I’ve been travelling more for work and find myself getting very, very familiar with hotels in the process. I’ve always thoroughly enjoyed staying at hotels. Something about the vibe and the hospitality that you just don’t get in any other setting. You feel welcomed and important; “sir” they all call you. It feels great. Up until now, my travels entail short stays maybe 4 nights tops in one location. For these types of short term stays, it makes complete sense to book a hotel room – somewhere strategic and convenient.
As I’ve come to realize, though, if you need to spend more time in a city, perhaps 1, 2 or even 6 months let’s say, then a hotel can be quite pricey and not the most ideal living situation for those lengthy periods. This got me exploring other options and is where I discovered the flexibility, convenience and affordability of luxury apartment rentals.
I’ve looked at alternatives to hotels in the past and didn’t really know much about my options. I figured any nice, furnished rental would be expensive and wouldn’t come with the same level of service as a hotel would. Seemed like it would be more of a burden than anything; you know with the cooking, cleaning, maintaining, etc… So while I was exploring my options, Toronto Luxury Suites coincidentally shows up in my inbox one day (amazing how the universe works, hey!). So I started learning more about this local, Toronto-based company that I had never heard of before, truthfully.
I dug a bit deeper and then quickly realized, not only do they exist, but they have some pretty gorgeous properties in some of the best areas in Downtown Toronto. And what surprised me the most? They actually come with all the same perks as hotels do. Alas, this could be what I was looking for, but wanted to see if it made sense before I got too excited. I did some research and looked at the main differences between staying in a hotel versus staying in a luxury rental unit in Downtown, Toronto. Below is what I discovered.
The Vibe at a Hotel Compared to a Luxury Apartment Rental
Taking an in-depth look at the differences to help you pick the best option when traveling to Toronto for any extended period of time.
The Space and Average Costs
A starter unit in a furnished apartment would be a minimum of 1 bedroom which is comparable to an entry level suite at a hotel. So I’m comparing apples to apples here and did the math. After doing so, it looks like furnished apartments are actually more cost effective than your typical luxury hotel averaging out to $100-150/night versus $250+. You are getting a lot more space, a full kitchen and sometimes even a balcony (or two). In a city hotel, it would be very tough to find this type of unit and if so, it would be at a premium. So if you do value space on your lengthy stays, then an apartment rental is definitely the way to go. Just make sure to look at up-to-date photos of the place and read their reviews to see what other people are saying about the unit, the property management and the building.
The next thing to look at are the amenities. Does it have the amenities you’re looking for? For me, I like to always have a gym and a pool at the bare minimum and if I’m being extra picky, then a steam room too – love my morning steams! Luxury hotels, often times do have a gym and a pool. Some are better than others, but for short term stays, sometimes anything will do. If nothing else, I can make it work with just a gym.
The cool thing about furnished apartment rentals, is that they’re usually in a state of the art condominium that prides itself on having stellar amenities. This includes outdoor terraces & rooftops (often times with BBQs), world-class party rooms, board rooms, visitor parking, billiards and more. Toronto Luxury Suites, for example, has very strict standards for their properties and building amenities. “Focus on providing hand-picked properties that are in prime locations, equipped with the best amenities and individually designed to perfection”, is part of their company vision.
Entertaining Corporate Clients, Guests and Family Members
Whether you’re entertaining corporate clients, family members or any other type of guest, it’s something crucial to consider. Luxury hotels although not always ideal for entertaining in suite, usually have at least one or two restaurant or dining experience options. Sometimes even offering renowned chefs and acclaimed cuisine that attracts city locals and hotel guests alike. This can be a good place to host clients or guests. There’s always something to do in a hotel. This could be a great incentive for you, but really goes back to your objectives and your reason for travel. Having the option to entertain corporate clients in a mutual space like a restaurant or lounge can be a good selling point.
On the other hand, with furnished apartments, it’s kind of like your home away from home – as cliché as that might sound. Having the option and kitchenware to do your own home cooking is a big bonus. Especially if you want to entertain in the actual space or have family staying with you. You can always go to a restaurant, but you can’t cook if you don’t have a kitchen. I find it’s easier to stay consistent with your regular home routine when staying in a place that feels like a home rather than a hotel which can be limiting and distracting at times.
Here is where I was heavily swaying towards hotels, because I value service so much – probably more than any other one thing. However, to my surprise, some furnished apartments come with full concierge service just like a hotel would. Toronto Luxury Suites is actually on call for you 24/7 and they even offer additional perks like a personal trainer and cleaning services. And for a small fee, you may be able to customize your unit to fit your needs depending on how long you’re staying. I thought that was pretty interesting.
Another thing to mention is privacy. With a hotel, because you have new guests being turned over daily along with activity and events happening, it will naturally be busier. With an apartment, it’s usually the same residence of that building and much quieter and private. You’re also avoiding tourists, bustling surroundings and more noise, generally. If privacy is something you require, then it’s another thing to be mindful of when thinking long term stay.
This was another category where I thought hotels would have the upper hand. Usually situated in buzzing neighbourhoods, their properties are in prime locations. If you’re traveling for business or with the family or maybe you’re coming to the city to visit your kids, of course you want to be in a prime location. Next to your place of business, shopping, restaurants, nightlife and more. The vibe of the location is important. Turns out Toronto Luxury Suites also has strict formulas in place to strategically choose their units. As they say on their website, “We only pick the best areas in Toronto, and the highest quality buildings”. They can be found in Yorkville, King West, Financial District, Bay & College and Midtown Toronto.
All in all, from my research and discoveries, I think I’m sold on the idea of furnished apartment rentals for long-term stays, especially if my goal is to be productive and feel at home. Sticking to a routine when it comes to running a business is so important. Combine this with lifestyle, amenities and privacy and you have the perfect recipe for a business or corporate traveler. Luxury hotels will always serve a need for short term stays, and personally I’ll continue to utilize them. Knowing a bit more about the options out there though allows me to be more flexible and open minded. And I like having options. I’ve had the opportunity to experience Toronto Luxury Suites first hand to see if they deliver on all their promises. So stay tuned and follow me on Instagram if you’d like to see how this whole thing plays out and get into more details.
Do you travel often or had your own experience with furnished rentals? Hit me up on IG as I’d love to hear about your experiences.