The City Built on More than Just Oil

Source: www.offshorewind.biz
Aberdeen

If I were to ask you for the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of Aberdeen, odds are on that “oil” would be your headlining answer. It would not be at all surprising because even as a born and bred Aberdonian, whenever someone asks me to describe my home town, the oil industry tends to be my instant characterisation of the city I call home. It is not possible to separate Aberdeen from the oil industry because the North Sea and its oil supplies are what has put Aberdeen on the national, and indeed the international stages. Nothing epitomises this quite like the fact that Aberdeen is known as the “Oil/Energy Capital of Europe”. Due to the strong inter-relation between Aberdeen and oil, it is undeniable that the predominance of tourism is in relation to business as reflected by the fact that over half of the visits to Aberdeen are linked to business matters.

Consequently, I can fully understand why one may not consider engaging in a leisure trip to Aberdeen. With the strong association of energy corporations and professional services, it is easy to comprehend why someone may think Aberdeen is all work and no play. HOWEVER, there is so much more to Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire. It may be best known for its oil supplies, but there are so many other achievements and accolades that Aberdeen should be on the map for; none of which have anything to do with business but all to do with fun. From the luscious supply of lush green spaces; an abundance of breathtaking castles and all the fun and frolics to be had at the seaside, it is clear that Aberdeen is equally capable of delivering glowing holiday memories and experiences that will last a lifetime.

The Silver City

Practical, easy to maintain and stunning to look at, the eye-catching glistening of the granite walls of Aberdeen are certain to capture your attention and your camera’s lens. Known as the Granity City and the Silver City, Aberdeen’s greyness can easily be attributed to its architecture that was built in the granite days of the Victorian era. Due to the mica that sparkles beautifully in the sun, it is no wonder that Aberdeen’s resplendent architecture is one that you have to stop to admire.

Marischal College  Source: www.canon-fodder-forums.com
Marischal College
Source: http://www.canon-fodder-forums.com

Do I Spot A Castle?

Aberdeen may have alter-egos in the form of the “Silver City” and the “Oil Capital of Europe”, but it also has a rather unknown secret identity that goes by the code name of “Castle Country”. With a collection of over 300 castles and more castles per acre than anywhere else in the UK, there is almost a castle to visit every day of the year meaning more than one trip to Aberdeen is not a choice, but an necessity. Due to the wealth of castles to explore, there is a castle to suit everyone’s tastes. There is the breathtaking dramatics of the haunting cliff-side ruins of Dunnotar Castle or for an idyllic family day, there are also the enchanting gardens that surround the splendour of Crathes Castle. For a more majestic experience, a trip to Balmoral Castle cannot go amiss for it is a favourite with the Royal Family and even is the grand holiday abode of Her Majesty the Queen. Similarly, Craigievar is an almost iconic image for Scotland as due to its ethereal fairy-tale like appearance, adorned with turrets; it is also supposedly responsible for inspiring Walt Disney. An exploration of castles could be your sole reason to visit Aberdeen if you embark on Scotland’s only Castle Trail which will take you through 17 of Aberdeen’s most renowned castles. You could visit all the castles and still desire more because ultimately, there is always a fascinating story to be learnt about Scotland’s captivating history.

Dunnottar Castle  Source: : http://www.uk-pictures.com/dunnottar_castle.html
Dunnottar Castle
Source: : http://www.uk-pictures.com/dunnottar_castle.html

The Grass is Always Greener…

To balance out the stunning (if a little gray) architecture; over a quarter of Aberdeen is actually open space. The fact that Aberdeen has won the Britain in Bloom competition for a record-smashing ten times is only testament to its abundance of sweet-smelling, picturesque parks. Whether you are looking for a tranquil walk in nature or a heart-pumping workout, there is a park to accommodate anyone and each will provide a scenic backdrop to all the action. Each park has its own unique attractions providing the perfect location for a family day trip. If you are looking for rose gardens to admire; a play park to keep the little ones out of trouble or a maze to get them lost in, look no further than Hazlehead Park which also comes armed with a petting corner full of furry friends. Duthie Park and Seaton Park also present the perfect setting for a moment to engage with nature and Duthie Park even has its own winter gardens which is resident to the UK’s largest supply of cacti (a little bit of trivia for you all!). However, if you stay at The Spires and are happening to be looking for a park closer to home, the ethereal Johnston Gardens is also a gorgeous spot for a bit of nature loving as due to its hidden waterfalls and ponds, it is no wonder that it is a favourite for wedding photos.

