Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

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 6th, 2007, 07:43 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,642
By the way, if you do find a rental owner who will accept credit cards for payment, make sure any refunds can be credited back to your card as well. We learned the hard way when we had to cancel a Provence rental due to a family emergency. Although we had paid with our credit card, the owner sent our refund as a check written on an Australian bank account that took weeks to clear. Claimed she couldn't do credit card refunds.
BTilke is offline  
Apr 6th, 2007, 08:13 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 2,238
Squeak-you ask an excellent, travel-related question. One I was thinking about on this last trip to Venice. As many beautiful hotels/residences as there are in Venice, I can't imagine ever taking anything but an apartment there, because of the many advantages you have with an apartment in order to really get to know Venice, and this is quite apart from the astounding difference in room per night charges -because hotel rates in Venice, as well as everything else, vaporettos, gondola rides, do nothing but go up, up up each year. (I should say, NOT for residents-they get free admission to all churches, most museums, they pay next to nothing for vaporettos, they enjoy "special laws" that give them tax breaks, etc., on buying real estate, all the costs of running a unique city like Venice are borne by- THE TOURIST).

When I go to Italy, my stays are longer in one place, so I have to have SPACE. I usually am lucky to find 2 bedroom apartments in Venice for around 68-70 Euro/nt., with a washing machine-I CANNOT rent an apt. without a washing machine, because I can't stand wearing clothes more than once without washing-I do a load of wash almost every day when I'm in Venice-just me!

But I like coming back to my flat, with my lovely views of the roofs of Venice, (or, in my last flat, the stuatury atop the Gesuiti-a beautiful church near Fondamenta Nuove) or of someone's altana-to smile or chat briefly with the other Venetians in my apartment building, go shopping, the shop owners get to know you. If in the middle of the night, I want a diet Coke, or glass of prosecco or something else to munch on, I can just go into the kitchen and open the fridge. On a cold, freezing rainy night, such as I experienced this last trip, to come back to my lovely warm flat with the wooden beams-relax, take a glass of prosecco, turn on the TV and watch some crazy Italian television show, it's great, nothing like it. I wouldn't be able to afford Venice without doing the apartment, unless I wanted to go to a hotel and take a very small room-so that makes no sense. There's no comparison I think to taking an apartment in Venice as opposed to having a hotel room, I think.

I need to add, for short stays, 2-3 days or less, I go to hotels, but for cities like Venice, Rome, Paris, where I'm staying longer, the apt. is the way to go, for rate/value, space, convenience (washing machine, stove, fridge etc.)and coming in closer contact with the local culture.
Girlspytravel is offline  
Apr 6th, 2007, 01:30 PM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 58
In our family, we call it "living the life". We love to stay in residential areas and shop in the local markets etc. We feel it gives us a much better feel for whatever city we are in. We also end up in many more situations where we need to communicate with locals and "wing it" a little. We love it for anything that is 5 or 6 days or more. If it was a shorter time than that, I am not sure it would be worth it. We still go out to eat alot,but it is nice to have a place to relax and play cards or whatever else we are doing. Our kids are in there mid twenties, so I not talking about little kids.
jeno is offline  
Apr 7th, 2007, 03:22 PM
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 5
Apartment definitely, for the reasons already listed, more space, a washing machine, a kitchen which allows for a more relaxed pace in the morning no rushing to meet the cut off time for breakfast, plus its a great excuse to buy the local bread every morning.

I think an apartment gives you a chance to feel more like you are living in your location, if only for a week or so. I love going to the corner shop,the grocery store, or the bakery like a local. Somehow I never get the same thrill when I go to my local Publix.
Brumus is offline  
Apr 7th, 2007, 09:16 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 11,134
I had to laugh the last time I rented an apartment in Rome and someone said to me but I wouldn't want to cook all the time. duh. You can eat out even if you are in an apartment.

I dont like to be bothered with maids and desk people. I like to be shown my apartment and then left alone to enjoy it. It is nice to know you can call a manager to help you if needed. In my last apartment the manager was right next door and she helped up find restaurants, etc.

