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Choosing between serviced apartments and vacation rentals

Published on March 19, 2018 by Rebecca Hinshelwood

When you’re on the hunt for accommodation, the options are considerably varied. In a search which just a decade ago would have churned out a basic choice between a hotel or B&B, the scale and diversity of vacation residences out there can leave customers bewildered. From serviced apartment to hotel, vacation rental to Airbnb, hostel to campsite, you can now very precisely choose the level of service or comfort that your accommodation provides. Which we think is a fantastic thing.

If it all seems a bit too much, never fear – we are here to pin down what the differences actually are: in this case, between two types of accommodation which are in many ways very similar. Serviced apartments and vacation rental properties both offer a home-from-home environment. So if this is your priority it can be hard to know how to direct your search.


A key source of difference between serviced apartments and rented vacation accommodation is the ownership and management of the property. Where a serviced apartment is often owned by a hotel or service corporation, a vacation rental will typically be managed by the owner or an agency.

This only really makes a difference as it habitually impacts on the service level that you will receive as a guest. An infrastructure very similar to that of the hotel industry puts serviced apartments ahead here. Perhaps all you require is a no-frills base for your holiday. For those seeking substantial levels of comfort and luxury, though, serviced properties are equipped to offer much more.

Self Sufficiency

Some holidaymakers want to be entirely self-sufficient. To find their own way and to exist entirely independently of any structured hospitality. For this, a vacation rental is ideal. Once you have made your transaction with the property owner you can be left entirely to your own devices.


The downside to being self-sufficient on holiday is that this often extends to day-to-day housekeeping matters. Choosing a vacation rental means that you are more responsible for the space. While some prefer this, others seek to enjoy independence and privacy whilst still benefitting from services such as maid, laundry, cleaning or catering.


Both vacation rentals and serviced apartments excel when it comes to space and privacy. For a big celebration, family group, or large numbers of people, choosing a serviced apartment or vacation rental offers the chance to occupy a truly social space. It is this aspect that draws these two accommodation types together. However, the difference is marked by the facilities that you enjoy within the property.


As serviced apartments tend to concern their offering with benefits and services, they will consequently feature cutting-edge entertainment technology, full kitchen amenities and health and gym access. Vacation rentals are not habitually as well equipped since their focus is less concerned with experience. Of course, this won’t matter to everyone – but for others, this is the stuff that makes a vacation.


At the root of this, then, it all comes down to service and experience. You know that you want lots of space and a good deal of comfort and privacy. What should really direct your decision are the benefits that excellent service adds to your vacation. Serviced apartments tend to boast assets such as 24-hour concierge, reception, maid, and room service. When these added services play such a large part of what’s included in a serviced apartment booking, it can actually be unhelpful to compare like with like.

The power to choose from a range of accommodation types is a great thing for consumers. And unless your party seeks total self-containment, serviced apartments and properties are certainly worth a look. With a wide range of luxury and service levels on offer, by choosing a serviced apartment your time away will become an experience to remember.

If you need a serviced apartment in London, take a look at our choice of Luxury and mid-range options here.

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