Johnston Gardens  Source: Wikipedia
Johnston Gardens
Source: Wikipedia

Nature Watch: Aberdeen Style

Parks are not the only natural wonders in Aberdeen. Perhaps the biggest draw to Aberdeen this lovely sunny season are our favourite new residents: dolphins! Due to Aberdeen being one of the best places in Europe to watch these magnificent animals at home in the sea, it is no wonder it is fast becoming a prime dolphin watching spot. Often frolicking near the harbour, it is not uncommon to witness the dolphins feeding & playing. It is truly a beautiful sight and reflects how there is more to the North Sea than just oil. RSPB Scotland’s DolphinWatch team will be there till mid-August and with dolphins appearing on 90% of 2014’s DolphinWatch days, you cannot miss an opportunity to see such playful fun.

Dolphins in Aberdeen Harbour  Source: www.rspb.org.uk
Dolphins in Aberdeen Harbour
Source: http://www.rspb.org.uk

Golf Anyone?

Golf is a sport synonymous with Aberdeenshire due to its plethora of courses to play on. Residence to over 50 courses, there are courses only a quarter of a mile away from Aberdeen and even more courses located just an hour’s drive away. Therefore, you are certain to find a course you like. Most famous is the Hazlehead No 1 which is rumoured to be one of the best in the North-East and whose claim to fame is that it was designed by Dr Alistair MacKenzie; the man who was responsible for creating the Augusta National course home of the US Masters. It is no surprise that Hazlehead No 1 is a thorough test for those golfing skills! Similarly, history meets golf with The Royal Aberdeen Golf Club being the sixth oldest course in the world and if it was not enough that the course allows for some superior golf playing, it also allows you to play among stunning panoramic views.  Another golf course that is commonly associated with Aberdeen is the splendour of The Trump International Golf Links which has only helped to consolidate Aberdeen as a golf paradise.

Royal Aberdeen Golf Course Source: www.dailyrecord.co.uk
Royal Aberdeen Golf Course
Source: http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk

Those Summer Days Spent by the Seaside…..

We all look fondly back with nostalgia on those good ole days spent on holiday by the sea, splashing about in the sea and munching ravenously on delectable fish & chips. Well, due to Aberdeen’s Fun Beach, you can relive those memories and bring them into the 21st century. Many a day can be spent at the beach between the arcades; mini-golf; tempting restaurants; the amusement park; the leisure pool filled with watery thrills & spills; the ice-rink, the cinema….All this before you even consider the simplicity of just walking along the coast line to bask in the fresh sea air and to feel the warm sand between the toes. It is truly an entertainment hotspot and is certainly one to keep the whole family occupied and the cameras snapping.

Aberdeen Beach Source: VisitScotland
Aberdeen Beach
Source: VisitScotland

Journey to the Past

The beach borders on another prime Aberdonian attraction: Footdee (or fondly known as Fittie by Aberdonians). The words charming, quaint and idyllic certainly come to mind but how could they not considering Footdee is a well-conserved fishing village where you are free to walk around and bask in the tranquility of life by the seaside. It is truly a walk back to the past and is in stark contrast to the modernity of the city centre that is only minutes away. Similarly, due to Aberdeen’s strong maritime links, of course there has to be a museum to document the bond between Aberdeen & the Sea; something which The Maritime Museum spectacularly manages to convey in its award-winning displays.

