Often when you travel, accommodation can take up the bulk of your costs. So much so, that people are looking for alternative places, and ways of maximising their stay in a location. Although the need for hotels, will never vanish; there appears to be more of a demand for short term rentals, or holiday homes; a home away from home.
This past weekend, I became one of those people. Despite having been a semi-permanent resident in London (the address I am currently in, is not registered anywhere, nor have I signed a proper lease) the flat I am staying in, is small. It was my sister’s 30th birthday, and she was having a dinner party. My mum was flying over from Northern Ireland, and after looking up options for staying in a cheap travel lodge or similar; we decided that looking into an apartment rental may be good. It would tick a lot of boxes; 1. A venue for a dinner party, 2. A retreat for my sister from her small box room in East London, 3. Accommodation for my mum (and us all).
After finding a few options, we were sold on a cute little two bed apartment in Royal Arsenal, Woolwich, which could sleep up to seven people. Found on a holiday rental website Home Away, for £165 per night, which is on the high side; you can get cheaper, especially if you plan on staying longer. However, the location was ideal for us – close enough for friends to travel to the party, and far enough away to make it feel like we were actually on a holiday.
We stayed at a beautiful, historic complex managed by an external company, but owned by a lovely family. It was at Royal Arsenal Riverside; a 5 minute walk from the nearest DLR station, and right by the river, to enable us to catch the Thames Clipper into Central London, the next day.
Although initially challenging to find by taxi (we had a number of cases and items to bring for the party, that we cheated and got a cab), and having to walk 5 minutes out of the way to the concierge for keys, we were very impressed; until we had to climb three flights of stairs.
As soon as we walked into the apartment, we were WOWed. It was just as beautiful, as the pictures portrayed. Light, very spacious and incredibly well set up for a weekend of fun.
There were two rooms; a master, with an ensuite, which included a double bed, and sofa, with space for a put up bed. A twin room, with two other put up beds. Two bathrooms, a massive lounge, with three huge sofas, and a well equipped kitchen.
The spiral staircase that led to the rooms added a little touch of luxury to our stay. We did well.
Benefits to renting an apartment
If you are planning on staying in a city for a long weekend; definately look into apartment rental. It may wel be cheaper than a hotel.
Some benefits are:
- Flexible check in/check out time – we were able to arrive at any point during the day, and leave right up until 9pm of our last day
- SPACE – Apartments have tons more space than the average box hotel room so if it is a bad weather day, or you need to be inside, you get less of a ‘cabin fever’ feel and more of a homely, relaxed feel.
- Facilities – Better equipped, with large kitchens – we had everything from party supplies (presumably left by other people), cake mixer, a large fridge/freezer, cooker, washing machine, dish washer, TV and sound system, and board games
Things to note
- Make sure you read the rental agreement fully; it is important to note how the owner wants the apartment left. For us, we just needed to have empited the bins, sweep floors, replace toilet paper and sweep floors
- Note all damage or things you find wrong and report this – the screw on the front door was loose when we arrived, and we didn’t report it. By the end of our stay, it had fallen off, and it looked as though it had been a problem before, having been glued on
Make the most of the space you have available; watch movies, have long baths, cook, and have a party (make sure you ask if you are able to have guests over; and be aware of noise)
We are glad that we were able to make use of such a gorgeous place this weekend, and have come away, feeling refreshed, knowing that my sister’s 30th was celebrated well.