Edited by: Nick Ellis
& Stella Shon
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Julio Camba was a journalist that lived in room 338 at The Westin Palace, Madrid for nearly 20 years (more than 7,000 nights) from 1942 to 1962.
Now a Marriott Bonvoy property, we’re asking the burning question: could you really live in The Westin Palace, Madrid (or any hotel) for 20 years nowadays? Could you live at any hotel for 20 years? 1 year? 1 month? Just how long can one live in a hotel?
These answers aren’t as cut and dry as you might think, and it really depends on the hotel. But we’ll give you a hint: hotels are pretty invested in getting you to stay longer — as long as possible, in fact. And after the COVID-19 pandemic, living in a hotel while working remotely or traveling indefinitely as a digital nomad are things that feel pretty normal.
This article digs into all the burning questions you might have about living in a hotel: if you can live in a hotel, how long you can live there for, if anyone really does it, and, of course, how much it costs.
It’s not illegal to live in a hotel. However, keep in mind that living in a hotel isn’t exactly like living in an apartment or home for various reasons.
First, you won’t have tenant rights while living in a hotel. These vary by state, but generally, they’ve been established to prevent discrimination, guarantee safe conditions, provide privacy protections (note that hotel staff can enter a hotel room if they suspect that illegal activity is occurring), and more.
Basically, when you stay at a hotel, you’re a guest — not a tenant — so you aren’t protected by laws that apply to renters.
You also can’t list a hotel as your permanent mailing address for routing mail (though an easy fix could be to get a P.O. Box).
Assuming the hotel, state, region, or country doesn’t have any restrictions, you could theoretically live at a hotel for as long as you want (or as long as you can afford to do so). However, some hotels do place limits on how long you can stay. This really depends on a number of factors, but the most obvious one is the hotel’s specific policies.
Also note that you should be careful of visa laws, whether you plan to live in a hotel or elsewhere. For example, U.S. citizens can stay in a country within the Schengen Area in Europe for up to 90 days on a tourist visa within a period of 180 days. Staying longer would be illegal without another type of long-stay visa.
Here are some factors to consider if you’re thinking of making a hotel your next residence.
In the wake of the pandemic, hotels everywhere are offering more long-stay options than ever.
Concepts like “bleisure travel,” digital nomads, and hybrid office models mean travelers are looking outside the box when it comes to extended hotel stays. Here are some options if you’re considering living at a hotel:Hot Tip:
Ask the hotel if you can earn and/or redeem points on long-term hotel stays or when staying at specific extended-stay brands. It’s also a good idea to ask if any promotions, offers, or discounts are valid on long-term or extended stays.
Hilton’s portfolio has several brands well-suited to anyone who wants to live at a hotel, from opulent, far-flung, and exotic resort properties to reasonably priced apartment-style options around the U.S.
Hilton’s Hotel Residences blend the comforts of home with luxury resort amenities and services for the best of both worlds. There are locations across the globe, from New York City to Dubai to Thailand.
Hilton also has the Homewood Suites brand, which offers large suites with full kitchens (its hotels even have full-size refrigerators), free breakfast, fitness centers, pools, and cozy outdoor spaces with amenities like fire pits and grills. The brand also welcomes pets, too.
Then there’s Home2 Suites by Hilton, which has 1-bedroom and studio suites that feature kitchenettes and comfortable workspaces. These properties also offer free breakfast and are pet-friendly.
Finally, Hilton announced that it’s working to launch Project H3, a midscale, extended-stay brand that will have thoughtfully designed apartments that feature kitchens and ample storage space. These properties will also have laundry rooms, outdoor spaces, and new lobby designs that will suit long-stay guests.
Hyatt Hotels is in the middle of creating its 28th brand — Hyatt Studios — which will be geared toward extended stays. The chain expects around 100 hotels in total, the first of which should open in 2024. This brand will offer amenities welcomed by extended-stay guests, like a 24-hour food market and guestrooms with full kitchens.
Hyatt also offers another extended-stay brand: Hyatt House. Properties feature living and working spaces ideal for longer stays like 24-hour fitness centers, outdoor hubs, common work areas, and 24-hour food markets.
Marriott’s extended-stay portfolio features over 1,000 properties across the U.S., Europe, Canada, the Middle East, and Asia, falling under several brands.
