While on the surface, an Airbnb and an aparthotel may seem like the same thing, there are several rather important distinctions between them. Let us take a look at what the hospitality offerings are, and then discuss some of the pros and cons of both.
An Airbnb is usually a private residence. It can be an entire house or as small as a single room, and they are often available only at the homeowner’s discretion. The bookings and rentals are all operated through the Airbnb website, which takes a cut in exchange for the vetting of homeowners and the honesty of the guests – ensuring payments are made, houses and rooms are treated with respect, and likewise that guests are well looked after and safe during their stay. However, often the guidelines issued to both hosts and guests are merely recommendations and there is little to do, should one arrive and find the accommodation is not as described or pictured in the marketing materials. While some Airbnbs might offer access to kitchens, you will usually have to provide your own food or eat out while you are staying. Although there have been ethical and practical issues with Airbnb they are a well-used and well-liked resource for accommodation.
An aparthotel, on the other hand, belongs to a hospitality business just like a hotel does. It is run according to strict industry guidelines and there will almost always be a clear hierarchy of management from the front desk to the executives in the C-suite. Like hotels, serviced apartments offer a range of services from full housekeeping and room service to self-catering with housekeepers only coming in after guests have left, to ready the place for the next guest. You can take advantage of the concierge service; perfect for finding out the best spots in the city and booking transport.
There is also the option for extras such as laundry service, packages for entertaining company, gym use, pool use, and fully-equipped workspaces.
Per Person Cost Comparison
Airbnbs are usually cheaper than regular hotels, but this is not always the case. For example, London is such an expensive place to live that all forms of accommodation can be shockingly costly, but here, apart hotels in London take the edge, mainly because they can hold anywhere from five to eight guests for the standard rental price. Airbnbs tend to offer accommodation to singles: savvy businessmen, travelling singles, and perhaps even adventurous couples – families tend to require the spaciousness offered by an aparthotel or regular hotel booking. And this means that an aparthotel can be a more budget-friendly option for bigger parties.
Peace of Mind
While Airbnb offers various protections and approves properties when they are listed on the site, there have been some discomforting news items about guests being spied on; deposits not being returned, and ridiculously fussy rules about how to behave once in possession of the accommodation. These are usually offset by equally pained complaints on the part of the hosts: guests who carried away anything not bolted down, huge parties being held, and, of course, guests showing up at the wrong time or not at all. These complaints tend not to happen with aparthotel, probably because they are run at all times on a purely commercial footing.
So, which is best for you? If you are looking for cheap informal accommodation in an out-of-the-way or residential area, an Airbnb might suit you. But if you need to be central in London, with guaranteed accommodation of a uniformly high standard, with on-demand access to housekeeping services, then you will be best served by choosing an aparthotel.