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Apartment vs. Hotel -- If you've done both which do you prefer and why?

Apartment vs. Hotel -- If you've done both which do you prefer and why?

Apr 3rd, 2007, 09:19 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,642
We tend to go with hotels rather than apartments because we usually travel with our cocker and we've found (in continental Europe, anyway), that it's easier to find high end hotels that accept pets than high end apartments (Paris Perfect is an example...if they accepted pets, we'd probably stay there instead of the Sofitel Le Parc. Maybe).
In other cases, we prefer hotels if we're going someplace completely new to us or if we plan to have a lot of "demands" (reservations at popular restaurants, tickets to concerts, etc.). Or if the hotel has facilities--a spa, for example--that an apartment wouldn't.

However, I don't think staying in an apartment for just a week v. a hotel is THAT much more of "living like a local." Merely being able to cook a few meals in one's temporary accommodations isn't really going native.
BTilke is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2007, 09:24 AM
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Apartments: we prefer non-smoking accomodations, enjoy the extra space to read, listen to music, etc. and we like to cook in every now and then. We've met some interesting people this way but I wouldn't say I feel like a local...mastering the language(s) would help that though.
mvor is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2007, 10:13 AM
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This is a great thread - thanks for starting it Squeak.

My husband and I are considering an apartment or two on our next trip to Europe - depending on how our itinerary works out. We have stayed in houses, cottages, condos, and cabins in the US and really enjoyed it. So we are tossing around the idea of renting apartments in Europe. Maybe do a combination of apartments and small hotels, renting an apartment in the city we will be staying the longest.

This thread has been great - reading the pros and cons of renting apartments. Very helpful.
J_Correa is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2007, 11:05 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
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My husband had the idea to try an apart'hotel in Nice and we absolutely loved it! While going out to eat is enjoyable, I find it difficult to eat all that food three times a day. Also I always, always eat breakfast first thing everyday and my husband maybe an hour after he gets up. And I only like muesli. No OJ, no coffee, no bread, no croissants. So all of that is wasted on me when I get a hotel breakfast.

And we both like that one person can sit in one room and another can sleep. I am an early riser (6:00-ish everyday, even on vacations).

My mother and sister are coming from the US to Paris and then here to Switzerland to visit next month and I had originally rented a 1 BR apt for the three of usfor just 5 nights and today a friend who lives in Paris is going on a business trip and offered us her 5-room apartment for free!
beaupeep is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2007, 11:24 AM
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I've not done it in a city, but I defintely prefer self catering.

We're not terribly city people, and I wouldn't rent a flat for a weekend, but anywhere we've been longer than that, count me in in the self catering bit.

My husband seems to think that a siesta is a legal obligation when he's on holiday- and I just can't do that. So, for example, in paris last month I had to nip round to the nearest bar and sit a read a book and drink a glass (or two) of wine. What hardship, I hear you say.

Well, it's fine in the summer, when you're on a terrace enjoying the weather.

But not such a laugh on a driech winter's day.

So, unless I can find a hotel with a nice lounge- harder than you might think; who can chill out in a lobby- I'll always go for the flat/ cottage/ house option.
sheila is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2007, 11:41 AM
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You're welcome J Correa. I pride myself on being nosey!

It's interesting to hear everyone's different views. I have debated for quite sometime whether to suck it up and rent a small villa in Tuscany even though it would just be the two of us. Seems like such a waste but I think I would like the experience of waking up and having breakfast outside on the terrace with an expansive view of the Val D'Orcia. Thing is, we rented a house in the south of France a couple years ago and it rained every single day the entire week! Had we chosen a hotel, we could have checked out early and headed to Paris where it wasn't raining. In retrospect, we should have done that anyway but, this was something I never considered when renting a house! You've paid in full before your arrival w/no refunds. On the flipside I do love having someone bring me coffee and cereal and at the end of the day coming home to find my room cleaned. I know for a price you can probably get that with an apartment or a villa but that's not the category of accommodations we can afford.