Marriott Executive Apartments offers upscale temporary serviced apartments (from studio to spacious 3-bedroom options), each with a gourmet kitchen, gym, business center, security, and housekeeping. Similarly, Apartments by Marriott is in development and is expected to feature accommodations where the whole family can live, with up to 3 bedrooms, full kitchens, and laundry machines.
TownePlace Suites by Marriott properties have amenities like kitchens, free breakfast, business centers, laundry facilities, and grills. Meanwhile, Residence Inn by Marriott properties offer guests simple, spacious suites with access to outdoor spaces, fitness centers, and daily hot breakfast.
Finally, Element by Westin hotels are all about a balanced lifestyle and offer a range of accommodations and even special conference suites that would be ideal for a “workcation” or for digital nomads.
The best part? You can score lower rates for longer stays and still have the ability to earn Marriott Bonvoy points.Hot Tip:
Maximize your earnings with Marriott by adding one of these Marriott Bonvoy co-branded credit cards to your wallet.
Hawthorne Suites Extended Stay by Wyndham is Wyndham’s extended-stay option, with around 70 hotels in North America, Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. Guest suites feature kitchens and sitting areas, and guests have access to laundry facilities, free breakfast, and free Wi-Fi.
Candlewood Suites is one of IHG’s brands suited for extended stays. There are more than 400 different hotels ideal for guests looking to stay longer. Each studio, 1-bedroom, or 2-bedroom suite offers things like a fully-equipped kitchen, with ample kitchenware and weekly housekeeping that’s minimally intrusive.
The properties don’t have much in the way of social activities or spaces but some have pools. Each property features the Candlewood Cupboard, a convenience store open 24 hours where guests can pick up snacks, drinks, and more. Guests can also expect free laundry, fitness centers, and even grills.
The chain also has the Staybridge Suites brand. Properties offer studios and suites ideal for long-stay travelers thanks to kitchenettes, plenty of closet space, seating areas, and thoughtful storage solutions. Hotels also offer amenities like free breakfast and complimentary happy hours.Hot Tip:
We detail the best credit cards for IHG loyalists. Make sure to spend on one of these for your next IHG hotel stay, whether it’s short or long.
Radisson’s serviced apartments range from studios to 2-bedroom units and include amenities like a fully-equipped kitchen, lots of storage space, and housekeeping. Guests will also have access to a 24-hour reception area, social spaces, food and drink options, and leisure facilities. Find them in locations across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.
According to Statistica, the average cost for a hotel night in 2022 was $148.83 in the U.S. Multiply that by 30 days in a month, and you can expect to pay about $4,465 per month, on average.
Meanwhile, the average cost to rent a 1-bedroom apartment in the U.S. in 2023 is $1,152 per month. According to Search Logistics, the average cost of an Airbnb in North America in 2023 is $168 per night, which is over $5,000 per month (assuming no extended-stay discount is offered), though it’s unclear how big the Airbnb rental is.
When it comes to home ownership, average monthly mortgage costs vary by state, but the national average is $2,317 in 2023, according to Lending Tree. Homeownership has a number of benefits — including the fact that it’s often less expensive than living in a hotel in many cases — but it may not be a possibility for everyone and doesn’t offer the flexibility and versatility that living in a hotel (or even in a rental) can.
Of course, these costs are just estimates, and all prices can vary depending on a number of factors, such as location, space, and type of hotel and rental. But it’s probably safe to assume that in most cases, especially in the U.S., you’ll pay more to live in a hotel.
It’s somewhat of a rarity to find hotels for less than $100 per night in many places across the U.S., so expect to spend at least $3,000 per month living in a hotel (though you may be able to find cheaper deals in other countries that have a lower cost of living, like some places in Latin American, Eastern Europe, or Southeast Asia).
This, like so many things, depends. You’ll need to weigh the cost of living in a hotel based on comparisons with Airbnb or other vacation rentals. And don’t forget to make the comparison between the costs of living in a hotel versus simply signing a rental lease and living as a tenant.
You’ll also have to consider the amenities you receive in return. For example, perhaps a pool, fitness center, co-working space, and complimentary breakfast can actually make a long hotel stay more attractive when you factor in additional costs that come with renting or owning an apartment or a home, including the price of food, gym membership, and co-working membership, insurance, and more.
