While searching for temporary and inexpensive housing in the area, I found Ann Arbor International House through their facebook page. When I messaged them requesting a room, I learned that AAIH is actually a network of hosts rather than one specific building as is with traditional hostels. I was asked a few questions including which area of the city I would need or prefer, and then was offered to be placed with a host which was perfectly located for me very near campus and city centre. I accepted and for 25 US Dollars per day I shared a room with another girl who was visiting from Barcelona and was very pleasant and fun.
The rooms in the host's apartment where we stayed were clean and comfortable. We were provided clean sheets and towels as well. We were even provided a mini refrigerator for our room. The common area and kitchen were clean and were perfect for guests to gather and socialize while preparing meals. We had use of everything we needed, including the oven, microwave, refrigerators, coffee machine, blender, juicer, cookware, plates, bowls, glasses and utensils. The bathrooms were nice, clean, and stocked with fresh toiletries.
I stayed with this host for the first week after my arrival and in that time I was able to find long term housing. Even after I found my own apartment, I continued to be invited to join in social events and have been introduced to other visiting international students and visitors. It was such a pleasant surprise to find such hospitality in a place so far from home, and I have made many friends through AAIH. There are frequent gatherings organized to meet at various restaurants and pubs throughout the city, to which all guests and previous guests are invited. Many of the guests meet up regularly for special events or simply to ride the bus together to the grocery store. Some of the hosts invite guests from the other locations for big dinners or to watch sporting events on television.
I realize I was lucky to catch AAIH in the summer when there were plenty of available rooms, as the rest of the year demand is much higher. Though there are a limited number of hosts in the network, this is always expanding as new hosts join. Priority is given to international students and scholars, and hosts are selective. If you are planning a short visit to Ann Arbor, or would like a friendly place to stay while you hunt for long-term accommodations, I highly recommend checking with Ann Arbor International House for availabilities.
Ann Arbor International House is outstanding in that it operates like a hostel and has the benefits which come with that. At the same time, it also offers some advantages in that a guest can be placed with a host whose location is most convenient for the guests' specific needs.
Ann Arbor International House has a few rooms and when full provides other available rooms with a network of hosts in town.
The AAIH volunteers find hosts with accommodations near the school or work location of the visitor.
Pros: Got a good price on our stay with coupon. Were unexpectedly given additional $9 off of 3-day stay due to having to clean our own room when we got there and having to make our own bed along with a professional apology. Rooms were nicely redecorated with flat-screen wall-mounted television and pleasing bedspread and curtains. Front lobby looks nice. Also, they allow pets at no additional charge.
Cons: Outside of building is poor in appearance/condition with duct-tape on street-side stairs; hanging wires on street side; steep, unfinished stairs near front office; peeling paint; some rust on metal railings. Also, the breakfast is just okay. They ran out of those delicious danishes, though. No hot cereal which would have been nice. Most motels offer at least that in addition to cold cereal. Tea bags available, but, no hot water. We did appreciate the English muffins with peanut butter.
Near freeway, not too far from U of M and museums.
WARNING! Downtown Ann Arbor is NOT car-friendly. On the last day of our trip, our car was towed and it cost us $265 to get it out of impound ( that was cheap, too), plus, we had to walk 3 miles to get it. Fortunately, the weather was nice. If you are unsure about whether it is safe or not to park in a certain place, DO NOT park there!
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