What is a Serviced Apartment?

Serviced apartments have been around longer than most people think – making an impact, in fact, for over a decade.

Officially, ‘Serviced Apartment’ is the umbrella term for a type of furnished apartment available for short-term or long-term stays, which provides amenities, housekeeping and a range of services for guests and where most taxes and utilities are included within the rental price.

Serviced apartments offer facilities much like a traditional hotel but with added space, convenience and privacy like home, so you can enjoy living like a local when travelling. They have private cooking facilities, sometimes a kitchenette but sometimes a full-size kitchen with dishwasher and washing machine, larger living/sleeping areas than most standard rooms, and often having access to gyms, restaurants, meeting space, concierges, maids and other hotel-like services.

‘Serviced Apartment’ as an expression has been relatively little used outside the corporate relocation and business travel markets.

But the sector is increasingly having an impact on leisure travel as people find serviced apartments are available all over the world as a credible and cost-effective alternative. They are especially economical for longer stays, group travel or family parties, allowing savings on dining out and offering in-house entertainment as well as allowing you to live like a local.

But unlike certain unregulated parts of the sharing economy, such as home-share sites like airbnb where you might move into someone else’s home for your stay and take a chance in terms of health and safety and standard of accommodation, we as a trade body aim to ensure the consumer has confidence in what they will find when booking serviced apartment accommodation anywhere in the world.

What you should expect from a serviced apartment:

•A fully equipped kitchen, usually with both dishwasher and washer/dryer

•One or more separate bedrooms, or in studio apartments, a designated sleeping area

•A living area

•A bathroom

•TV, Wi-Fi and the latest in-room technology

•All utilities included i.e. water & electricity

•A weekly housekeeping service


You may find serviced apartments across a number of sub headings which include:

•Serviced Apartment– Self-contained apartments normally within a residential building. There may or may not be staff on site, so the operator may arrange to meet guests on arrival or make keys available via a safety deposit box. Some may even offer keyless entry access via smartphones or other technology. And guests will have access to a 24-hour helpline.

•Aparthotel– serviced apartments within a dedicated building, offering hotel-like services with a 24-hour reception. These may also offer additional facilities like a communal lounge or an on-site gym. Some operators call their apartments ‘suites’ within an aparthotel.

•Corporate Housing– a furnished apartment, condominium or house made available for rent or lease on a temporary basis, usually for 30 days or more. The corporate travel world has long seen the advantage of this kind of accommodation for executives on longer business trips or during relocations, as they allow the traveller a more ‘normal’ way of life outside hotels, with the chance to cook, relax and plan their time away from hotel operating hours.