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AJPeabody Dec 29th, 2013 07:28 AM

Would an ApartHotel be a Good Alternative to an Apartment?
Every time I consider renting an apartment for a vacation, I get cold feet. What if's get me too worried. What if it's not as listed? What if the agent is unavailable when the pipe bursts? What if the building is having a problem? Is it illegal and going to be closed? And so on.

I know if I use a hotel, there will be a desk staff for help if we get in a jam, another room if mine becomes uninhabitable, and so on. But there will be no fridge, no space, no cooktop, etc.

Aparthotels seem to offer a hybrid with most of the benefits, but they are never mentioned here. Are they less than meet the eye? Too expensive?

Anyone have any information or experience with them?

rialtogrl Dec 29th, 2013 07:42 AM

I have stayed in a few aparthotels. The kitchens are generally fine for making stuff like sandwiches and coffee but aren't really outfitted with a lot of equipment to make a hot meal. Sometimes there might be a skillet. If you want a kitchenette to make coffee and have supplies to make light, easy breakfasts then an aparthotel is fine. But if you want to cook at home, like REALLY cook at home, a regular apartment is better.

MmePerdu Dec 29th, 2013 07:44 AM

I've never used one either but I'm guessing they're serviced like a hotel, so one pays for the staffing, so likely much more expensive than a comparable private apartment. Also 2 other issues, I imagine a more sterile, less interesting environment and for me, more importantly, the privacy issue. I much prefer not having staff coming in and out every day. In fact, that may be one of the biggest reasons I like private apartments so much.

I'll be interested, too, to hear from someone who uses apartment hotels.

rialtogrl Dec 29th, 2013 07:51 AM

MmePerdu I stayed in a cute little place in Dublin for a week and I didn't want any housekeeping, so the staff knocked and asked if I needed anything every day. So you don't HAVE to take the service. And if it is for a couple of days, just put the "do not disturb" sign on the door. I prefer private apartments but sometimes it is more economical and if I am just in a place for a couple of days, an apartment won't work. In those times I seek out these aparthotels.

MmePerdu Dec 29th, 2013 08:20 AM

Rialtogrl, makes perfect sense. I think probably, generally speaking, there are those who like service and those who like to avoid even the knocking. I fall in the latter category but can see if there are no apartments available for a short stay one could, indeed, use the "do not disturb".

HappyTrvlr Dec 29th, 2013 08:33 AM

We have stayed in them a couple of times in Europe. What I liked is that you have a front desk staff to help with feservations, directions. The whole scenario is much easier than renting an apartment, booking, paying, etc.

annhig Dec 29th, 2013 08:35 AM

on our recent trip "down under" we stayed in a variety of types of accommodation, from hotels to motels, aparthotels, and B&Bs. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, and in some cases the distinctions were quite blurred eg in one B&B we were upgraded to an apartment, but still had breakfast in the main house, in the motels our rooms were serviced every day if we wanted that, and we had access to a "front desk" with travel and other advice, and in the "aparthotels" we had full kitchens.

I appreciate that I'm not talking about the UK or even Europe, but IME, it's worth hunting around to see the full range of accommodation that's available, and if you can find one, and aparthotel is definitely worth considering. We did like and appreciate the fact that almost without exception, in no place were we entirely "on our own" - the exception was actually a B&B in a pub in NZ where we were only staying one night anyway, and had no need of a "concierge" service.

Michael Dec 29th, 2013 08:40 AM

We stayed in one in Wroclaw. It was as described by rialtogrl with no daily services. It was in an old apartment building that had been carved up, with a mix of residents and "apartments" for visitors.

Christina Dec 29th, 2013 08:50 AM

I think for Paris, at least, many people don't mention them that much because they are more expensive than a regular hotel room (of course), and because they are generally modern facilities. A lot of people have the romantic idea that they are "living like a Parisian", etc., and trying to be French so they have perceptions of wanting some old, supposedly "quaint" apartment in a regular apt building rather than a modern facility. Sometimes modern has its advantages IMO. This is mostly a Parisian phenomenon, it seems to me, people wanting to feel like they are the locale. I don't seem to read that about people who want apartments on vacation in London or Germany or Prague, for example (oh, I really want to feel Czech, etc.). It's the Parisian mystique.

