Apartments (appartamenti) in Positano

Apartments (rental flats and short-term tourist lets of apartments) in Positano can offer substantial savings, especially for four or more

 

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All about Apartments in

Renting your own vacation appartamento (apartment) in will likely be as cheap—if not cheaper than—a hotel, plus will get you a kitchen and the other amenities of everyday life.

When I took my in-laws to England a few years ago, we rented a two-bedroom/two-bath flat in the very heart of London—right atop a Tube station, yet also walking distance from Covent Garden, SoHo, the West End, and the British Museum.

The apartment came with a full kitchen, satellite TV, a terrace, and free washer-dryer... and the week-long rental cost less than half the price of two double rooms at the nearby equivalent of a Motel 6.

Rental apartments rock.

How much does a rental flat in cost?

You can get an apartment—even in Rome, Venice, or Florence—for as little as €60 per night. But that's at the low end.

Expect to pay an average of:

  • €75 to €180 per night for a moderate studio or one-bedroom apartment
  • €110 to €250 for a two-bedroom flat 

You will generally pay less per night the longer you stay.

Naturally, the price can vary widely, from plain-Jane flats to luxury apartments, and from city-center London to a small town, but that will give you a good ballpark.

Self-catering apartments are a particular bargain for families and small groups. While, yes, more bedrooms will cost you more, six people in a three-bedroom will usually pay less per-person than four people in a two-bedroom. Once you start splitting the cost five or six ways, apartments can be an incredible value.

(Actually, the majority of short-term rental flats have foldout sofas in the living rooms, so one bedroom per couple is overkill. A budget-minded family or foursome can usually book a one-bedroom and still have a bed for all, and five or six people can often make do with a two-bedroom.)   

What a Italian apartment rental is like

The first thing most people get wrong about renting an apartment for their travels is they assume you can only rent one by the month. This is not so.

In fact, while some are available only on a monthly basis, the majority of vacation apartments are rented out by the week, or even for just three nights—and there are plenty that will rent to you for just a single night, especially in low season.

With you own pad, and a chance to try on the experience of living life as a local for a short while, shopping at the local stores and cooking meals in your own kitchen.

This helps you save money on dining expenses by limiting the number of meals you have to eat out at a restaurant; you avoid paying through the nose for a hotel breakfast, can dine at home some nights, and keep a stock of cheese, salamis, fruits, and veggies in the fridge for replenishing your daily picnic lunch supplies.

One hotel amenity you usually don't get with a short-term rental apartment is maid service—but do you really need fresh sheets every night? 

Sometime around day three of an apartment stay in , a transformation occurs.

The welcoming '"buon giorno" you've been receiving at the neighborhood cheese shops, butchers, and bakeries grows more enthusiastic, with an obvious trace of recognition.

You find yourself in situations the weekend visitor never experiences—buying wine by the jug at a vineria, picking out tomatoes and zucchini at the local market.

The evening routine you've established includes taking a passeggiata stroll on the main drag followed by a Campari-soda at a cantina (where you're recognized as a regular with a nod from the barrista) before heading home to cook a delicious feast in your kitchen.

The fabled Italian lifestyle you've always envied is suddenly your own.

What kind of apartments are there in ?

Many short-term flats are "serviced" to some degree (a maid will clean so many times a week); others are "unserviced" ("Here are the keys. Lock up when you leave."). 

Some are one or two apartments to rent by a private owner. Some are the apartments of local folks who're on vacation themselves or who live elsewhere for long periods; many are permanent short-let flats owned by absentee landlords and rented via agencies.

Others are small rental firms that represent several flats—in one building, around a neighborhood, or across all of town.

Still others are Aparthotels, or Residence hotels—more like an all-suite hotel of efficiencies and studios, each with a kitchenette. Residences are a kind of hybrid of an apartment and a proper hotel, often offering some degree of maid service and a front desk offering concierge-like services (and sometimes amenitied to the teeth with business centers, health spas, and the like)—but still a terrific savings over a hotel.

Finding the perfect Italian apartment

As usual, the best resource is usually the local tourist office, which almost always keeps a complete list of all rental apartments and short-term flats in the area—and, in the best cases, includes that list on its website with links.

That said, below are links and resources to help you find rental flats across .