 

Footdee  Source: TripAdvisor
Footdee
Source: TripAdvisor

History in the Walls

History could not be any more present in the city than in Old Aberdeen where you are able to find a 15th century college and a medieval bridge and cathedral. Aberdeen was once its own independent town between 1489 and 1891, however to this day its historical beauty still remains and you can feel the rich heritage emanating through the walls. Popular sites on the two-hour journey to the past include the King’s College (which is now a part of the University of Aberdeen) as well as St. Machar’s Cathderal and the Brig o’ Balgownie. Traverse the cobbled streets and breathe in the smell of the past, it is truly a unique and beautiful trail to follow which shows how there is more to Aberdeen’s history than just the sea.

St. Machar's Cathedral Source: http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/2636881
St. Machar’s Cathedral
Source: http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/2636881

The Water of Life

It goes without saying that a visit to Aberdeenshire is not complete without a visit to a distillery. Scotland is home to the only whisky trail in the world, in Speyside, where you will be able to find more than half of Scotland’s malt whisky distilleries each possessing their own unique recipes and history. From Glenfiddich to Glenlivet to Cardhu, these are the famous whiskies we all know, and can be found on this illustrious trail.

However, you do not have to look as far as Speyside to find a fully-functioning distillery; reminding you how Aberdeen is in a prime location to engage in all aspects of Scottish culture. There are eight distilleries only an hour from Aberdeen which may be smaller in scale, but still have their own exciting story to tell and unique whisky recipe to taste. Fettercairn, Knockdhu and Glen Garioch are some of the names featured and of the eight overall distilleries; at least half of them do have visitor centres making for a perfect day-trip from Aberdeen.

City Life

Aberdeen may have 8,000 years of stories to tell, but that does not stop it from being a bustling modern 21st century city. There is always a whole host of the biggest names gracing the stages of the AECC, the Music Hall, the Lemon Tree and His Majesty’s Theatre. However, if it is Hollywood calling you, then there are three major cinemas to keep you up-to-date as well as the artsy Belmont Cinema which shows a more international & indie selection of films. With all the latest brands in the shopping and food plaza hotspots of Union Square, Bon Accord Centre, Trinity Centre, St. Nicholas Centre and The Academy, your wallet will not be short of exercise and that is before you even consider the retail parks. However, if it is the mind you want to exercise, then the likes of the Tolbooth Museum & the Aberdeen Art Gallery should be enough to engage the brain. Other cultural activities include the plentiful supply of festivals that take place, including the Aberdeen Festival Collective which features prime events such as the Aberdeen Jazz Festival, Techfest & Aberdeen International Youth Festival among other.

His Majesty's Theatre Source: www.rosemountaberdeen.co.uk
His Majesty’s Theatre
Source: http://www.rosemountaberdeen.co.uk

If you have managed to reach the end of this rather extensive city guide to Aberdeen, then I hope that you are in no doubt that it is a lie to say Aberdeen is for business tourists only. Aberdeen opens its arms to everyone, as does The Spires, and so whether you do come for business or leisure, we look forward to giving you a warm Aberdonian welcome.

Sources:

http://www.visitscotland.com/

http://www.visitaberdeen.com/

http://aberdeen.stv.tv/articles/317594-dolphinwatch-was-launched-at-aberdeens-torry-battery-on-friday-april-17/

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/the-granite-city-thats-made-of-stronger-stuff-10264270.html

The Water of Life

whisky_2525228b

The amusing thing about life is that with each and every day, there is something being celebrated. For example, there is a designated national awareness food day for almost every food item imaginable (particularly in the USA). Recent illustrations of this is that on May 17th, we will be celebrating National Walnut Day (not one for those with peanut allergies!) and a few days ago unbeknown to me, on May 11th, the world was celebrating the ultimate foodie’s dream day: National Eat What you Want Day. Why am I lamenting on thoughts of days and food? Well, apart from it being the Year of Food & Drink as part of VisitScotland’s latest annual campaign, it is also Whisky Month and tomorrow (May 16th) is actually World Whisky Day. Not just National Whisky Day, but World Whisky Day meaning that a plethora of crystal tumblers around the world will be raised in salute to Scotland’s national drink. Therefore, being located in Scotland it would be almost criminal for us not to mark this special occasion, particularly with our headquarters being in Aberdeen, which is only an hour away from many a small and unique distillery. Therefore, in a land known for its tartan and haggis, we are taking a moment to focus on and appreciate the national drink of Scotland.

