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Family Holidays in Holland and Belgium – Hotel or Airbnb?

I asked hubby to look through the listings on TripAdvisor, booking.com, Airbnb, etc, and he started to feel my stress. With about a month left to book accommodation in the almost peak season, there weren’t many choices within our budget (all others were in crazy prices, at least for us). Moreover, we wanted accommodation that provides a crib and a kitchen to cook meals mainly for our toddler.

Booking Airbnb seemed to be our best option, and it’s generally cheaper than other choices, even though still not ideally affordable.

In this post, I will first share with you money saving tips for booking an Airbnb, followed by our reviews of the Airbnb accommodations we stayed in in Netherlands (Delft and Rotterdam) and Belgium (Antwerp).


Tips for Booking an Airbnb


Here are a few tips to help you save money when booking an Airbnb:

  1. Weekly or monthly discounts. Sometimes, the owner offer discounts if you stay for a week or a month. Because of this weekly discount, sometimes booking 7 days is cheaper than 6 days, same goes for the monthly discount.
  2. Watch out for Occupancy Tax. This is for those planning to stay for almost a month. If the Airbnb is located in a city with transient occupancy tax, such as San Diego, where you are being taxed for less than 30 nights, it may be cheaper to book 31 nights instead of 30. With the monthly discount and omission of occupancy tax, it might actually be CHEAPER to book more nights than you need.
  3. Look out for new listings. Try them out and you might be rewarded with a 20% discount. Airbnb provides the option for owners to offer 20% discount for the first 3 reservations. We got this discount in Antwerp!
  4. Compare with other websites. You might find the same listing, listed cheaper elsewhere, such as Agoda.
  5. Negotiate price. If you are staying longer than 4 days, or if it’s a last minute booking, you might want to try your luck haggling with the owner. Click on “Contact this host” and NOT “Request to Book” to tell them when you are going to stay and ask for a better rate. Airbnb hosts have the option to send you a “Special Offer” through the website.
  6. Make your first Airbnb booking with my referral link. You’ll get S$45 (US$33) discount* and also another S$17 (US$12) to use toward an experience.

*Minimum amount applies.


Delft (Netherlands)


Our Airbnb in Delft

  • Listing: Delft 19th century fully renovated apartment (www.airbnb.com.sg/rooms/31686096?s=67&sharer_id=8743667)
  • Stay Dates: 17 May to 24 May 2019; 7 Nights (Friday to Friday)
  • Room Type: Entire home/apt; 1 queen bed + 1 crib
  • Guests: 2 adults + 1 infant
  • Price: S$999.45 (S$143/night)
  • Price Breakdown:
    • $123.19 x 7 nights = $862.36
    • Cleaning fee = $22.89
    • Service fee = $114.20

Our Airbnb Review

Location: Beautiful old house situated very near the main square, Markt, where the Town Hall and New Church are. Hence, it’s in a good central location to explore Delft. Moreover, Delft hosts a nice outdoor market every Saturday between April and October and it’s literally at the doorstep of the house. The house is also relatively near to Delft train station, although it takes a bit of time and effort when rolling our luggage and stroller through the cobbled grounds and slopes.

Kitchen: Even though it’s an old house, it has a modern kitchen well-fitted with oven, microwave, and stove. Pots and utensils available as well.

Bathroom (some ranting ahead): Basic toiletries and towels were provided. Also, having a washer and a dryer around was a big plus point for us. However, we needed help to operate the shower head which is part of an old plumbing system. Nancy, the host, said we had to trial and error for it to work, but we just couldn’t find the sweet spot. In the end her son came because we insisted help. He kind of made the shower head work, but the water flow was weak still. Regardless, good that he came because he too realised that the drainage outflow was indeed extremely slow and helped us to clear clogged drainage. Initially, when we feedback about the drainage, Nancy said the water outflow was slower because it’s an old system and didn’t offer to come check. Glad the son came, otherwise we would have been showering in a pond of dirty water for a week!

Bedroom: WiFi was provided but it was weak or no signal in the bedroom. LAN cable was provided in the bedroom but no use for us who didn’t bring along a laptop. Even then, there were only small side tables and our own laps to put a laptop.

Living Room: We placed the baby crib in the living room because we sleep in separate rooms back in Singapore. Nevertheless, there is no space in the bedroom for a crib. At night, street lights shone brightly in and streets (a pub is nearby) could be noisy. Alas, the long days also meant the noise went later into the night. We were not affected by the light and noise in the bedroom, but not so ideal for Baby E sleeping in the living room.

Others: Floor is dusty, so for Asians who take off shoes at home like us, note that it’s best to keep those shoes on. Her son came and just walked all around in shoes, even into the bathroom. So I guessed it’s different culture. Another thing, soundproofing is not great and light sleepers might be disturbed by the neighbours upstairs when they moved around. Regardless, Nancy was very prompt in communication with us prior and during the stay.

