Time to Fly the Nest

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You have been there for them every step of the way from first words to first steps to first days at new schools, and now it is time for that first goodbye. After a year of enduring the hormonal teenage moods induced by stressful exam periods and maybe even touring the country as you scouted all the open days known to man, the moment you may have been dreading/anticipating in equal measure is finally here as your young one flies from the nest for the first time in search of a new adventure. This is because while it is the middle of the year, August/September are actually months associated with new beginnings as many young adults across the nation embark on the exciting, enlightening journey of higher education.  They are going to make new friends, experience new things and learn new lessons (both in and out of the classroom!) and most of the time this will be away from the sanctuary that is the home they grew up in as every new beginning requires a new setting. However, before you can even say that tearful goodbye, you actually have to move them out which considering they have had 16/17/18 years to accumulate all kinds of interesting possessions as well as wardrobes which contain enough clothes to cloth a small nation, is a lot easier said than done. Therefore, it is undeniable that numerous car/train/bus journeys from A to Z transporting their entire haul will become a hard, stressful reality. Consequently, it is no surprise that moving out your offspring is a somewhat arduous, timely task which may require the assistance of a few extra pairs of hands.

Therefore, we have a suggestion which will hopefully ease some of the stress and the pain as you settle your loved one into their new home. While you are making those various treks from ASDA to their new student pad, what about renting out a serviced apartment for the family so that you could have all the space you could need during the transition? With apartments in Aberdeen, Birmingham, Glasgow and Edinburgh, we are located in some of the biggest and most-establishment student hubs in the nation. Moreover, we do not just mean we are located in the inconvenient outskirts, we mean we are literally in prime city central hotspots such as Hanover Street (Edinburgh), Merchant Quarter (Glasgow), Mannofield (Aberdeen) and even on the doorstep of the Mailbox in Birmingham. Therefore, staying with us means you could not be closer to university accommodation to help ease all the packing/unpacking woes and it also means you can take a few moments for some exploring during those tearful goodbyes. With apartments capable of holding up to six persons and the inclusion of fully-equipped lounges and kitchens as well as separate bedrooms, you can bring grandma, grandad, aunties, cousins, younger siblings – whoever wants to be a part of this exciting time. There is plenty of space for the whole family and it just means you have that extra space and comfort to say your goodbyes properly and not feel time-bound and rushed to drop your offspring off at the kerb with their 20 plus bulging suitcases.

Of course, goodbye is not really goodbye as there may be plenty of times across the four years where you want to stop by and visit (ok, spy on) your hard-working offspring to see if the ratio of partying to studying is in check. Likewise, while you can begin the higher education adventure with us during Freshers, you can also see witness its heavenly completion with us because serviced apartments are great for graduation time when the whole family pack descends and requires a place to stay (just you wait to see how many people clamour for one of those exclusive golden graduation tickets). University and college are full of so many special times from that exciting induction week to prize-givings and to all kinds of events in between. Therefore, make sure not to miss a minute of it by booking a stay at The Spires whenever the time comes to say ‘hello’ again.

For more information on our apartments, visit http://www.thespires.co.uk or email us at info@thespires.co.uk

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Back to School, Back to Work

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They came too slowly, they went to fast – we can only be talking about the already near distant memory of the summer holidays. However, when that dusty old school bell chimes at 9am on that bleak dreaded Monday morning, it does not just signal the end of fun and games for the little ones, but also for the grown-ups too because the sad reality is that back to school also means back to work. While the children are confined to their school desks, only able to experience the sun by wistfully staring out the window, we too share in this pain as the hard reality of the harsh week-long sentence of 9 -5 life sets back in. However, even if you are one of the fortunate ones who are able to escape the desk and travel a little further afield for work, corporate travel is not always as glamorous as it is made out to be. While we all dream of global jet-setting careers, sometimes returning to that same single soulless hotel room every night is not as exciting as it is made out to be. Therefore, why not treat yourself to a serviced apartment where you can have all the space, convenience and freedom you could need? The best part about it is even if you are treating yourself, this is not reflected in the price as serviced apartments actually pose a more cost-effective option than traditional hotels. Not sold yet? Let us explain how serviced apartments can really ease those back to work, and back to business travel, blues:

