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Serviced London Apartments & Unlawful Pop-Up Hotels offer More Choices in Run-Up to Olympics

Top Quote Part hotel, part private residence, serviced London apartments are certainly the family-friendly accommodation option that provides an instant home from home in London. They are also ideal for singles, couples and groups of friends visiting London. End Quote
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    QuoteHotels are simply for sleeping in. Individuals need a lot more than simply a pillow on which to lay their tired heads.Quote
  • (1888PressRelease) March 19, 2012 - Previously reserved for those in the know, London serviced apartments are a cross between a hotel and a pied-a-terre with the advantages of both and the disadvantages of neither.

    The core benefit is obvious: they give visitors the opportunity to stay in a well-appointed, centrally-located apartment, more like a home than a hotel. These London apartments are usually substantially larger than hotel accommodation and usually comprise a varying number of bedrooms and bathrooms, a living room and a kitchen. They can also be cheaper with possible savings of 15-45% less than hotels of a similar standard.

    If you are looking for privacy, therefore, and are happy to cook for yourself (or can at least manage to pick up the phone to ask the concierge to arrange a takeaway), serviced apartments might well be the answer. Another key factor for visitors, especially with their families, is that they offer security, as there are typically only a handful of apartments on each floor of a building, making it more likely that staff will notice unfamiliar faces.

    Serviced apartments are also particularly suitable for long-term stays (not least because the longer you stay, the easier it is to negotiate better rates). Serviced apartments are less intrusive, more like the real world, but bills are paid for you and rooms are cleaned regularly, so you can spend time enjoying all that London has to offer.

    In London the range of options is as diverse as the hotel sector. From basic to lavish, budget to luxury, there is something to suit every width of wallet.

    Design styles tend to be fairly contemporary, but there are also many more traditional London apartments available. One thing to be particularly aware of, incidentally, is that most larger blocks operate as hotels, with guests staying for just one night, although many places have minimum stay requirements. These range from one week to three months.

    Traditionally, serviced apartments have been available through licensed serviced apartment blocks and a variety of well-managed chains with serviced apart hotels in various locations across London. In order to operate, as a apart hotel, these buildings have obtained a special license and certification of established use in order to legally operate in the city of London and surroundings. These buildings, like hotels, must adhere to stringent health and safety standards and special fire regulations and government requirements and pay heavy rates (or taxes) to maintain their licenses to operate as short let serviced apartments.

    Unfortunately, most especially with the upcoming Olympics, many new agencies and vacation rental listing sites have emerged selling and glamorizing illegal short lets throughout London. The general tourist does not know what is legal and what is illegal in terms of London apartment rentals, nor do they understand the legalities (or illegalities) involved.

    One particular new company operating as an agency has 'the nerve' to market itself as an 'unhotel' with Google ads stating 'We Convert Homes into Pop-up Hotels'. Not only does this company recruit high end central London home owners to list their homes as illegal rentals, but they also offer hotel services and amenities with no legally required license and no legally required permission from the government's Councils that deem such an act as illegal issuing hefty fines and penalties when caught.

    By preventing people from obtaining the addresses of these illegal rentals until after the booking process is complete, these rental companies and listing sites camouflage the act making it difficult or impossible for the UK government and its local Councils to take action, although this is expected to change in the near future due mainly to the concern of London's Councils over this rapidly growing black market, ultimately forcing these thriving booking websites to shut down.

    This means, whether you book a hotel room or a licensed serviced apartment or an 'illegal' unlicensed London vacation rental, if the exact address including post code is not visible online or not given before booking, it is best to just turn away and find a legitimate agency or serviced apartment hotel in London.

    Throughout London, private property owners are prohibited by law from letting out property for less than 90 days.

    The good news is that planning officers throughout London are doing their best to crackdown on illegal short-term letting of residential property between now and the London 2012 Olympics. The demand for cheap, short-stay accommodation in London is anticipated to rise due to an expected increase in tourism as London is promoted on the international stage as a city to visit. The initiative follows similar moves by Paris and New York City officials in their attempt to stamp out the unlawful short-letting trade.

    The availability of cheap online-booking software has allowed landlords to set themselves up as hoteliers and link in to the many networks of hotel booking which proliferate on the internet.

    London council officials are now concerned that the creation of illegal short letting across central London is getting out of hand and are doing their best to crackdown however limited funds and staff at present makes this a difficult task.

    Westminster City Council, where the majority of London's illegal black market rentals reside, has run for several years a high-profile campaign to take enforcement action against illegal short letting. The City council has warned property owners saying "you'll need planning permission to let your property for less than 90 days and without it you are breaking the law and you could be fined up to 20,000."

    Westmister City Council feels that "The quality of life of permanent residents is affected by the frequently changing occupiers in unlicensed short term letting dwellings, who often enter and leave the properties at unsociable hours, causing considerable disruption and leading to residents experiencing an increased fear of crime."

    The Council has previously warned that "the short term letting market in Westminster remains strong and highly lucrative for those involved. Many estate agents and other online booking agents were seen to be actively promoting illegal short term letting and the benefits for both landlords and guests. Also, the fact that many estate agents have recently set up teams to cater solely for short term letting shows that the market is buoyant and likely to grow. This in hand will increase pressure on the Council; its permanent housing stock and permanent residents."

    Below are some recommendations to help make searching for London apartments safer and easier. This is just a small sampling of the legal options currently available. There are many more options available throughout the internet, but be cautious and if renting privately, always use a credit card as protection and never pay by a bank transfer or by Western Union, or similar.

    Reputable London Apartments Agencies

    www.LondonChoice.com
    www.RegentSuites.com
    www.QualityLondonApartments.co.uk
    www.Apartment-Hotels.com
    www.Maykenbel.com
    www.HydeParkCollection.com
    www.RefreshAccommodation.com
    www.Central-London-Apartments.com
    www.Apartotels.com

    Legal London Serviced Apartment Buildings and Apart Hotel Groups

    www.Grand-Plaza.co.uk
    www.CollinghamApartments.com
    www.DylanHouse.co.uk
    www.DraycottsofChelsea.com
    www.base2stay.com
    www.ArlingtonHouse.co.uk
    www.AstonsApartments.com
    www.Citadines.com
    www.ChevalResidences.com
    www.SpaceApartHotel.com
    www.DolphinSquare.co.uk
    www.BasilStreetApartments.com
    www.49LancasterGate.com
    www.BridgeStreet.com
    www.51-BuckinghamGate.com
    www.OneThirty.co.uk
    www.VancouverStudios.co.uk
    www.196Bishopsgate.com
    www.Think-Apartments.com
    www.CarltonCourt.com
    www.AthenaeumHotel.com
    www.PresidentialApartments.co.uk
    www.KensingtonCourt.co.uk
    www.no5MaddoxSt.com
    www.AllenHouse.co.uk
    www.HouseofMoli.com
    www.TheLeonard.com

    Wherever you choose to stay in London and whatever your budget, there are plenty of London apartment options available, offering the opportunity to truly live like a Londoner.

    Hotels are simply for sleeping in. Individuals need a lot more than simply a pillow on which to lay their tired heads. The incoming visitor to London, especially with family, needs somewhere to sit and relax in comfort and style, make a snack or a meal, entertain colleagues, friends and family, have a meeting and deal with work matters from the comfort of a home from home atmosphere.

    London serviced apartments will always offer much better value-for-money compared with a hotel. A key factor affecting savings in apartment accommodation is that the charges are per apartment and not per person.

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