Serviced accommodation in the UK

Serviced accommodation is a rapidly growing industry in the UK. It is not a new phenomenon: serviced apartments have been available here since the 1980s and are highly popular in countries such as the USA, Australia, South Africa and Singapore.

Serviced accommodation is a rapidly growing industry in the UK. It is not a new phenomenon: serviced apartments have been available here since the 1980s and are highly popular in countries such as the USA, Australia, South Africa and Singapore.Accommodation can range from deluxe to functional, with everything in between. This is an ideal solution for anyone on the move, such as:
  • Expatriates waiting to go into longer-term rented accommodation
  • Employees on short-term assignments
  • UK families waiting to move into their new home
  • Business commuters working away from home on a project or commuting weekly
There are a variation of standards and a variety of serviced accommodation providers, with some more used to dealing with the corporate temporary housing market and longer stays, and others more geared up to catering for business travellers or providing accommodation for tourists. Decide what you need, and state this clearly when you are booking.Members of ASAP (Association of Serviced Accommodation Providers) are committed to quality and have their own grading system. Their members will understand the needs of both relocating employees and their families and the corporate housing market.

What is on offer?

Extended stays hotelsMany of the leading hotel brands around the world offer extended stays via serviced apartments. These provide flexible accommodation for leisure or business travel use, providing, typically, a kitchen, a lounge and generally more space than a hotel room. Bookings range from a few nights to several weeks or months.Serviced apartment operatorsOperate and manage their own apartments and have in-depth knowledge of their properties and the locations they are based in. No middleman. Length of stay can be weeks or months. Many will now accept bookings of a few nights and can be flexible regarding rates for weekly commuters and longer stays.Serviced apartment operators/agentsOperate and manage their own apartments but also work in networks with other providers to offer more volume and/or accommodation in more geographical areas. They try to ensure uniform standards and style of property and furnishing. Length of stay can be weeks or months. Many will now accept bookings of a few nights and can be flexible regarding rates for weekly commuters and longer stays.Booking agentsSource and book available property to match your length of stay, price, location and standards criteria.

Serviced apartments what to expect

Typically, apartments come with one or two bedrooms, although larger apartments with three or more bedrooms, suitable for families, are available. One-room studios can also be found. They offer the flexibility of a kitchen, and are usually fitted out with a fairly extensive range of crockery, glasses, kitchen utensils, and equipment such as a washing machine, iron and dishwasher. Internet facilities, a TV and a sound system are standard and can be of very high quality.Some providers offer a laundry service and a weekly clean within the price or at additional cost. Security is usually a priority, and there may be 24-hour reception/porter service. If this is important to you, check the security arrangements before you book. Concierge services may be available, and access to business support services, such as computers, fax, couriers and so on, can usually be organised.Children Specify if you require equipment for children for example, a cot, additional beds, or a high chair. Properties are usually apartments rather than houses, and there may not be access to a garden or open space, so check this in advance.Parking may be provided, or there may be arrangements with a local car park.Payments For short stays, you will pay in advance. Negotiate weekly or monthly rates according to length of stay. For longer stays, a deposit will be required and there will be a contract to sign. If your company is paying, check the procedure regarding authorisation and contract. Additional costs for example, internet and laundry services may be billed separately.Checking in Find out in advance the arrangements for gaining access to your apartment, particularly if you are arriving late at night, at the weekend or over a holiday period. Make similar arrangements when departing. Most providers are very service driven and geared up to making everything as convenient as possible for the user.