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Airbnb: That Authentic San Francisco Experience

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Kicking off Renters Week at Curbed, we thought we'd bring you the best and worst of Airbnb, the vacation rental site. We also thought it would be easy. But no, the site's offerings are a magical brew, the mix of a bad economy stirred with tourists eager for an authentic San Francisco Experience. Whatever that means. So everything from a Barbie-themed cubicle in a loft (above) to a condo in the Millennium Tower or an unfinished attic in the Haight is on offer. It's all there: rooms in people's apartments, rooms on boats, sober rooms, a custom Airstream the owners will tow to the location of your choice, bunk beds (with cereal) all the way up to and including luxury cars for rent by the day. We looked at offerings available this week, and assume that prices inflate and deflate with the seasons. Instead of those pesky hotel taxes, you pay an additional cleaning fee to the host plus the Airbnb fee.

Above, Barbie' Play House is in a loft on Langton Street. It looks very Burning Man, especially when you check out the tool room. Frankly, it's awesome. Shared bath. House music? Techno? Caveat: "Must be comfortable with interactivity between others." Included: breakfasty stuff. $280 for the week, plus a $28 Airbnb fee.

? At the swank Millennium Tower, you get three bedrooms, one of which has an "antique opium bed," plus sleek finishes and high-level long-stay facility furniture. Full use of the luxury tenant amenities- gym, pool, free coffee all day. The (non-union?) cleaning lady is a former schoolteacher (in China) and is available for babysitting for $15 an hour. For the week? $3500, plus a $210 Airbnb fee. No idea how much the opium upcharge is, but the rate must be making a serious dent in the owners mortgage, even after they've paid off the doorman.

? Opal E., has Post-Apocalyptic Retreat two rooms available in her mural-covered house in Visitacion Valley, and they got great reviews from people who enjoyed the holistic amenities they found there. The property "embodies the qualities of rebirth and healing" and includes a floatation tank, a sensory deprivation chamber, plus a fluffy bed. As one reviewer points out, "a very special uterus-like place where you can really come down and to yourself." $400 for the week, plus a $40 Airbnb fee for the perfect place to recover from a stint at Occupy SF.

? Maria D. seems to be the Hospitality Queen of the Excelsior, with eleven rooms available in two houses- none over $50 a night- and a bargain rate of $17 for bunk bed in the living room of this house on Trumbull Street. "Savor the ethnic vibrancy of a S.F. neighborhood off the beaten path" and sends a mixed message about kitchen facilities. Maria D. gets good reviews from the usual suspects- those experienced enough to appreciate clean sheets on the cheap and willing to deal with MUNI and BART.

? For $199 a night, depending on availability, you can rent the captain's quarters on an Icelandic icebreaker near Mission Bay. It's not entirely clear if the ship is on the water or a dry dock or if a subtle rocking motion is included, but from the listing pictures, one suspects occupants who have been to Burning Man or crewed on Greenpeace expeditions. Or both.
· Millennium Tower Apartment Sleeps 7 [Airbnb]
· Bunk Beds in Barbie's Play House [Airbnb]
· Post-Apocalyptic Retreat [Airbnb]
· FullSized BunkBed in Shared LVNG RM [Airbnb]
· Captains Cabin on Ship, Hot Tub [Airbnb]

Airbnb HQ

99 Rhode Island Street, San Francisco, CA 94103