London; The Big Smoke, LDN, The Swinging City, The Great Wen, Where Royalty Live…
Indeed, just as there are myriad ways to refer to England’s capital, so there is an ever richer diversity of accommodation options to choose from when you’re visiting. From 5 star hotels to renting a single room above a strip club in Soho, all tastes and budgets are catered for. Today, we’re here to extol the virtues of a fairly new concept in town; the apart-hotel.
What is an apart hotel, we hear you ask? Actually, you didn’t really need to ask, did you? Because, as the name suggests, an apart-hotel combines the best of apartment and hotel living into one gloriously convenient yet independent experience.
Also known as a serviced apartment, an apart hotel gives you full access to an entire apartment, helping you live more like a Londoner, but with the added bonus of the usual hotel perks – like a cleaner, concierge and more – thrown in for good measure.
Luxury London hotels are notoriously expensive, and let’s face it, the cheaper places in the capital can be a bit grotty. Serviced apartments tend to be a little on the cheaper side on average, and so represent a smart move for those visiting the capital keen on comfort and a few mod-cons. If you’re eager to learn more, here are 5 reasons to stay in an apart-hotel on your next trip to London.
TO COOK OR NOT TO COOK?
Ever stayed in a hotel and wished for more than a kettle, some sachets of instant coffee and long life milk? Do you hate getting up early so you don’t miss the best of the buffet breakfast, having to make yourself look presentable before your first cup of coffee? Wouldn’t you like the autonomy to make yourself something other than a pot noodle or an instant soup as a late night snack? Well, most apart-hotels come with a fully equipped kitchen which allows you the freedom to eat whenever you want. Result!
And if you’re trying to keep costs down on your trip, then an apart-hotel is perfect, too. Food is unquestionably one of the most expensive parts of any trip away from home, and London is consistently named as one of the most costly eating-out cities in the world.
At a serviced apartment, you can choose to cook breakfast, lunch or dinner from the comfort of your rented space. Moreover, if you’re hungry in the middle of the night, you’re not restricted to an extortionate packet of peanuts from the minibar.
London boasts some incredible markets, and one of the joys of staying in a serviced apartment in the city is the chance to delve into those markets, interact with artisan producers and go shopping at butchers and fishmongers for local delicacies.
That said, just because you’ve booked an apart-hotel doesn’t mean you’re obliged to cook. You can, of course, get a takeaway – which will probably be better than room service in a hotel where the option is always club sandwich or burger. All in all, where eating is concerned, an apart-hotel offers a win-win situation.
A CHANCE TO LIVE LIKE A LOCAL
A city break shouldn’t be about being constantly on the move, on public transport and in a rush. Instead, it should be about getting to know a place as efficiently as possible, and adapting to the local way of doing things in a manner which allows you a little glimpse of a different way of living.
You’ll find apart-hotels in neighbourhoods all over the world. If you’re spending a weekend in the Big Smoke, perhaps you want to explore the bright lights of the West End’s world famous theatre district? Maybe the restaurants, breweries and barbers of trendy Hoxton and Shoreditch is more your vibe? Or perhaps you want to see what the Made in Chelsea lifestyle is really like?
Wherever your interests lie, consider a serviced apartment in London as a gateway to a more local way of living. In choosing this kind of accommodation, you can base yourself in a neighbourhood and engage with a community more organically than you would from the launchpad of a big, multi-national hotel.
ROOM TO SWING A CAT
The thing we like most about apart-hotels is the space. A typical one bedroom apartment is usually twice the size of a hotel room, meaning you don’t have to sit on the bed to watch the TV or eat your dinner. Instead, you can spread out on the sofa and luxuriate in the space, imagining you’re a Big City swinger.
If you’re travelling with friends, then there’s a communal space to dine and lounge around in. All in all, apart-hotels represent a far more sociable, comfortable option than hotels alone.
We know what you’re thinking; why would I stay in an apart-hotel when I could just rent an entire apartment on AirBnb for less? Well the answer, my friend, lies in the extras. Serviced apartments come with lots of extra benefits, hence the ‘hotel’ part of the portmanteau.
Most apart-hotels offer basic services like housekeeping and security. However, these days, some even offer better amenities than a hotel. You can find serviced apartments with pools, saunas, gyms and fitness centres, all of which your room key gives you instant access to. Many also offer a daily laundry service with fresh linen and sheets like most luxury hotels. Alternatively, the majority are equipped with washing machines, if you prefer to do your own (soil yourself, did you?).
What’s more, you rarely have to worry about slow internet, a common frustration of hotel guests all over the world, since you’ll have access to your own personal connection. As such, apart-hotels are an increasingly popular choice for business travellers.
COST VS HOTELS
So, down to the nitty-gritty; the comparative cost. Generally speaking, serviced apartments are, on average, 30% lower in cost than a hotel stay. And since serviced apartments charge by apartment, not per person, if you’re travelling as a couple or a group, they may well work out even cheaper. Need we say more?
THE BOTTOM LINE
Apart-hotels promise a home away from home experience, and largely, they fulfill that pledge. Giving you the freedom to finetune your itinerary, if you’re eager to get under the skin of a city, with all the convenience of apartment life combined with the amenities of a hotel, then an apart-hotel could well be for you.