Serviced Apartments in Australia - a caution

Old Mar 30th, 2007, 10:56 PM
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Serviced Apartments in Australia - a caution

There are quite a large number of queries about serviced apartments.

This caution stems from, ah, experience shall we say.

Serviced apartments are not the same as a hotel and often do not have a front desk to welcome you, check you in, give you travel advice or help with bags.
Sometimes you arrive at a locked door with a message stating to call the manager on their cell/mobile phone. Many travelers arrive not having a cell phone, so there they are in the middle of the night with no public telephones in sight, no coins anyway to operate one, wondering how in the hell they can get to their room.

Ask about entry before you plunk down a deposit.

Also bear in mind that some "conditions" of stay are draconian. In 2 apts we were required to do a major cleaning before leaving the apartment and in one case, this meant taking loads of recycling down 4 flights of steps in search of the trash bins. This was not at all made clear during the internet booking procedure. In both cases "serviced" meant only after a stay of 7 days and then once a week at most. So, make sure you know the details of the accommodation beforehand.

- Jane
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Old Mar 31st, 2007, 07:51 AM
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Jane, thank you for the caution. I am one of the people inquiring about serviced apartments -- you've given me something to think about.
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Old Mar 31st, 2007, 03:18 PM
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I agree that it wuld be prudentto check these things out before booking. That said, I've stayed in serviced apartments in all Australian capital cities and my only complaint has been that a couple of older and cheaper properties (one in East Melbourne, one in South Yarra, Melbourne) were somewhat run-down. I've always found the newer properties, mostly run by chains such as Oakford and Medina, fine.

A cautionary tale:

Some years ago one of my customers was visiting Melbourne and staying in one of those CBD (downtown) places that requires you to open the street-level door with your key after hours. He had lunch with some colleagues and this stretched into a pub crawl, dinner, then more pubs. At some stage the whole adventure became a blank until he woke up next morning, severely hung over, in a cell at Russell Street police HQ. He'd lost his key, and the coppers found him kneeling on the footpath and beating feebly at the hotel door, so took him in for his own protection.

He was actually quite happy with the room-service hot breakfast the police supplied, but was annoyed that he couldn't get a refund from the apartment owner for the night he spent away.
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Old Mar 31st, 2007, 05:07 PM
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I agree with Neil Oz that you would be prudent to check out the things Jango mentions before booking a serviced apartment--i.e. late night arrivals and how often the apartment is actually serviced. Having said that, I've stayed in serviced apartments all over Australia and I have never been in a serviced apartment that wasn't thoroughly cleaned before our visit or where the hosts weren't always very accomodating to leave a key if they knew we were coming after hours. The only problem I ever had in a serviced apartment was when we were only given one roll of toilet paper for a week's stay. The hosts said that was all they provided, so we had to go out and buy our own when that ran out. A bit cheap of them, I thought.
Nevertheless, Jango makes some good points, but I hope it won't put people off staying in serviced apartments. They are a good, affordable form of accomodations and I wish they were more common in other countries!
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Old Mar 31st, 2007, 06:21 PM
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I, too, use serviced apartments for anything beyond a nighyt's stay. Have used the Saville and Quest groups and always been happy with them, also another one in Melbourne, which name escapes me ... bottom end of Swanston st - also v.good.

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Old Apr 1st, 2007, 12:40 AM
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Sorry - I didn't mean to be too negative about serviced apartments. I travel a lot and always stay in serviced apartments or inexpensive hotel suites - anywhere which has a kitchen.

It's just that having stayed in so many I've come across lots of quirks which set them apart from normal hotel accommodation and I just wanted to alert people.

The best ones are just like hotels (like the Paramount in Melbourne) , the worst ones are the dinky, run down apartments in huge hotel blocks owned by some landlord in Hong Kong who requires $1000 deposit up front and then emails you to pick up a key at a 24 hour service stations 3 kilometres away and, oh by the way, also requires that you wash and dry all bed linen before catching your plane at 5 am. Oh, the tales I could tell.

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