First things first, it is undeniable that we have to take a look back to when Scotland’s favourite export rose to prominence. With a history that dates back to the 15th century, the first known event involving whisky was all the way back in 1494 when Friar John Cor of Lindores Abbey in Fife gained the king’s permission to create acqua vitae. Unfamiliar with acque vitae? Well, once translated from Latin, it means “water of life” and this is where whisky’s name stems from; the Gaelic translation. It may sound ironic; however water from Scotland’s burns and streams is indeed a critical component of the whisky making process.

Back in the day, whisky was often associated with rebellion with much being done by Scottish distilleries to avoid the menacing English taxman. The epitome of this was that in the 18th century, there were only eight legal distilleries versus four hundred ILLEGAL ones. However, nowadays, whisky is held in much higher esteem because when we say whisky is one of Scotland’s biggest exports, it is not in jest because whisky actually accounts for more than 85 per cent of Scottish food and drinks exports and is worth a massive £4.3 billion.

It goes without saying that a visit to Aberdeenshire (and Scotland for that matter), is not complete without a visit to a distillery. Both highly educational and enlightening, the experience will differ per distillery from whether you get to witness the blending process or whether you can engage in a cheeky tasting, but it is always a certainty that you will be able to pick up your own bottle of the “water of life” to ensure that you have an authentic piece of Scotland with you. Scotland is home to the only whisky trail in the world, in Speyside, where you will be able to find more than half of Scotland’s malt whisky distilleries each possessing their own unique recipes and history. From Glenfiddich to Glenlivet to Cardhu, these are the famous whiskies we all know, and can be found on this illustrious trail.

However, you do not have to look as far as Speyside to find a fully-functioning distillery. If you are staying with us in Aberdeen and are in search of something to do, even with the family, there are eight distilleries only an hour from Aberdeen which may be smaller in scale, but still have their own exciting story to tell and unique whisky recipe to taste. Fettercairn, Knockdhu and Glen Garioch are some of the names featured and of the eight overall distilleries; at least half of them do have visitor centres making for a perfect day-trip from Aberdeen.

glen-garioch-distillery-tour

Similarly, a whisky day-trip is also a possibility with a stay at The Spires in Glasgow due to its close proximity to two distilleries: Auchentoshan Distillery and Glengoyne Distillery. A visit to either or both is a good idea because Auchentoshan is only 20 minutes from Glasgow’s city centre and offers whisky masterclasses and at Glengoyne, you can even craft your own personal blended whisky! Even if you are just looking for a place to relax after a long day of business meetings or exploring the city, Glasgow is renowned for its plentiful supply of whisky bars such as the Bon Accord Ale House which offers a fairly large selection due to it being home to over 300 whiskies. Consequently, it is of no surprise that it is held in very high esteem in the nation.

glengoyne5

If you are thinking of staying with us in Birmingham, you will not miss out on any of the fun there either because Birmingham is certainly not immune from the whisky scene either with it having now hosted an annual Whisky Festival for the past three years. This is no small festival we are talking about either, as while the first festival was attended by an acceptable 200 fanatics, this figure doubled in 2014 to 400 and in 2015, 600 tickets were released as the figure was expected to jump yet again. As a result, it is no surprise that after London, Birmingham’s Whisky Festival is the largest in England. It is clear there is a passion for whisky amongst Birmingham’s residents due to the launching of whisky collections by venues like The Plough, as well as the opening of Hard to Find Whisky; a whisky store that specialises in the selling of rare bottles of whisky. Emphasis is on the word “rare” as some bottles can even be sold for significant sums of money; does anyone have £35,000 to spare?

With it being National Whisky Month, there is a whole host of events going on across Scotland and in particular, there is a wide range of whisky madness occurring all around the globe tomorrow due to it being World Whisky Day. Over 11, 000 people are expected to attend nearly 150 events registered around the globe and if you happen to be staying with us in any of our locations, it is clear that you will be not far from any of the festivities.

