Would You Stay At A Serviced Apartment?

Travellers who spend days at a time in another city on business concede to the charm of a homey and informal space. Then again, they have become used to their creature comforts and also, having the ability to get their work done any time of the day. EXEC talked to travellers across India about where they like to stay during their business trips:

WouldYouStayAtAServicedApartmentAmit Gupta, MD of Vis a Vis India Pvt Ltd, prefers to live in a serviced apartment when he is abroad for a long period of time. “Firstly, Asian hotels are more luxurious and opulent than what the hotels abroad are. Also, if I am away for about a week, I want the homely environment and flexibility serviced apartments offer. Right from fixing your own meals to entertaining guests and business associates in the sitting room of these apartments, it is much more personalised.” He also does not want to be restricted to the confines of his hotel room. “Serviced apartments offer much more privacy and space – to move about and do your own thing.” He also points out that while easy access to Internet and the facility of having cabs at beck and call are things normally associated with hotels, it is equally good at serviced apartments.

For Dinesh Rao, Associate VP – HR of Mindteck, the attractions of a serviced apartment lies in its cost effectiveness, minimal fuss on formalities and proximity to his destination. “During business travel, as the actual time spent on leisure is less, it makes sense to use facilities that offer comfort as against luxury,” he points out. Ankur Mondal, Creative Resource Personnel at McCann Erickson, also stays at a service apartment whenever he is in other cities for work, which is usually once in six weeks. “Staying in one gives me privacy which I somehow feel lost whenever I have to stay at a hotel. Also, a big point, which tilts the favour towards service apartments, is their pricing. For example, staying at a studio apartment for a week will cost me about `30,000, which can be the rent of two or three days at a five-star property.”

Amit Gaurav, a Pre-sales Executive who travels almost every month, is open to staying in both hotels and serviced apartments — “as long as they are centrally located, and have a fully functional business centre.” He adds, “In fact, I’ve actually stayed at a serviced apartment that impressed me more than any hotel, because of its efficiency.” But Sajan Stalin, a Business Development Professional, disagrees. “I’m used to the quality of service at four-star and five-star hotels, and don’t really know if serviced apartments can match up to it. However, if a serviced apartment can provide me with facilities like a business centre, dining options and a conference room, I wouldn’t mind staying in it.”

Ayush Choudhary, Owner and Designer of Cocoon Fine Rugs, a luxury carpet boutique, adds a convenient location, competitive prices and a privilege card to the list of items he wishes serviced apartments have. “I travel about 10 days a month both domestically and internationally. I prefer hotels to stay in because of their great locations. Hotels have the option of multi-cuisine restaurants, health facilities, concierge and even the front desk taking messages on your behalf plus with various privilege cards, I get upgraded almost every time at great prices.” Dipalie Bhosale, Founder Director of Jeevaa Spa & Salon, prefers staying in hotels not just because of the location. “I get to explore new services offered by hotels. I can arrange my business meetings in hotel meeting area so I don’t need to move anywhere. Also, I can check on their spa services.”

Charulata Ravikumar, CEO of Product of the Year (India) Pvt Ltd, who travels twice a week, finds that it is convenient to organise meetings in the business centres or coffee shops of hotels, and that the gym helps to “de-stress”. “Serviced apartments should offer a separate meeting room, gym, 24 hours service and central location – preferably at various places. For example, I sometimes have all my meetings in Gurgaon or all in Noida, or all in the Delhi area. In each case, I choose a hotel in that area. So a chain is helpful.”

Sandy Ravichandron, Director of WhiteCliffs Hair Studio, uses both hotels and serviced apartments though he prefers the former. “It’s perfect for short term visits and every kind of facility is available at the ring of a bell and this is generally what business travellers look for – a place to crash and swift and efficient service. Who has the time to cook or chill out much during a business trip? It is not possible for serviced apartments to compete with a hotel as they both cater to different needs, subtle as they may be.” This opinion is echoed by Satyajit Lahiri, Director of Corporate Communications (India & SAARC), CA Technologies. “I prefer staying in hotels because it is convenient and services are superior. For short terms stays, they are perfect as they are geared to business.