  1. Having stayed in a hotel room for five weeks, I can attest to the frustration that is caused by returning to the same single room with attached bathroom every. single.night. Nowhere could feel more impersonal than a standard hotel room, and nowhere could feel more claustrophobic. However, with serviced apartments you can break far away from those four walls and to a much more welcoming, spacious environment. Composed of a bedroom, bathroom, fully-equipped lounge and kitchen, it is the little details such as the toaster to the decor to the CD player alongside these big ones that make serviced apartments really feel like a home away from home. It is no surprise that some people can stay for as long as a year, and even longer!
  2. When you stay at a hotel you tend to remember the outright expenses as being the cost of the hotel room; however do you factor in the costs of things such as those rapidly mounting restaurant bills? While your stomach may have enjoyed the indulgence, your wallet may not have. Moreover, there are just times when you really crave a good home cooked meal. This is where serviced apartments really come into their own as with their modern fully-equipped kitchens comprised of a microwave, toaster, oven and kitchen utensils, you have the flexibility and choice to be your own chef. Goodbye takeaways or unfulfilling sandwiches from the local supermarket! Whether you crave the comfort of that traditional British classic of beans on toast, or whether you fancy yourself as the next Masterchef champ, one thing for sure is that our kitchens offer you the most in culinary freedom.
  3. Nothing can be worse than coming home to an empty house. However, as serviced apartments can hold up to six persons due to their mix of double-bedrooms and/or twin bedrooms, you do not have to feel quite as alone. If you have some colleagues who are also on the move, why not collaborate and share an apartment? Not only can you eradicate the loneliness, but you can also help cut the bill as we charge per apartment, not per room. Likewise, do not worry about being at each other’s throats by the end of the week as with your own bedrooms, you still have plenty of space.
  4. Sometimes to get the best deal you have to be located far away from the action i.e. in the inconvenient outskirts of town. However, do not worry about that with The Spires because all of our apartments are in city central locations. Think we are exaggerating? Take our Edinburgh apartments, with an envious spot on Hanover Street they are literally just minutes from the bustling action of St. Andrew’s Square and Princes Street. Therefore, when you want to save on that dash to work or when you are just fancying a bit of exploring, you never have to travel far. However, just because you are in the city centre does not mean the buzz and hum of the effervescent city life will keep you awake at night. We pride ourselves on delivering the most comfortable and peaceful night’s sleep and whether you are travelling with others or by yourself, you could not be in safer locations.
  5. While we do believe that serviced apartments provide that home away from home feel, that does not mean we are leaving you to the arduous tasks associated with running a home including changing the sheets or hoovering the floor. This is because we still offer hotel services including continental breakfasts (available at request and a surcharge) and daily/weekly (location dependent) housekeeping. However, if you do enjoy the freedom of being able to wash your clothes so that they are sweet-smelling and crisp for the next working day, this is also equally possible as we provide all the amenities you could need.
  6. High-speed, reliable Wi-Fi. Need we say more?

 

For more information and to book online, visit http://www.thespires.co.uk or email us at info@thespires.co.uk 

Serviced Apartments: Share an Apartment, Share the Benefits

The future of business travel.

2016 looks to be the year of the serviced apartment provider with it even beginning to be described as a ‘mainstream’ form of accommodation by Booking.Com; thus inferring its rising star status. One of the reasons that can be attributed to the meteoric rise of the serviced apartment is its increasing prominence in the business travel sector as many employers come to appreciate the value for money and space that serviced apartments offer; particularly in this time of budget cutting. Moreover, the lack of a minimum stay policy means that companies can be ensured that their employees have a safe place to stay for as little as one night, to even as long as a year. However, the jewel in the serviced apartment crown is undoubtedly the apartment sharing benefit that it offers employers which means that colleagues can share an apartment and can share the price. As a result, apartments are particularly popular with contractors and the following benefits that apartment sharing provides; only advocates this:

  1. Cost-Effectiveness: Even as the number of people who share the apartment increases, the price does not. This is because we charge per apartment, not per person. Therefore, when colleagues share, it is much more cost-effective as it really is a case of more, for less. Whether you want two bedrooms to hold two colleagues or a set of twin rooms so that four colleagues can be accommodated, we have it covered.
  2. Combat the Loneliness: There can be nothing worse than returning to an empty hotel room, however when colleagues share an apartment you always have someone to return to. Between the kitchen and the lounge, there is plenty of space for you and your colleagues to hang out in; which is particularly useful for any impromptu business meetings around the dining table.
  3. Have Your Own Space: Serviced apartments may be useful for social purposes, but they are also beneficial for space and privacy because we all know that everyone needs time to themselves. Our exceptionally spacious apartments complete with kitchen and lounges mean that you are not all cramped in one room. Similarly, we also offer two-bedroomed apartments, meaning you have your own space to retire to at night and have an abundant supply of closet space for all your work clothes.
  4. Be Your Own Chef: With our fully-equipped kitchens that come complete with a fridge, freezer, oven, microwave and toaster, you can make dinners worthy of a Michelin starred restaurant for two; saving on restaurant bills. Likewise, if you and your colleagues have conflicting dietary habits, then there is plenty of cabinet space for keeping your rations separate.
  5. City Centre Locations: Located in the bustling city centres of Aberdeen, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Birmingham; you are not at a loss as to places to visit when you sign off from work. Therefore, if you are in need of some ‘me’ time there are plenty of places to visit whether it is a refreshing pint or an indulgent glass of wine in a pub or a walk through a park to clear the mind.

