Have you ever considered staying in a self-catering apartment for your holiday but was a bit confused about what it is all about?
Well let me explain a little bit about them. We have run http://www.dukesapartments.com in Perth, Western Australia for the last six years, so we know a bit about the Apartment Accommodation business.
First of all what exactly are "self-catering holiday apartments"? Generally they are privately owned apartments, managed and operated by the owners. There are large chains that offer "self-catering apartments" but generally these are also "serviced apartments" in hotel style complexes. This article is focussed on the privately owned holiday apartments, which offer quite a few advantages over the apartments from large chains, but be aware there are also some disadvantages.
First lets look at the advantages:
- When you are planning to travel in a group of more that 4 adults it is almost always cheaper to book a self-catering apartment than hotel rooms. If you are in a group of 6 adults an apartment will be a lot cheaper than taking 3 hotel rooms for the same period.
- An apartment will have a lot more space than hotel rooms. Generally a 3 bedroom apartment has a lounge, a kitchen, and dining area as well as the bedrooms and bathrooms. This means that when traveling with children they can have their own bedroom, cutting out the squabbling which is so common when they suddenly find themselves sharing a bedroom with the little brother or sister.
- You can cook for yourself, then saving money on restaurant meals, and healthier than eating cheap takeaway for all meals. You can even prepare packed lunches for picnics on day outings.
- There will be no interruptions from a room maid and you do not need to worry about coming back to the room in the afternoon to find the maid has not been and you can not have that afternoon nap.
- There is generally more room for the children to play, as the apartments are likely to be located in "resort style" complexes with a swimming pool set in tropical gardens, and often a gym, a spa and sometimes even a sauna.
- Most apartments also have a balcony, which is a great spot for a pre-dinner drink, especially if it overlooks the pool.
- The apartment owners will offer an individualized service, using their local knowledge to provide tips on the things to see and do, without relying on commercial, and more expensive, tour companies.
- Typically holiday apartments do not charge any extra for the cot and high chair.
- Perth holiday apartments are generally centrally located but in quiet complexes, away from busy, noisy streets.
- If you have a large family it is often possible to rent two holiday apartments in the same complex allowing you to take the extended family. This is great if you are attending a sporting event and have a lot of spare frequent flyer points that you would like to use up.
Now lets take a look at the disadvantage, because you will be disappointed if you arrive expecting the advantages of a hotel, with full reception and maid and room service. Here they are:
- You will have to make your own beds and keep the apartment clean. There will not be a maid coming in every day to make the bed and clean the bathroom. Of course the apartment management will send in a cleaner after you leave, but they do like you to leave the apartment in a reasonable clean state, and may charge you extra if their cleaners take a lot longer than normal to bring the apartment back to a Clean status.
- You may also have to figure out how things work for yourself. Things that are different from home, such as the microwave, the air-conditioner, and even how to open the windows, can seem rather daunting after an 18 hour flight. You will of course, have a phone number for the apartment management but it is a good idea to try to sort things out yourself. If you lock the keys in the apartment you should be prepared to wait awhile for the management to come around to open up. And never lock yourself out and the keys in the apartment with the sleeping baby (yes, that has happened).
- As there is no reception you may need to pick up keys from a locked box. This means you must read the instructions sent to you, and bring them with you. There is no good flying half way around the world only to find that you do not know where you are going, or how to get in. Taxi drivers generally do not know the location of the apartments, so do not rely on jumping in a taxi and saying take me to the http://www.dukesapartments.com . I once "found" my very late German guests sitting in an internet café trying to pick up the emailed instructions that they had sent months before. They could not believe it when I asked them if they were missing guests, but they must have thought Perth is a pretty small city.
- As the apartment owner only has a small number of apartments it is less likely that they will be able to offer an early check in, or a late checkout. Unlike hotels that will generally have a few spare rooms, if the apartment has another guest arriving on the day you leave, the apartment will need to be cleaned and prepared for the next guest. They may also find it difficult to look after your luggage for you, so be prepared and if you are arriving at 6 am sometimes you should book for the night before, or if your departure flight is at midnight it may be better to book for that Night.
So overall, if you are looking at a holiday in a self-catering apartment take all of these points into considerations, and weigh up the advantages and disadvantages and then make your decision. Happy holidaying.