So if you are more straightforward as to what you need in practicalities, they are a good option, if what you really want is mainly a kitchenette, and a little extra space. I do think they are priced better than some large, suite hotel rooms, though. The typical chain aparthotels you will find (mainly Citadines in Paris, but I think there is another chain now that has at least one over in the 15th arr., and I notice one near where I often stay in Montparnasse which has a couple locations, Villa whatever).

I think these can be good options, and you are right about the advantages. Here are some in Paris

MmePerdu Dec 29th, 2013 08:52 AM

The one described by rialtogrl at the top sounds a bit like the Amerisuites hotels which I loved for what and where they were (airports). Inexpensive, with a small fridge, microwave, coffee maker, dishes and sink, it was perfect for a short stay since I don't actually cook much in rented apartments. Much like studio apartments which I seek out when traveling on my own. The only thing missing was charm but for the price one cannot complain.

bvlenci Dec 29th, 2013 09:11 AM

I once stayed in an "aparthotel" in Rome with my daughter and granddaughter. This was a building with a lobby and hotel services, but with suites with kitchenettes, including cleaning service. I myself prefer a hotel to an apartment, all things being equal, but an apartment has advantages when traveling with a family group or with a small child. There are several hotels in Rome that manage off-site apartments; the apartments are really private apartments, without hotel services, but, when necessary, you can go to the hotel to use their services. I once stayed in an off-site apartment managed by a hotel in Bologna, which provided daily cleaning service. We could either fix breakfast there, or go to the hotel for breakfast. It's true that these have all the advantages of an apartment, and most of the advantages of a hotel, but you have to be sure of what sorts of service are and aren't included.

I don't see the point in "pretending" to be a Parisian (or an Italian, as many tourists are also fascinated by this possibility in Italy). It's OK if you're 8 years old, I suppose. I do quite enough cooking and grocery shopping at home, and buying baguettes to carry home under my arm or otherwise pretending to be a Parisian would cut into my museum time. Also, I really like to return in the evening and find my bed made up and the bathroom cleaned. It's a vacation after all.

We've just returned from a trip to London, where our extended family of six met for Christmas. In a situation like this, an apartment is much more practical than a hotel. We had a very nice apartment, and no complaints at all on that score. However, I was the one that did almost all of the cooking and shopping, and more than my share of the tidying up. I could have groused and insisted, but the others would have been perfectly happy to eat take-out every night, and my need for cleanliness and order is greater than theirs, so it's not fair for me to insist they help. (It proved to be almost impossible to organize restaurant meals for the whole group for various reasons.) I had a great time, but came home and slept for 14 hours straight. (Not because of overnight flights or jet lag, as we live in Italy.) Also, it's always annoying to have to buy things that you can't possibly use up: dish detergent, coffee, sugar, paper towels, and the like. We even ran out of toilet paper on the next-to-last day and couldn't find any quantity less than four rolls.

annhig Dec 29th, 2013 09:22 AM

Also, it's always annoying to have to buy things that you can't possibly use up: dish detergent, coffee, sugar, paper towels, and the like. We even ran out of toilet paper on the next-to-last day and couldn't find any quantity less than four rolls.>>

not wishing to infuriate you, bvlenci, but on the recent trip i refer to above, these were invariably provided, whether we stayed in what was described as a motel, aparthotel, or apartment. we also provide them as standard in our holiday cottage.

i think you were unlucky to find somewhere which did not provide these basics; i agree that it's a real pain when you're on holiday to be having to bother about such things and they really ought to be provided in every apartment.

