A while back, when it came to traveling, the first thing we’d do was pick a hotel to stay. These days, things are changed. After all, today you can rent nice houses or apartments or even an apart hotel.

But, how about the advantages and disadvantages of each of them? This is exactly what I was wondering when I decided to look for answers. Some tourism professionals have given me a piece of their minds (and techniques) on the topic as I’m sure you don’t want to read about my preferences only, am I right?

The Hotel

I first talked to Lúcia Sígolo, a professional at Equipe de Viagem. She told me that the main advantages a hotel can offer is the reservation guarantee, the convenience such a business can offer, like security, hygiene, room service, 24-hour front desk, restaurant and leisure area, among other things. “Plus, we shouldn’t forget the refinement and sophistication of the rooms, which play an important role in our trips”, she adds.

Now, Silvana Mello Furtado, a professor of Hotel Management at Universidade Anhembi Morumbi, in São Paulo, states that the benefits a guest gets in hotels, other than convenience, are: hospitality, infrastructure, food variety and, especially, the services offered, like assistance and convenience.

I’ve also talked with Júlio César Butuhy and Aline Delmanto, professors of Hotel Managament at Centro Universitário Senac, in São Paulo. According to them, the bright side of staying in a hotel is having a great range of restaurants and bars offering a nice variety of foods and drinks, security for your personal belongings, if there’s something wrong with your room, you can request that it be repaired, and valet parking with insurance.

“What’s more, there’s also the possibility of getting extra services that can contribute to a better stay in the city, like: schedule of cultural events, restaurant reservations, shows, etc”, they add.

Additionally, I’ve met with Aloísio Moraes, CEO at Razoom, and he totally agrees with me: “If you intend to spend most of your time exploring the destination and visiting everything you can find time to, all you need is a bed to sleep at night, regardless of what the hotel has to offer (like sauna, pools and so on and so forth).”

I couldn’t agree more. And, in general, that’s what my traveling style is. Of course I like to check if the hotel sits in a good location and see the comments about it. This way, I avoid surprises.

Are there any downsides? According to them, there are. “The guests have their freedom a bit restricted, since they have to follow schedules, hours. They also have to be careful not to make noise or listen to loud music, or have a ‘lively chat’ or invite someone over”, Silvana goes on.

Renting a place

In my opinion, renting a place is much more fun when you travel with a group. This way, everybody can hang out and do whatever they want to. And there’s also the price, which is one of the greatest advantages of renting a place, especially if you’re traveling with your family, friends or larger groups.

casa“The length of your stay makes the total difference because staying in a house in the long term is much more pleasant than in a hotel room. Another advantage is the space: there are houses with cozy spacious living rooms and sometimes terraces and balconies. You can sit in front of the TV, on the sofa, at the end of a long day. It’s very nice”, Silvana says.

And there’s also the kitchen, which is quite practical when it comes to cooking your meals at your own time. When you rent a house, you are free to invite your friends over, throw parties, gather your friends and listen to music, regardless of the time (moderately, of course).

A nice destination where you can rent houses is the beach. We spend all day in the water and on the sand and, at night, when we come home, we can enjoy the pool or a nice barbecue with friends. Not bad.

Now, when it comes to the disadvantages of houses, all the professionals agree on cleaning and organization. “Bedrooms, bathrooms, social areas, dishes and trash. You may hire a cleaner, but it’ll make your trip much more costly”, Silvadas advises.

Another disadvantage is getting the place’s keys: there’s no check-in service. You must arrange with the landlord how to get and return the keys to them. Finally, when you rent a place, getting in and out is not as practical as it happens at a hotel front desk.

The apart-hotel

A cross between an apartment and a hotel, it offers comfort and convenience. Its benefits can be many times similar to those offered by some hotels, like a pool, sauna, laundry, game room and restaurant.

apart hotel“The apart hotels, generally, consist of a living room, a kitchen and a suite and they sometimes feature cable TV , wifi connection, water heating and a housekeeper, all that for less than you’d pay in a hotel. Plus, in the hotel, the guest has schedule for all meals they have. In the apart hotel, you don’t just pick the time that suits you best, but you can also choose what you want to have, once you can prepare the meals yourself, which makes everything much cheaper”, Silvana explains.

However, it’s essential to highlight that it varies from person to person, because many people won’t feel like using the apart
hotel’s kitchen and will, therefore, end up having low-value meals.

The problem about this kind of accommodation is that chores like organizing and cleaning can be a hassle and take a certain amount of time to be done. Plus, they’re scheduled with the housekeepers. We must also stress the meals. If you intend to have them in the apartment, thinking about the food previously, buying and planning everything that must be done, it goes without saying, is just crucial.

I, myself, don’t think the apart hotel is advantageous. I don’t think you really feel comfortable. After all, cleaning takes too long. Not to mention that not everyone in the building is on vacation. Many people do live there, so the environment is different.

Comparing the options

Here I’ll present each professional’s opinion as well as mine. For Lúcia Sígolo, the hotel will always be the best option, considering security, comfort, convenience and, in many cases, sophistication.

comparativoSilvana Furtado agrees with her: “I’d rather stay in hotels because of the services they offer, which takes me away from household chores and because of ready meals, whose preparation I don’t need to worry about. The service, the convenience, the hospitality and the privileges do the guest very good, especially if they feel like being away from their household activities and responsibilities they bring along.”

Aloísio Moraes is more political. He believes it all boils down to the kind of trip you have in mind. “I usually choose my accommodation according to the occasion, because the three will have a few advantages eventually”, he points out.

For the CEO, the house gives you more privacy and is ideal for group travels, especially if there’s beach and city involved. “I’d love to rent a place with my friends, with a pool and a barbecue place”, he goes.

The hotel, for him, is ideal if you’re on a honeymoon, for instance. In this case, you could even pick a top-of-the-range hotel. And, when you’re on that trip you want to enjoy each second of, Moraes also recommends the hotel, to sleep upon arriving. “You don’t have to worry about a thing.”

The apart hotel, for him, is interesting in terms of flexibility, once you have access to a kitchen, for instance, and can save some money cooking your own meals.

“I’ve got friends who have traveled to Argentina, for example, and rented an apart hotel where they prepared a lot of sandwiches. You end up saving a few bucks here and there so that you can spend on something else later on”, he instructs.

Julio César and Aline Delmando agree that the hotels are great if you don’t want to think about the things you think about when you take care of a “home” and, this way, prefer to pay a little extra for this kind of comfort.

“A couple or a family with two kids below 12 traveling together, who use the rooms very little, usually intend to explore the city they’re in. The apartments are usually sought-after by larger groups who need to pay less and, therefore, will need to cut some expenses with accommodation and meals”, they explain.

And, indeed, they have to be easygoing people, who don’t care about a couple of “difficulties” during the trip, like cleaning, shopping and cooking, other than using their apartment as if it were theirs.

If you ask me…

minha opiniaoI can’t say I really dominate this topic, but, according to this scenario, I think renting a place is much more interesting. The freedom it brings is what really attracts me to it. Of course if you’re willing to really use their services, like you would in a resort, for example, then the hotel is the best option by far.

So, now it’s up to you: have you made up your mind? Let me know what your opinion is about the best place to stay when traveling.