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hotel or apartmnet? which one you prefer? why?

hotel or apartmnet? which one you prefer? why?

Apr 5th, 2009, 06:30 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 13,406
hotel or apartmnet? which one you prefer? why?

In a last while several posters expressed their preference for staying in a hotel rather than a rental apt.. At the same time, many posters are inquiring about apt. for rent in Paris, Barcelona etc.

There are pros and cons for both. What is your experience?
danon is offline  
Apr 5th, 2009, 06:54 AM
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Apartment: pros- more space, able to "cook in", do laundry, less expensive than 2 rooms, etc., for a family
cons-no maid service (sometimes available at extra cost), no concierge, could be isolating for a solo traveler

Hotels: the opposite of above

For a family I think it's by far the best way to go, especially for stays of over 4 (maybe even 3) nights. It gives everyone some space, allows for different bedtimes, cooking or doing take out, etc. Cannot think of a downside for a family.
grandmere is offline  
Apr 5th, 2009, 07:04 AM
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I am in the process of renting an apartment in Europe for the first time ever (I've always stayed at hotels). While I cannot tell you my actual apt stay experience yet, I can tell you about the pros/cons of the booking process:

For apartments:
1) Fewer reviews (or sometimes NONE) than hotels where I can easily go to TA to look them up
2) Sometimes requires a leap of faith esp for rentals with no reviews
3) If the apt owner asks for a check deposit or wire transfer, it's an additional process to go to the bank to do so
4) Higher chance of getting scammed when renting an apt compared to a hotel
5) Some owners are not very responsive in replying ...

The positives so far I can see:
1) Much more affordable than hotels. I am traveling with a group of 5 adults and we are renting a 3BR/2BA apartment. The cost of the entire apartment is about half of what we would need to pay for a double + triple rooms in a hotel
2) More space with an apartment, with the luxury of washing machine (useful for longer trips) and kitchen.
yk is offline  
Apr 5th, 2009, 07:43 AM
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If I'm familiar with the place, e.g., Paris, I'd definitely stay in an apartment. I love the independence, the extra space, the ability to have breakfast whenever I want it, and all of the other "pros" mentioned above.

If I'm not familiar with the place, and if I don't speak any of the local language, I'd prefer the added help of a hotel. But I'd be looking around for good neighborhoods to rent an apartment in, for the next time I visit that location.
weindell is offline  
Apr 5th, 2009, 07:50 AM
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So far , we have rented apt. in Barcelona and Madrid. We started doing home exchanges in 2000 and got used to the space and facilities

Last summer I stayed in a hotel in Paris for 5 nights and hated it. I was traveling alone ,I thought staying in a hotel would be less ' lonely" , but being in a small room with only a bed to sit on drove me nuts. It was a very hot several days - being outside all day was not an option ( I don't like it anyway).
On a trip to Barcelona this March, a friend and I rented a 2 bedroom apt. for the cost of a hotel room.
It was nice not having to share the room and to have breakfast "at home".
The hotel in Paris was in a perfect location, the reviews were good, but one still gets a tiny room for the same( or more money )than an apt.
As far as made service in a hotel, I can do without it.
I understand, though, why some women traveling with a family would like a break from cleaning after the kids!
danon is offline  
Apr 5th, 2009, 08:08 AM
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Now we ALWAYS rent apartments if we are going to be in a place for 3 or more nights. We are quite independent and don't feel the need for the hand-holding for tourist tips you can get in a hotel. As far as daily maid service, for just the two of us, we can pick up after ourselves and make the bed; it is not that big of a deal to me. Often if you are staying in an apartment for longer than a week, you can arrange for a weekly cleaning service.

We have two main reasons we like apartments rather than hotels. There is so much more room to spread out in an apartment. We are budget to moderate travelers and find that hotel rooms in that category often have no place to sit other than the bed. While we are not the type to retreat back to our place for long stretches of rest during the day, just having a place to sit and relax with a glass of wine and a snack is great. The fact that there are kitchen facilities avaialable is another huge plus for us. We always have breakfast in, and it is fun to walk down to the local bakery in the morning to get some type of bread or rolls. In addition, when we visit new locales, one of our favorite things to do is to visit the local markets and grocery shops. While we don't do any real cooking, it is nice to have a place where if we want we can warm up food we bought at the market or grocery store. This also means huge cost savings when we don't need to eat out for every meal. Plus, frankly, after we have been traveling a while, we get sick of eating out all the time.

