Apartment versus hotel

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(eTN) – Doesn’t always have to be a hotel room in every city. With the growing number of apartment options worldwide to be had on short notice and on short lease, some even as short as one night, the variety becomes endless.

With these different options come more space and generally speaking lower prices. A two-bedroom apartment, through the online rental service AirB&B, in an upscale part of Manila could be had for as little as US$100 per night.

A recent visit to Washington DC, one of the United States’ most expensive cities, made me look into apartment options. Not willing to pay US$300 or more for a single room, I checked out what seemed to be the most cost-effective solution, an apartment rental agency which has been letting out one- and two-bedroom apartments for the past ten years in the Virginia area.

For those of you not familiar with “the Virginia Area” this could be as far away from Washington as 100 miles or as close as one mile. As luck would have it, these apartments are located in the area adjacent to the nation’s capital, mostly in Arlington, home to the cemetery of the same name, as well as the Pentagon. It is on the metro link, and downtown Washington is literally minutes away. Regan National Airport, Washington’s downtown city airport, is located there and offers flights throughout the United States and Canada.

I went directly to the CEO of Executive Apartments, Joe Szoboszlay, whose career in the military helped him get started in the business of renting. He saw a niche market with the vast amounts of military personnel that come to Washington for short-term stays. Initially his business began through contracts in the government and the military.

His idea was to buy or rent blocks of apartments in upscale condominiums and sub-lease them out. It worked so well that he has expanded into the corporate and leisure markets.

My recent stay was at a very smart condo known as The Gramercy, adjacent to The Pentagon City Mall and the Metro. I literally couldn’t have asked for more and a recent check on their web site highlighted their amenities:

The Gramercy has a state-of-the art fitness center, party room with gourmet kitchen, resident lounge area, and a roof-top pool. First floor amenities include: a 24-hour front desk, sitting area, billiards room, business center, conference room, and movie theater room. One parking space is included per apartment rental.

For about half the amount one pays for a hotel room, a two-bedroom, two-bathroom luxury apartment was mine for the week. Telephone and Internet are thrown in for free and with the ability to cook, the savings really start to kick in.

In the past few months, Executive Apartments has expanded into the Foggy Bottom area of Washington with the acquisition of several apartments in The Avenue, a very upscale block adjacent to the George Washington University area – a perfect location for both business and leisure in downtown Washington DC.

From a psychological standpoint, the ability to feel at home, away from home, is probably the most important aspect in the apartment versus hotel room equation.

As an international traveler and on the road for six months of the year, I have long since converted to the apartment option in many metropolitan areas.