Always remember to drink responsibly and with caution 

Sources: http://visitbirmingham.com/what-to-do/birmingyum/events/whisky-birmingham-2015/

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/foodanddrinkadvice/11099642/What-does-whisky-mean-to-Scotland.html

http://www.visitaberdeen.com/attractions-and-activities/whisky-distilleries-in-aberdeenshire

https://peoplemakeglasgow.com/whisky-distilleries-breweries

http://www.visitscotland.com/about/food-drink/whisky/

Images: VisitScotland, http://www.trossachs.co.uk, Telegraph

Coming down with a case of Wanderlust

travel-health

Every day is a beautiful one, but even more so when it is a well deserved day off. Yes, there is nothing quite like waking up despondently all warm in your bed with your mind consumed by the dreary thoughts of work and stress, only to remember that you can throw that infuriatingly cheerful ringing alarm clock against the wall in victory because you are free of your workplace shackles. It has to be said that nothing brings the nation’s mood and spirit up quite like a few days away from the workplace (for example, the best invention ever: Bank Holidays). Some of us like to laze about on our sofa in our pyjamas, zombified by the almighty power of Netflix whereas others prefer to engage in some rather enticing retail therapy. Do not get me wrong, both of these options are perfection; however in those free glorious days, I like nothing better than to put on my explorer’s hat and travel because I tend to suffer from a case of insatiable wanderlust.

Unfamiliar with this intriguing new word? Until this year, I too was not familiar with it but being a key travel bean, it was a term that my vocabulary welcomed with open arms. If we are to go by the ever reliable Wikipedia, Wanderlust translates as a “strong desire for or impulse to wander or travel and explore the world” (Oxford Dictionary will attest to this) and it stems from the German words of wandern (to hike) and lust (desire). I have also just discovered that the modern German phrase that has been coined to reflect the itching of the feet and mind to venture to far off places is “Fernweh” which translates as an “an ache for distant places; the craving for travel”. Even with its German origins, it is clear that this is a universal word we all understand because it is more than just a word; it is also a feeling, an emotional reaction and a compulsion.

In my mind, there is no better past-time or gift than to explore. There is so much to be seen; to be eaten and to experience, why would you not want to go out and bask in it? Obviously, there are the slight restrictions of time and money as well as work and family obligations. I am particularly guilty of neglecting these slight obstacles when I go into one of my impassioned speeches about how I aspire to go to Singapore, Malaysia, Beijing, New Zealand, Alaska, Hawaii, Dubai,x,y,z….

The thing is sometimes I think I can be a bit close-minded. Whenever I think of holidays and vacations, I always visualize tranquil untouched beaches; exuberant and vivid market stalls selling all kinds of authentic goods and trendy, hipster hidden cafes offering salivating local delicacies. Essentially, wherever I think of has to be out with the familiar borders of the UK and involve some extensive form of transport. However, as part of the launch of the “Apartment Collection-By The Spires” and its associated website, I have been researching all the serviced apartment locations across the UK and this has sparked within me a desire to see more of the UK. From Harrogate to Newbury, these are all locations I had never thought of before and which now have a solid position on my travel bucket list. I never knew about the true picturesque nature of Cambridge; St Alban’s Viking heritage or York being home to one of the best preserved streets in the UK, and between all these fascinating facts I uncovered, as well as stunning photos of the exquisite architecture, I definitely have a strong case of UK wanderlust.

Therefore, even if you are constricted by time and finance like so many of us are, I am sure there is an exciting place offering its own adventures and beauties potentially only a bus or car ride away from where you are. The definitions of words like “travel” and “wanderlust” have nothing to do with venturing to somewhere a set distance away, there is always something new to discover and there may be something just down the road to satisfy your thirst to explore and travel.  We are all guilty of ignoring our own country as a potential travel spot but every location, no matter how near or far from your home, has its own story to tell and its own sights to be seen. For instance, whenever I hear people say they want to come to Scotland, I am always bemused by what they find so enticing about it. However, then I find articles and photos like this, http://www.buzzfeed.com/hilarywardle/scotland-is-the-worst-aplm#.ka5DWRMRD and I too have to bow down to the greatness of Scotland. Perhaps looking at our home towns and countries through the eyes of a tourist could be the greatest thing we could do.