Knock on wood, due to the fact that I do extensive research before renting an apartment or house or gite, we have yet to have a bad experience. And, I'd say 3/4 of the time we have rented directly from the owner rather than through an agency. To top it all off, it is fun to pretend for a short period of time that we actually live in the place we are visiting; this doesn't happen in a hotel.
julies is offline  
Apr 5th, 2009, 08:12 AM
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I don't mind hotels at all, but for stays of a week or more I definitely prefer apartments.

The extra space can make all the difference when you and your companion/s are getting close to wanting to strangle each other. You don't have to be joined at the hip when you're at "home". I know I need a bit of time and space to myself at the end of the day regardless. When I've been alone in apartments, I still like the extra space.

Having a kitchen makes it feel more like home, especially for trips of a week or more. It's nice to have a table to sit down to for breakfast in your pajamas, or for a simple dinner at home. I like having good coffee first thing in the morning and a fridge can be a godsend.

A washing machine can be handy, and I like having a proper iron and ironing board. Properly ironed clothes are important to me and the little hotel irons and boards are usually awkward and don't always do a good job.

I'm perfectly happy in a hotel room for shorter stays, though.
Apres_Londee is offline  
Apr 5th, 2009, 08:17 AM
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>>>being in a small room with only a bed to sit on drove me nuts<<<

danon, I know what you mean. When I'm alone, I still like having a sitting area, somewhere to spead out when relaxing. When I'm in a hotel, I tend to watch tv because I'm sitting there on the bed with a big tv in front of me so why not. But I never watch tv when I'm in an apartment. I'm more likely to read or study my maps or make my plans for the next day or go outside for a walk.
Apres_Londee is offline  
Apr 5th, 2009, 08:17 AM
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We are a family of 4 who always rent an apartment or cottage if possible. All of the positives listed above are the reasons why.

A few extra hurdles though for people to consider:
- You usually have to arrange a specific time to pick up the key. Sometimes there is a lock box which gives you more flexibility on arrival time, but not always.
- Also remember to always have the owner or representative's phone number with you. If something goes wrong you can't just go down to the front desk.
- Some places will require a minimum stay of 1 week in peak season. Be sure to check the minimum stay requirements before booking.
see_the_world7 is offline  
Apr 5th, 2009, 08:24 AM
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Apartments are especially good for traveling with young children. With an apartment, the adults can spend time in the living room, talk, watch TV, while the kids nap or go to bed early. You can keep a supply of food for odd hour snacking.

Apartments also work well for my husband and myself, because he gets up early and I like to sleep in. In the morning he goes out for croissants, makes the coffee, watches TV. And my husband has a thing for space; he hates cramped hotel rooms.

We almost never cook meals in apartments, just bring in take-out food on occasion.
Mimar is offline  
Apr 5th, 2009, 09:12 AM
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If someone else is willing to pick up the tab for my stay at a 5* property (including the room service bill) I could be convinced otherwise, but on my own it is an apartment.
Biggest advantage is usually more space. Some studios can be rather small but usually larger than hotel rooms in comparable cost categories.
Kitchen facilities - even if just a refrigerator and micro - allow leisurely breakfasts at reasonable cost on your own schedule, and even light meals in if desired. This is often a cost saving, but even better is the convenience and pleasure of playing local at the market.
As to housekeeping - some places do offer maid service (albeit at extra cost) but who gives a fig whether the bed is made, and how difficult is it to clean up after a simple meal?
Disadvantages would be risk that the property is not as represented, but that also happens with smaller hotels. After years of renting vacation apartments I have developed a sort of intuition and recognize the indicators of a likely scam (like requesting payment via Western Union or seeming like a too good to be true deal that is way out of line with comparable properties.)
Seamus is offline  
Apr 5th, 2009, 09:14 AM
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The jury is out for me. We (three adults) stayed in a lovely 2B/2B last week in Paris. We split it three ways. It would have been cheaper for two in a hotel. But we had a fireplace (which we used) and I had a wonderful deep tub. We ate in three times (with others) doing real cooking but it was more work than I would do again on my vacation. Sooo I'm not sure. But it is the way to go for a family or larger group.
gomiki is offline  
Apr 5th, 2009, 09:32 AM
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"A washing machine can be handy, and I like having a proper iron and ironing board.'

Good point!
For the last eight years I ( or we)have been traveling with only a carry on.
Washing clothes by hand is not a problem for me , but having an iron and ironing board available sure helps on longer trips.

