Hotels are expensive places to stay with costly extras and hidden charges. An increasingly popular alternative is a serviced apartment which offers far more space, a home from home, privacy and better value for money. The nightly rate is an all inclusive price which usually includes free wi fi broadband and a free secure parking space. There are a number of other benefits of staying in serviced apartments which are increasingly becoming the preferred accommodation choice for travellers over hotels.
Most people would agree that staying in a hotel is an expensive option. Hotels have costly extras such as charges for broadband and car parking. Some do not even offer tea and coffee making facilities in your room! The number of TV channels is usually very limited. Everything is expensive such as the mini bar, the hotel restaurant, the bar, beauty treatments etc. Added to this is an often sterile atmosphere, limited room space, lack of privacy, no self-catering facilities and so on.
Whilst there may be advantages such as a gym and a swimming pool in a hotel these facilities do not make up for the fact that you’re usually paying through the nose for the privilege. Some hotels will even make you pay for charging up your mobile phone if you’ve forgotten to bring your charger with you! It does make you wonder what they will dream up of charging you for next. Personally I’ve never enjoyed staying in hotels. I’ve always considered them to be a bit of a rip off.
An increasingly popular alternative to hotels are serviced apartments. For those of you unfamiliar with serviced apartments let me explain what they are. A serviced apartment is self contained accommodation, usually an apartment, furnished to hotel standard which is generally let out for a short stay of between 1 night and 6 months. Unlike a hotel a serviced apartment provides full self-catering facilities. Broadband, Sky TV and secure car parking is usually provided free of charge. You have a lot more space than in a hotel room. In addition to a kitchen and bathroom and an ensuite (in most 2 bedroom apartments) you have all of the necessary white goods such as washing machine, dishwasher, fridge freezer etc. The kitchen is fully stocked with all of the necessary crockery, cutlery, glasses, kitchen utensils, pots and pans etc. A weekly maid service is provided which includes an apartment clean and a change of bed linen and towels.
Many serviced apartment companies offer additional extras such as low cost gym membership, discounts at local restaurants and other shops in the locality. Some will even give free telephone calls to guests for up to an hour to UK landline numbers and 0845 and 0870 numbers after 7.00pm and at weekends. Other services which may be offered include the hiring of games consoles such as Wii and X Box, continental breakfast, ironing services and so on. Whilst these companies do not usually have an in-house restaurant or gym they are able to offer alternatives because the apartments are usually based in the city or town centre.
Where serviced apartments come into their own is for the following types of guests;
1. People relocating.
2. Business people especially from abroad or who live a long way away from their place of work in the UK.
3. Recreational users for leisure trips such as weekends away or even holidays.
4. Guests visiting relatives and friends who don’t have enough space to put them up in their own house.
5. Insurance claimants as a result of an accident, fire or flood in their homes who need somewhere to stay short term.
The cost per night of a stay in a serviced apartment asppears to be broadly similar to that of a hotel but it usually actually works out 30% cheaper overall because of the all inclusive nightly rate based on the apartment type, not the number of guests, the ability to self-cater and the lack of hidden extra charges. In addition to this you get far more space in a serviced apartment and a “home from home” feeling about staying there.
Where you have more than one individual staying in a serviced apartment such as two business executives the cost of their stay is effectively halved because the nightly rate is based not on the number of guests but purely on the type and size of the apartment.
Serviced apartments meet the gap between hotel stays and tenancies. Hotel guests tend to stay relatively short term, ranging from one night, 3-4 nights a week, if on business, or maybe up to 2 weeks for a holiday. Serviced apartment guests on the other hand will typically stay longer for perhaps a few days, several weeks or even a number of months. As Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreements are usually for a period of at least 6 months the best choice for a short stay is a hotel or a serviced apartment.
How do you find a serviced apartment? Well the best first step is a Google search using keywords such as serviced apartments, apartments, accommodation, hotels, city apartments, executive apartments and places to stay followed by the town or city name of your destination. If you work for a large nationwide company you may have no choice other than to book via the booking agent or travel management company used by your employer. Alternatively, ask someone you know for a recommendation. Choose a company which is a member of ASAP, The Association of Serviced Apartment Providers, which is the professional body for serviced apartment companies in the UK. This guarantees you better levels of service and standards generally.