Ultimately, one of the greatest trends in the tourism industry is that nowadays we all have a desire for authentic experiences. Yes, a lot of us do still enjoy a nice, relaxing all-inclusive beach getaway, but equally so much of us want to venture out to all the hidden gems of the world and have a trip that encapsulates the local community and their local attractions. This is why I firmly believe that travel is one of the greatest gifts we have been bestowed with because it is infinite in its possibilities-there is always somewhere new to explore and something new to learn. Life is all about new experiences and challenging ourselves and what better facilitates that then travel? Travelling takes you to new destinations where undoubtedly you will learn something new about yourself, be it a new skill or an undiscovered inherent characteristic. We can travel to challenge ourselves, or simply to relax and escape the stressful monotony of day-to-day life. Whatever it is, this mammoth world exists to be explored and this is why I am confident that my serious case of wanderlust will never be cured and why I am happy it never will.

Do you suffer from wanderlust too or have any places that you are itching to go to? Let us know which locations have made it on your bucket list!

Image: http://healthfitnessrevolution.com/travel-keeps-heart-brain-healthy/

Sources: http://wikipedia.org

Back to Serviced Apartment Basics

glasgow tweaked
The Spires Glasgow

The most exciting news at The Spires in the past few weeks is that we have just launched our brand new serviced apartment finding service: “The Apartment Collection- By The Spires”.  As you may know, The Spires initially operated over one hundred serviced apartments across four major UK destinations. However, with this latest development, we are no longer constricted to these geographical boundaries and are now able to source serviced apartments all across the UK & globally; meaning we are now in a position where we are better able to satisfy our customer’s diverse requirements.

Now for a little bit of honesty. When I first interviewed at The Spires, it would be fair to say I was a little ignorant in regards to the serviced apartment world. I could probably give you a satisfactory definition of what a serviced apartment was, but it was not an accommodation form that had really made it into my consideration set when it came to decision-making. Conversely, having now worked at The Spires for approximately 3.5 months I think I can safely say that I am somewhat more enlightened, and while by no means I am a fountain of knowledge or a serviced apartment guru, I am certainly a converted key advocate for them. Therefore, you too may be sitting reading this thinking “why would I want someone to source me a serviced apartment anywhere I want?” or even, “why would I choose to stay in a serviced apartment”. Consequently, I think it is time for you to sit down with a nice hot beverage and prepare for a lesson in serviced apartments as we go back to basics and discover all there is to know about this dynamic industry.

The Definition

There has been much furore and confusion when it comes to deciding on a set definition for a “serviced apartment”, due to the variety in supplier offerings, and this could be at detriment to the industry because it means that customers are in a state of confusion when it comes to their expectations of the experience they will be provided with.  Similarly, many terms are thrown about when it comes to serviced apartments including “suites”, “apart-hotels” and “extended stays” so it is no wonder that it is difficult to create a standardised global image. However, when in doubt, it is best to turn to the official industry body for serviced apartments: The Association of Serviced Apartments (The ASAP). As their Managing Director states,  The ASAP is now marketing “the Serviced Apartment as an umbrella term for a type of furnished apartment available for short–term or long–term stays, which provides amenities, housekeeping and a range of services for guests where taxes and utilities are included in the rental price.” In effect, what makes The Spires unique is that we offer the flexibility and service of a hotel (such as housekeeping and breakfasts on request) with the space, freedom and comfort of an apartment-it is the best of both worlds.

When looking for serviced apartments, there is always a wealth of possibilities to choose from; particularly with individuals being able to lease out their apartments. Therefore, to help you with your decision-making, make sure to look out for those apartments which have passed The ASAP’s Quality Programme because it means it has been subject to a rigorous inspection process and therefore has been deemed as exceeding customer expectations.

