The best hundred bucks I spent on my Airbnb was for something totally unnecessary

Everybody loves a record player.

Well, everybody who has set foot in our Airbnb has loved our record player, anyway. We get more comments, more guest book and review mentions of our hundred-buck Crosley record player than just about anything.

It’s a carryover from when we had one at our Detroit Airbnb. When we bought that house we found stacks and stacks of dusty  vinyl in the basement – crazy stuff, like “exotic percussion” and classics like Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Cole Porter Songbook. I added to the collection with some Motown sounds, of course, and whatever interesting albums I could scrounge at the (amazing!) dowtown Salvation Army for a buck a piece.

It was all part of the vibe of staying at our place there. And when we sold the house, lock stock and barrel as a turnkey Airbnb, well, the record player had to stay. I did make it a condition of the sale that I got to keep a select few personal favorites from the record collection, so when we picked up a second Crosley (they’re a Louisville company so I bought it at their pop-up shop at a local event but of course you can amazon them) I at least had a start.

We made a tiny bar area in Vertigo with a vintage bar cart to hold the turntable and records, with a small bourbon rack on the wall made by a local guy who crafts things of old pallet wood. It’s the most instagrammable place in the flat, and do people ever dig it.

Part of going to stay in a new city, and particularly in an Airbnb is delighting in the unexpected, the novel. It’s a sense of discovery and whimsy. I could have kept the benji in my pocket or maybe spent it on something practical. I mean, we have Pandora on the Roku TV if people want to listen to all the music.

But I knew the act of flipping through the albums, choosing from the decidedly eclectic collection (which has been added to by amazing guests!) would create a sense of intimacy and adventure in the space. Placing the record on the turntable and setting the needle, watching it waver over old vinyl and listening to the music the way everyone used to listen to music is instant nostalgia. It’s travel fairy dust, and you can’t put a price on making that magic for guests.

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