The Complete Guide to Serviced Apartments in London

There are so many reasons why people stay in a serviced apartment in London but we think it's that added peace of mind when it comes to security, service standards, on-site facilities and better value that makes it such a popular choice over hotels or private rentals.

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In this guide we cover:



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You know you are getting the best of both worlds with a London serviced apartment as there's no cleaning to worry about, laundry is included, space is certainly more than you would get in a hotel room, you can cook whenever you like and whatever you want to eat and there's always hotel-style services to indulge in, should you want to.

Serviced apartments come in various shapes and sizes, as hotel rooms do and they can also vary in the type of in-room appliances, facilities and fittings available. So we've put together some helpful tips to give you an idea of the best way to prepare for a serviced apartment stay.

Guide to serviced apartments in London


Different types of serviced apartments in London

Pros and Cons of different types of serviced apartmentsTo get a brief overview of the types of fully serviced apartments you can expect to find in London, take a look at our quick summary of the main categories that this style of living offers:


1. Aparthotels
Having access to all hotel facilities/services

A dedicated branded building with hotel services and apartment-style rooms and suites

They usually located within or next to the main hotel building with access to all the hotel facilities such as the reception, concierge, room service, gym, spa, restaurant, bar etc.

They are much more spacious than the hotel rooms and usually come with kitchenettes and laundry facilities as well. Some apartments may also have their own private enterance.

Ideal for: Stays of 2-21 nights

Pros: 24 hour Reception, Luggage room, Gym, Room service, Daily housekeeping is likely to be available, More flexible with cancellation policies, Staff on-site, Communal lounges and meeting rooms may be available

Cons: Smaller open plan living areas, Less cost-effective for longer stays, May not have full laundry facilities in-room, Kitchens may be compact


2. Serviced apartment buildings
Exclusively managed serviced apartment block regularly maintained to a hotel-style standard by a hospitality company

Ideal for: Stays of 7-30+ nights

Pros: Dedicated on-site staff, Usually generous in size, Full kitchen facilities and in-room laundry appliances, Longer stay discounts, 24 hour maintenance helpline, Larger apartment sizes (upto 4 bedrooms), Suitable for sharing, May have a gym or car parking available

Cons: Less flexible cancellation policies, Minimum stay requirements (sometimes 30+nights)


3. Individual apartments in residential buildings
Apartments within residential buildings. Cleaned and regularly maintained by a hospitality company

These apartments are professionally managed by independent accommodation providers and comprise of a collection many individual units in a residential complex. These include a weekly housekeeping and have a 24 hour maintenance helpline.

They offer a perfect temporary housing solution for those relocating or on corporate placements in the city.

Ideal for: Stays of 7-90+ nights

Pros: Residential setting, Full kitchen facilities and in-room laundry appliances, Longer stay discounts, 24 hour maintenance helpline, Suitable for sharing

Cons: Furnishing style may vary in each apartment, Staff usually off-site, Luggage storage not available, On-site facilities (i.e gym) may be chargeable, Common areas not serviced, Less flexible cancellation policies, Minimum stay requirements (sometimes 90+nights),



What is the difference between a hotel and a serviced apartment?

There are a wide variety of serviced apartments in London and across the world, but the main difference between a hotel and a serviced apartment is always the "like-home" living experience that a serviced apartment offers.



Serviced apartments are "like home" than hotels because they feature:

  • Self-catering ranging from full kitchens with dishwashers and ovens to kitchenette facilities, instead of just a small mini-bar fridge in a hotel room
  • Laundry appliances like a washing machine or washer dryer which can be use in the privacy of your own apartment, instead of just an iron and ironing board in a hotel room
  • A dining table to comfortably sit down and eat or have a meeting, instead of just a desk in hotel rooms
  • A living area, lounge space, sofa, coffee table to relax, watch TV and unwind, instead of sitting on a bed of side chair in a hotel room
  • A separate bedroom (not in studio apartments) where you can rest or sleep while the rest of your family or colleagues can enjoy the other living spaces without disturbing you
  • A more private and peaceful residential environment, instead of crowded hotel lobbies and common rooms

And all these "home-like" features come in addition to the hotel-style comforts that serviced apartments also have on offer such as:

  • Regular housekeeping and cleaning
  • 24 hour emergency support
  • Fresh linen and towels
  • Secure entry systems
  • On-site security staff (in some properties)
  • Reception and concierges (in some properties)
  • Restaurants and bars (in some properties)
  • Gyms and fitness rooms (in some properties)
  • Swimming pools (in some properties)


So it is no wonder why serviced apartments offer so much more than a hotel room, and usually at a lower price making them such a sensible cost-effective option for any stay.



