Edited by: Jessica Merritt
& Keri Stooksbury
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If you’re like me, you saw that headline and thought, “What is a Radisson Serviced Apartment?” I had the same reaction when searching for hotels on a recent trip to Madagascar. While unfamiliar with the brand, I wound up here due to wanting to use some stranded Radisson Rewards points, a lack of other hotel options for using points, and the fact it was cheaper than both the Radisson Blu and Radisson Hotel Tamboho Waterfront Antananarivo.
Even prior to my arrival, I got the impression that a Radisson Serviced Apartment (and specifically the location in Antananarivo, Madagascar’s capital) wasn’t a traditional hotel. But I was also happy to not dig too far before my arrival, letting the experience surprise me.
Here’s what I learned along the way and what you can expect if you stay at a Radisson Serviced Apartments property in the future.
Let’s start with what Radisson says about this brand and the reasons the company says you should choose this type of property. It advertises key essentials for each stay (things that will make you feel at home), a residential feeling from “fully equipped kitchens,” and a communal vibe with public spaces for working and socializing.
Radisson says these properties have a 24-hour reception desk, on-site food and drink options, and extended-stay setups that include housekeeping. Radisson also maintains a list of Serviced Apartments locations.
I stayed at the Radisson Serviced Apartments Antananarivo City Center in late July 2023. A few days before check-in, I received an email with a link to customize my stay.
I had assumed this was just an opportunity to sell me paid upgrades, which were included. I could upgrade my standard apartment to superior or premium apartments for €10 to €60 (~$11 to ~$66).
But there was much more than that. I could customize my stay with flowers in the room, a pre-arranged airport taxi, or a city map outlining tourist sites. Only the map option was free. Other customizations came with a price tag.
I was most interested in exploring the free options, which included reserving a table at the restaurant for a specific time, stocking up the minibar (with items I could later purchase), and choosing a quiet room in the corner. That last item sounded intriguing.
I chose the quiet room (corner) option and received an on-screen confirmation. This was backed up with a confirmation email just a few minutes later.
Remember that you can redeem Radisson Rewards points for stays at Radisson Serviced Apartments. This program is separate from Radisson Rewards Americas, which has been absorbed into Choice Privileges as of July 18, 2023.
Amenities and experiences can vary from one hotel to another or from one stay to the next at the same hotel. You can even encounter a friendly employee at breakfast one day and then a sour employee the next day. Rather than focusing on these variations, let’s look at what I found during my stay that you could expect if you stay at other Radisson Serviced Apartments locations.
Like a typical hotel, I had a bedroom with everything I expect from a hotel. There was a large bed with nightstands on each side, reading lamps, and plenty of outlets for charging devices.
Opposite the bed was an armchair in the corner and a large TV on the wall. These features felt very “hotel-y.”
There was also a desk with a chair. The desk had a lamp, phone, notepad, and multiple outlets. This could provide a great work space — ideal for an extended-stay brand but also increasingly common at standard hotels these days.
The bathroom was where I had the most questions leading up to my stay. As an “apartment” in a brand Radisson says has a “feel at home” vibe, would I need to provide my own toiletries? Or would the hotel have them?
Bath products were available in pump bottles in the shower, though I’ll point out that was a major oddity in the design. A bar (to hold the glass wall in place) ran exactly under the rainfall shower head. It made the water fall in weird ways while taking a shower.
There were also toiletries near the sink, including a shower cap, body lotion, and a pump bottle of soap.
And there was a hair dryer attached to the wall. All of these amenities made it feel like staying at a standard hotel.
The kitchenette is what made the difference. While Radisson’s website says there should be a “fully equipped kitchen to prepare a homecooked meal,” that’s not what I found. There was a small microwave, a sink, shelves, and a bit of counter space.
And there were coffee supplies plus a kettle, but a 2-burner stovetop isn’t what I would consider a “fully equipped kitchen.” Additionally, there was a single pot and just one knife in a drawer.
