Over the years, serviced apartments have become increasingly popular among short-term tenants as well as long-term tenants. Serviced apartments come in varying sizes and designs, but they include perks that you will likely find in a traditional hotel. Here is what you need to know about these unique rental units and what you can expect to find in case you decide to stay in one.
What is a serviced apartment? A serviced apartment is a type of furnished rental unit that is rented out for short-term or long-term stays that includes hotel-like amenities such as housekeeping, concierges, access to gyms and fitness centers, a laundry room, a rec room, and even room service.
Additionally, most of these serviced apartments are equipped with Wi-Fi, fully stocked kitchens, and washers and dryers within the unit. Serviced apartments generally offer the facilities you will find in a standard hotel but with larger living space, convenience, and privacy that make it feel homier. Furthermore, renting a serviced apartment during a trip is substantially cheaper than staying in a hotel room in the long run. If you are traveling in an exotic destination, you will get a better insight into the local culture of the area staying in a serviced apartment rather than a hotel.
Serviced apartment living is not a new concept, especially when you consider the fact that online booking sites have long offered these types of rental units as an alternative to staying in hotel rooms. However, it is only recently that the term has become more recognizable outside the world of business travel, with more leisure travelers discovering the perks of staying in a serviced apartment especially for longer stays and for family and group travels.
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Basics of a serviced apartment
Serviced apartments can either be managed on-site or off-site. A serviced apartment that is managed on-site will typically feature a property manager and a reception. On the other hand, an off-site managed serviced unit does not have a staff on-site and the keys to the units are kept in a safety deposit box where you can collect them. There are perks that come with both types of management; an off-site managed serviced apartment allows for more freedom and privacy while an on-site managed one ensures that you have assistance whenever you need it. Here is what you can expect to find in a serviced apartment.
- Living room – The living room of serviced apartments is typically larger than that of a hotel room. Depending on the quality of the apartment, it will feature electronics such as a TV, stereo, home theater, and DVD. The living room is usually fully furnished as well, featuring pieces of furniture such as sofas, a coffee table, end tables, bookshelves, desks, and chairs. A telephone and an answering will likely be included as well, as well as blinds, window curtains, and lamps.
- Dining room – You will typically find a dining table, chairs, table mats, and accessories such as ornamental plants and wall artwork in the dining rooms of these unit types. Many serviced apartments have dining rooms that are large enough to have guests over or hold business meetings without being overcrowded.
- Kitchen – This is one of the areas of a serviced apartment that has encouraged more people to opt for serviced apartments rather than hotel rooms. Many of these units have fully fitted kitchens with provisions such as a dishwasher, a refrigerator, a microwave, an oven, a stove, a coffee maker, a toaster, and many other appliances. They also include pots and pans, utensils, glassware, dishes, and other essential cookware.
- Bedrooms – Serviced apartments that have more than one bedroom are of great value especially if you are traveling in a group. The bedroom of most serviced apartments will include a bed, a mattress, comforters, pillows, pillowcases, blankets, sheets, a dresser, a nightstand, a lamp, and closet storage. You may also find a desk and chair, as well as an alarm clock.
- Bathrooms – A bathroom in a serviced apartment typically includes a bath mat/rug, a shower curtain, a toilet brush, and toilet cleaner, a soap dish, towels, a hair dryer, and a toothbrush holder.
Many serviced apartments will also include:
- Housekeeping services – Some serviced apartments include housekeeping services so that you don’t have to clean up after yourself on a daily basis. The perks of a housekeeping service include having your bed made for you, cleaning and towel replacement.
- Utilities – Most serviced apartments usually include utilities such as electricity, water, internet, gas, telephone service, and even cable in some cases
- General supplies – Supplies such as paper towels, light bulbs, toilet paper, tissues, extension cords, and sockets and garbage bags are usually provided in a serviced apartment.
- Access to a variety of amenities – You will have access to amenities such as gyms, restaurants, meeting space, and stores that are nearby
Variations of serviced apartments
Other than on-site and off-site serviced apartments, other variations of serviced apartments you may encounter include:
- Aparthotel – In addition to incorporating on-site management elements (a 24-hour reception and a property manager on site), aparthotels may also include concierge services, a bar, a gym, and a communal lounge.
- Residential serviced apartment – These are serviced apartments that are primarily located in residential properties. A residential serviced apartment is ideal for relocation or if you have been assigned to a new place for the long term.
- Single property – Situated within a single property, this variation of a serviced apartment offers maximum privacy for a temporary stay. In some cases, entire houses are offered, although they are still referred to as serviced units.
The advantages of staying in serviced apartments
Living in a serviced unit comes with advantages such as:
- Space – One of the advantages that serviced apartments have over hotel rooms is the size. They are approximately 30% larger than a standard hotel guest room, including a living room, kitchen, and bedrooms, which makes them ideal if you are traveling with your family or a large group
- The homey feel – Many people go for serviced apartments because they offer the homey feel that you will not get in guest house and hotels. This is because serviced apartments generally offer more privacy and freedom to do whatever you want at any given moment. You won’t have to worry about things like having to reserve a conference room for business meetings since you can easily host it in your living room.
- Cheaper than staying in a hotel room – It is more cost effective to stay in a serviced apartment than a hotel room especially if you are staying for an extended period of time. You won’t have to worry about hidden costs such as mini-bars and room service, and since rates are charged per apartment, you can save money by staying with a group of your friends.
- A local experience – If you want to truly immerse yourself in the culture of a specific area that you are visiting, consider staying in a serviced apartment. You will have a better idea of how the locals live as compared to staying in hotel rooms, which usually all look the same.
- Utilities and services – Depending on the type of serviced apartment, you may get to enjoy perks such as around-the-clock concierge service and housekeeping, as well as utilities such as Wi-Fi which generally make your life much easier.
- You get to save on meals – Staying in a hotel usually means having to set aside a budget for eating out or relying on room service which is very costly. Most serviced apartments boast a fully equipped kitchen where you can prepare your own meals. Buying groceries and cooking is significantly more cost-effective than eating in a restaurant on a daily basis.
- Conveniently located – Like hotels, serviced apartments are usually situated in convenient locations. They can be found in most tourist destinations as well as business capitals, effectively meeting the needs of different consumer groups.
The cons of staying in a serviced rental unit
Here are the downsides you should keep in mind if you are considering a serviced apartment.
- Frequency of cleaning – While serviced apartments offer housekeeping services, the frequency in which the cleaning takes place varies from one unit to another. Most serviced apartments offer weekly housekeeping services rather than a daily clean, which may be an inconvenience for those who don’t have the time to clean up after themselves on a daily basis.
- Difficulty in getting assistance in off-site managed apartments – Off-site managed service apartments don’t have a reception or a property manager onsite. This may be an issue in cases where you have an emergency that you can’t handle on your own.
- Not all of them have state-of-the-art facilities – The facilities and services provided in serviced apartments vary depending on your type, location, and size.
Staying in a serviced apartment is a great alternative if you are constantly traveling and you don’t want to spend too much money staying in a hotel. However, just like hotels, the quality of serviced apartments can widely vary. If you intend to make the switch from hotels to serviced apartments, ensure that you do your research. If you can, go and take a look at the available apartments to determine if they are up to standard, and always negotiate on the price since you might just get a deal.