staying in apartment vs hotel

Old Feb 4th, 2011, 10:59 AM
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staying in apartment vs hotel

i guess i've never considered staying in an apartment vs a hotel. pros and cons? is it safe? top sites to use for reputable reviews as well as good prices?

thanks fodorers in advance.
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Old Feb 4th, 2011, 11:22 AM
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Safe ????? There are probably more robberies/thefts in hotels than in Apts.

Where in France???? Paris, Cote d'Azur, elsewhere.

We've rented 43 gites (houses) in France, two apts in St Tropez, and 6 apt rentals in Paris. No problem so far.

Pros??? Once you stay in an Apt or house, you'll find it hard to stay in a hotel. More space, cooking facilities, washing machines, pools, privacy.

Stu Dudley
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Old Feb 4th, 2011, 11:29 AM
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Check slowtrav.com--they have tons of reviews of agencies as well as specific rentals--mainly Italy and France. For my last 4 trips to Europe, I've used rentals and LOVED them! It's so nice to have extra room, to be able to make coffee in the morning when I want to, to have a casual meal in if we don't feel like going out, to have a glass of wine on the terrace (if I'm so lucky) before heading out at night, to dig into a pint of Berthillon ice cream from the comfort of my couch, etc, etc. If you like room service and having someone make your bed for you on the morning, you wouldn't like rentals. I've used guestapartment.com twice (Rose and Sunflower--both delightful). Most of their rentals are on Ile St Louis in Paris, a superb location. Also used Paris Perfect--lovely apartments, somewhat more "Americanized", almost all in the 7th which I don't care for because of less convenient transportation-also they're very expensive. In Italy, we rented La Fornacina, but I don't think it's rentable any more.
Lots of advice on this board about reliable rentals--you'll pay more using an agency than direct with an individual, but I feel more confident w/ an agency--you have more recourse if something's awry. Good Luck!
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Old Feb 4th, 2011, 11:31 AM
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We always stay in an apartment or cottage if we can, even if the stay is only a few nights. Some have restrictions on the minimum nights you can stay. We have 2 kids so it is very nice to have separate bedrooms and a living area and kitchen. The kids can go to bed earlier and we have space to relax. You can save money by cooking your own meals or at least eating breakfast in. Often a 2 bedroom place works out cheaper than a single hotel room would for the same amount of time. There are loads of websites dedicated to holiday homes or cottages.

The only extra things to look at are:
- Does the house allow pets. The website should specify. My husband is allergic to cats and some dogs so we usually try to find a pet-free place to stay.
- Many places have lock boxes for the keys and will provide you with the code. Other times you need to arrange a time to meet the owner which can be a bit of a hassle.
- Sometimes linens and towels are not provided so make sure to ask. You can often rent them for an extra fee, but we usually are able to find somewhere that includes them.
- Sometimes the owner will charge a one-off cleaning fee so be sure to consider that in the cost. Others will let you clean up yourself so we usually opt for that instead since we always clean up after ourselves (take trash out, do dishes, etc...) anyway.
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Old Feb 4th, 2011, 11:52 AM
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wow, amazing. hrm, am i that lazy that i can't make the bed to save 50euros, haha. i'm sold. any recommendations. just me and the wife, traveling. bout 3 nights and then 3 nights london. definitely love the art and museums. fans of rick steve, so we are bargain hunters, but not cheap. ideally, looking for a nice flat, decent shops outside to grab a bite before we hope on the RER or metro. i guess that's everyone's profile huh?
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Old Feb 4th, 2011, 11:54 AM
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oh, in terms of sites, i'm sifting through homeaway.com and vrbo, but will definitely check out those others you all have suggested. by the way, i just love fodor's and the helpful advice we always get from the community.
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Old Feb 4th, 2011, 12:15 PM
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Okay 3 nights in London and 3 nights ????? Where?

In big cities, 3 nights is often the minimum, rural generally require a week.
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Old Feb 4th, 2011, 12:37 PM
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I think that somewhat depends on whether you're a first-time or returning visitor. The first time around it's useful to be in a hotel, where personnel can answer questions and generally help if there are problems. After that, head for an apartment--but be sure you deal with a reputable agency.
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Old Feb 4th, 2011, 01:44 PM
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Are you talking about Paris in France or what city? try www.slowtrav.com for some reviews, I think there are some on tripadvisor now, also, not sure, as well as some threads on here.

