Friday 12 January 2018

GUEST BLOG: Why hotels might not be the best option for that longer stay

When you are going to stay in a new city, whether it is for business or for leisure the default option is often to look at which hotel in that city is best; however is a hotel really the best option? We take a look at what other options you have and why they might suit your needs better.

The reason why many of us choose to stay in hotels rather than the other accommodation options is habit plus you can be sure of what you will get when you go and stay.  Hotels will often have some kind of restaurant and bar, many will have gyms and as you go higher up the star rating, you will also start to get facilities such as business lounges, spas and pools. 

When you are only staying for a few nights, this can be the best option as you really don’t have to think about anything – it is all within the confines of the hotel.  But when you stay for more than a few weeks in a hotel, one room can start to feel a bit claustrophobic, especially when the room is not very big.  So what is the alternative?

Most hotels towards the more expensive end of the market will have a small proportion of suites as part of their room stock.  A junior suite on average will be double the price of a standard room yet the only difference is that it will have a seating area with a comfy sofa. Large suites may have a more clearly differentiated living/seating area and occasionally may even have separate rooms, but these options will be significantly more expensive than standard rooms. 

The issue with most hotel suites apart from the much higher nightly price is that they often do not contain any form of kitchen and you pay on a nightly basis rather than a weekly or monthly basis.  If you are staying for three months, paying a nightly rate can be much more expensive.

Apart-hotels/Suite Hotels
In the UK and to some extent in Western Europe these are a relative new concept and as the name suggest sit somewhere between hotels and apartments.  Within Apart-hotels you will often find on-site facilities such as restaurants/bars, laundry rooms and concierge services.  The only differences between this and a conventional hotel is that rather than maybe 5% of the room stock being suites, 100% of the stock is,  plus in apart-hotels most rooms will be similar to a junior suite and effectively it will be a rather small studio apartment.

It is almost certainly contain a small kitchenette which can be used for preparing basic meals but this is not a place you would want to be throwing dinner parties in.  With these properties you may well find that they will have a different pricing structure for longer staying guest than those who will only stay for a few nights.

These are what most people rent as homes when they can’t afford or don’t wish to buy property.  Apartments are a whole property category within real estate and can range anywhere from a studio up to five or six bedrooms.

As with holiday apartments, standard apartments are often popular for two reasons:
1) You are staying in one place for a longer period of time (more than a month),
2) You want the freedom to cook for yourself and live the way you want to. 

Although you might stay in an apartment whilst on holiday (especially if you have a young family), you will normally pay for this either on a weekly or monthly basis.  This can be especially advantageous if you are not going to be taking any advantage of hotel facilities. 

Whether you are staying in a studio or a 2+ bedroom apartment, they will always have a fully fitted kitchen. Unsurprisingly like with any home, a standard apartment has one major disadvantage for busy people – you have to do all the cleaning and maintenance yourself.

Serviced Apartments
Serviced apartments actually are a great middle ground.  On average they will give around 30% more space than a standard hotel room of the same class.  Whether you stay in a studio or a 2+ bedroom apartment they will usually of a hotel quality finish designed by those from the repetitive hotel world culture.  They offer separate fitted kitchens, reasonably high quality bed linen, towels and toiletries and first-class home entertainment facilities – Sky TV based on hotel models, DVD, CD and the very latest in-room technology. 

Unlike suites or standard hotel rooms, a serviced apartment will prove to be more cost-effective especially once you stay more than 2 weeks.  You will also enjoy much greater flexibility choosing for yourself whether you eat in or out, plus you can also entertain friends and colleagues as if you were in your own apartment.  A disadvantage to most serviced apartments currently available is that they tend to be a bit boxy optimising to revenue rather than space.

On top of the advantages of the apartments themselves, just like in a hotel, your apartment will be regularly cleaned and serviced (usually twice a week for long stay guests), this means that the towels, bedding, soap etc. will be replenished on a regular basis.  When you think about it this is a perfect solution.  You get a stunning apartment yet all the hard work in keeping it stunning is done for you, leaving you the time to relax or entertain the way you want to.

One last advantage, is that most serviced apartment blocks tend to have a maximum of 30-50 apartments.  This means that within the one block you are looking at only 100-150 people living there at any one time.  This will in itself will make it feel a much more homely and friendly place to live.

Serviced Residences
Serviced residences are serviced apartments however they have been designed with a focus on the long stay 90+ day market.  This means four things:

1)       The finish has taken inspiration from bespoke interior design for living well and personal    service.
2)       Large spacious rooms where natural light and the comfort of the resident are equally if     not more important than revenue optimisation.
3)       Much higher quality finish in the equipment and technology installed- including top of the range kitchen and shower fittings. (E.g. each apartment will have a fully independent Sky TV system rather than a managed one). The furniture that is placed in these apartments is often unique pieces and certainly designed to last many years. 
4)       Much better value where by it can equate to a standard 5 star room rather than suite at a hotel.
The idea of serviced residences harks back to the 1920s and 1930s when people looked to stay in mansion blocks with a friendly concierge who would welcome you and give you a very high level of personal service.  In fact it was fairly common for people to actually be resident in hotels during that era, something which has fallen out of favour today.

Unlike other serviced apartments which can be located in any district, serviced residences tend to be located in quieter districts of cities.  However in the UK very few organisations provide this type of accommodation with many preferring the standard serviced apartment model.

In effect, selecting a serviced residents for a long-stay visit gives you all the benefits of living in your own home but none of the downsides like decorating and cleaning.  On top of this with many serviced residence you get to experience an upgraded more luxurious home from home stay.  It may be so good you will think again about renting a standard non-serviced apartment.

This was written by The Harrington Collection, who are exhibiting at The Business Travel Show on Stand B2630 - secure your free pass now by visiting 


  1. If travellers book a hotel before flying on a trip to international destination, it would be a better option for them and they can enjoy as well their stay.
    Gatwick airport cheap parking

  2. Hi there, i read your blog from time to time and i own a similar one and i was just curious if you get a lot of spam comments? If so how do you protect against it, any plugin or anything you can advise? I get so much lately it's driving me crazy so any help is very much appreciated.
    Pregnancy Testing FL