Room service, housekeeping, state of the art gyms – all which can be had for less than you can pay for an apartment. Living in a hotel is certainly different than living in an apartment or a house. This lifestyle choice is booming. In this article, we uncover why people want to do this, who should consider it, what are the perks, what are the cons and most importantly, what does it cost? Though if you’re basic question is, “Can I live in a hotel?” the answer is yes, yes, you can.
You Should Consider Living in a Hotel If…
Most of us are accustomed to the security and stability of a permanent address. We live in a home which we have filled with things we love and wouldn’t be uprooted from. But maybe you’re not one of these people, or perhaps your circumstances are about to change. Your line of work may be contractual, unpredictably taking you to different locations for varying periods of time. Perhaps you’re staying an internship, doing a semester at a new university, or relocating and waiting for your new home to be ready while you work. Or perhaps you want to slow travel around the country. Or maybe your credit is getting you denied at apartment complexes. Or you don’t have enough for the first and last months’ deposit quite yet. Maybe you’re going through a divorce and don’t want to impose on your friends. Maybe you want to a distraction-free environment for finally writing the next great American novel. The reasons for living in a hotel are endless.
Age is really not a concern with hotel living. You must be at least 18 if you’re planning to live alone – that’s true of apartments as well. A hotel has the right to increase the age requirement to 21. Some hotels do this if there’s an open bar. So check the age requirement for your hotel before falling in love with the place. Many extended stay hotels offer options for seniors. Some are even tailored to government or military employees. Most extended stay hotels allow pets.
But living in a hotel is probably not for most families. The majority of cheaper rooms will be studio suites designed for singles. Double rooms (and larger suites) are available. The lifestyle is not suitable or practical for children, who will need a level of stability that this type of living cannot necessarily provide – particularly if they are of school age. But everybody is different, and perhaps it could work for you.
Introducing the Aparthotel
Most hotels aren’t designed to live in for more than a couple of weeks. Hotels pride themselves on 4 or 5* service, the best locations and more amenities than you could ever count, let alone use. But there IS an affordable, practical solution out there for those whose lifestyle demands a little more flexibility, but without the unnecessary frills of boutique hotels who make their cash from tourists.
You may have come across the words “aparthotel” or “apartel” before, but what exactly does it mean, and should you be in on this movement? Apartment hotels are often serviced complexes. You generally pay monthly rates and get a choice of rooms, from budget to boutique. The majority have free parking on-site and a concierge, while other amenities such as dry cleaning and room service vary from complex to complex. They operate just like renting, but without the commitment of long contracts. When the average tenancy agreement in the US is one year, it sounds pretty ideal – but is it for you?
The List of More Familiar Hotels You Can Live In
North America is a bit of a pioneer in hotel living. With some of the most expensive cities in the world, and some of the most diverse jobs found in them, the need for an alternative to traditional renting is burgeoning and many have already taken advantage of it. Millennials especially are embracing hotel living.
Extended Stay America is the market leader in hotel living, offering rooms and suites (often purpose-built) in which it actually encourages guests to stay long-term – although you can stay for as little as one night. Their motto is “Stay more, save more” and those staying for longer will receive monthly discounts as an incentive. They operate 630 hotels across the US and Canada, so they have most bases covered.
ESA offers suites with fully equipped kitchens, free wifi, flat screen TVs with premium channels and a free “grab-and-go” breakfast. Unlike a hotel, the maid/cleaning service is usually weekly or bi-weekly, as opposed to daily you may be used to with a hotel. Like an apartment building, laundry facilities can be found on-site, and in many cases there are convenience stores on site, too. Some locations even offer gyms, swimming pools, hot tubs and other added luxuries. What’s more, most of their utilities such as phone and internet are unlimited – and all hotels have a manned service desk to take care of things like mail.
In addition to ESA, other big brand extended stay options include Best Western, Hyatt, Choice Hotels, IHG, Home Suites by Hilton, Marriott Towneplace Suites, element by Westin, and Hawthorn Suites by Wyndam. While each provider varies, you can expect something similar to the ESA offering described above – and all from a name you can trust. You can also check out the Extended Stay Network, which operates as a comparison site for hotel living.
Similar Options to Living in a Hotel
While purpose-built complexes are easiest to find offering long-term stays, ordinary hotels will let you stay for weeks at a time as well. But it’s not their specialty, so expectations and reality can vary. However, hotels are notoriously open for haggling. If you don’t like the look of a price online – negotiate.
