Living in a Hotel: Costs, Pros, Cons, & Which Hotels Allow It

Hotel room opened

Living in a hotel is an increasingly popular lifestyle choice. Room service, housekeeping, state-of-the-art workout facilities — all this can be had for less than what you’d pay monthly for an apartment.

Below, we uncover why people are choosing to live in hotels, who should consider it, the pros and cons, and, most importantly, how much it costs.

Who Lives in Hotels?

Most of us are accustomed to the security and stability of a permanent address. We live in a home that we’ve filled with things we love and don’t want to leave.

But, maybe you’re not one of those people or, perhaps, your circumstances are about to change. You may need to move frequently for work, find a remote job and wish to travel, or have trouble getting approved for an apartment. The reasons for living in a hotel are endless.

Age isn’t much of 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. But, keep in mind that hotels have the right to increase the age requirement to 21.

Many extended-stay hotels have options for seniors, and some are even tailored to government or military employees. And, 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.

Types of Hotel Housing

Aparthotels

Most hotels aren’t designed to live in for more than a couple of weeks. Hotels pride themselves on four- or five-star service, the best locations, and countless amenities. But, there is an affordable, practical option: the “aparthotel.”

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 and a concierge, while other amenities like dry cleaning and room service vary by complex.[1] Aparthotels operate like renting, but without the commitment or long-term contract.

Extended Stays

The market leader in hotel living is Extended Stay America (ESA). It offers rooms and suites (often purpose-built) in which it encourages guests to stay long-term — although you can stay for as little as one night.[2]

The company’s motto is “Stay more, save more,” and those staying longer will receive monthly discounts as an incentive. ESA operates 630 hotels across the U.S. and Canada.

ESA offers suites with fully equipped kitchens, free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs with premium channels, and a free “grab-and-go” breakfast.

Unlike a hotel, the cleaning services are usually weekly or bi-weekly, as opposed to daily. And, like an apartment building, laundry facilities can be found on-site.

Some locations have gyms, swimming pools, hot tubs, and other accommodations. What’s more, most of the utilities, such as phone and internet, are unlimited.

In addition to ESA, other big-brand extended stay options include:

Sublets and Private Rentals

Airbnb’s monthly sublets are designed for longer-term stays if you aren’t interested in extended stays or aparthotels.[3]

You can also consider long-term Vrbo rentals if you’d like an entire home to yourself.[4]

Cost

Hotel living doesn’t need to be an incredibly costly endeavor. If you’re on a budget and trying to accommodate your job or lifestyle, we provide the breakdown of what you can expect to pay when living in a hotel in some popular areas around the country at different times of the year.

Note that while you can save money living in a hotel, this assumes that you’d be paying for all of the same aparthotel services in your own rented apartment. If you want to rent an apartment and save money, you can choose not to get extra services like cable or landline phone service.

January Through April

Say you have a contract in the San Francisco Bay Area. Four months at the Extended Stay America in Oakland, CA, at around $3,400 per month would cost a total of about $13,600.[5]

For that, you would get a fully equipped kitchen, a phone, Wi-Fi, a television with premium channels, air conditioning, a living area, a bathroom, complimentary breakfast every day, complimentary parking, and weekly housekeeping.[6]

For comparison, four months in a one-bedroom apartment in the San Francisco Bay Area would cost around $3,000 per month.[7]

That doesn’t include utilities, internet, premium cable, phone service, insurance, food, laundry, or cleaning. Your four-month total would be around $15,000 or more. Of course, the exact prices will vary.

April Through July

Perhaps you’ve found work in Denver, CO. Four months in an Extended Stay America aparthotel in Denver at about $1,500 per month would cost a total of about $6,000.[8]

Rent within a 10-mile radius of Denver would cost around $1,700 per month;[9] over four months and including other bills, it would cost about $7,000 or more.

September Through December

Four months in a Richmond, VA ESA would cost about $1,500 per month and $6,000 over four months.[10]

The average rent in Richmond is around $1,300 per month;[11] however, over four months and considering the additional costs like utilities, you’d likely pay more than $6,000.

Benefits of Hotel Living

While hotels don’t often come to mind as a long-term living option, there are several benefits to hotel living:

  • Non-committal
  • Services are included with the room rate
  • Choose where you want to live
  • No security deposit
  • Housekeeping
  • Front desk services: Have your mail signed for, have any guests directed to your room, etc.
  • Free luxury services like gyms and swimming pools
  • Communal space: Meet people with similar lifestyles and make some friends

Disadvantages of Hotel Living

Despite the number of potential benefits you can enjoy when living in a hotel, there are also a few drawbacks, including:

  • Not having a permanent address
  • Lack of space
  • Close neighbors
  • Requires a minimalist lifestyle
  • You may pay for non-optional services you don’t need, want or use

In Summary

It can be a big jump to begin a nomadic lifestyle. However, it works well for a growing number of people.

When the main alternative is renting an apartment in a set location and spending long periods away from it at various jobs, hotel living can be a good option.

At best, you can save money and enjoy several free services. 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 upfront.

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5 comments - Comments are closed.


  • Sean

    Hi I’m looking to move to New York ( later London, Paris, and Toronto) to build up on an International career in finance. I’m glad I came across this article. I may need a hotel room for maybe 6 months to a year in each location. Is there any advice you can give? The financial district would be an ideal location. Thank you.

  • Gina

    Can you suggest an extended stay apart hotel in Asia. Like in Bali

    • First Quarter Finance logo
      First Quarter Finance | Rebecca Turley

      Hi Gina,

      I would recommend using Airbnb for an extended stay in Bali. Begin your search here.

  • Patricia

    I live in White Plains NY and My mom and I are considering living in an hotel but for longer than 4 months something like 2 years minimum. Can you please tell me some places I can find or any websites I can go to. We want something spacious with a kitchen and fridge so we can cook our own food. Can you please help me.

    Thank You,
    Patricia

    • First Quarter Finance logo
      First Quarter Finance | Rebecca Turley

      Hi Patricia,

      There is an Extended Stay in White Plains that would offer long-term rentals. However, given the long length of time you need a place for, it would make far more financial sense renting an apartment. The cost of staying in a hotel that long would be significantly more than renting an apartment. Good luck!

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