 What to check before you book a serviced apartment in London


What to check before you book a serviced apartment in London

  • Lifts
    Are there lifts in the building? It is not uncommon for serviced apartments situated in more tradtional buildings to not have access to a lift (due to the nature of the construction). If you are booking an apartment with no lift you should be comfortable climbing the stairs (with your luggage).

  • Airconditioning
    Airconditioning is also another feature that is not common to residential properties in the UK so many of the serviced apartments in residential blocks may not have this available.
    In most cases, a portable A/C or electric fans will be provided on a request basis.
    Heating is always provided via central or electric heaters but it is not common for there to be air-conditioning in properties in London and the UK.
    Modern hotel-managed apartments, aparthotel style properties and luxury serviced apartments feature air-conditioning in the apartment or comfort cooling (which is a form of air-conditioning that is managed centrally throughout the building).
    During the summer months, this can be an important consideration.

  • Size of the apartments (Square feet or Square Metres)
    Serviced apartments vary in size and style but generally speaking they are always larger in size than the average hotel room in London.
    If you want more space and are travelling along, pick a one bedroom apartment over a studio apartment.
    You should also consider the square metres of the property and the aspect of the kitchen which may be an open plan style layout that gives a greater sense of space and living area.
  • Luggage room
    As some of the buildings are of a residential nature, there may not be any provision for luggage rooms. So if you are arriving early or leaving late and want to leave your bags in a safe place in the meantime then you will need to check if the property you are booking has this facility or make other arrangements such as booking for the night before or after.

  • Occupancy
    Serviced apartments are more spacious than hotel rooms and hence do allow for extra beds and baby cots to be added to the booking however check this before confirming your booking because some apartments may not always accommodate extra guests.

  • Building facilities
    Is there a concierge, car park, gymnasium, luggage room on-site?

  • Checking-in facilities and timings
    If there is no reception at the property, where will you collect the keys from? Is there a self-check in facility or meet and greet service?

  • Housekeeping services
    Is housekeeping available on a daily or weekly basis?

  • VAT discounts
    Staying over 28 nights? Some apartments offer a VAT reduction from the 28th night onwards to 4%

  • Bed configuration
    Bedrooms can come with a Queen, King, Single, Twin, Pull-down, sofa or foldaway beds.



Why stay in a serviced apartment in London

Why stay in a serviced apartment in London

Whether you need London accommodation for a week, a month or longer, you can benefit from more space, more savings and more flexbility if you choose a London serviced apartment. Stay for a night or a couple of months, the choice is yours.

Serviced apartments professionally managed, clean and fully furnished with quality modern amenities so you can start living straight away in a convenient and relaxing home from home in London.

Luxury serviced apartments in London are also available which are reasonably priced compared to 5 star hotel rooms combining premium hotel style services with homely interiors to ensure a stylish and memorable experience.


Fully furnished
Serviced apartments are furnished to an excellent standard with functional, spacious and stylish interiors. Everything you need is provided so you can start living straight away.

More space to spread out
You can enjoy more space to spread out, which is especially beneficial to families with children.

Dine-in & Entertain
Self-catering facilities give you the choice to eat-in so you don't have to dine in expensive restaurants every night.

Do the Laundry
It's easy to do the laundry with washer and dryers and ironing facilities provided in most apartments.*

Cheaper than hotels
Serviced apartments can be up to 35% cheaper than a hotel room of a similar standard saving you money, especially so if you are staying for over a week or sharing a London apartment rental with family or friends.

Prices include bills and utilities
Prices includes all maintenance charges, service charges, housekeeping charges and utility bills as well as WiFi internet* (check property listings).

VAT Savings
For longer stays, serviced apartments in London charge a reduced rate of VAT at 4% after 28 days. Some serviced apartments are VAT-exempt which means a direct saving of 20%.*

Regular Cleaning is included
Daily or weekly cleaning is available with towel and linen changes included so you can come home to a clean and relaxing apartment. (check property listings)

Hotel-style facilities
Many serviced apartments offer the benefits of hotel services such as receptions, concierges, room service, swimming pools and gymnasiums. (check property listings)

Professionally managed & reliable
Serviced apartments are professionally operated and managed by specialist accommodation providers throughout the year on a permanent basis. Private rentals cannot offer the same level of service, maintenance and reliability.

Safe and Secure
All of our apartment providers ensure the highest safety and security for all guests with a secure entry system and in most cases on-site security staff or CCTV coverage.