Hotels always overbook because guests often don’t show. That way they don’t have empty rooms. The knowledge that you will occupy a room for a while and pay for it is actually quite appealing to them.
If hotel haggling’s not your thing and you still aren’t sold on an aparthotel, then there are other options. Airbnb Sublets is designed for long stays (get $40 off your first stay by using our Airbnb referral link). Or consider house sitting. You can house sit for others for free. If you own a property and don’t want to sell it but are dreading leaving it unattended for any amount of time, then why not explore the option of home exchange, where you swap homes with someone for an agreed amount of time.
You can also consider Homeaway if you’d like an entire home to yourself. You can save money vs. an apartment or a hotel if you’re savvy.
The Costs of Living in a Hotel
Many celebrities have famously lived in hotels, seeking seclusion for inspiration to strike. A lot of hotels now use these historical guests, including Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor and Bob Dylan, as a selling point. More recently, the likes of John Travolta and Robert DeNiro have shunned a permanent home in favor of hotel living. Stating that he
“People ask me why would I want to live in a hotel… I say why wouldn’t I?”, Million Dollar Listing’s Josh Flagg has lived on and off at the Beverly Hills Four Seasons for years now.
But hotel living isn’t reserve for the rich and famous. If you’re on a budget and trying to accommodate a job or lifestyle, you too could join the list of people who have called hotels their home. Let’s break down the costs of living in a hotel for one year:
January through April:
You have a contract in the San Francisco Bay area.
Four months at the Extended Stay America in Oakland, CA at $3,469 per month would cost a total of $13,876.
For that, you would get a fully equipped kitchen, a phone and wi-fi, a television with premium channels, air-conditioning, a living area, a bathroom, complimentary breakfast every day, complimentary parking, weekly housekeeping and a convenience store on-site.
Four months for a one-bedroom apartment in the San Francisco Bay area at $3,096 per month, plus utilities ($150), internet ($40), premium cable ($70), phone service ($40), insurance ($100), breakfast ($5×30 at $150), laundry ($30), cleaning ($30) – $14,824. Obviously prices vary, and some of us might not have all these services if we lived in an apartment (or might have more).
Potential saving for living in a hotel vs an apartment: $948 + it’s just plain easier
April through July:
You’ve found new work in Denver, CO.
Four months in an Extended Stay America aparthotel in Denver at $1,871 per month = $7,484
Four months rent within a 10 mile radius of Denver at $1,526 per month, plus the same bills = $8,544
Potential saving: $1,060
September through December:
You’re wrapping up the year in Richmond, VA.
Four months in an ESA aparthotel at $1,494 per month – $5,976
Four months rent in Richmond at $971 per month, plus the same bills – $6,324
Potential saving – $384
Total savings in one year of aparthotels: $1,767. You can save even more by living in a motel.
So you can save serious money living in a hotel. So why aren’t we all abandoning our apartments and rushing to doing it? Well, the figures assume you would pay for all the aparthotel services in your own rented apartment. And if we were really trying to save, I bet we’d cut out a few of those premium cable channels and maybe ditch the landline, potentially leveling the rate of renting with aparthotels. What’s more, for all their perks, aparthotels are a bit DIY. For example, you will have to do your own laundry. And while the word “hotel” conjures up pictures of mouthwatering room service, most aparthotels come with kitchen facilities in the suite, and it’s actually much cheaper and more practical to cook for yourself.
Pros of Living in a Hotel
- Easy – services are included with the room rate
- Choose where you want to live
- No security deposit
- Front desk – have your mail signed for, have any guests directed to your room
- Free luxury services like gyms and swimming pools (sometimes!)
- Communal – meet people with similar lifestyles and make some friends
Cons of Living in a Hotel
- Not having a permanent address
- Lack of space
- Close neighbors
- Minimalist lifestyle that accompanies hotel living
- You may pay for non-optional services you don’t need, want or use
It can be a big plunge to live like a nomad. But it works well for a growing number people. When the main alternative is renting an apartment in a set location and spending chunks of time away from it at various jobs, hotel living is pretty handy. At worst, it would end up costing around the same as renting an apartment, but with no lengthy contract chaining you to it, and no security deposit up front.