There were a few plates, bowls, and glasses in the cupboards. However, if I had stayed more than 2 days here and wanted to cook meals, this wouldn’t be enough — nor did it match Radisson’s own description.Hot Tip:
If you’re planning a longer stay at an extended-stay brand like Radisson Serviced Apartments and want to cook meals in your room, inquire with the hotel directly to see what’s included in the kitchen. It would be a waste to buy ingredients at the supermarket that don’t correspond with the kitchen items at your disposal.
I stayed in room 506. It was neither quiet nor in the corner. Instead, it was immediately next to the elevator.
Despite having a confirmation of my request for a quiet room in a corner, the hotel was fully booked during my stay and had simply allocated me to the only room available. I heard every person coming and going, as well as the “ding” sound from the elevator arriving.
Radisson advertises that this brand should have communal spaces for work and relaxation. The Soho Rooftop provided a relaxing space for drinks with friends or coworkers at this property. Its open-air location made it feel even bigger than it was. And DJs provide live music here on the weekends.
Unfortunately, there was no way to access the Soho Rooftop without mounting several steps. This could be an issue for some guests. Soho Rooftop was open from 6 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., offering à la carte breakfast in the mornings.
There was a fitness center, as well. It met minimum expectations, but its lack of space meant there wasn’t much to offer. There were a few bikes and a Technogym rowing machine.
The other side of the room had a handful of benches plus a rack of free weights. You could turn on the TV while working out, if desired.
The Soho restaurant served 3 meals daily from 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. While it had seating for only 2 dozen people, I never saw a wait and didn’t need a reservation despite the hotel being at capacity.
While decorations and layout appeared quite simple, the menu was extensive. In addition to 2 different set menu options, à la carte offerings included cereals, made-to-order eggs, and several Malagasy dishes. The surprise item here was vegan pancakes.
And while they were a bit small, they were delicious!
The menu also showed some of the lunch and dinner options, which included soups, salads, fries, burgers, and a fusion of Asian and French dishes.
As the “serviced” in the name implies, Radisson Serviced Apartments include housekeeping. I regularly saw housekeeping staff with their cart in the hallway, changing sheets, providing clean towels, and cleaning rooms. This was a daily service for each guest unless you put the “do not disturb” sign on the door.
Radisson Serviced Apartments is an extended-stay hotel brand. Rooms include standard features you’d expect at a hotel, but you’ll also get a kitchenette. While Radisson describes this as a great space to whip up meals, I found that it would only support basic cooking, like a simple pasta dish. Seeing “apartments” might make you think of a self-service stay similar to brands like Homes & Villas by Marriott Bonvoy. But the “serviced” in the name lets you know that you’ll still get daily housekeeping and access to on-site reception staff to help with questions during your stay.
Though you’ll receive options to customize your stay before arrival, these may be confirmed but not provided at check-in. If you paid for any customizations or upgrades, ensure you receive them.
A serviced apartment will include everything you expect from a hotel (bedroom, bathroom, restaurant, and room service), plus you’ll have a kitchenette. This way, you can prepare meals sometimes, rather than always needing to dine at restaurants or order room service.
They share many similarities, such as room layout, a gym, a restaurant, and a reception desk. You’ll get toiletries and housekeeping at both. The serviced apartment, however, will have a small kitchen for preparing meals.
Vacation home rentals give you access to an entire home. They’re also self-service; you won’t get daily housekeeping or a check-in/concierge desk. But you’ll have access to a whole kitchen with everything your family needs, unlike small kitchenettes provided in serviced apartments. Serviced apartments are within a hotel, including daily housekeeping and on-site restaurants.
Yes, you can. Each room will have a small kitchen. While space and tools may be limited, cooking simple meals is feasible.
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Ryan has been on a quest to visit every country in the world and plans to hit his final country in 2023. Over the years, he’s written about award travel for publications including AwardWallet, The Points Guy, USA Today Blueprint, CNBC Select, Tripadvisor, and Forbes Advisor.
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