Squeak is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2007, 12:50 PM
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If we are going to be in a place for more than three days we try to have an apartment. We have had condos or apartments in New York City, Montreal, Whistler, Vancouver, Maui, Kauai, the Big Island, Sidney, Arequipa Peru, Guatemala, Puerto Vallarta, San Diego, Cambridge, Istanbul, Florence, Barcelona, and some I have forgotten.

Why? Space at the same or less cost as a hotel room. Not having to go out to find something for breakfast. Having snacks on hand, to include fruit from the local greengrocer and local cheeses from the specialty delis.

I get claustrophobia in a hotel froom for more than two days, and, as others, I awake early and need a place to hang out. We don't cook meals in the apt, but usually have coffee, fruit, and local bakery stuff for breakfast, a mid afternoon main meal at a good restaurant and something like fruit,cheese, wine and crackers "at home" for 'supper'. Also, if we have planned an excursion where a picnic is in order, it is really easy to put a great one with supplies from the local deli.
jtrandolph is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2007, 12:55 PM
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We've done both in London and I prefer the apt. because it's private. You see almost no one and I like that. We rented an apt. even for the two of us.
I don't cook and my husband isn't going to on vacation so we use the kitchen for drinks, cheese, bread, pop etc.
We would have rented the apt. this trip but it was closed for remodeling so we did the hotel.
tudorprincess is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2007, 01:37 PM
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How do you find these apartments?
texastraveler is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2007, 02:01 PM
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Do a google search for "apartments in xxxx". Also type the same thing in the search field on this website and you'll see very well know websites such as www.vrbo.com and many others depending on the country in question.
sandi_travelnut is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2007, 05:06 PM
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We just got back from Spain and in Madrid we stayed in an apartment right by Sol for 3 nights, then a hotel in Valencia (3 rooms) and then 4 nights in an apartment along Las Ramblas in Barcelona. We are a family of 5 with a tagalong niece, nephew and neighbor. With 8 people, we loved being in one large apartment so we could share, make plans and it was a lot cheaper.
bella33 is offline  
Apr 5th, 2007, 11:44 PM
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depends...By myself for a week or more an apt- why..I can curl up in the evening and eat as I wish..soup, bread and wine..no wait or expense of room service and I get tired of dining out at night. Secondly, I can have friends over for dinner. I don't want an apt which is really a bedroom with a kitchenette; I would rather a 2* hotel. I am not into apt hotels (ie for a few days) unless with the kids. Apts a bit riskier. If you end up with a bad hotel you can usually check out after the first night. Almost all apts demand a hefty downpayment and many payment in full prior to arrival. In addition some require a security deposit (though this is usually a check which they dont cash and just tear up at departure). Some require money orders or other less convenient modes of payment than the usual plastic when you chek in. In summary, I prefer one vs the other depending on the specific set of cicumstances.
travelbunny is offline  
Apr 6th, 2007, 12:07 AM
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We are a couple who prefer apartments, always, and homes when we can get them, whether for one day or seven or more. They are ALWAYS cheaper than a hotel with equivelent amenities, they have more space, allow you more flexibility regarding meals, laundry, relaxation and entertaining, and allow you to immerse yourself in the local culture in a way no hotel or B&B can. Some even come with maid service, will pre-stock groceries for you, and/or come with a personal tour of the neighborhood to help you get your bearings. Ours all of these things plus a concierge, but the owner encouraged us to call him if we needed anything at all, as have the owners or agents for all of our rentals.

