Deciding between staying at a hotel or an apartment in South America? Here are some FAQs to help you decide.
1) Does TGW Travel offer condos/apartments? We sure do! TGW works with reputable apartment brokers/management companies and apartment owners in Cartagena, Colombia, Rio de Janeiro, as well as in Buenos Aires. We have personally screened all properties and only work with the most reliable brokers who are familiar with the type of properties and service international guests require.
2) How large are these properties? We offer properties of all sizes and for every budget. From a simple studio apartment up to amazing luxury penthouses.
3) How many people can fit in these properties? Each property has specific occupancy limits, but a general rule of thumb would one adult per bedroom (or two in case of a couple). Most apartments in South America are one or two-bedroom units as buildings in the popular tourist areas of Rio (Copacabana and Ipanema), Cartagena (in Bocagrande/El Laguito) or Buenos Aires (Recoleta/Palermo) are typically older and not very large. We also do have a handful or 3, 4, and sometimes 5 bedroom units available.
4) What are the Pro’s/benefits of renting an apartment versus staying at a hotel? The general benefits of staying in an apartment in South America are:
- Increased space – With a rental apartment or condo, you have a kitchen and living room in most apartments and more room to hang out/relax versus a hotel room which can tend to be small in South America.
- Opportunity to cook meals by having a kitchen. More lenient guest policies/privacy – some hotels in Rio and Cartagena charge fees for guests or may not allow them to begin with.
- Good value for your money – if you are staying at least 5 nights or more, an apartment could be a great value for your vacation. (if you are staying less than 5 nights, it may not be the best value as you have to pay for such things as rental cleaning, etc and additionally, some owners do not rent out condos for less then 4 or 5 nights).
- Living like a local – staying in an apartment is a great experience and allows you to immerse yourself in the local culture and live like a local.
5) What are the Con’s/drawbacks of renting an apartment versus staying at a hotel?
- Facilities – Hotels generally have better facilities versus apartments (pools, gyms/exercise rooms). Additionally, most apartments do not have local phone lines (as outbound calls tend to be very expensive to many owners do not have a local phone number in the apartments). Additionally, such things as international cable television and WIFI are more reliable/readily available at hotels versus apartments.
- Service – No matter what kind of apartment you stay in, you will not have the same level of service as if you stay at a hotel. Hotels have restaurants where breakfast is included in your room rate, as well as room service and concierge/front desks to assist you. If you stay at an apartment, remember you must go to the local grocery store to purchase drinking water (as you cannot drink from the tap.). If you are used to 5-star service and enjoy the service of hotels, you probably should not choose to stay at an apartment.
- Daily Cleaning – Most of the apartments we work with include cleaning at least once every 3 to 4 days. Only the most luxurious properties include cleaning/maids that live on the premises and clean daily. (compared to a hotel that is cleaned daily).
- Air Conditioning/Comfort – one drawback of apartments is that they do not have central air conditioning. Most apartments in Rio de Janeiro do not have central A/C (only in the bedrooms). This is also common in Cartagena, Colombia.
- Maintenance – Apartments, in general, are not as well maintained as hotels. If something were to break inside an apartment during your stay, it could take up to 24 to 48 or more hours for a replacement/fix. This is especially true in “high season” times such as weekends, holidays, when hardware stores may be closed or plumbers/repairmen in shorter supply.
- Safety – While most apartments in Rio, Buenos Aires, and Cartagena have doormen, hotels are generally considered safer as they have full-time front desk clerks as well as doormen/security.
- Flexibility – If you book an apartment and need to cancel it or would like to switch it, cancellation policies may be less flexible than hotels.
6) What are some other things to know about renting apartments?
All apartments require refundable security deposits that need to be paid in cash upon check-in. Additionally, apartments are generally all inside larger buildings which may have rules and regulations that must be followed. Loud parties, disruptive behavior, etc, can result in fines or expulsion from properties if neighbors are upset or building rules are broken!
If you have any questions regarding the apartment or would like a quote for an apartment for Rio de Janeiro, Cartagena, or Buenos Aires, please contact your TGW rep or you may also click HERE for a quote.