MmePerdu Dec 29th, 2013 09:28 AM

I agree with annhig, and what's especially surprising is that there were not, at very least, some supplies left by the previous occupant. It makes one wonder if the owners or cleaners are not supplying their own needs from guests' purchases.

rialtogrl Dec 29th, 2013 10:10 AM

I travel for months at a time and on many an occasion have to hole up for a couple of days to work. I want to make my own coffee every morning, have my cereal and yogurt, maybe eat an omelette for lunch and this is where the kitchen, however small, is a necessity for me. But I can see how these aparthotels on vacation could feel a little sterile. If it is a unique apartment experience you are after, you probably won't find it in an aparthotel.

WeisserTee Dec 29th, 2013 10:50 AM

Depends on the aparthotel's location, service level, and price. We spent three weeks at an aparthotel in Brussels that was overpriced and in the end annoying -- housekeeping came every day, the fridge was pre-stocked like a hotel mini-fridge and the aparthotel ran it more like a hotel -- they were miffed when we told them to clear out the mini-fridge so we could put our own stuff in it for cooking and snacking (if we wanted a mini-fridge that could only hold pre-stocked items at hugely inflated prices, we would have simply stayed in a hotel). And having housekeeping come every morning at a fixed time (10 am) was annoying. It meant we had to be out of the apartment, even though that fell into our preferred holiday time to shower and then linger over coffee and breakfast.

Later, we stayed at a different aparthotel that came with a fully equipped kitchen, including a four burner stove top, a real oven (not just a microwave), fridge/freezer, dishwasher etc. Housekeeping came once a week and was a bit more flexible on time. The whole experience was much better.

My favourite aparthotel is in Dresden. I've stayed with them three times, including a four-week stay in December 2011. I will definitely stay with them again. I had a clean, comfortable one-bedroom apartment with flat screen TVs in the living room and the bedroom (DVD player and stereo in the living room), a king-sized bed (really comfortable), direct view of the Frauenkirche from the living room, a washer/dryer in the bathroom, and a serviceable kitchen (two burners, small fridge but no freezer, microwave, toaster, coffee maker, tea kettle). Good wifi connection. Housekeeping came once a week to clean the apartment and change the sheets. Towels were replaced twice a week. There wasn't a manager on site in the building, but they did have full-time staff around the corner at their reception office to book restaurants, provide tourist info, all the usual front-desk hotel services. Somebody was either at the office or available by phone 24/7.

There are some fine hotels in Dresden, but we'll probably keep staying at "our" aparthotel. The rate for my December 2011 extended stay was 99 euros a night, which I thought was very fair for that level of accommodation and service.

annhig Dec 29th, 2013 11:16 AM

WeisserTee - please tell us the name of your aparthotel in Dresden.

It's certainly the sort of place that we would like to stay.

AJPeabody Dec 30th, 2013 01:47 PM

I truly appreciate the responses. I never thought that it would be a good alternative if a full week were not needed, and it also means not being locked into a particular arrival day. I think I will research aparthotels more seriously. Thanks!

JAMH Dec 31st, 2013 03:50 AM

Check out Citadines Louvre if you are looking in Paris.

bumper Dec 31st, 2013 06:09 AM

We have stayed in Citadine-Republique and Citadine-Bastille and enjoyed them both. Pro: Convenience of a hotel and the amenities of an apartment including a kitchen washer/dryer (although usually not in the apartment)and air conditioning (in the Bastille location). Con: lack of the hominess and warmth of an apartment. This year we are staying in an apartment on Ile Saint-Louis through a company called Paris Vacation Apartments. So far they have been wonderful to work with, so we are greatly anticipating our stay there. Many of the posters here would be happy to recommend very reputable, responsive and responsible rental agencies. There are postings in this forum dedicated exclusively to reviewing apartment rentals, so check those out and I think your worries will depart.

Gretchen Dec 31st, 2013 06:20 AM

We visited someone in the Citadines on Quai dorsay (I think) and their front window view was of the Seine and just to the right the front façade of Notre Dame! I could pay good money for that!!

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