We have never been less than thrilled with any home or apartment we've rented, but there have been many disspointments with hotels. And no, they will NOT always give you another room even when something is very wrong! Fine example: we recently returned from a wretched stay at the Waldorf-Astoria in NYC and it was nowhere as hospitable, comfortable or charming as the apartment in a 475-year-old palazzo overlooking Turtle Fountain that was our home in Rome the week before. Oh, to be back there now on the terraces with lemon-laden trees, watching the sun set over the terracotta rooftops...
cupid1 is offline  
Apr 6th, 2007, 06:29 AM
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We've turned to renting apartments in Europe (as well as in cities in the US) almost exclusively. We're two older guys without a family!
We never cook (well I have boiled water to make iced tea) but like a refrigerator for keeping juice and fruit. So the kitchen is not a major issue. Having a washer/dryer though is nice as we are traveling for several months at a time -- but again, that isn't a deal breaker.
The main thing is the space. We stay most places at least a week, and living in a hotel room with a bed and a single chair or possibly two is simply NOT comfortable to us. We like to stretch out and feel like we're living in a place -- not unpacked in a hotel room.
We don't miss the services of the hotel. In fact I prefer to make our own bed in the morning and not be disturbed by a maid knocking on our door to come clean the room.
I have to admit, that if we were going to Europe for 10 days to 2 weeks and only staying in each place for a few nights, a hotel would probably be fine. But for a week -- a hotel gets old and claustrophic quick!
NeoPatrick is offline  
Apr 6th, 2007, 06:53 AM
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I much prefer hotels. I just don't see the joy of apartment rental unless I was spending 1+ month somewhere. I either travel solo or with just one other person.

I think hotels are easier to make the arrangements, payment, plus I make generous use of the front desk staff if I need help with something. Easier check in and out, they store your luggage, help you figure out transportation and restaurants, make a phone call on your behalf when you don't speak the language. I could go on and on (oops I already have!).
suze is online now  
Apr 6th, 2007, 06:54 AM
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When we 2 seniors couples were going to Florence for 3 nights last Oct, we rented a 2 BR, 2 BA apt. We wanted this because it allowed us to have a kitchen for our breakfasts and lunch if we wanted it.

But most important, we had a very nice living room where we could have a private wine and cheese time before going out to dinner. We could put our feet up and watch TV or just talk. It was just more pleasant than hotel rooms.

We had done this also in NZ, and it worked out so well. It was like being in your own home.

It was also slightly cheaper than hotel rooms, but the major attraction was the pleasant feeling.
Jed is offline  
Apr 6th, 2007, 06:56 AM
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I have enjoyed apartments when traveling with a friend and to beach destinations (Hawaii or Mexico). That's a different beast than European cities in my opinion.
suze is online now  
Apr 6th, 2007, 06:57 AM
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The appeal of an apartment for me is the washing machine! The added space is also a plus if I am going to be in one location for a week.

In Paris, there is no really good hotel on Ile St Louis (none with a Seine view that I know of) so I too prefer renting an apartment there.
fall06 is offline  
Apr 6th, 2007, 07:11 AM
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Another vote for apartment/houses. My husband much prefers the extra space. And I like sleeping in when he gets up early. I don't do much cooking either, but, on occasion, when renting with a group, we had a cook in to prepare dinner. That was really a good experience.

Usually after a day sightseeing and a big lunch, we eat lightly for dinner. (In Italy gelato for dinner is good.)

texastraveler, the Slow Travel web site, www.slowtrav.com, has lots of information about renting self-catering accomodations in Europe, as well as reviews of individual rentals and rental agencies. I myself would feel uncomfortable renting from vrbo, especially if I can't charge the rental to a credit card. There's been some scams lately.
Mimar is offline  
Apr 6th, 2007, 07:32 AM
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"I myself would feel uncomfortable renting from vrbo, especially if I can't charge the rental to a credit card."

This may be splitting hairs, but you DON'T rent from VRBO. VRBO is merely an advertising tool for individual owners to advertise their property. It seems safer to me (at least VRBO will follow up on complaints) than renting an apartment advertised on an individual website or in a newspaper, or on Craigslist or other means.

I have no qualms about individual owners not accepting credit cards. I have two rentals where I live and I'm not set up to take credit cards either. Few individual owners are. At least when I rent from an owner, I feel much less likely to arrive and have the agency tell me the apartment I thought I was getting is not available and this is the one they're putting me in instead.
NeoPatrick is offline  

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