Recommended? I would recommend this for a short stay over the weekend to explore Delft. Since it’s not super near to the train station, not sure if it makes a good base to explore the surrounding regions from here.


Antwerp (Belgium)


Our Airbnb in Antwerp

  • Listing: Stylish and unique loft in the center of Antwerp (Translated) (www.airbnb.com.sg/rooms/31896403?s=67&sharer_id=8743667)
  • Stay Dates: 24 May to 31 May 2019; 7 Nights (Friday to Friday)
  • Room Type: Entire home/apt; 1 queen bed + 1 crib
  • Guests: 2 adults + 1 infant
  • Price: S$730.15 (S$104.50/night)
  • Price Breakdown:
    • $137.60 x 7 nights = $963.20
    • 20% weekly price discount: -$192.64
    • Special offer^, 20% off: -$192.64
    • Cleaning fee = $68.80
    • Service fee = $83.43

^Due to new listing, for first few reservations.

Our Airbnb Review

Location: The apartment is about 15 minutes’ walk from the central station. We took a bit longer as we had 2 big suitcases, or usually with a stroller, and the roads weren’t exactly wheels friendly. It’s also quite near to the main shopping area and thus a very good base to explore Antwerp.

Host: Host Sophia was very hospitable. She met us at check in to show us around the apartment and was always available if we needed anything or had any question. In the apartment, we could also find a list of recommended eateries that could be found nearby.

Positives: Apartment is as described – stylish, clean and comfortable. Very comfortable bed, bedsheets, towels, and excellent toiletries were provided. The bedsheets felt super clean and crisp too.

Child-Friendliness: Baby E (almost 2 years old) loves the apartment because of the many toys and books Sophia had in the apartment. She also provided a toddler bed and high chair for us – even a set of child’s utensils! Oh, and Sophia specifically got baby shower gel for Baby E.

Soundproofing: Due to the thin walls, we could sometimes hear Sophia’s children running around in their apartment upstairs. It’s not noisy but noticeable. According to Sophia, this is a 90 year old art-deco building from the thirties and hence the light soundproofing.

Heating: I cannot handle cold well (unlike my husband), so I specifically shortlisted apartments with heating. However, turns out the apartment’s thermostat was controlled by the building. Sophia mentioned that in Belgium, the thermostat would only be turned on when the temperature outside falls below 22°C to be environmentally friendly. But it feels colder than 22°C inside for me! :P Good thing the blanket was thick enough, and Sophie provided us with a portable heater for the toilet (which became my favourite place to hang out because of the comfortable warm heat).

Recommended? Overall, excellent apartment and host. Will recommend it to anyone visiting Antwerp.


Rotterdam (Netherlands)


Our Airbnb in Rotterdam

  • Listing: Stylish and unique loft in the center of Antwerp (Translated) (www.airbnb.com.sg/rooms/28793582?s=67&sharer_id=8743667)
  • Stay Dates: 31 May to 6 June 2019; 6 Nights (Friday to Thursday)
  • Room Type: Entire home/apt; 1 “queen” bed + 1 crib
  • Guests: 2 adults + 1 infant
  • Price: S$996.01 (S$166/night)
  • Price Breakdown:
    • $ 138.15 x 6 nights = $828.88
    • Cleaning fee = $53.33
    • Service fee = $113.80

Our Airbnb Review

Location: Located in a nice and quiet neighbourhood, the apartment is also super near a huge supermarket that opens till 10:00PM. Hence it was super convenient for us to get food/groceries. Apartment is also very near to the tram station and it takes about 15-20 mins by tram to and fro Central station. The subway station is a bit further away, about 8 mins walk. A few stops and you will reach Blaak Metro.

Positives: Spacious apartment that’s as described and shown in the pictures. The apartment overlooks a canal and Baby E loved watching the ducks swimming in it.

Amenities: The kitchen is well-stocked with sauces, spices, etc. With the supermarket nearby, whipping up a meal was made easier.

Bathroom: The standing shower system seems aged but still in good working condition. Many clean bath towels were provided, albeit on the small side – in between face and body towel size. Bedsheets were also provided. Towels and bedsheets didn’t feel particularly clean though. There’s also a washer available, though the dryer was not working when we arrived.

Noise: There’s a tennis court opposite the apartment and we could hear players late into the night especially if it’s a long summer day. Imagine hearing ‘tok tok tok’ of the rackets hitting the balls. We could also hear loud booming sounds of parties going on across the lake on weekends.

Recommended? I’m half-hearted whether to recommend this accommodation. The building and apartment feels old and not super near to the central. And the amenities provided is nothing to shout about. However, the business running the apartment is friendly and responsive. So well, perhaps it’s more suited for a relaxing, slow-paced holiday.

If you are interested in AIRBNB, remember to make your first booking through my referral link to get some sweet discounts! :)

Come along as I recount my Europe trip to Netherlands and Belgium: “travel.joogostyle.com/tag/europe-2019“.

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