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A serviced apartment is a fully furnished apartment available for both short-term as well as long-term stays, providing all the hotel-like amenities. Serviced apartments typically include soft-furnishings and cooking utensils so that long term tenants need not bring their own, and have all the services like housekeeping, front office, parking & others included in the rent. Serviced apartments therefore include all of the convenience of hotel rooms but can be less expensive than equivalent hotel rooms for longer stayers. Because of the beginning of the boom in longer stay international travel as well as the corresponding increase in the level of sophistication of international travelers, interest in serviced apartments has risen at the expense of the use of hotels for short stays. Benefits may include more space and privacy, convenience when travelling with a family, and the savings associated with cooking one's own meals in the apartment. The Global Serviced Apartment Industry Reports (GSAIR) by The Apartment Service show the operators and their brands, numbers they operate and other information in this varied sector. The term 'Serviced apartment' is an umbrella term covering all the brands models, some with high levels of service and others with a no frills approach creating savings for guests and operators alike.
The term "serviced apartment" is used when referring to an alternative for hotel or any form of accommodation for short and long-stay leisure and business travellers, but distinctions can be made between the different types:
First is the extended stay hotel or "aparthotel," which generally offers a 24 h reception, is located in main areas of the city, and attempts to give the guest a home away from home feeling, within a hotel-like environment. It can range from budget to deluxe, and rooms range from studio apartments (one spacious efficiency unit that can be used as living area and sleeping area, a little kitchenette and a separate bathroom), to two- or three-bedroom apartments, which offer a separate living area, a kitchen, one or more bathrooms and separate bedrooms.
Because of the availability of kitchen facilities in the apartments, extended stay properties and apart-hotels usually offer no extra services, such as restaurants and bars. However, some extended stay properties have been built as an annex to existing four- or five-star hotels, and the guests in the apartments can make use of the hotel's facilities at no extra charge. One of the well established brand Oakwood Worldwide has its serviced apartments offering the five star services globally.
Second is corporate housing. These are residential apartments that have been upgraded for shorter term rentals and packaged together with services such as cleaning, utility charges, local taxes, telephone and television for stays of 30 days or more. They can be in city centres but are more often than not on the outskirts of town, within easy access to main business areas.
What both types have in common is that the units are all fully furnished and equipped, including conveniences expected in hotel rooms such as television, DVD, and internet access, but also catering facilities. High end serviced apartments may have luxury features such as European-style gourmet kitchens, generous closet space, full-sized washer and dryer, ceramic tiled bathrooms, oversized tubs, and high-tech wiring/networking capabilities.
Many serviced apartments may be booked online via websites or dedicated portals for finding serviced accommodation, or through agents, who may be able to negotiate discounts from the standard nightly rate and/or the inclusion of additional services, such as internet, if they are not included as standard.