Also note that different states and regions have different residency rules, meaning you may be able to avoid paying tax or VAT after a certain number of nights. Inquire at the hotel or find out the rules for your chosen region, country, state, and hotel.
And in the end, things like flexibility may matter. If you’ll have to pay out a lease when you need to move elsewhere, the versatility living in a hotel provides may actually make it the more affordable option in the long run.
Living in a hotel can be a really cool experience, especially if you take advantage of the benefits and minimize possible disadvantages. Consider these tips and tricks for living in a hotel.
Familiarize yourself with these amazing hotel hacks to boost your hotel experience.
Make sure to call the manager or reservations desk and ask if there are any discounts available for long stays. You may want to choose a brand specifically designed for longer stays, like some of the ones we mentioned above.
Extended hotel stays can be an excellent way to rack up loads of hotel loyalty points. Make sure that any rates negotiated with the hotel earn points, and book directly to guarantee you earn the points and, eventually, hotel elite status, which can afford you additional perks and benefits.Hot Tip:
Maximize your stash of travel rewards cards to make sure you’re putting your spend on a card that offers bonus points for hotel and travel purchases, like a co-branded hotel credit card or a card that offers additional points for travel purchases, such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, which offers 3x points on travel.
If your preferred extended-stay property isn’t part of a hotel loyalty program, consider booking through an online travel agency (OTA) that offers rewards. For example, Expedia, Hotels.com, and Vrbo now participate in a new program called One Key. Users can earn OneKeyCash on every dollar spent on eligible accommodation bookings.
Remember to search for things like a comfortable workspace, rooms with ample light, or anything else that feels important to you when choosing a hotel to live in for an extended period of time. You’re paying for perks like free breakfast, the business center, the gym, and the pool, so use them! Take advantage of everything your hotel offers to really get your money’s worth while living there.
If you’ll be frequently working in your hotel room, you’ll need to have things that may make your workspace more comfortable and functional, such as an additional power strip and adapters. You may also want to have things like a yoga mat, a laundry kit, and anything to help you sleep comfortably, like earplugs or an eye mask (the constant turnover of neighbors means sleep conditions may not always be consistent).
Remember, you can always consider a vacation rental property on a site like Airbnb or VRBO as an alternative to an extended hotel stay.
However, costs may be even higher than a hotel and much higher than renting an apartment or a house, though you will have the flexibility to stay without a lease. Many homes on these kinds of sites do offer discounts for longer stays — either on a per-week or per-month basis.
While vacation rentals may be larger and more spacious than a hotel room, they don’t always offer the same kind of amenities, such as housekeeping, free breakfast, or on-site amenities like a business center, co-working space, pool, or fitness center. Make sure to weigh all the amenities, factors, and costs when deciding whether to live at a hotel or a vacation rental property.
In the end, living in a hotel is a personal decision. While it is possible, there are pros and cons to living in a hotel indefinitely. Make sure to weigh the costs and check on local rules before deciding to make a hotel your residence.
And while you may not end up staying 20 years like Julio Camba, living in a hotel can make for an amazing and unforgettable life experience — and earn you a serious amount of points, too.
Oh, and if you’re wondering — no one has lived in The Westin Palace, Madrid as long as Mr. Camba. In fact, “There’s no one living there right now,” the Marketing and Communications Manager of the famed Spanish hotel, Paloma Garcia, told Upgraded Points. However, “The hotel does have clientele that return on a weekly basis for business,” she said.
If you’re wondering how long you can live at a hotel, there isn’t an exact time limit. There are pros and cons to living at a hotel, but it is possible, in some cases, to live at a hotel indefinitely. It’s important to consider regulations and limitations set by the hotel, as well as laws or rules established by the country, state, or region that may limit the time you can live in a hotel.
There are many perks of living in a hotel instead of an apartment. For example, you may have access to amenities like a pool, 24-hour fitness center, lobby, business center, or co-working space when living at a hotel. You may also have perks like free breakfast or daily or weekly housekeeping.
The disadvantages of living in a hotel include less living space, ever-changing neighbors, and a lack of tenant rights. You may also pay a lot more than if you were to lease an apartment or home.
Many hotels, including extended-stay properties, allow guests to bring their pets. Of course, there are limitations to pet policies, so don’t expect to be allowed to bring the whole farm along. You may have to pay an additional fee to bring your pets when you live or stay at a hotel, so this could increase the cost of living in a hotel.
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