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Apartment Rental vs Hotel; Costs/Benefits

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Albuquerque, New...
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Apartment Rental vs Hotel; Costs/Benefits

In all the years I've travelled, I've only stayed in hotels. Will be in Madrid for one week and Seville for one week next April.

What thoughts/experiences do you have in renting an apartment, versus staying in a hotel; not just in Spain, but anywhere?

The costs and benefits of a hotel is clear. But with apartments, you're dealing one-to-one with an owner and sometimes it can be cheaper.

I would be interested in reading your thoughts on this.

Thank you and happy New Year.

West Sussex, England
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1. Re: Apartment Rental vs Hotel; Costs/Benefits

I love staying in apartments! (and, consequently, have very little experience of hotels)

What I love about apartments is the freedom of having my 'own' space, knowing no-one will come in when I am out - this makes me feel secure about leaving my belongings in the apt; I also do not feel any need to leave everything tidy or return it to its 'correct' place each day. I like being able to stay in or go out at times entirely of my own choosing - if I travel with my young adult/late teen daughters they can sleep in late all morning if they like, while I go out, and I don't have to fret about the maids wanting to get in to clean.

I like having a washing machine so I can travel light. I like having a kitchen so I am not obliged to eat out all the time - especially when travelling with my younger daughter, who is vegi.

Those who like hotels often cite the convenience of having a front desk, help on-site, and not having to deal with maintenance issues.

When I stayed in Madrid and Valencia, the rental agency we used (Spain-select) had their own maintenance team and I was offered a time choice to suit whether I preferred to be in or out when they came. If, however, you rent direct from the owner, then this will depend on whether they live locally/what their local agent is like. I have never had a problem in all the years I have been renting apartments, but you will find plenty of stories from people who have had with, for example, the washing machine/internet/toilet flush/etc not working.

Another thing to consider with apartments is you have to pay a deposit (typically 1/3) upfront, which you will not get back if you cancel. With many hotels you can cancel without penalty up until a couple of days before you are booked to stay. If you choose an apartment, you should buy good quality insurance. This will only cover you if you have a genuine claim, of course, not if you just change your mind!

Albuquerque, New...
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2. Re: Apartment Rental vs Hotel; Costs/Benefits

Beautiful! Thank you very much. All that you wrote made sense. Now the search will begin for reputable apartments in the areas we'll be visiting.

Thanks again!

San Jose, California
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3. Re: Apartment Rental vs Hotel; Costs/Benefits

We do a combination of hotels and apartment/house rentals. Sussexgirl pretty much nailed it.

Apartment rentals usually require more research, esspecially if you are renting direct from an owner - more communication, more web searching, etc. to make sure you are really getting what you think you are getting.

The cancellation and deposit policies vary greatly from owner to owner, and agency to agency. We've rented places where we didn't have to put down any deposit and just showed up at the appointed time with cash in hand. We've rented other places where we paid in full in advance. And then various middle-ground arrangements.

The last 3 rentals we did were with www.vrbo.com - this is a site that carries listings for individually-owned places and you rent directly from the owner. There is sometimes some room to negotiate - a cash discount or a discount if you pay up front rather than arrival. Just have to see what motivates the owner.

Sometimes an apartment rental is cheaper than a hotel, sometimes not. Depends on a lot of factors. My husband and I usually travel just the 2 of us, so apartment rentals usually don't save us money, but we like the freedom of it and the extra space.

Last summer we rented a 3 br house which worked out to be $235/night. With our group, we would have needed 3 hotel/motel rooms - we would have been hard-pressed to find a decent motel in town with those nightly rates. So between the good rate and the ability to cook at home, we saved a bunch over the week. And we had more room and a pool. It was wonderful.

Albuquerque, New...
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4. Re: Apartment Rental vs Hotel; Costs/Benefits

Wow, the VRBO site is great! Very user-friendly. I've saved it to my Spain/Favorites folder and will poke around that site when the time comes.

Thanks for that!

Los Angeles...
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5. Re: Apartment Rental vs Hotel; Costs/Benefits

If your group is larger than 2 or 3 people, you can save big by renting an apartment and cooking some of your own meals. Even in Spain, it's hard to find a restaurant meal for under 10 euros/US$15. So for 4 people you get close to $200/day in meals. The downsides are that by visiting fewer restaurants you miss out on some of the local food culture and the time required to cook and clean. But if you enjoy cooking you get to experiment with new ingredients, and you can check out the food markets.

Dallas, Texas
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6. Re: Apartment Rental vs Hotel; Costs/Benefits

I've really become a fan of apartment rentals. I have a trip planned to Spain next summer and have already picked apartments in San Sebastian and Madrid. In Barcelona we are staying at the Hilton using points or we'd get an apt there as well. I love doing research so hunting for apts is fun for me. We are renting from www.rent4days.com in Madrid (4 days) and www.enjoyrentals.com in San Sebastian (3 days). For those 7 days I am traveling with a friend and if we were in a hotel we would get separate hotel rooms. Instead in each place we are renting 2 bedroom 2 bath apts. In San Sebastian the total cost is 565 Euros for 3 nights and Madrid is less expensive, 610 Euros for 4 nights. They are both very nice apts in great locations. We are getting so much more than what we would get staying in 2 hotel rooms and for less money.

Last summer we rented a 4 bedroom house with another family near Banff Canada and it was a wonderful experience.

Utrecht, The...
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7. Re: Apartment Rental vs Hotel; Costs/Benefits

In Madrid we rented a very good serviced apartment and were very pleased with it. This way you don't deal with a person but a company. During the day there was also someone in the reception if we had any questions.

apartamentospalacioreal.es/buscar_apartament…

In Sevilla we used http://www.citysiesta.com/en/home/ and www.sevilla5.com. These companies were also good.

Barcelona, Spain
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8. Re: Apartment Rental vs Hotel; Costs/Benefits

We are also big fans of apartments for longer stays (over 3 days) in cities. there are 3 of us so cost obviously is a factor and it gives you more space and also, a big plus to us, is having a slightly less touristy take on a city. It's not for everyone (I know one of the Rome experts is very anti, saying she doesn't want make the bed and do grocery shopping on holiday)

vrbo.com is a great site; we've also used holiday-rentals.co.uk and interhome.com in the past. However we've never been for more than a long weekend in Madrid or Seville so only stayed in hotels so far.

Barcelona, Spain
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9. Re: Apartment Rental vs Hotel; Costs/Benefits

In Madrid I always rent an apartment through http://www.homesfortravellers.com/. They have centrally located apartments, fully equipped, even with Internet connection and air conditioning at very affordable rates!

And the best is their special rates for monthly rentals (up to 40% discount). The staff is very friendly and helpful.

If you need any advice, please ask me because I know many of the apartments in their website!

south carolina
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10. Re: Apartment Rental vs Hotel; Costs/Benefits

We have always stayed in hotels rather than apartments, but since our boys are now teenagers we need two hotel rooms, which of course drives the cost up substantially. We are going to Madrid in March and we are trying renting an apartment for the first time. We just booked an apartment through Spain Select .It looks great and they have been extremely responsive and helpful in answering our questions via email so I am hopeful that we'll have a great experience! I'll be sure and post a review when we return.