It never ceases to amaze me just how far behind we are with the rest of the world, especially the New World, in so many ways. Take serviced apartments for example. This is a sector which is starting to grow fast in the UK but it is years behind other countries worldwide.
Just look at the benefits serviced apartments have to offer.
- Much more space than a hotel room. Typically 2 to 3 times.
- Self contained accommodation so more privacy.
- Cheaper than hotels especially taking into account the extra space.
- Many providers offer free unlimited Broadband and Sky TV.
- Many offer free evening and weekend telephone calls to 01, 02, 03, 0800, 0845 and 0870 numbers for up to an hour per call.
- A maid service, at least weekly, for the duration of your stay. A daily service is provided at extra cost.
- Fresh linen provided at least weekly.
- Many offer free parking including private gated parking.
- A more relaxing and comfortable stay than in a hotel.
- Many are based in City centres located close to restaurants, bars, shops and train/bus stations.
- Ideal for business travellers staying for a few days or even several weeks. Particularly useful for the frequent traveller who regularly visits the same area for business or leisure.
- A home from home.
- A private study may be included.
- No extra charge if more than 1 guest is staying in the apartment. The cost is per apartment not per person. This can reduce the cost per person to a fraction of what a hotel would otherwise charge.
- Flexibility to either eat out or self-cater in the fully-equipped kitchen provided.
Are there any disadvantages? Well of course. Serviced apartments aren’t for everyone. What are some of the disadvantages?
- There is no room service.
- There is no restaurant.
- There is no bar.
- No daily maid service unless you pay an extra daily charge.
Serviced apartments are not for everyone but neither are hotels. It really depends on what you are looking for. If cost is no object and you want everything on tap then maybe a hotel is a better choice for you. If you are staying away for one night only again a hotel may be a better choice. On the other hand if you really appreciate the privacy and spaciousness of your own accommodation and you are staying away for a longer period of a few days or several weeks you might just prefer to book into a serviced apartment instead.
If you prefer to stay in a serviced apartment then the next question is how do you find a good one? Well, whenever I research products or services on the Internet I like to check the reviews. Particularly good sources for reviews are Google directory listings, Laterooms and Tripadvisor. Alternatively, you may use any one of a number of nationwide accommodation websites such as GBstay. Equally useful are local City or Town guides such as my local one MK Web’s Accommodation Guide. Of course word of mouth recommendations are probably the best source of all.
Personally I don’t set too much store by a website’s own marketing blurb. It’s all too easy to claim that your serviced apartments service is the best thing since sliced bread. It’s far better to hear it straight from the horse’s mouth i.e. the guest. Having said that, a website containing lots of high quality photographs of the rooms and the external location and which lists all of the services provided in a clear and informative manner will always give it a head start over other websites. If testimonials are given they should always give the person’s name and preferably the place where they live e.g. town, village or city.
The benefits of serviced apartments are so great that hotels are becoming increasingly worried about the competition. So much so that major hotel chains such as Marriott and Hilton have started opening up serviced apartment blocks to meet the demand and reduce the loss of business to their competitors. This is no bad thing because competition is healthy. It means everyone has to increase standards and give better value for money. This is particulary important during the current recession.
We may not provide a bible in our serviced apartments but we do offer the option of hiring a Wii console! So if you’re looking for somewhere to stay which is relaxing, spacious, luxurious, private, refreshingly different and far better value for money than a hotel, look no further than a serviced apartment to meet your accommodation needs.