Apartment Rentals Vs. Good Old Fashioned Hotels

Key facts about apartment rentals

Serviced apartments are common in most cities and towns, so it is likely that you’re already familiar with them. A hotel room is simply a room (usually en-suite) that you rent by the night. A serviced apartment is the same thing, except that you’re renting a much larger space. A serviced apartment will generally have a bedroom, kitchen, bathroom and living space, which may be open plan or in separate rooms. Serviced apartments are run by hospitality companies in a similar way to a hotel, and will include a house-keeping service.

Apartment rentals are slightly different. This is where a person puts an entire apartment, or even a single room within an apartment up for ‘rent’. With websites such as Airbnb, it is now possible to rent an apartment for one night, a week or longer. Most apartment rentals will not be serviced, and you will be expected to clean the apartment and leave it as it was when you arrived.

Which is cheaper? Hotels, serviced apartments or apartment rentals?

Hotel prices vary considerably. The average price of a budget hotel in Manchester is £53 per night, whereas the average price of a 5-star hotel is £263 per night. The price of a serviced apartment also varies, but on average you would expect to pay around £130 per night.

So what are you actually getting for your money? Let’s directly compare two providers in Cambridge:

Penthouse, Signet Apartments = £195 per night

  • Two bedrooms
  • Large open plan sitting room
  • Kitchen with balcony
  • Master bedroom with ensuite
  • Second bedroom
  • Family bathroom with shower
  • Private gated underground parking
  • Wide-screen TV, DVD player, HiFi and i-Pod dock
  • Business broadband and high speed WiFi
  • Free use of fax machine, printer, scanner, photocopier
  • Washing and drying facilities

The Varsity Hotel room = £185 per night

  • Bedroom with king size bed
  • Ensuite bathroom
  • LCD television, iPod docking station, most air conditioned with complimentary bottled water and WIFI
  • Bathrooms featuring under-floor heating with either a monsoon shower over the bath or a walk in monsoon shower
  • Access to Gym and Spa

It’s obvious from the comparison above that if you choose a serviced apartment you will get much more floor space for your money.

But what about if you are looking for accommodation on a budget? If so, then you may be able to afford to rent a room or an entire apartment on Airbnb. This is a platform where people put their own apartments up for rent, and are therefore cheaper than the average hotel room in the same location. The quality of the accommodation will vary considerably from apartment to apartment, so choose carefully.

When to rent an apartment

So when would it make sense to rent apartment instead of staying in a hotel:

  • When you’re travelling with 3+ people. Apartments allow you to share living space with fellow travellers, whilst having separate bedrooms. By splitting the cost you will save some significant cash.
  • When you’re travelling on business and need space to work or hold meetings.
  • When you are planning to stay for longer than a few nights – apartment rentals offer a discount for extended stays.
Serviced apartment
Serviced apartment

Key facts about apartment rentals

Serviced apartments are common in most cities and towns, so it is likely that you’re already familiar with them. A hotel room is simply a room (usually en-suite) that you rent by the night. A serviced apartment is the same thing, except that you’re renting a much larger space. A serviced apartment will generally have a bedroom, kitchen, bathroom and living space, which may be open plan or in separate rooms. Serviced apartments are run by hospitality companies in a similar way to a hotel, and will include a house-keeping service.

Apartment rentals are slightly different. This is where a person puts an entire apartment, or even a single room within an apartment up for ‘rent’. With websites such as Airbnb, it is now possible to rent an apartment for one night, a week or longer. Most apartment rentals will not be serviced, and you will be expected to clean the apartment and leave it as it was when you arrived.

Which is cheaper? Hotels, serviced apartments or apartment rentals?

Hotel prices vary considerably. The average price of a budget hotel in Manchester is £53 per night, whereas the average price of a 5-star hotel is £263 per night. The price of a serviced apartment also varies, but on average you would expect to pay around £130 per night.

So what are you actually getting for your money? Let’s directly compare two providers in Cambridge:

Penthouse, Signet Apartments = £195 per night

  • Two bedrooms
  • Large open plan sitting room
  • Kitchen with balcony
  • Master bedroom with ensuite
  • Second bedroom
  • Family bathroom with shower
  • Private gated underground parking
  • Wide-screen TV, DVD player, HiFi and i-Pod dock
  • Business broadband and high speed WiFi
  • Free use of fax machine, printer, scanner, photocopier
  • Washing and drying facilities

The Varsity Hotel room = £185 per night

  • Bedroom with king size bed
  • Ensuite bathroom
  • LCD television, iPod docking station, most air conditioned with complimentary bottled water and WIFI
  • Bathrooms featuring under-floor heating with either a monsoon shower over the bath or a walk in monsoon shower
  • Access to Gym and Spa

It’s obvious from the comparison above that if you choose a serviced apartment you will get much more floor space for your money.

But what about if you are looking for accommodation on a budget? If so, then you may be able to afford to rent a room or an entire apartment on Airbnb. This is a platform where people put their own apartments up for rent, and are therefore cheaper than the average hotel room in the same location. The quality of the accommodation will vary considerably from apartment to apartment, so choose carefully. Check out this price comparison chart:

Price Comparison Chart for Airbnb

When to rent an apartment

So when would it make sense to rent apartment instead of staying in a hotel:

  • When you’re travelling with 3+ people. Apartments allow you to share living space with fellow travellers, whilst having separate bedrooms. By splitting the cost you will save some significant cash.
  • When you’re travelling on business and need space to work or hold meetings.
  • When you are planning to stay for longer than a few nights – apartment rentals offer a discount for extended stays.

When to stay in a hotel

It makes more sense to stay in a hotel if:

  • You’re on a romantic short break with your partner and won’t really need the living space.
  • If you’ll only be using the accommodation to sleep, such as on business trips or short stop-overs.
  • If you are only staying one night then it may be cheaper and simpler to just book a budget hotel.


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