I, too, like two or more rooms and a kitchen so I can have a late night snack or breakfast before I get dressed in the morning. If I bring food in, I can have it at my leisure. In an hotel you can sit on your bed or right next to it on a chair, I like an actual couch to stretch out on.

Hotels, too, are fine for short stays but I love the idea of my own apartment in a city, not isolated in the country.
SeaUrchin is offline  
Apr 8th, 2007, 02:55 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 636
We are a couple that loves to travel and we usually try to get an apartment on vacation even if we are changing locations. The tough part is finding an apartment for less than a week. If less than a week it is sometimes more expensive than a hotel but we think the space is worth it. If we are going for 1-2 days, we go hotel. I agree with the above posters on all the advantages. On the other hand, I would much prefer a hotel to a B&B. I feel there is much less privacy at a B&B. I hate even having to get out of bed lest I disturb another guest with a squeaking floor. And since we are early risers, we rarely hang around for breakfast!
sdtravels is offline  
Apr 8th, 2007, 05:03 AM
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 52
We rented an apartment for 3 days in Madrid in March 07 for 8 people that was about $40 per person and in Barcelona for 4 days that was about $35 per person. Hotel rooms for 8 (3 rooms) would have been about double. I was surprised and pleased to find apartments for such short term rentals. Both were outstanding locations and owners! Madrid's was by Sol and Barcelona's by Las Ramblas.
bella33 is offline  
Apr 8th, 2007, 08:30 AM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 1,136
We rented an apt one summer in the South of France and indeed enjoyed it.

But, we are really hotel people and for the very reasons most of you site as what you don't like about hotels: maids, concierge, etc; it's exactly what we LOVE about hotels.

The last thing I want to be reminded of when traveling is home and for us, apts feel too much like we are at home( although we do live in a house.)
We even do not mind the smaller space of a hotel room or of course that it costs more; for us that's not the point.

When we are gone for longer than 3 weeks, indeed an apt does make better sense, but we really like the services of a hotel. We "collect" hotels; it's just what we love.
tripgirl is offline  
Apr 8th, 2007, 11:21 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 11,134
I have to say that I do love suites in hotels! And that there are times I would rather stay in an hotel but given my choice of equal value I would pick the apartment.
SeaUrchin is offline  
Apr 8th, 2007, 12:53 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,626
I agree with tripgirl. I prefer hotels, for the reasons you mentioned, when I'm travelling alone or with my husband. On a trip that's longer than a few days, we're like to stay in 2 or more and often mix moderately priced hotels (2 or 3 stars) with a splurge here and there.

The only times I stay in an apartment (and even then, I usually choose an "Apartment/Hotel", like Citadines) are when I'm taking a course and staying in one place for 2-6 weeks.

I think I've lived in too many places in the last few years (3 apartments in London in 2001-02, back to my own apartment in Toronto for eighteen months, then new house for ten months in 04-05, then 4 different apartments (!) in the summer of 2005 when I was apartment-hunting in Paris. We're moving out of our current apartment (my 5th in Paris) in a few months and expect to have 1 or 2 temporary flats in New York this summer, then a 1 year rental while we get settled, and then we'll probaby buy something and move again.) Oddly, all this living in mostly what amounts to "other people's houses" makes me prefer hotels when I travel. I either want a place to be completely my own, designed top to bottom and with everything exactly as I want it - or I want to stay in a very clean, crisp, streamlined hotel that doesn't "belong" to anyone (except me, for a few days).
Kate_W is offline  
Apr 8th, 2007, 01:53 PM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 578
I've never stayed in an apartment,next month shall be the first. I'm looking forward to all the advantages that were stated. I may feel a little more isolated but I've felt so in hotels as well. I think the added space will be a major bonus,I don't travel light and I love to cook. It gets awkward at times sitting alone in a restaurant. I utilize the visitors center greatly so I won't miss the concierge so much.

I'm so excited.
tzarinna is offline  
Apr 8th, 2007, 07:29 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 11,134
tzarinna, where are you going?

