“My vacay rental host accused me of sleeping with her boyfriend.”

Joanne* returned home from a holiday, only to find this shocking message from her vacay rental host.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

Joanne* returned home from a holiday, only to find this shocking message from her vacay rental host.

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While chatting online with my friend Alice*, who was backpacking on her own across the region, I decided on a whim to go on a short getaway myself.

“Fly up and meet me in this city, Joanne! You can settle all of our travel arrangements during that leg of my trip,’ she said. I didn’t mind doing all the work so I started making the necessary arrangements. I booked my flights and found us an affordable place to stay on a vacation rental site.

The guest house was a gem of a find: it was near the city centre, looked spacious and comfortable, and a room cost less than S$15 a night. I contacted the host, Gen*, and managed to secure my booking for two nights.

A week later, Alice and I met at our destination. When we arrived at the guest house, Gen was nowhere to be seen. In her stead was a Caucasian, who introduced himself as Antonio*, the owner of the property.

He told me that he ran a tour agency from the first floor of the building, and I simply assumed that the woman in the vacation rental site profile picture worked for him.

Antonio was warm and friendly. He helped us to settle in and recommended various tourist attractions and good eateries. So we did our sightseeing, shopped and ate to our hearts’ content. We had a great time.

On the third and final day, I said goodbye to Alice. She had decided to head to her next destination right away while I was planning to spend the day at the spa before leaving on my flight back to Singapore.


I returned to life as usual and got back into the daily grind. Alice had not contacted me since we’d parted, but photographs of her travels appeared on my social media feed every day or so.

It had been two weeks since I’d been home when a notification popped up on my smartphone. It was a computer-generated message from the vacation rental site telling me that my host had written me a review.

Curious to know what Antonio and his staff had to say about me, I opened the message and was horrified by what I saw: “She came into our home. She booked two nights, and then stayed an extra night in my boyfriend’s bedroom and she slept with my boyfriend while I wasn’t there.”

Above the text was a statement from the site saying that the review would be visible on my public profile. This meant that any potential vacay rental host in future would read it!

I gaped at the message and read it again and again to make sure my eyes were not playing tricks on me. Who was this mysterious woman and why would she accuse me of something so blatantly untrue?

I wrote her an angry response, demanding an explanation. I said: “Look, I don’t know who you are, but I definitely did not sleep with anyone’s boyfriend. I stayed in the city for exactly two nights and came home to Singapore. I am furious that you would slander me in this way!”

Within minutes, her reply came through: “I am so sorry if you’re the one who left after two days,” she began. And then it dawned on me what had happened!

On our second night, Alice had spent a good hour or so speaking with Antonio at the front desk. She’d told me she needed to ask for directions to her destination and that I should go back to our room first. Had she lied to me?


Gen continued: “Your friend was the one who stayed. I don’t live in the city. I only visit about once a month.” She’d learnt about her boyfriend’s betrayal from some neighbours. “They told me my boyfriend took a customer around the city and had dinner with her,” she wrote. “It all sounded very strange to me, so I checked with the staff about your booking and found that you had only reserved two nights at our guest house. We had no available room for a third night.”

It turns out that after I’d left, Antonio had taken Alice on a tour of the city and then to dinner. After that, they returned to the guest house and shared a bottle of wine. “He confessed to all of these things and to letting her sleep in our bedroom, but denied having sex,” Gen wrote.

“I feel so tired. You cannot imagine how heartbroken I am. Maybe they really did not have sex, but your friend is single and can do whatever she wants. We had planned to get married. I’ve called it off and ended our relationship.”

Gen ended her note by apologising for the trouble she had caused me and promising to write to the vacation rental site to remove the review.

“She came into our home. She booked two nights, and then stayed an extra night in my boyfriend’s bedroom and she slept with my boyfriend while I wasn’t there.”


I stared at Gen’s outpouring on screen. And then I recalled that Alice had mentioned meeting various men on her travels – they had taken care of her, carried her things and planned her routes. “I get a different boy for each leg of the trip,” she had joked.

Perhaps I had not realised the implications of what she’d told me at the time. Was she giving sexual favours in exchange for their care and attention?

I contemplated confronting her but decided against it. After all, I had been completely outraged by Gen’s accusation. She’d acted rashly and without any evidence. What gave me the right to hurl the same accusation at Alice?

I decided to let the matter rest but made a mental note that I would make sure to properly introduce myself to my next vacation rental host, just in case. SH

*Names have been changed.

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