Several years ago we took a last-minute trip out of town for a few days. It was a trip we didn’t get to plan for in advance or even know exactly how long we would be gone.
On the drive down, we booked our first hotel night via Hotels.com‘s deals page. Our main concern was price and location. We paid $80 for a non-smoking King at an Extended Stay Deluxe.
Since we didn’t know how long we would be there, I figured this would be a nice hotel to extend our stay if we needed to.
The hotel ended up being a dump!
It was old and run down. It smelled bad, and they weren’t doing a good job of keeping the carpet or other areas clean. Essentially, it was a glorified college dorm.
I’m sure there are plenty of nice Extended Stay Deluxe’s available. They are, after all, one of the oldest specialty hotels around.
Maybe that was the problem. They need an upgrade after years of extended stays.
In case you are wondering, I checked TripAdvisor after we checked out and the warning signs were there.
Lesson learned: no matter how short notice, always check the reviews and be willing to pay a bit more for a decent stay if it’s important to you.
Our next move was to a different extended stay hotel brand, the Candlewood Suites. They are an InterContinental property (i.e. Holiday Inn).
This place ran us just $95 per night—but was a much newer hotel.
In fact, I think it was less than a year old. A lot can go wrong while staying at a hotel, but if the place is new then the odds are stacked in your favor.
Table of Contents
What is an Extended Stay Hotel?
An extended stay hotel is simply the marrying of a hotel and a vacation rental.
It gives you the booking convenience and a limited number of amenities a hotel would offer, while being more like a home, and potentially more cost-effective the longer you stay.
Extended stay hotels are upgrading and expanding faster than any other hospitality sector.
They are luring travelers from Airbnb by providing the best of both worlds:
- a comfortable, spacious, home-like accommodation
- hotel convenience and amenities
|Extended Stay Hotel
|✅ (extra fee)
|Fitness Center Access
Why Choose an Extended Stay Hotel?
As detailed above, it ticks all the boxes for hotel amenities as well as living space.
Another factor is the price.
While it’s not designed to be much cheaper than the regular hotel rate, there are discounts for staying longer than 7 days.
They also attract a lot of Airbnb weary travelers, who have had bad experiences with owners canceling their reservations last minute, leaving them in the lurch for where to stay.
Extended stay hotels have the same reservation security a hotel does, making the process more streamlined.
Speaking of vacation rental homes from Airbnb or VRBO, the majority of them have the landlord living in the house as well, whether renting out a room, the basement or an over-the-garage type suite.
A great thing about extended stay hotels is your area is yours. Many of them are like self-contained apartments with hotel-style offerings.
This is convenient for people who are traveling for:
- an extended holiday
- medical treatments
It’s also great for people:
- who live a flexible, travel-focused lifestyle
- have food allergies, or eat a strict diet
- are traveling with a large family or group
One really great time to choose an extended stay hotel is on a Disney vacation with a larger group.
When we traveled to Orlando with family, renting an extended stay hotel rather than staying on-site saved us thousands of dollars, gave us a comfortable home to come back to, allowed us to cook our own meals, while still providing a pool and hotel amenities.
We also had a shuttle to and from the parks included in our price.
Extended Stay Hotel Brands
The most popular extended stay hotels are:
- InTown Suites – InTown Suites is a hotel chain with sites around the United States. It is well-known for its reasonably priced studio-style rooms with kitchenettes.
- Extended Stay America – Extended Stay America is a low-cost hotel chain that provides spacious rooms with fully equipped kitchens. It has locations all around the country.
- Homestead Suites – Homestead Suites is a hotel chain that operates throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico. It has large rooms with full kitchens and separate living and sleeping areas.
- Candlewood Suites – Candlewood Suites is a hotel chain owned by the InterContinental Hotels Group. It provides pleasant apartment-style accommodations with fully equipped kitchens and spacious work areas.
- TownePlace Suites – TownePlace Suites is a Marriott-affiliated extended-stay hotel franchise. It provides spacious rooms with fully equipped kitchens, separate living and sleeping areas, and a variety of conveniences for extended stays, such as on-site laundry and a grocery shopping service.