With no restrictions on length of stay, you can rent our apartments for as long as you need to. Most apartments can be rented from a few nights onwards.

Top London locations
From Mayfair to Maida Vale, Canary Wharf to Chiswick and Kings Cross to Kingston, we've got London's neighbourhoods covered when it comes to apartments.

Close to public transport links
Benefit from easy access to public transport links, mainline train stations and international airports.

Explore the best of the city
You're never too far from local amenities, fashionable shops, restaurants, cafes and popular attractions when you stay in one of our London apartments.


What to expect in a serviced apartment in London


What to expect in a serviced apartment in London

Serviced apartments are known by different names around the world and vary in terms of layouts, facilities, amenities, price range and terms.


What is provided
Almost all serviced apartments provide essential home comforts like fresh linen and towels, kitchens with cooking and dining facilities, washer dryers, high speed internet and either daily or weekly maid service.

Some properties also offer additional hotel style services including 24 hour receptions, luxury toiletries on arrival, on-site gymnasiums or indoor heated swimming pools.

Check-in processes at serviced apartments range from self check-in to 24 hour receptions, so make sure you have read all the arrival details beforehand. If you need to inform the company of your arrival time (in the case of a meet and greet service where a representative will show you to your flat and introduce you to the facilities) then it is important not to forget to do so.

In the case of a self check-in system, keycodes are provides which may unlock the main door or a keysafe nearby to access the door keys.

Connecting to the WiFi
A fast wireless internet connection is provided for free in most of our serviced apartments. The WiFi password is usually displayed with the other arrival documentation or included in the guest's handbook.

Settling in
Get familiar with where everything is once you are in the apartment. Inside the apartments you will usually find a guest's handbook.

This folder will have all the information you will need during your stay like emergency contact details, any additional services that are on request, instructions on how to use all the appliances like the washer dryer and TV and general details about the apartment. It will also have information about the nearest shops, local amenities, fitness centres, transport access, restaurants, banks and other important bits and bobs.

Cleaning included
Professional cleaning is always included and ranges from a daily to weekly service. The housekeeping teams will come in and freshen the apartment, clear the bins, change the bed linen, replace the towels, clean the floors and dust throughout. You can also request for extra cleaning services at most apartments for an additional cost.

Fresh laundry
Laundry machines are usually located in the apartments and come with integrated dryers (check individual listings). This saves a trip to the laundromat and means you can have fresh clean clothes throughout the stay.

For business travellers, its a great idea to buy machine washable suits and non-iron shits for a real hassle free solution to workwear laundry.

There's more storage space
One of the most important reasons why travellers prefer serviced apartments over hotels for stays over 3 nights is the fact that they always come with more storage space. This means you don't have to climb over suitcases and can neatly hang your clothes or coats up.

Place to socialise, work or relax
All our apartments except studios have living rooms, so if you are travelling as a group and with families, this short term London accommodation is a great base to gather together for meals, movies or just unwinding after a busy day out.

For colleagues, this is the perfect environment to have relaxed meetings, catch up on work or do other team bonding activities.


Cost of a Serviced Apartment in London

Cost of a Serviced Apartment in London

With such a variety of serviced apartments in London, the costs of staying in this type of accommodation can vary depending on location, facilities, time of the year and apartment size.

Serviced apartments London zone 1 would be more costly than staying in a serviced apartments London zone 2 or further away, however choosing a serviced apartments is always better value than a hotel room.

To give you a better idea of how much it cost to stay in london for a week, we have done some research and put together this guide to help you with your search.

Luxury living
Mayfair & Knightsbridge

Serviced apartments in Mayfair and serviced apartments Knightsbridge are located in high-end districts that are synonymous for expensive real-estate, exclusive dining and elegant period architecture.

Studios: From £180 per night / £1260 per week
1 Bed Apt: From £250 per night / £1750 per week
2 Bed Apt: From £400 per night / £2800 per week
3 Bed Apt: From £650 per night / £4550 per week


Mid-range style 
Kensington & London Bridge

Serviced apartments Kensington and serviced apartments London bridge are located in mid-range areas are close to London's city centre, well priced and brimming with plenty of sights, eateries, shopping and easy connections.

Studios: From £130 per night / £910 per week
1 Bed Apt: From £190 per night / £1330 per week
2 Bed Apt: From £300 per night / £2100 per week
3 Bed Apt: From £450 per night / £3150 per week


Smart for Business
Liverpool Street & Canary Wharf

Serviced apartments near Liverpool Street and serviced apartments Canary Wharf are set in commercial hubs and offer the corporate traveller great accommodation, convenient amenities and quick links to the West End.