I don't agree that apts are perfect and the only way to go and that if you rent one, you'll never book a hotel again. Don't agree at all, not one bit. They serve different purposes, and lots of things affect that decision (such as number of people in the party, purpose of the visit, length of stay, are you comfortable handling everything you need to by phone yourself (taxi, reservations, whatever)etc.). Financial considerations are large, also, as with apts you must usually prepay and put down security deposits, also. Just be aware that very few places will rent vacation rental apts for only three nights in Paris, though, I don't know about London. So you'll have a limited selection, but there are some. Some will charge you more, obviously, if you are there a short time due to fixed expenses of cleaning, etc.

If you are only in a place a few days, have never been there, and are doing this mainly to save money, I'd look at the comparisons carefully of that vs. a hotel.
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Old Feb 4th, 2011, 02:02 PM
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3 nights paris, france. yeh, we do enjoy the concierge to ask for local places. but we did ireland all B&Bs and italy, we bopped around and used fodor's maps of course. as well as watching rick steve's European travel, so we felt pretty confident. all in all, i'd say we aren' the savviest, but we know how to get around.
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Old Feb 4th, 2011, 02:39 PM
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Renting apts/gites/houses is a little more difficult & time consuming than staying in B&Bs. At B&Bs, the proprietor usually resides at/close to the property, and check in/out is quick & fast - just a little longer than a hotel check in/out. At all but 2 of 51 gites/apts we've stay in while in France, we had to make arrangements to meet the proprietor (who is normally not located in/close to the property), give them our security deposit (most often in cash), tell them whether we wanted to rent sheets & towels, arrange for cleaning, and find out the "rules" - including how to work the appliances. This can take from 1 hr to 2 hrs and often "kills" much of the later afternoon. We also may have to purchase items for the apt/gite like coffee, cooking stuff, TP/soap (they usually give you enough for several days - but not for 4 weeks), etc When we leave, we must also make arrangements to meet with the proprietor, have them inspect the apt/gite, and get our security deposit back. This is normally about a 30 min task.

For a 3 night stay, I would not bother with an apt rental - because of the time overhead and all the complications (my wife speaks French).

We normally stay for 2 weeks in a single apt/gite while in France (90 weeks total). We've rented apts in London also. We have 3 gites reserved for this coming June/July, and 1 apt in London for 3 weeks this Sept. We also have 7 hotels reserved for our June/July trip (1 to 4 nights each). So - our usual plan is to stay in Apts/gites for a week or longer, and in a hotel/B&B for 3-4 nights or shorter. This works for us.

Stu Dudley
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Old Feb 4th, 2011, 02:44 PM
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If it is my first time in a new city and if I have any less than one week, I prefer a hotel. I stay at modest places but I do make use of the help from the front desk, maps in the lobby, etc. Also because I am most often solo I like being around people, having the lobby to sit in, a maid to clean my room, etc. For a solo person in a new city an apartment can be a very lonely experience I think.
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Old Feb 17th, 2011, 06:15 AM
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thanks stududley. some of those items i did not consider and as such, with our shortness of time in paris, that might be ideal. i'll consider as we book our accommodations.

s
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Old Feb 17th, 2011, 06:46 AM
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hey stu, where is the best location in proximity of walking to a major site, food for reasonable? i was looking at the area around the louvre. but for hotels, seems like better pricing nearby the arc. your recommendations?
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Old Feb 17th, 2011, 08:11 AM
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For a first timer - I would stay in the St Germain des Pres area.

Stu Dudley
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Old Feb 17th, 2011, 08:24 AM
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There is no "best" area of Paris for walking "to a site.
The city was built over thousands of years and the planners didn't place everything for the convenience of tourists who might come along a few hundred years later. Generally speaking, first-timers find themselves content with staying in the 4th/5th/6th/7th. Being close to the Seine is a plus. The Louvre area is expensive and commercial. The Arc area is a sterile wasteland for the most part. I would suggest you look in the arrondissements I've mentioned, or for much better pricing farther out if you're adventurous.
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Old Feb 17th, 2011, 08:45 AM
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well noted. time to reroute my searching.
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