Make sure to visit http://www.thespires.co.uk or phone 0845 2700 0900 today to join the masses in reaping the benefits of apartment sharing!

Welcome to The Spires Serviced Apartments Edinburgh!

Welcome to The Spires Edinburgh

One of the greatest highlights of 2015 thus far for The Spires has undoubtedly been the opening of our brand new Edinburgh apartments. Located on Hanover Street, the latest stunning additions to our apartment portfolio are conveniently located right in the middle of all the action. Therefore, whether you are travelling for business or for leisure, you are located right near to all the major shops, visitor attractions, restaurants and transport links – making for the ultimate travel experience.

Convenience, cost-effectiveness, flexibility and space; these are all the elements we love the most about serviced apartment living. To really get a feel for the serviced apartment experience, make sure to follow our insight into what a stay at The Spires Edinburgh is like:

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Welcome to The Spires! Whether you stay for one night or for even up to a year, we welcome all lengths of stay and want to create an ambiance and setting that makes you feel like you have found your home from home – no matter how temporarily.

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As much as we love our friendly, welcoming Front of House team to greet all guests, we appreciate that is not possible. However, if you do arrive out with reception hours, do not fear as we have an Express Check-In system that we will let you know all about in advance. Therefore, on arrival all you will need to do is pick up your keys and you will be quickly on your way!

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Welcome to your new home! As only you have the key to your apartment, you can feel instantly safe and secure – your privacy is everything.

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Regardless of what apartment you have chosen to stay in, you will always be greeted by ultra-modern, spacious and stylish surroundings that have been tastefully designed to shelter you from the hustle and bustle of the busy Edinburgh streets. With the potential to hold up to six guests maximum in our ‘plus’ apartments, discover all about the different kinds of apartments we offer:

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Our Studio Apartment

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Our One-Bedroom Apartment

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Our Two-Bedroom Apartment

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Our Two-Bedroom Plus Apartment

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Make yourself at home – there is plenty of space to do it! Whether you want to spread out your belongings or just yourself after a long day, you will not be short of room.

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New to The Spires or to the beautiful and historic city of Edinburgh? Then make sure to read our Guest Directories which await you in all of our apartments. Including information about our apartments, important numbers and providing a helpful insight into the city, this handy guide will introduce you to the city and to our apartments so you feel instantly at ease.

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Let’s get cooking! With our fully-equipped kitchens including a fridge, oven, freezer and other crucial cooking appliances, you can cut back on those restaurant bills by being your own personal chef. Whether you want a quick snack or a gourmet dinner, you have the space and appliances to do it all.

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Alone or with family and friends, there is nothing quite like a home-cooked meal after a long day’s travelling or work.

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Sit back and chill. With a sleek TV and DVD player, as well as complimentary DVDs available at reception, sometimes it is nice to have a quiet night in.

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Every good bedroom requires an en-suite bathroom to match; all of which our two-bedroom apartments offer in addition to the main apartment bathroom. With complimentary Taylor of London’s products to greet you, there is enough room that not everyone has to fight over the bathroom!

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Of course the showpiece of any apartment: the bedroom. Sumptuously comfy and with stunning views to match, there is no denying how easy it is to get a good night’s rest when you stay in our Edinburgh apartments.

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Looking for a room with a view? We may be biased but we do believe there is no city as aesthetically stunning as Edinburgh. Urban, natural and historic: the city has it all. Our top floor apartments in particular offer exceptionally gorgeous views across the Firth of Forth.

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One of the best advantages of serviced apartments are that while you have much more space than a hotel room, you still reap the benefits of services such as housekeeping so your apartment is always kept in tip-top form.

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Of course there is no neglecting the most important meal of the day – breakfast. When you choose to purchase our Breakfast inclusive rate, you will be greeted with a continental breakfast each morning that will get your day off on the right note.

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Whether you stay for a night or longer, it is never easy saying goodbye. However, we want to make your departure just as easy as your check-in so if you need to leave for an early morning flight, make sure to take advantage of our Express Check-Out system.