Studios: From £130 per night / £910 per week
1 Bed Apt: From £168 per night / £1176 per week
2 Bed Apt: From £216 per night / £1512 per week
3 Bed Apt: From £275 per night / £1925 per week


Great Value
Bayswater & Hammersmith

Serviced apartments Bayswater London and serviced apartments Hammersmith  are a great choice of neighbourhood because they offer great value, plenty of shops and restaurants, close proximity to riverside or parkside activities and easy links to get to Heathrow Airport.

Studios: From £100 per night / £700 per week
1 Bed Apt: From £150 per night / £1050 per week
2 Bed Apt: From £215 per night / £1505 per week
3 Bed Apt: From £300 per night / £2100 per week

*Discounts possible for longer stays, prices maybe higher during peak periods like Summer or Chistmas/ New Years.

What affects the prices of serviced apartments in London


What affects the prices of serviced apartments in London

1. Location
Location is the most important factor when it comes to price. Neighbourhoods close to the West End are more expensive in comparison to areas that are further away. Districts with high-end real estate also attracts higher prices especially around Hyde Park.


2. Facilities & Services
Serviced Apartments can vary in terms of the facilities and services they have on-site and in the apartment. Apartments with air-conditioning, 24 hour receptions, gymnasiums, daily maid service usually cost more.


3. Special Events
Rates on special dates around holidays and events like Christmas, Easter, Summer, Fashion Weeks, Flower Shows and Wimbledon (tennis) are higher than other times of the year.


4. More rooms
Apartments can come in different sizes from compact studios to large five bedroom penthouses. The bigger the apartment the higher the nightly rate but this could be more economical than booking multiple hotel rooms.


5. Longer stays
The longer you stay, the more likely you will pay less as many properties offer long stay discounts. Stays of 28 nights are significantly less and enjoy a reduced VAT rate.


6. Peace of mind
Serviced apartments are professionaly managed and have staff available on call for emergencies, maintenance issues and security. This may mean a higher cost compared to private apartments.



How is VAT calculated for serviced apartments in London?

There are three main types of room rates in regards to VAT when booking UK Serviced apartments.


Example 1: VAT Exempt Rate

This type of serviced apartment rate is fully exempt from VAT as such the total net price quoted will be equal to the total price paid by the customer.

In this scenario the VAT charged is 0% & VAT reclaimable is 0% .

Business customers must note that they cannot reclaim VAT as there is no VAT on this rate.


Example 2: Full VAT Rate

This type of serviced apartment rate is charged at the full rate of VAT for the first 28 nights, then on the 29th night onwards the rate of VAT reduces.

Currently VAT is calculated at 20% for the first 28 nights, on the 29th night the rate of vat is 4%, the 4% per night rate continues for the rest of the stay.

This VAT situation is unique to serviced apartments (does not apply to hotels) and offers the customer a reduced price from the 29th night onwards. The reduced rate only applies to continuous stays, there cannot be any breaks (check out and check back in).

Business customers can reclaim the full VAT on this rate.


Example 3: VAT on service Rate

This type of serviced apartment rate is charged at the full rate of VAT for the service element of the rate.

The actual rate consists of the VAT Exempt element also known as the rent, and VATable element also known as the service charge. This type of vat only applies to few places.

Rent = The rental amount per night, rent is non VATtable in certain circumstances.
Service element = The cleaning service offered, by VAT law - all services are generally taxable.

Business customers must note that they can only reclaim a very small amount of VAT.

For example: Dolphin House Apartments
If the Studio Apartment rate = £160.00 per night including VAT

The Breakdown would be:
Rent £146.80 - VAT Exempt
Service £11.00 = VATable at 20% vat = £11.00 + £2.20 = £13.20
Total £146.80 + £13.20 = £160.00

The actual VAT paid on this rate of £160.00 is £2.20


Top tips for staying in a serviced apartment in London


Top tips for staying in a serviced apartment in London


What to pack
So many essentials are already taken care of in a fully furnished serviced apartment. There's usually a hair dryer, iron and irnoning board, so no need to pack these in your suitcase. Towels are provided along with the bed linen so no need for this either.

The United Kingdom supplies power at 220 volts (actually 220-240) at speed of 50Hz, so make sure to bring appliances that are compatible with these voltages or you will need a stepdown/stepup voltage converter adaptor.

