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A serviced apartment is a type of furnished apartment available for short-term or long-term stays, which provides amenities for daily use. Serviced apartments typically include soft-furnishings and cooking utensils so that short term tenants need not bring their own, and have cleaning services included in the rent. Serviced apartments therefore include some 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 cheap 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 traveling with a family, and the savings associated with cooking one's own meals in the apartment.
The term "serviced apartment" is used when referring to an alternative for hotel accommodation for short and long-stay leisure and business travelers, 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 city centers, 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 room 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.
Second is corporate housing. These are residential properties 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.