We hope this goodbye is only temporarily and so you return to see us whether it is in Edinburgh or in our other three bustling locations (Aberdeen, Glasgow and Birmingham). Make sure to let us know how your stay went on Trip Advisor and make sure to keep in touch with us via social media, @TheSpiresSuites is where it is at!

Can you picture yourself here living out the serviced apartment experience? Make sure to learn more about our Edinburgh apartments at http://www.thespires.co.uk/edinburgh-serviced-apartments-and-suites/apartments-and-suites.html, to ‘Like’ our dedicated Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/TheSpiresEdinburgh/?fref=ts and to get pinning with us on Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/thespiressuites/.

Meet the Team: A Day in the Life of Kris

Introducing you to Krzysztof "Kris" Parchimowicz
Introducing you to Krzysztof “Kris” Parchimowicz

Name: Krzysztof “Cliff” Parchimowicz

Job Title: Reservations Manager

Location: Aberdeen

How long worked for the company: 2 years

What your job entails: I am responsible for the smooth running of Reservations Department which involves taking/managing the bookings for our 4 locations, adjusting our rates, controlling revenue streams as well as forecasting.

Any funny or interesting stories that have happened to you while at work: Too many to remember one particular thing but let me put it this way – I sit opposite to Craig; there is always something funny/interesting going on 🙂

What do you like most about serviced apartments? : The space and usually their great central location.

Favourite flavour of ice cream? Mackies Dairy or my sister’s daily special, she has her own ice-cream shop.

Favourite actor/actress? Leonardo Di Caprio

Tea or coffee? Coffee and lots of it.

What can’t you leave home without? Phone which is a bit sad really…

Back to Serviced Apartment Basics

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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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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

There is No Place like Home

Some questions, such as in mathematics, have a set answer to which it can only be classified as right or wrong. However, some questions are a bit more subjective and can have any number of potential responses. The question on our lips today falls more into the latter category unless you can tell me otherwise that there is a definitively correct answer to the question; where is home to you? The reason behind the subjectivity of this simple question is that it is an incredibly personal question which will undoubtedly garner a whole host of varying answers. No one person will have the same answer as the other, particularly if you answer the question with a very specific answer that details the exact house number, street and postcode of the residence in which you can currently inhabit (which is probably what the dictionary definition would have you do).

When it comes to thinking about where home is, a saying that typically comes to mind is “home is where the heart is” reflecting that sense of how a home is somewhere you belong-where you can be yourself. Consequently, it conjures associations that a home is where your nearest and dearest are, such as your family and friends, because it is those who you should feel the ability to be yourself with and where you feel safe. Home could be where the true essence of you lies and is that one place you can rely on. Maybe it is not even a particular place; maybe it is more abstract and is your country of residence or even a person. Similarly, it is also said that “a house is not a home” which also goes to reflect how a home is not necessarily a physical object, it is more of a feeling or a sentiment. Therefore, a home does not have to be a permanent building; we can make it wherever we go as there is more to it than just bricks and cement.

Why am I getting all philosophical on this Friday afternoon? Well, recently I have taken to uploading old (maybe it is more fashionable to say vintage) videos of The Spires and one that particularly caught my attention was one where we asked 50 people one supposedly simple question: where is home? To us at The Spires, home is so important because obviously we are part of the hospitality industry and therefore no matter how briefly our guests stay, we want our apartments to feel like a home to them. Some of our guests can stay for multiple months due to a business project or even just due to a temporary relocation, and so in these cases it is even more critical for us to make our guests feel like The Spires is their home away from home. That is why we fit our apartments with fully-equipped kitchens; spacious lounges; comfy beds and a familial decorative touch so as to create a warm, inviting atmosphere which guests feel comfortable in and are excited to return to. The atmosphere that an apartment provides cannot be matched by that of a hotel where due to the limited space and freedom, it is incredibly hard to make your room your own and feel fully comfortable there.

Consequently, I hope you all enjoy watching the video (which you can view here: https://www.facebook.com/TheSpiresSuites/videos)  and that it causes you to ponder where exactly home is to you to the same extent that it has to me. On that note, I suppose it is only fair and fitting for me to finish off by providing my own answer to our pressing question of the day. To me, home is a safe haven and is that aforementioned feeling of belonging. Consequently, in my perspective, you can have more than one home as there are numerous places and persons with whom you can go home to at the end of the day and feel totally free and comfortable. Whatever it means to you, there is no denying the importance of the concept of the home. Therefore, I hope that no matter who you are or where you are, somewhere or someone is a home to you because as that old saying from the Wizard of Oz goes; there is no place like home.

P.S. We cannot help but love this response as to where home is…

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Image: http://weknowmemes.com/

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