Many road warriors heading to major cities get a rude shock when they see hotel prices. In New York City, for example, the average daily rate is more than $300. So where can business travelers stay in relative comfort and security, save some cash and, as a bonus, feel like a local rather than a transient? The answer: a furnished apartment.
Exchanging a hotel stay for some time in a furnished apartment is growing in popularity, not just for travelers seeking space, privacy and a homey--and often chic--environment, but also for bargain-hunters. An apartment booked through Furnished Quarters, for instance, costs roughly 30 percent to 50 percent less per night than a room at a business-class hotel and offers many of the same road-warrior-friendly amenities: plasma TVs with cable, coffeemakers, Wi-Fi, DVD players and voice mail.
Furnished Quarters is one of several serviced-apartment companies that offer short stays in facilities nationwide and worldwide. Rx Housing has an inventory of apartments in 4,000 cities in the U.S. Bridgestreet Worldwide offers apartments in 31 states and 22 countries. Oakwood Worldwide, better known for long-term corporate housing, offers minimum stays of five to seven nights at many of its locations in the U.S. and Asia. Oakwood rates can run from $110 per night for a Los Angeles studio to $210 for a two-bedroom apartment in suburban Washington, DC.
Unlike all-suite hotels, whose rooms often resemble apartments, staying in a real apartment does mean fewer services. Forget about daily maid service; you'll have to pay for a cleaner, who's contracted through the rental agency. There may be a doorman, but there probably won't be a concierge to consult with or run errands for you. There's no minibar or room service, and there are no frequent-traveler programs. But many guests, especially those business travelers weary of hotel living, are happy to exchange those amenities for the comforts of home.Julie Moline is a freelance writer, editor and editorial consultant in New York City.