By Patti Daley
Travelers who are looking for a more local and authentic experience are flocking to AirBnB which can be cheaper than a hotel – and cozier. Here in Globe-Miami there are a handful of hosts and a growing number of listings which include everything from private bedrooms and small studio apartments to bunks in a backyard bungalow and a six-bedroom house on a hill.
The latter is affectionally known as The Roost in Globe-Miami, and its host, Cindy Sullivan has been on Air BnB for over two years . She is considered a Superhost – by Air BnB and gets rave reviews from her guests . According to Sullivan the home offers an “Emerald City’ view of a copper mine and accommodates up to 14 people. The interiors is an artful blend of vintage charm and modern comfort. and amenities include digital tv, a large kitchen, wi-fi, gas fire pit & BBQ.
“It (the AirBnB website) was very easy to get on, very user-friendly,” she explains. The day after she listed the Roost on Airbnb, Cindy got a request. It was from a director, wanting to shoot his next movie at the Roost. They rented the Roost for a month, during which time Cindy became friends with the cast and crew and even got a small role in the film.
More typically, guests are families and small groups, using the Roost for a special meeting or retreat. There is a two-day minimum, but she does make special exceptions. When winter travelers get stopped by weather and need a place last minute, Cindy steps up. “You have to make yourself available if you’re going to make income on it.”
All financial transactions are done online, so no money changes hands between guest and host. Airbnb permit hosts to block out dates, and Cindy used this feature to host a family Thanksgiving when the Roost first opened. It was a fitting tribute to their role in making it happen.
Back in 2008, after long-term tenants trashed the house, Cindy and her husband, Don Sullivan, were devastated. They decided to change the way they rented the space. “ I didn’t know how we would do it,” Cindy recalls, “but my Dad gave me $10K.”
It was enough to get started. She began painting and bought beds, created a unique aesthetic for each bedroom and gave them names: Lake, Twin, Bunk, Riverside, Jack and Taos. In 2009 she launched the Roost as a long-term boarding house. She provided housing to teachers working on San Carlos reservation and employees for the Freeport McMoRan mine. “I keep finding a need and then try to fill the need,” she explains. “Now the summer interns pick their rooms on Airbnb.“
Not every idea has panned out. At one point, Cindy created a website for the Roost and advertised to bikers. She even invited one group to come stay for free. “They loved it, but it’s not their deal,” she acknowledged. “They don’t want to hang out. For the most part, they want to ride.”
Cindy is going into her third year on Airbnb. “It’s a very progressive company,” she declares. Last year Cindy attended the airbnb conference in LA and learned about the company’s plans to support hosting of activities, such as river rafting or wine-tasting. “They really want to offer an opportunity for people to travel more, to have unique experiences, and to intercommunicate.”
Hosting, however, is not for everyone. “You have to be passionate about it. All parts of it.” Cindy, an Airbnb superhost, greets guests with a plate of the “World’s Best (peanut butter) cookies” and offers a guidebook with pages of her personal recommendations for restaurants, shopping and excursions in the surrounding area. “ I love sharing what I’ve learned about the land here.”
This September Sullivan had a chance to learn some history from her guests when The Roost hosted the original owners. Janie Moreno and her husband Manuel built the sprawling house for their family back in the mid-80s with the help of their children and a few friends.
“My dad would work at the mines and then come home and work on the house, ” one of his children remembered. The Morenos, who would call Globe-Miami home for 14 years, moved away in the mid-90s after Manuel was killed in a mine accident. Janie Moreno moved the family to Mesa and had not been back to the house until her kids put together the reunion. She said she was glad to see it so well taken care of and added that most of the house remained unchanged from what she remembered.
There was still plenty of room for a large family, happy kids and good food to be shared in equal measure.