What is a Serviced Apartment?
Broadly speaking, a serviced apartment is a type of accommodation that can be booked on a night-by-night basis. Every unit wil feature kitchen facilities and housekeeping will be provided at least once a week. In terms of pricing, rates generally go down as the length of stay increases.
The above demarcates the minimum specification for a serviced apartment but from this modest set of requirements there are a number of features which create different variants that all fall under the umbrella of serviced apartments. Here’s a guide to the many different types of serviced apartments on offer and the features which make them the ideal temporary accommodation solution.
What Different Types of Serviced Apartments Are There?
On-site managed and off-site managed serviced apartments
Serviced apartments are either managed on-site or off-site. An on-site managed serviced apartment will usually feature a reception and property manager. An off-site managed serviced apartment has no staff on-site and keys are usually collected from a safety deposit box. Both types of management have their advantages; off-site management provides more privacy while on-site management ensures staff are available to provide assistance.
An aparthotel takes on-site management a step further by also including facilities that are usually associated with a hotel. As well as a reception and property manager, features can include a gym, bar and concierge services. This type of serviced apartment is best for those looking for the privacy and flexibility of a serviced apartment but with the additional services found in a hotel.
Residential serviced apartment
Some serviced apartments are housed in predominantly residential properties. Often the serviced apartment will be equipped similarly to the other apartments in the property. We recommend this type of serviced apartment for relocation and long term assignees. For relocatees, staying in this type of setup gives them the opportunity to experience what it’s like to live in a certain location before committing to a long term accommodation solution. Long-term assignees also benefit from this apartment type as they’re surrounded by residents as opposed to people who are staying on a short-term basis.
Housed within a single property, this type of serviced apartment offers the ultimate in privacy for temporary accommodation. In some instances, entire houses are available, although they’re still referred to as a serviced apartment. While this type of accommodation is popular on sharing economy services such as Airbnb, unlike on those websites, properties on the SilverDoor website meet stringent safeguarding standards ensuring you have a safe and enjoyable stay.
What’s Included in a Serviced Apartment?
Having a kitchen or kitchen facilities is one of the greatest advantages of staying in a serviced apartment. It gives you the flexibility of choosing whether to eat out or prepare food for yourself in the comfort of your apartment. A hob and kitchenware like pots, pans, crockery and cutlery come as standard while many apartments have fully-fitted kitchens with a full oven and a comprehensive range of cooking implements.
The living space is another feature which people used to staying in hotels really value when they stay in a serviced apartment for the first time. On average, serviced apartments have 30% more space than a hotel and this is most apparent when looking at the living area of an apartment. Dining tables allow you eat dinner without being propped up in bed and you can watch television from the comfort of a sofa. Many serviced apartments are large enough to hold meetings or have guests over for dinner without feeling cramped.
Serviced apartments are available in a variety of configurations from studio apartments up to apartments that have five bedrooms. Serviced apartments with multiple bedrooms are of great value to those willing to share accommodation as it helps to reduce costs. Families, for example, benefit as they’re able to stay together in one serviced apartment as opposed to multiple hotel rooms.
Some of our serviced apartments offer guests access to a number of amenities such as on-site restaurants, cafes and shops. In combination with private kitchen facilities, these added perks provide guests with more choice when it comes to enjoying something to eat. So, if guests are in a rush or just want something low-key, they can use their own private kitchen, but if they’re meeting friends or just fancy something special, they can use on-site amenities.
For business travellers with their minds firmly on their personal fitness, some of our apartments (usually aparthotels), have on-site leisure facilities. It’s quite common to find a gym on-site with cardiovascular equipment, but depending on the property, some also feature swimming pools, saunas, spas and yoga rooms.
A serviced apartment can include a washing machine, dishwasher, tumble drier, oven, hob, toaster, kettle, Hi-Fi, iPod dock, just about anything you’d want it to. Over 80% of serviced apartments now include wireless internet at no extra cost and premium television subscriptions such as Sky are increasingly common. Similarly, many apartments offer on-site parking which is a rarity in many central city locations. There’s no limit to what a serviced apartment can include; there’s one in our portfolio that includes a super-car for you to use during your stay!
How Are Serviced Apartments Priced?
Serviced apartments are paid for in a similar way to a hotel except that the rate per night reduces as the length of stay increases – see the graph above for an example. It’s also worth noting that in the UK, Value Added Tax (VAT) is only levied at 20% for the first 28 days. The VAT rate for subsequent days is applied only to 20% of the rate (in effect a rate of 4% is charged on the whole rate after the first 28 days).
Who Should Stay in a Serviced Apartment?
Anyone can stay in a serviced apartment but you’ll find some providers may be more corporate focussed while others are aimed towards the leisure market. Generally, serviced apartments are best suited to stays longer than four nights but the benefits of a serviced apartment can also be enjoyed by those staying for just one or two nights as well.
How do I Find the Right Serviced Apartment For Me?
Serviced apartments can be booked directly through an operator or via an independent agent. Booking through an agent ensures that the greatest range of serviced apartments are available to choose from as their portfolios are built from numerous operator inventories. Many agents, including SilverDoor, offer a free to use service for booking your serviced apartment.
Agents often have account managers whose expertise can be called upon to help find the serviced apartment that’s right for you. A good account manager will discuss your needs and take into consideration any requirements you may have. Whether you need to be close to your office or you’re bringing along your pet dog, your account manager will provide you with options which match your criteria.
With all of the variations, it can be hard to pinpoint exactly what a serviced apartment is but that’s the beauty of this type of temporary accommodation. From the basic requirements defined at the beginning of this article, operators can add features and facilities which create exciting and innovative serviced apartment offerings. While the fundamentals stay the same, continued growth and demand mean that it’s an exciting time for serviced apartments and the people that stay in them. To find the serviced apartment that’s right for you, start by browsing our interactive destinations map.