Which type of accommodation should I choose?

Should you stay in a hotel or a holiday apartment?

Whether you are going on a short holiday, city break, or a summer holiday: your choice of accommodation plays a crucial role in how well your trip goes. Through online comparison portals, any kind of accommodation can look the cheapest when you book properly and the choice of personalised offers is always increasing. It helps to have an overview.

Bett mit Laken
Bed – CC0 StockSnap/ Pixabay

Staying in hotels

Anyone who defines a hotel stay as a comfortable but more expensive alternative to a holiday home these days has a rather out-dated perception of things. A hotel stay can be so much more than just a few nights in an anonymised environment.  Nowadays, in addition to luxury hotels, there are also sports and family hotels, where communal activities take centre stage. There are even some popular party hotels.

Especially in large cities, where competition is particularly fierce, hotels often try to stand out from other providers with special and individualised offers.

What advantages are there with hotels?

A huge advantage is the flat-rate service. Made beds, breakfast, and room service are usually included in the price. With all-inclusive bookings, even dinner and a children’s or entertainment programme (if required) are thrown in.

Furthermore, many offers are available to guests in a small space. For example, guests don’t have to worry about food or nightlife. Hotel bars are often open late while even gyms or spa areas are available within the same building.

Hidden costs are rarely the case (except in the USA). Transparency on all included services is key here, and these usually include a final cleaning and sometimes even an airport or railway transfer.

Hotels are especially an advantage in cities, as staying in a central location can be beneficial for city trips. This is in addition to the internationalisation of large cities, meaning hotels are open to guests from all over the world, even if they have very little local knowledge.

Additionally, more flexibility is available in hotels than, for example, in holiday homes. There, landlords often rely on early bookings. Cancelling a hotel reservation is therefore often cheaper than doing so with a holiday home.

What to know about staying in a hotel

Anyone who appreciates the anonymous atmosphere of hotels should keep in mind when they are booking that this differs from place to place. For example, a family hotel may be somewhat too lively for a guest who prefers peace and quiet. In addition, when staying in a hotel, you generally need to be open to handling strangers. Even the shortest stay means a communal breakfast buffet, large dining room, and meeting people in the hallway. Anyone who prefers to be less sociable on holiday should choose a different kind of accommodation.

A hotel is not a hostel, nor is it a motel. You have to be careful with these distinctions, as many comparison portals offer all three types of accommodation. A motel is designed for a short stay and transits, while hostels are often still described as “youth hostels” in German-speaking regions. While they may be significantly cheaper, they are aimed at a younger audience and have far lower standards of comfort and service than most hotels.

Because of the new flexibility of the term “hotel”, the meaning of service has also become significantly more flexible. Some cheap hotels may offer the chance to look around cities for a weekend, however, you should not expect the same services as with hotels of higher price classes. Sometimes, breakfast and room service are not included in the price.

Holiday homes: Accommodation with freedom

Holiday homes offer greater freedom than hotels, as they are often managed by their landlords throughout the entire stay. Aside from the rented premises, there are rarely any additional services and naturally, there is also a spectrum of simplicity to luxury loft with holiday homes too.

What advantages are there with holiday homes?

The freedom of a holiday home is one of the clear advantages. This type of accommodation is perfect for anyone who enjoys cooking and shopping for themselves. Self-catering not only saves money, but also gives you more freedom with time-planning, as you are not bound by fixed hotel meal times.

A holiday home is – in contrast to a hotel – more private. If you want to avoid the mass tourism within a hotel, then a holiday home is a good option. This is because even if many apartments are available in one building, the number of guests is substantially lower. The lack of room service also allows the guest to really settle in during longer stays.

A holiday home is often a cheaper alternative to a hotel, although this does depend on the type of home, as well as the season. In any case, there is more living space.

What to know about staying in a holiday home

In popular holiday areas, even holiday homes are subject to tough competition. Landlords often have to think of several ways to attract guests. This includes enhanced photos or inaccurate location descriptions. Therefore, you should be sure to pay attention to second opinions and reviews. Final cleaning is a practical service, but costs extra. Personal service is therefore significantly limited.

In addition, landlords are not as flexible as hotels. Holiday homes are often only bookable for whole weeks or long weekends. You have to plan your holiday accordingly.

There are also star ratings for holiday homes. You can find out online what quality to expect with each number of stars. This is a good way of assessing your choice.