The Industry

For all you ever want to know about the serviced apartment world, you need look no further than The Apartment Service’s “The Global Serviced Apartments Industry Report”. This year alone, the report was compiled using findings which had been unearthed from over thirty interviews and over 2, 500 surveys that had been conducted with stakeholders in all relation to the industry from operators to agents to buyers.  Therefore, it is safe to say this report knows what it is talking about.

The most critical finding that was documented, is that the serviced apartment industry is one that is rapidly growing. At present, there are nearly 750,000 serviced apartments operating in over 9, 000 locations and since 2008, there has been an 80% increase in the amount of serviced apartment inventory across the world. The rapidness of the serviced apartment boom can only be emphasized when it is considered how in the past twelve years, the numbers of serviced apartments have doubled and they are predicted to double again in the next four. Yes, as you may infer, as an industry we are aiming for world domination!

Of course, I am sure we have all endured an economics lesson in life and therefore are aware of the connection between supply and demand. Therefore, there would not be this surge in supply if it were not for the fact that there is a market for it. Over 80% of those surveyed stated they preferred serviced apartments over hotels, with factors such as the freedom to make your own meals, as well as the privacy, swaying their preference.

The Misconceptions

Going based off of my own misconceptions, I think one of my greatest ones in regards to serviced apartments was that they were designed for corporate long-term bookings. However, while I cannot speak for the whole industry, I would say that a majority cater for leisure and corporate bookings alike. Similarly, while minimal stays do tend to be in place, this can be from as little as two or three nights and a great percentage of apartments, such as our own, can actually be booked from as little as a one-night stay. This is because booking an apartment is on par with booking a hotel room in that all you have to do is pay for the apartment per night (not the number of people). With the majority of providers, there are no leases or utility bills to be paid separately as you are not taking any ownership of the apartment, like you take no ownership of the hotel room.

The Benefits

As was stated before, 80% of respondents favoured serviced apartments over hotels and in approximately 75% of businesses, employers are increasing their usage of serviced apartments when it comes to business projects and assignments. Hotels and serviced apartments will always be in a heated rivalry because of the similarities of their product offerings, however, would it be biased of me to say that serviced apartments edge it? You get all the benefits of a hotel stay from the attentive housekeeping and the hearty breakfast on request, but you also get that extra space and flexibility; and normally at a lower cost to boot.

 I will not lie; I love the thrill of staying in a luxurious hotel with the thriving lobby environment and shedding the adult responsibilities of making the bed and cooking dinner. However, having stayed in one for a prolonged period of time, I can also say how the novelty does wear off. Being restricted to a sole room can make you go stir-crazy as your legs long to be able to move between more than just the bathroom and the bed.  Similarly, your stomach and your wallet ache from having to eat out all the time. It is true; you do not long for something till you lose it and when you stay at a hotel, you long for those home comforts. Thankfully, that is where serviced apartments come in. You have the familial welcoming decor of your home as well as fully furnished modern kitchens and lounges that mean you can spread yourself out like you do at home and have control over the food you want to make.

Similarly, like hotels, a majority of apartments like ours will have a dedicated reception desk meaning you will always be greeted by a warm, friendly face and have someone there to ensure you have the best experience possible.

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Birmingham122

Ultimately, I am confident in saying that the world is waking up to the benefits of the serviced apartments and due to there being over 700,000 located all across the world, with “The Apartment Collection-By The Spires” we can certainly find you an apartment for wherever you want to stay.

