The term ‘serviced apartment’ is traditionally used to describe an apartment alternative to hotel accommodation for long stay leisure or business travellers. However there are two types of accommodation to which the description serviced apartment applies, with an ever-growing list of sub categories.
1. Extended stay hotels –mainly studios, one bedroom with a few two bedroom apartments typically found in urban locations, ranging in standard from budget to deluxe. All are fully furnished and include -
• En-suite bathrooms
• Fitted kitchen or kitchenette
• Lounge/dining area sometimes including a sofa bed or pull down bed
• Working area, desk, office chair, internet access & direct telephone line
The hotel services usually available from extended stay hotels include -
• Reception desks – some manned 24hrs, others on limited hours (e.g. Travelodge), or none at all
• Daily or weekly cleaning. & laundry service. (Most properties have either shared laundry facility or an in-apartment washing machine)
There are typically no restaurants, bar or lounge areas, although the level of services is generally higher than those found in hybrids Apart-hotels or Apartotels, which are usually a leisure or resort based product, and also come in standards of accommodation and range of services from budget to deluxe.
2. Corporate housing – residential apartments up-graded for stays of 30 days or more and packaged
together with services such as:-
• Weekly cleaning
• Utility charges
• Local taxes
• Telephone and TV
• Guest services – telephone support for maintenance etc
This type of product – also referred to as suite living, residence living and condotel – works as company apartments for either regular visitors or those on extended projects. There are two types of corporate housing:-
• Apartments rented and maintained by the operator on an on–going basis
• Those rented specifically for a particular housing requirement and length of time, after which they are handed back to the owner. This is also referred to as virtual housing.
Here are some of the considerations when deciding which option to select.
• Minimum stay – typically 30 days or more with corporate housing providers, although there are exceptions. Extended stay hotels usually have no minimum lease term.
• Lease agreements – there could be cancellation charges if a stay in cut short as the rate offered is based on the expected length of stay. Different areas have laws covering occupancy and sales tax as it relates to furnished rentals.
• Services – in corporate housing you are more on your own and with less hotel feel.
• Space - corporate housing provides more space than extended stay.
• Rates – it’s a matter of the location required, length of stay and what facilities you want.
• Amenities – remember, you get what you pay for!
All facts and figures are based on the 2011-2012 Industry Report by The Global Serviced Apartments.