Business and leisure travelers alike will like the latest trend in the lodging industry: apartments that offer more space and nicer amenities for less money than hotel rooms.
John O'Neill, a professor of lodging management at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, R.I., says that vacationers and corporate travelers now have the option to lease luxury apartments for one week or less for considerably less money than a comparable hotel room."The idea of apartment-style travel accommodations isn't new," O'Neill says. "Marriott Residence Inns, for example, have offered this type of lodging for years. What's different is that one company in particular, BridgeStreet Accommodations, is actually leasing residential apartments in major cities, and then subleasing them to travelers for one week or less. This strategy allows the company to provide accommodations that are more spacious and often less expensive than the competition."
"BridgeStreet represents another phase of the lodging industry," says William N. Hulett, the company's president and CEO. "We don't own any of the real estate we sell. Rather, we lease individual units in luxury apartments and then market them to business and leisure travelers. This arrangement has appealed to business travelers for years. We're finding that it makes a lot of sense for vacationing families, so we're beginning to market to them as well."
In Washington, D.C., for example, BridgeStreet apartments and condominiums are significantly more affordable than competing hotels. Two-bedroom units in desirable neighborhoods on P Street (near Embassy and Du Pont Circle) and New Hampshire Avenue rent for approximately $80-$100 per night less than single room/single occupancy rates at some nearby hotels.
Hulett says that all BridgeStreet accommodations are fully furnished and include fully equipped kitchens, cable TV, washer and dryer, free local phone calls and weekly maid service. Most have on-site swimming pools and/or tennis courts.
What they lack are some of the amenities typically found in a full-service hotel: room service, on-site restaurant and lounge, and valet service. BridgeStreet does provide guests with information about local tourist attractions, transportation and shopping, and restaurants and dry cleaners that provide delivery service.
BridgeStreet has about 400 apartments in 34 U.S. cities, plus London, England, and Toronto, Ontario. Charges range from $43 per night for a one-bedroom apartment in Toronto to $2,682 for a seven-night stay at a two-bedroom flat in London.
U.S. rates vary by city. Some examples for a one-bedroom unit, per night:
- Baltimore, Dallas, and Louisville, Ky.: $78-85.
- Memphis, Tenn.: $100 and up.
- Phoenix-Scottsdale-Tucson, Ariz.: $110 and up.
- Cleveland: $130 and up.
Hulett suggests booking at least one month in advance.
BridgeStreet: Phone 1-800-BSTREET; Web site: (www.bridgest.com).