Sources: http://www.relocatemagazine.com/articles/reeditor-02-2015-tas-report-reveals-exponential-growth-and-investor-interest-in-serviced-apartments

http://www.relocatemagazine.com/news/re12-d1-2014-5591-asap-unveils-new-quality-accredited-logo-and-serviced-apartment-definition

Relocation, Relocation, Relocation

Aberdeen67A lot of us dream of it: a high-flying career bringing us to all the exotic, glamorous destinations of the world where we precede to work hard in the boardroom, and play hard in our new mysterious surroundings. However, the reality of business relocation is a lot more different. Sometimes, relocation may simply consist of moving to a different city to complete a short-term business assignment or maybe it is moving for a significant period of time to a different country. There are all different kinds of scenarios and with everyone having their own personal circumstances (for example: married vs. single vs. with young family vs. with teenagers), no relocation and its consequences will ever hit two people the same. However, it is clear that it is rare for any relocation to be plain sailing, what with all the expense and mental strain associated with settling in a potentially vastly different territory. Moving firms can be challenging enough as you adapt to new ways of doing business, let alone moving to an entirely new city or country at the same time where you are unfamiliar with everything but still expected to produce results.

When all else is failing or changing in our lives, home tends to be our anchor due to its enduring stability and its association as a safe haven. It is a place where we can be ourselves, where we feel perfectly at peace. However, when people are relocated, they have to find a new place to live and that alongside changes in the professional life can be very stressful and disorientating. When you have had to endure an entirely new corporate culture, the last thing you want is to return to a sterile hotel room and feel no belonging or comfort there either. This is why serviced apartments are so beneficial for relocation, particularly if you have to uproot the family and bring them with you also.

Due to their warm welcome generated from the comfiest furnishings, the unique yet stylish decorations and their inclusion of the congregation points of any home, a lounge and kitchen; serviced apartments definitely embody a home from home feel. You have plenty of space to relax after a long day and you have the flexibility to cook your own meals so as to benefit your health-and your wallet.

Further benefits of a serviced apartment solution to business relocation were provided in the Buying Business Travel March/April edition. For instance, in further relation to employee welfare, it was highlighted how it is the first few weeks that are of critical importance because if the employee does not feel content or is not assimilating during that time-frame, it is highly likely that their secondment or their assignment will not produce the results it could have.

Similarly, it was reflected how it is not just the emotions that serviced apartments benefit in the relocation scenario, it is also the practicalities. For instance, due to their size, it is a lot easier to use serviced apartments for business projects because should the project be expanded or contracted, apartments can tend to meet those changing needs a lot more easily and reduce the potential for disruption. Likewise, as serviced apartments are not tenancies, they save the employees the strain of having to set up internet and nor do they have to worry about paying utilities; they just pay the up-front fee and can extend or cancel their stay with a lot more ease. Moreover, due to the differences between deluxe serviced apartments and penthouses, every level of employee and budget can be catered for.

Last year it was even noted how the relocation market was one that the serviced apartment industry was keeping a particular watchful eye on, and even today the serviced apartment industry continues to rapidly grow as the bigger brands and smaller organisations alike come to desire to capitalise on the benefits of long-term stays. This is the same for shorter-time business stays because as organisations grow and they need to send their employees to handle their international business, this clearly requires accommodation. However, simultaneously, whilst the industry is growing, long-term relocation has been an area that has been slightly hit due to financial cuts resulting in shorter stays; smaller apartments and families not being able to accompany the business traveller.

As someone who has had to travel for work and has stayed in a hotel for an extended period of time, I can certainly vouch for the preference for staying in a serviced apartment. As lovely as it was to have my breakfast cooked for me and to have my room cleaned, it was frustrating to be constricted to such a small space for such a long period of time and to have to rely solely on supermarket snack foods or take-outs. While I still enjoyed the experience, I can say that the novelty wore off and I did always find myself eager to get home to my own house where I had greater freedom to do as I pleased. Therefore, having learnt that serviced apartments not only handle the breakfast and cleaning aspect for you, but also give you that extra space and that ability to cook for yourself, often for a lower price than a hotel room, I would do things differently if I had the chance to do it over again.

Just remember, even though we are here to cater for longer-time stays, one of the biggest misconceptions about our business is that long-term is all we accommodate for. Whether you are here for a night or a year, we welcome all!

To learn more click here: http://www.thespires.co.uk/serviced-apartments-in-glasgow-aberdeen-and-birmingham/long-term-stay-and-relocation