Are You Better Off Staying In A Toronto Furnished Apartment or a Hotel?

For a second part of this series to compared staying in a Toronto furnished apartment with hotel rooms, we went further downtown, right down to where the city meets water. Our area this time was from the water up to King Street, and from Spadina over to Yonge Street. Once again we were surprised by how few hotel options there were available, considering this is the financial district. How are so few hotels accommodating all the business guests?

Here is what we found – first there were about 5 times as many short term furnished apartments available in Toronto’s financial district as hotel rooms – we found 63 furnished rentals compared with 12, that’s even higher than in Yorkville where there were about 4 times as many options available. Price-wise we saw that the average furnished rental apartment in downtown Toronto was $236 per night whereas the average hotel room in Toronto’s financial district was about $318.

Overall we see a difference of 35% or about $82 per night for downtown locations – this is a higher difference than we saw in Yorkville (where the price difference was $66 per night).

If you want to rent a furnished apartment in Toronto for 2 people you have 63 options to choose from $77 all the way to $1015 per night – yes $1015 per night, we’re not sure but think this is probably a typo – that furnished rental was pretty average. Most of the furnished apartments we saw in this area looked great, very modern new buildings and furnished well..no cheap or old furnishings. For hotel rooms your options run the range of $178 all the way to $549 which is the Ritz Carlton.

It is also worth noting that for furnished rentals, the minimum price quickly jumps to about $115, meaning there are only 2 options at the price level below $100. At the high-end of the price spectrum if you want to spend the money it’s definitely worth it to stay at a hotel – you can stay at the Ritz for $549 or at a furnished apartment, which to be honest did not look that great. Also a furnished apartment, even at a luxury level will not offer the services that a hotel stay offers.

When looking at this analysis, the next natural question is whether a Toronto furnished apartment can, or should offer more services to mimic the experience of staying at a hotel?

When you check into a hotel, you are greeted by friendly staff, your luggage is usually taken up to the suite for you, you can call front desk to ask any question, you can use the bathroom products that everyone loves, and which many people try to hoard before leaving. And of course you can have snacks and drinks at highly-inflated prices, or best of all order room service. When you check into a furnished apartment you do not get all the face-to-face time as in a hotel, and you also do not for the most part have the in-room fridge.

We took a closer look at the some of the key elements of a hotel experience, compared to staying in a furnished suite in Toronto, and see which option is the winner and provides a superior offering for the price.

Checking In: 
In a hotel this is a standard part of checking in, you speak to front desk staff, provide ID and a credit card, and pick up your keys. In a furnished rental, this can vary – your host, or their friend or a property manager may meet you, which is the best case scenario – they help you enter your condo, show you the building and help you settle in. This does not happen 100% of the time and we believe this makes a huge difference in your stay. Chances are that as a guest, you are tired, just arrived from the airport in a new city, and if the keys are not there, or you have a hard time getting into your condo, or if the WIFI does not work, then your experience will have gotten off to a bad start. Winner: Hotels

In Your Room: 
Your bed sheets and towels in a hotel room are changed for the most part, daily. This is something that isn’t provided in a furnished stay – however the much-lower cost of furnished suites in Toronto can justify this. Our analysis showed a $82 difference in price for downtown Toronto, which is more than enough to pay for your furnished condo to be cleaned daily.

Also when you stay in a hotel room, you can use an unlimited supply of bathroom products – people love the free shampoos and shower gels in a hotel bathroom, and it’s a great part of the experience, even though it is a nominal cost to the hotel. In a furnished condo, bathroom products like soaps, shampoo and shower gel are not consistently provided – some hosts may choose to do it, but from our experience many do not. This is an area that could really be improved in furnished condos – there are a few possible reasons for this – cost and convenience. The cost of providing these items is not high, however purchasing travel-size bathroom products and providing it to guests involves a certain amount of work, which most hosts we suspect, choose not to do.

A big advantage of a furnished condo is that you have a kitchen – this is one of the biggest differences for guests who are staying in a city for more than a week. Everyone becomes tired of eating outside food for every meal. It is nice to eat out when you are on a holiday, but if you are a business person visiting Toronto on a busy project for a month, you will crave the occasional chance to cook your own food.

Also most hotels are fairly corporate looking, and let’s face it, depressing. Most furnished apartments offer you a more unique living space than hotels and are much more cosy and livable. When it comes to hotels, normally only the top rated hotels which can cost a lot of money will make their interior decor unique and appealing. Winner: A Tie – Yes Hotels have knick-knacks that you can use, but the overall interior atmosphere and the kitchen make furnished condos also very attractive.

Checking Out: 
The check-out process at a hotel is easier obviously, but it can come with its own level of stress – the reason is that you receive your bill when you check out of a hotel and if there are any unexpected items, which can include city taxes, hotel surcharges, mysterious room service fees that you cannot recall – all of this creates stress for the guest. The great part of checking out of a furnished apartment on the other hand, is that you have paid your set fees upfront, and unless you have caused damage or lost items in the condo, you can be 100% sure that you will not see any unforeseen costs when you are checking out. Your host may or may not greet you to check out, but the process is fairly straightforward – you drop your keys off at the agreed location and you leave – very simple. Winner: Furnished condos

So knowing this info, will you choose to stay at a hotel next time you are in Toronto on business or at a furnished apartment?