Wherever, I hope you have a wonderful time and will report back to us.

I like to cook up mini meals in the apartments too. Maybe take long matches to light the oven and stove, some places only have the short matches and I have the burnt fingertips to prove it.

Have fun!
SeaUrchin is offline  
Apr 8th, 2007, 08:31 PM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 578
"tzarinna, where are you going?

Wherever, I hope you have a wonderful time and will report back to us.

I like to cook up mini meals in the apartments too. Maybe take long matches to light the oven and stove, some places only have the short matches and I have the burnt fingertips to prove it.

Have fun! "

I'm going to Prague for a week. *giddy*

Ah,thanks for the tip on the long matches.
tzarinna is offline  
Apr 9th, 2007, 08:57 AM
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 191
Good topic Squeak!

In Paris, there are many apartments that I've seen advertised that "night for night" or by the week are as expensive than staying at a 5 star hotel. I've also always been curious why couples rent these apartments and deal with cleaning, cooking, no concierge to help with recommendations etc. when they could be pampered at the Ritz instead?

I stay in both hotels and modest apartments. I actually prefer hotels - I like not having to cook and clean on vacation and I love eating out, but now that I travel with my small children I always rent an apartment, and cook most meals. Both options contain advantages/disadvantages. Here's a list I came up with to determine if an apartment or hotel rental in Paris is right for you:


One critical factor that I don't think was mentioned on this thread is the "picky factor". If you like things "just right", an apartment might not be a good choice for you. In some of the apartments that I've rented, I've been totally happy with, but visiting friends found unacceptable if they had been renting the same place for their vacation (e.g., sound proofing, quality of linens, kitchen applicances, etc., access to wi-fi, etc.)

ParisEscapes is offline  
Apr 10th, 2007, 08:55 PM
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 139
Just curious, Cupid1--Do you have a favorite agent (or agents) in England--and London in particular. It sounds as though you have the 'home away from home' situation pretty well under control. I'd like a lead on some reliable contacts. Thanks, BMK
bobbymckaye is offline  
Apr 10th, 2007, 09:57 PM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 1,183
Much prefer an apartment over a hotel. The most important difference for us is the quiet. No noisy people walking down the hall or the constant open and closing of doors.
Plus the choice of cooking our own meals or eating out. It's always nice to have the extra room to relax in rather than being cramped in one bedroom. Also the convenience of having a washing machine, as we pack light, only one carry on each.
We will be in Italy for one month beginning May 8 and we have rented 4 apartments, Venice, umbria, Rome and Sardinia.
Average cost per night will be about Euro 100 per night.
susiedq is offline  
Apr 11th, 2007, 03:31 AM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 1,755
Noise can be a factor too in an apt..and you cant change your room!
travelbunny is offline  
Apr 11th, 2007, 03:53 AM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 6,282
Not apartments as such, but I stayed in villas several times before deciding I prefer hotels. I don't want to shop, cook, clean or even make my own bed on holiday and I want clean towels every day (ideally twice a day).

To me the only advantage of a villa was not having to share the pool.
caroline_edinburgh is offline  
Apr 11th, 2007, 04:03 AM
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 36,658
Over and over again, people keep saying they like hotels over apartments because they don't like to cook on vacation. Could someone explain what that means? Do some apartment owners come in and force you to cook? I haven't run into that. We've been renting apartments for a number of years and I have yet to cook in any of them. Just because they offer a kitchen doesn't mean you have to use it. What does "having to cook" have to do with renting an apartment?

I suppose by the same token I would have to avoid hotel rooms that have separate shower and tub. I like showers rather than a bath, but I guess if I got a room with a bathtub I'd HAVE to take a bath?
NeoPatrick is offline  
Apr 11th, 2007, 04:07 AM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 6,282
I know what you mean, Patrick : however, the last time we stayed in a villa we hardly cooked at all but still seemed to spend a lot of time shopping for water, milk, etc.
caroline_edinburgh is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 04:17 PM.