Sunday 8 December 2019

Airbnb boss Chesky checks in at Harbison's edgy lads' pad

Niall Harbison
Niall Harbison

The irrepressible Niall Harbison has had some interesting house guests since signing up with bed-letting site Airbnb.

Harbison, who sold his Simply Zesty online marketing business to UTV for about €5m in 2012, had Airbnb founder Brian Chesky dossing on his Ranelagh sofa recently. Chesky was here as the $10bn-valued homestay giant sent a team over to open a major 100-job operation.

"He did, yeah," Harbison told me from Berlin last week. "He just rented the house when they were setting up the office here. He stays in Airbnbs when he travels."

Chesky and his buddies were "dream guests," according to Harbison, who was once the private chef of Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen.

"I showed them all around and there was an event for the partners. There were all sorts of people there - from older women to younger people looking to make some extra money from renting out rooms."

Harbison's own swish Dublin 6 pad features some jaw-dropping design features, including a really striking graffiti mural, which was done by a Slovenian couple based on something he'd seen in Berlin. It may have given Airbnb food for thought as it prepared to open its own swanky offices, which now feature old-school Telecom Eireann phone boxes, a horseshoe bar and a funky giraffe.

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