Serviced apartments have been around longer than most people think – making an impact, in
fact, for over a decade.
Officially, ‘Serviced Apartment’ is the umbrella term for a type of furnished apartment available
for short-term or long-term stays, which provides amenities, housekeeping and a range of
services for guests and where most taxes and utilities are included within the rental price.
Serviced apartments offer facilities much like a traditional hotel but with added space,
convenience and privacy like home, so you can enjoy living like a local when travelling. They
have private cooking facilities, sometimes a kitchenette but sometimes a full-size kitchen with
dishwasher and washing machine, larger living/sleeping areas than most standard rooms, and
often having access to gyms, restaurants, meeting space, concierges and other hotel-like
‘Serviced Apartment’ as an expression has been relatively little used outside the corporate
relocation and business travel markets. Most online booking sites have long offered them as
booking options, but with no separate category – most are just labelled ‘apartment’ and offered
as another option alongside regular hotel rooms.
But the sector is increasingly having an impact on leisure travel as people find serviced
apartments are available all over the world as a credible and cost-effective alternative. They are
especially economical for longer stays, group travel or family parties, allowing savings on dining
out and offering in-house entertainment as well as allowing you to live like a local.
What you should expect from a serviced apartment:
A fully equipped kitchen, usually with both dishwasher and washer/dryer
One or more separate bedrooms, or in studio apartments, a designated sleeping area
A living area
TV, Wi-Fi and the latest in-room technology
All utilities included i.e. water & electricity
A weekly housekeeping service
Self-contained apartments normally within a residential building.
There may or may not be staff on site, so the operator may arrange to meet guests on arrival or make
keys available via a safety deposit box. Some may even offer keyless entry access via
smartphones or other technology. And guests will have access to a 24-hour helpline.
Serviced apartments within a dedicated building, offering hotel-like services with a
24-hour reception. These may also offer additional facilities like a communal lounge or an on-
site gym. Some operators call their apartments ‘suites’ within an aparthotel.
A furnished apartment, condominium or house made available for rent or
lease on a temporary basis, usually for 30 days or more. The corporate travel world has long
seen the advantage of this kind of accommodation for executives on longer business trips or
during relocations, as they allow the traveller a more ‘normal’ way of life outside hotels, with the
chance to cook, relax and plan their time away from hotel operating hours.