With just over 2 years to run until London 2012, increasing attention and focus will be given to the Games; the preparation, the venues and athletes facilities. But with up to a million extra visitors expected throughout August 2012, in addition to the number of domestic visitors, how well is London prepared to accommodate the increase in visitors, as well as meet the everyday demand from business?
Yes, it’s true there are hundreds of hotels in the capital and plans are in place to add extra capacity in preparation for the Games. But for many, hotels just aren’t a viable option, given the room rates and extra costs associated with food and beverage. So what’s the alternative? In two words ‘serviced apartments’.
Within the corporate sector serviced apartments are widely recognised as a cost effective alternative to hotels when accommodating employees on extended stay visits in London. They represent huge cost savings for companies looking to reduce travel spend, and in some cases provide up to 40% reduction. But for many businesses with UK headquarters, serviced apartments continue to remain an unknown; what is a serviced apartment, where can I find serviced apartments in London and most importantly how much do serviced apartments cost?
Simply put, a serviced apartment is a fully furnished and equipped apartment that receives a housekeeping service, sometimes daily but most often on a weekly basis. In terms of size they are typically twice the size of a hotel room, and provide a living space, separate bedroom and fully equipped kitchen. Today broadband is more often than not included in the rate as is satellite TV. Most serviced apartment operators provide a complimentary welcome pack, which includes the basic provisions helping guests to settle in after arrival. At some buildings gyms and pool are available for use, though these facilities are not typically standard across London.
London serviced apartments are spread across the UK and in London alone there are more than 6000 apartments represented by a number of operators. Clarendon Serviced Apartments is one of the more recognised names. They offer a number of locations across options and choice of 1 and 2 bedroom apartments. It has a large portfolio of serviced apartments Canary Wharf . All Clarendon serviced apartments are furnished to a very high standard and provide a home away from home, with comfortable furnishings and within close proximity to offices and local shopping. Easy access to London’s transport network is a prerequisite when Clarendon looks to open new apartments and a tube station is never more than 5 minute walk.
Its expected Canary Wharf will act as a main hub during the Olympic Games, especially given the convenience of arriving into City Airport, easy access to the DLR which connects with the Wharf in 15 minutes and its close proximity to the Olympic Park. In fact such is the appeal of Canary Wharf that providers are already being approached to discuss accommodation in the area as organisers, teams and the worlds press look to confirm their accommodation in good time.
So with more space more freedom and choice, what’s the cost? Typically today in Canary Wharf a 1 bedroom apartment will cost in the region of £800 per week + VAT. This is based on a 7 night stay includes all utilities, council tax, TV licence and housekeeping service once a week. Now compare this to the average cost of a hotel room plus the added costs to eat out ‘v’ self cater and you start to see substantial cost savings.
Serviced apartments continue to be a viable alternative to the higher hotel costs in London, especially for individuals and groups seeking accommodation for 1 week or more. 2 bedroom apartments provide even greater benefit as they feature 2 bathrooms, so are suitable for sharers.