I think the ambience in a hotel is professional and at the end of the day, you are there on business. Service apartments make too many mistakes and they tend not to be business friendly. Their business centre in my experience just cannot compete with that on offer in a business focused hotel. Then, the food options in a serviced apartment are very limited as well.” But if he is in a place for an extended stay longer than a week, he will opt for a serviced apartment. “This is because you want a homely feeling, and be able to call friends over in the evening.” This is the reason why Mahadevan Ramanan, Managing Director of Kalai Kili Educational Toys, prefers serviced residences. “As I shuttle between UK and India several times a year and some of my trips tend to be on the longish side, I like serviced apartments better. It’s more private and I can have my own space. Also, having my own kitchen to whip up a favourite meal whenever I want is a huge bonus. Plus, it’s easier to connect and make friends with ‘neighbours’ in a serviced apartment than at the hotel.”

Rafiq Somani, Area Vice President, PTC India, stays at serviced apartments when travelling for internal or customer meetings – “provided the accommodation is hygienic and close to office. If my travel involves partner lunch and dinner meetings, candidate interviews, or management visiting from the US office, I stay in hotels because of the facilities and services that these situations demand for.”

Ashwani Prakash, Executive Director of Paramount Group of Companies, however, feels that the trend of patronising serviced apartments are increasing day by day as the property is available with all facilities and at lower rent. “Serviced apartments are walk-in apartments loaded with amenities and facilities required to fulfil daily needs of the occupant, starting from morning tea to ironing clothes and a small kitchenette. The apartments also provide advanced facilities which help the occupants in speedy communication. At most of the places, emergency services are at call. The tariff of such service apartments are reasonable depending on the amenities and facilities, location and the service provider who runs such apartments. The rates are much reasonable than that of hotels in the nearby areas.”

Gaurav Pant, a media professional, prefers to hire a serviced studio apartment when he is on a business trip. “One particular service apartment which I will like to highlight is the Comfort Apartment in Pune, which offers me a second home kind of atmosphere. Being a regular guest with them, they have during the last two visits, offered me the complimentary services of the cuisine chef. When I used to stay at hotels earlier, the only concern I had was about the food. But with service apartments checking that tab as well, I am more than content now.”

Raj Mukherjee, Petroleum Engineer at Schlumber, travels abroad twice a month, and domestically four to five times a month and prefers staying in serviced apartments. “They are cheap and give the same facilities as hotels. Moreover, they are more comfortable than hotels, where all the time, different types of people come and go.” However, he admits there is room for improvement. “Serviced apartments have to provide better room service though. A restaurant will be a bonus to get more people attracted to serviced apartments. Apart from that security measures should be tightened and there should be a little more variety of rooms to select.”

Sushovan Chakraborty, branch in-charge of Brand-Comm, Kolkata, feels that serviced apartments need to incorporate facilities that are common in business hotels. “Serviced apartments need to be more updated on various requirements for executive clients such as Internet, fax and web conferencing, and conference rooms. They also have to be more informative, have online booking facilities and round-the-clock customer service.” Marketing executive Smitha Menon wouldn’t mind staying at a high-end serviced apartment if the facilities are at par with that of hotels. “I choose hotels based on three factors – efficient laundry services, 24 hour in-room dining and a doctor on call at all times. If any serviced apartment offered these facilities, I would stay in them.”

Nalini Wadhawa, Group Manager of Business Process Outsourcing Facility, calls herself an old school woman who prefers to stay at hotels rather than at service apartments. “It is more of a security aspect which I look into rather than the cost factor. I like to be in large properties and staying in hotels fulfils that. I have come across many incidents of muggings in apartments and people not being safe in there. I think a service apartment should increase the amenities that it offers to bring in more consumers. So I think if these issues can be worked about, service apartments can be a great residential option for travellers. But for now, hotels are my first preference.” Sayan Chatterjee, Instructional Designer at Tata Interactive System, also feels more secure in a hotel. However, he prefers staying in serviced apartments during extended stays as it is cheaper. “If the business trip is for two to three days, I prefer hotels as there is no hassle of food, all arrangements will be taken care of by the hotel itself and 24 hours on call service is available.”

Share this post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

scroll to top