Satisfying My Sonder Curiosity

How does the Airbnb alternative stack up?

Andy Spears

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Photo by Filios Sazeides on Unsplash

Before the pandemic, I did a fair amount of traveling for work. While I was comfortable in business hotels, I often stayed in a place longer than a day or two and found the comforts of an apartment (kitchen, separate rooms for TV/work/bed) to be quite nice to have.

I ended up staying in a few Airbnb’s and had some pretty good experiences.

When I started traveling again, I returned to look for places to stay — hotel prices seemed higher, Airbnb seemed fine, and then I noted an emerging alternative: Sonder.

The rooms were more than a hotel — very apartment-like, at least in pictures. The prices were typically cheaper than good-quality business hotels and Sonder lacked the fees associated with Airbnb.

Could it be? Is there an Airbnb alternative that’s competitive with or even cheaper than a hotel?

Then, not long ago, I read this story by Ellen Eastwood.

She offers the lowdown on her Sonder experience.

And reading her story inspired me to take the Sonder plunge on my next trip.

I booked right after reading her story.

I checked into my Washington, DC area Sonder today.

I’m staying in Alexandria, close to where I’ll be having meetings.

Let me say this: The room is essentially exactly as picture on the Sonder app.

The location is great — my Sonder is an old building in a vibrant part of town.

The room is bigger than a hotel room — and though it is pitched as a studio, there’s definitely a separate bedroom area.

There’s also a full kitchen and some pretty great coffee.

It’s Super Bowl Sunday, and right now, it’s pretty quiet.

I’m super close to great local restaurants and a 7–11 for snacks, etc.

Complaints?

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Andy Spears

Writer and policy advocate living in Nashville, TN —Public Policy Ph.D. — writes on education policy, consumer affairs, and more . . .