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Work Travel Published: 28th February 2023

What's The Difference Between A Hotel and Serviced Apartments?

The question of staying in serviced apartments vs hotels is one many travelers now face. Although there are many similarities between the two accommodation options, there are some fundamental differences too. Hotels usually offer guests no more than a bed and a bathroom, with all chores and household jobs done for you by the hotel staff. Serviced apartments, on the other hand, give guests the option to be more self-sufficient when it comes to meal preparation and laundry for example. 


What is a serviced apartment?


A serviced apartment is an accommodation option that offers guests a fully furnished studio, two or three-bedroomed flat, or apartment. Some apartments require guests to bring their own linen and towels, however, it’s more common for serviced apartment owners or managers to provide these for you. Serviced apartments offer guests a lot more autonomy than a hotel, with facilities in place to live self-sufficiently for however long you’re planning on staying. 


The differences between a serviced apartment and a hotel


The key difference between a serviced apartment and a hotel is the level of service you can expect during your stay vs how much of the cooking, cleaning, and washing you’re expected to do yourself. Serviced apartments have more facilities in the room than a hotel does. The following aspects are what differentiate hotels and serviced apartments from one another. 


The kitchen


In a hotel, there are small kitchenettes that usually contain no more than a kettle and tea and coffee-making facilities. In some hotels, guests can also take advantage of a minibar, the contents of which will be charged to a final hotel bill if used or consumed. This is the full extent of the kitchen facilities in hotel rooms. 

A serviced apartment, however, offers guests a fully equipped kitchen with facilities in which they can prepare their own meals should they wish. For this reason, serviced apartments are often more appealing for anyone needing to stay in certain areas for periods longer than a week and up to a few months at a time. 

A fully equipped kitchen in a serviced apartment means travelers will save money as they will not have to spend money on eating out or ordering from a hotel restaurant or bar. 


The living space


Hotels usually do not provide guests with much more than sleeping facilities, and it’s rare that a hotel room will contain sofas and armchairs to create a suitable living space - unless it’s a particularly luxurious establishment. 

In comparison, a serviced apartment will have appropriate living space available to the guests. These accommodation options are fully furnished as any apartment would be, therefore guests can expect to be able to enjoy a living area separate from their beds. 


The furniture


When staying in a hotel, you will only have access to a bed and possibly another chair, a writing dress, or a dressing table. Furnishings in hotel rooms are often fairly limited, with the purpose of the room being somewhere you can keep your possessions and rest for the night. 

In a furnished apartment, however, the space will contain a lot more furniture, much like any apartment would. The living space will probably have sofas and armchairs, and the kitchen may also have an area in which guests can dine. 

As mentioned, some serviced apartments may expect guests to bring their own linen and towels, however, it’s more common for these to be provided, much like a hotel.



The amenities


When staying in a hotel, you can expect to enjoy amenities such as a bar, a pool, and often a restaurant. Depending on the type of hotel there may be other amenities including a gym, various activity options, and possibly resort-like facilities. Spas, airport transfer options, and package deals are often more associated with hotels than they are with serviced apartments. 

For some serviced apartment blocks, the amenities can be the same but not as centered around the guests’ experiences. Some apartments will have pools, gyms, and laundry facilities in the block, all available for communal use. However serviced apartments are much more geared toward providing guests with the option to be self-sustaining. 


The stay itself


Hotel stays are much more geared toward those who do not plan on spending a lot of time at their accommodation and who do not want to worry about everyday living chores. Hotels can often be a more relaxed stay in comparison to serviced apartments. 

When you stay in a serviced apartment, the space is more inviting to spend more time in which is why they are becoming more and more popular for business trips and those wanting to explore new places on a budget. You’re able to experience living in a new place even if you opt for a short-term rental.


The cost


When you take the overall cost of feeding yourself and making sure the essentials get done. A serviced apartment is definitely the cheaper option, especially if you plan on staying in a place for a few weeks or even a few months. Serviced apartments allow you to cook for yourself and do your own laundry, saving money in the long run. Renting a serviced apartment tends to become cheaper the longer you plan on staying. 

For short stays, some hotels offer all-inclusive deals which can work out cheaper and are ideal for short breaks away from work. However, as a general rule, hotel stays are more expensive as guests have to pay extra for dining out and to take advantage of other facilities like laundry and spa use. 


How do you choose between a serviced apartment and a hotel?


If you’re after a complete break from everything and don’t want to worry too much about household chores, you may want to consider staying in a hotel vs a serviced apartment. In a hotel, everything is done for you including your laundry. The hotel staff will make your bed and your linen and towels will be changed often. Seeing as though there are no facilities to cook, a hotel stay means you can enjoy eating out. 

However, if you want to explore somewhere new with someone, or require a place to stay for a slightly extended period, a serviced apartment is a better option as it gives you the option to prepare your own meals and ensures you save money on additional services. Serviced apartments are also better for work trips, as they have more appropriate facilities to set up a home office than a hotel would.

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