story. So I fault no one for feeling the same way.