Beware!!!! I've been booking vacation apartments through other sites
for years. This was my first experience with booking.com and I've
never seen a place more falsely presented. This was the sleaziest,
dirtiest, most poorly equipped apartment I've rented anywhere.
I'd bet the farm that if you really look into many of the positive reviews for Flat 5, you'll find they are bogus.
Our first clue that we had made a mistake booking with Flat 5 was the neighborhood. As we approached Brook St. in a taxi early in the evening, a few hours before dark, we noticed that no one was on the city streets and the businesses were already shuttered for the day...Literally shuttered, with those pull-down heavy-duty security doors typical in sketchy urban areas.
This flat was not in a particularly central location. Cardiff is just a very small city. We dealt with three taxi drivers while we were staying in this apartment and they all expressed some concern for our well-being in this neighborhood.
The man who checked us in met us in a timely fashion, but we were pretty immediately horrified by the stale, musty, moldy smell, the frayed, stained carpet, the obvious lack of attention to detail in cleanliness, and the three inch gap beneath the door that led directly from the apartment to the street. Still, we were only staying the one night and Cardiff was completely booked because of graduations.
Our second clue was when the man asked if we wanted to pay cash, although he already had our card number.
Once left alone, we started to explore the flat. With spider senses already tingling from the payment question, we quickly realized that we were being set up for a scam. The hot water heater was in the corner of the bathroom and the floor around it was wet and rotting. The shower wasn't enclosed, but rather had half of a wall that couldn't possibly stop the water from drenching the bathroom, especially the corner that was already damaged.