Staying for a few days or longer? The apartments are usually located only short walk away from local convenience stores so you can easily pick up all your daily essentials from shampoo to sunflower oil.

The biggest advantage of a serviced apartment is the self-catering. You can expect good quality fully functional kitchens with a range of appliances including a hob/stove, fridge/freezer, microwave, oven, toaster, kettle and sometimes even a coffee maker. Cutlery and crockery is also provided so you can enjoy a lovely home-cooked meal any time you like. There are also dishwashers in most apartments so washing up needn't be a hassle.

Whether you're particular about your food brands or on a gluten-free diet, you have the freedom to buy and store any type of food and prepare your meals at your leisure.

It is also so handy to have a self-catering serviced apartment in London for those travelling with kids and babies, as you can do everything from sterilising bottles to preparing tasty homemade meals in your home from home to ensure your kids get the best nutrition during their stay.

Allergy sufferers also value this added flexibility as they may need to control the way the food is prepared.

Do the laundry
The washer dryers also makes it possible to travel light and have clean clothes throughout your trip without any expensive dry cleaning, perfect for business travellers and babies.


Share an apartment
Apartments range from studios to five bedrooms and if you are travelling as a group, you will certainly find it much cheaper to share the costs between you rather than to stay in seperate hotel rooms.

You even have enough place to socialise and entertain with lovely lounge/living areas that have TVs and dining tables./

Travel during Off-peak times
If you are looking to spend less, then it is best not to book during the Summer season, bank holidays (Christmas, Easter,  May Bank Holiday, August Bank Holiday) and major event dates (Wimbledon, World Travel Market, Fashion Weeks) of the year and instead travel during off-peak periods.

Stay longer than 7 nights
The best way to get a lower rate is to stay longer than 7 nights as serviced apartments often offer longer stay discounts depending on your length of stay.


Don't pay for what you don't need
Why pay for all those extras if you don't really need them? Pick a serviced apartment with less facilities on-site and you will be surprised at the savings there are to be had compared to an apartment with round the clock reception staff and other services like a gym, swimming pool and restaurant. Also you can get better deals for apartments that are located on the lower ground floor levels.

What guests like and don't like about London serviced apartments


What guests like (and don't) about staying in London serviced apartments

What they like:

  1. More space to live, work and relax
  2. Self-catering convenience with kitchen mod-cons and dining area
  3. Washing machine/dryer to do the laundry 
  4. Ability to work from homewith work desks and tables
  5. Homely setting and privacy, no crowded hotel lobbies


What they don't like:

  1. Cancellation terms* which can be more restrictive than hotel room bookings
  2. Lack of room service*  
  3. On-site facilities vary and do not always include gym, restaurant, parking, reception
  4. Limited or no staff present* on the premises especially at more residential properties
*Varies at different properties.



Why are they better than hotel rooms and private flat rentals

Hotels just cannot match the additional facilities that serviced apartments can offer such as kitchens, laundry, dining areas, living rooms, separate bedrooms, extra beds, free wireless internet etc.

Private vacation rentals or holiday homes are sometimes unpredictable and cannot offer the same levels of service, security, amenities and convenience and are often let by unverified private landlords.

With so many options out there, what sets serviced apartments apart from the rest?

Serviced apartments have come a long way in the past few years and now the options and range of facilities are really impressive. From smart aparthotels to traditional townhouses to luxury penthouses, you can find a serviced apartment to suit any type of stay, whatever your reason for visiting London may be.

Take a look at the chart below where we detail how serviced apartments can be more reliable and economical than any other option out there on the market.

We have compared three options: Serviced apartments versus Private Home Rentals and Hotels and detailed the benefits of same.


Serviced apartments vs private rentals and hotels

Serviced apartments vs private rentals and hotels benefits

As you can see from the above table, serviced apartments are a "best of both" solution with greater freedom and space as well as the best rates available. We make sure to get to know what your specific needs are and find you the best London short term accommodation offers available.

Yes, hotels are the more well known of the three and often the first option that customers research online but serviced apartments offer more space, self-catering facilities and much more space that standard hotels.

Airbnb on the other hand is owner/landlord operated while serviced apartments are professionally managed, which means that they are more consistent with services and facilities and each unit has consistent decor.

With landlord-operated apartments, they can vary quite a lot in decor, size and consistency. Hotels offer a lot to the visitor in terms of services etc but can be quite basic if you are on a budget with no kitchens/kitchenettes or space to stretch out.

Each has their advantages depending on your requirements but serviced apartments appeal across the board offering everything from budget rentals to luxury penthouses and everything in between.

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