"If someone else is willing to pick up the tab for my stay at a 5* property ..."
I feel the same way. If I won a lottery, I would travel first class and stay in the best rooms in the best hotels.....
danon is offline  
Apr 5th, 2009, 01:39 PM
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We definitely prefer apartments. I love the space. We had to stay in a hotel in London this past trip but only for two nights and I felt so cramped. It was really a large room, nice hotel. But I couldn't wander around. I couldn't get something from the fridge. I couldn't microwave a quick snack. Only one bathroom.

We have never had a bad experience with the apartment being not as described. Every time, they have exceeded our expectations. As far as owners, I'll only deal with the ones that have good communication. If I like a place but the owner gives me a short email "Yes. 600 euro" and/or doesn't answer my other questions, I pass and find another place.

I must say though, that the appliances sometimes perplex me! I never did figure out the washing machine/dryer this last time...

soogies is offline  
Apr 5th, 2009, 01:40 PM
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Forgot to ask -

danon = I am looking for an apartment in Barcelona and Madrid. Can you tell me which website(s) you used?

soogies is offline  
Apr 5th, 2009, 02:30 PM
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"We are quite independent and don't feel the need for the hand-holding"

Plenty of people who stay in hotels don't need anyone to hold their hand. We are independent travelers who usually stay in hotels.

We like spa hotels. Now if we could find apartments in our budget that come with full-service spa facilities included, we'd happily give them a try. Any recommendaitons?
Passerine is offline  
Apr 5th, 2009, 02:54 PM
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Julies - you took the words right out of my mouth!

My husband and I rented an apartment for our last trip to Rome. We absolutely loved it. Being able to pick up things for a light meal (we could have cooked but didn't want to) and keep them in the fridge was great. Even better was being able to sit at a table or on our balcony to enjoy our wine & snacks, rather than just sitting on a bed in a hotel. It just felt more relaxed to have space to hang out and unwind after a long day.

We still stay at hotels for 3 nights or less, but we are really looking forward to our upcoming trip to Paris where we've rented an apartment.
sherhatfield is offline  
Apr 5th, 2009, 03:07 PM
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My first impulse is to say that I vastly prefer apartments. I love the luxury of having my own space in a foreign place. The privacy, the comfort, the feeling of immersing myself in the neighborhood. The ability to shop at the markets for local foods, even if I do not really cook. I can try all the interesting cheese, fruits, vegetables, bread, pastries, charcuterie, and prepared foods that do not appear on restaurant menus but that beckon from the market stalls.

I love having comfortable seating on which to read, since I am not comfortable sitting on a bed. If I am with my husband, it is great to be able to retreat to the bedroom while he is in front of the TV in the living room, and it is great when I wake up early or can't sleep in the middle of the night to be able to go into the living room and read.

I have been very lucky to rent apartments that have worked out well for me. Some of them have been places I have read about and I have been able to talk to people who stayed there before, and that has been a great help. Others just seemed appealing and had reasonable reviews if any.

That said, I have only rented in cities with which I had previously had some familiarity. The first time in Rome, Barcelona, Paris, and London, I stayed in hotels. I remember it was useful to be able to ask the desk clerk for help with taxis, transportation, restaurants, and so on my first time in each city. That is not to say that I wouldn't rent an apartment on a first visit, but it would depend on the place and how comfortable I felt about exploring it without any backup assistance.
Nikki is offline  
Apr 5th, 2009, 03:39 PM
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Hotels are great for short term stays of less than 3-4 nights, especially if you're moving to different cities frequently. Apartments would be my choice for staying in one location for most of a week or longer.

One of the main benefits I see to staying in an apartment instead of a hotel is the kitchen facilities. I get really sick of eating out all the time, and that gets expensive quickly. I spent 3 weeks in the UK and Ireland last spring and was so sick of full English/Scottish/Welsh/Irish breakfasts that I could still just vomit thinking about it. It's great, but not for 3 weeks straight. I was on the move constantly so it was hotels almost every night.

Size can be a deciding factor, but most of the studio's I've looked at for London are likely the same size as a hotel room. I usually travel alone, so space isn't an issue for me. Some people like the maid service that you get at a hotel, that you likely won't get in an apartment rental. I don't make my bed daily at home, so I don't need it made when I travel.

It's all personal preference and how you like to travel I think.
Iowa_Redhead is offline  
Apr 5th, 2009, 04:18 PM
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we used Habitat in Barcelona ( twice) and Spain Select in Madrid. Spain Select has a very small selection , most of their apt are monthly rentals.


danon is offline  

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