- Staybridge Suites – Staybridge Suites is a hotel chain owned by the InterContinental Hotels Group. It provides spacious apartment-style rooms with fully outfitted kitchens, separate living and sleeping areas, and a variety of services for extended stays, including a complimentary breakfast buffet and social events.
- Homewood Suites – Homewood Suites is a Hilton-affiliated extended-stay hotel chain. It has spacious rooms with fully equipped kitchens and separate living and sleeping areas, as well as a variety of services for extended stays, such as complimentary hot breakfast and evening social events.
- Residence Inn – Residence Inn is a Marriott-affiliated extended-stay hotel chain. It provides spacious apartment-style rooms with fully outfitted kitchens, separate living and sleeping areas, and a variety of services for extended stays, including a complimentary breakfast buffet and social events.
- Quality Inn – Quality Inn is a budget hotel business with locations all across the country. It has a variety of room options, including studios with kitchenettes.
- Element by Weston – Element by Weston is a Marriott brand hotel franchise. It provides eco-friendly, apartment-style rooms with fully equipped kitchens and separate living and sleeping areas, as well as a variety of services for extended stays, such as a complementary breakfast buffet and social events.
- Hawthorn Extended Stay – Hawthorn Extended Stay is a hotel chain with sites around the United States. It has enormous apartments with full kitchens and separate living and sleeping areas.
- Home2 Suites by Hilton – Home2 Suites by Hilton is a Hilton-affiliated extended-stay hotel chain. It has spacious rooms with fully equipped kitchens, separate living and sleeping areas, as well as a variety of services for extended stays, including a complimentary breakfast buffet and social events.
Biz-Stay.com has a nice comparison of extended stay hotels that’s worth checking out if you’re considering one of these.
How Much Does Extended Stay Cost?
As noted above, the average price isn’t meant to be much cheaper than a regular hotel, and there is a wide variance in price, depending on condition.
In looking through many listings, I found four levels, and a price range for each.
- Economy: $50-$100 per night
- Mid-priced: $75-$150 per night
- Mid-priced Plus: $130+ per night
- Upscale: $254+ per night
While there aren’t any prices for extending your stay beyond 7 days, many extended stay hotels offer weekly and monthly rates, so if you plan to stay longer, inquire about their long-term rates.
Are Extended Stay Hotels Pet Friendly?
As with all hotels, it’s best to call ahead and check (or check the website, it’s usually listed).
All of the hotels I checked out were pet-friendly, usually up to 2 pets, and with a deposit and/or pet fee for cleaning. This ranged from $25 per night to a $75 flat fee. Some hotels refunded this if there was no pet damage upon checkout.
I’ve found extended stay hotels are more likely to be pet friendly, as they know people are seeking to stay with them on a longer-term basis.
Disadvantages of Using Extended Stay Hotels
As I mentioned in my first story, the first one we came across had the warning signs, and I ignored them.
While they are working to upgrade, there are still a lot of seedy-type extended stay hotels which fit the stereotype I’m sure you originally pictured. You really need to do your homework with them, check reviews and pictures.
If they don’t have an online presence, steer clear.
Typically with extended stay, you get what you pay for. If you see one advertising rates of $90 per week, it’s probably not the place you want to be.
Another downside is they’re sometimes more expensive than their Airbnb counterpart. Though it has been steadily changing, with extended stay hotels coming down in price, and Airbnb’s going up, you do have to have the budget to stay.
My Preferred Best Extended Stay Hotel
As I mentioned, I really like Candlewood Suites. While there are a few great brands that are consistently ranked in the top ten across the country, like Quality Inn and Holiday Inn, Candlewood Suites came away as the best quality, at the best price.
Travelocity has a great tool to find the highest-rated, and best-reviewed extended stay hotels. You can search your destination, compare rates and amenities, and read user reviews.
Another option besides these long-term hotels can be a vacation rental which you’ll find on sites like Airbnb.com and VRBO.com. Just be aware of rising cleaning fees, or any other fees for this matter.
I checked both of these options out while we were on our stay, and there wasn’t much for us to choose from.
So, to sum up my thoughts, I would say look at extended stay type hotels as a way to help you save on food costs. Don’t forget to research the review sites, and consider other options like what’s found on house/room share sites.
What do you do when you have to stay somewhere for over a week and you’re not there on “vacation”?