We have rented houses and apartments in the past — you may remember our weekend in Big Bear or our trip to Baja — and I have had great things to say about those experiences.
However, I think apartment and home rentals have their place. They can be great for longer stays or trips with large groups, but they are not always ideal for short stays, where you have a tight schedule or don’t want to be bothered with inconveniences.
Hotels Versus Home Rentals – Which is Better?
Well, we definitely experienced the city like the locals, but not exactly how we had hoped.
We arrived on Friday night — after a very long and early travel day from the West Coast — and took four different bus/metro transfers from the airport to the apartment complex. Once we arrived, all we wanted to do was set down our bags, take a shower and grab a quick bite to eat before an early morning.
We requested the key from the security guard, just as the apartment owner had instructed.
He seemed confused.
“I don’t see your name on the list, so I cannot authorize a key for you.” He said.
I showed the guard numerous emails from the apartment owner, including the instructions to pick up the key.
“Well, I just saw her earlier today and she didn’t mention anything about someone staying in her apartment.”
The security guard proceeded to call management, asking if they were aware of the tenant renting out her apartment. He hung up the phone and gave us the bad news.
“Management won’t allow access unless we speak to the apartment owner.”
Easy enough, right? We can just call her.
Apparently she was on a plane and couldn’t be reached.
After about thirty minutes of trying to figure out what to do, they offered to hold our bags while we walked to a restaurant for some much-needed food (and a few pints of beer!)
We didn’t want to turn on our cell phones because we were traveling internationally– and the trip was so short that it didn’t make sense to get a local SIM card — so we spent the next two hours awaiting our fate, unsure if the security office would be able to get in touch with the apartment owner.
We arrived back at around 11 pm and were ecstatic to learn that we did indeed have a place to sleep that night, but we found ourselves wishing we had just booked a hotel for the weekend.
I’m not implying that hotels are perfect for every situation, but these types of things are less likely to happen in a hotel. Not to mention, hotels have maid service, room service, and other amenities to make travel easier. If I wanted to do dishes, sweep floors, and change the bedding, I would just stay home.
We go on trips to relax and get away from daily chores.
There are definitely house rentals that provide more luxurious services, like the one my family recently booked in Puerto Vallarta. They provide daily maid service, cooks, and maintenance personnel available to fix any problems 24 hours a day. In other words, we had four star hotel service, but with the privacy of our own house.
Obviously, not all apartment rentals are created equal — and we are perfectly aware that travel comes with unexpected surprises — but for some trips, hotels just make more sense.
Do you prefer hotels or house/apartment rentals while traveling?