Tips

BOOKING: Getting what you pay for
  • Week-long rentals are typical, though some apartments are available for two or three nights at a time, especially in the off-season (winter).
  • Peak season is roughly Easter through October, plus Christmas season (Dec 15–Jan 6).
  • Advanced reservations are essential. For summer high season, it's best to book several months, or even a full year, ahead.
  • "Sleeps 4" doesn't necessarily mean a two-bedroom. When investigating possible apartments, look closely in particular at the number of bedrooms, as well as at the number of people an apartment sleeps. More often than not, "sleeps four" means a one-bedroom unit, with two guests in the bedroom and two on a fold-out couch—fine for a family, less than ideal for two couples. Ask the owner or agency about the setup if it's not mentioned in the listing.
  • Comparing apartments can seem impossible. One agency might provide floor plans, dozens of photos, and square footages. Another might have only a description like "Lovely two-bedroom apartment near the cathedral; from €200." Do your homework. Research it. Ask lots of questions.
  • Apartment class/star ratings are unreliable. Some agencies use star ratings, but there's no correlation to hotel ratings—or other agency's ratings for that matter. Officially, according to the city, there are three categories (I, II, and III) based on size and amenities... but that's of little help as more than half the available apartments fall into the fourth, "non-classified" category.
  • Every owner bends the rules sometimes, so even if a website states that an apartment only rents by the week or longer, or that rates are completely nonnegotiable, it never hurts to inquire about flexibility. Small agencies and owners who rent one or two apartments are particularly likely to bargain during slower periods.
  • Bait and switch is pervasive when booking through an agency (as opposed to direct from the owner or a hotel)—whether intentional or because online databases aren't updated to reflect actual availability. Double-check that the apartment you want is the apartment you're getting. If the agency offers an alternative, make sure it's up to snuff and reasonably priced.
PAYING: Deposits and cancellations
  • A deposit (or caparra) may be necessary to hold your reservation. The amount varies: It might be the equivalent of one night's stay; it might be 30 to 50 percent of the total; it might be something totally different. The balance is due 6 to 20 days prior to arrival.
  • Bank wire transfers are required to rent some apartments, particularly direct-from-owner units (agencies will usually let you use a credit card). If you're renting abroad, note that banks in the U.S. charge $30–$50 for an international transfer, and it'll take three to five business days to process.
  • Taxes, utilities, and an initial and final cleaning fee are frequently included in the quoted price, but that's not always the case, so ask. If the apartment has a phone, inquire whether local calls cost extra.
  • Expect to pay a deposit against potential damages, either through a hold on your credit card or in cash to the person who gives you the keys. The money will be refunded when you check out.
  • Cancellation policies vary, with refunds given on a sliding scale, meaning less money is returned the later that you cancel. The deposit is rarely refundable, though you may be able to get some of the money back if you cancel far in advance.
ARRIVING: Who will give you the key?
  • A representative will usually meet you at the apartment—though sometimes at a major landmark, train station, their own downtown office, or the local bus or metro stop nearest the apartment at a prearranged time. He or she will lead you to the flat, show you the ropes (which keys fit which locks, location of the fuse box), point out nearby markets and cafés, and provide a local number to call if you have questions.
  • Most kitchens come fully equipped, but double-check that this is the case if you plan on cooking. Before heading to the market, look in the cabinets. There are often some cooking staples (salt, sugar, pasta, oil) left by former guests.
  • Towels and linens are typically provided, but bring your own soap, shampoo, and toiletries; this is not a hotel.
  • Cleaning service is rare, though a few rentals offer cleaning every three days or so. Remember: You're living like a local, which includes taking out the trash and recycling. Your host will provide a schedule. 
The pros and cons of renting an apartment on vacation
  • You can rent an apartment for just a few nights. The first thing most people get wrong about renting an apartment for their travels is they assume you can only rent one by the month. This is not so.

    In fact, while some are available only on a monthly basis, the majority of vacation apartments are rented out by the week, or even for just three nights—and there are plenty that will rent to you for just a single night, especially in low season.
  • You get to live like a local. With you own pad, and a chance to try on the experience of living life as a local for a short while, shopping at the local stores and cooking meals in your own kitchen.
  • You save money. It's not just that apartments often cost less than hotels. That kitchen helps you save money on dining expenses by limiting the number of meals you have to eat out at a restaurant; you avoid paying through the nose for a hotel breakfast, can dine at home some nights, and keep a stock of cheese, salamis, fruits, and veggies in the fridge for replenishing your daily picnic lunch supplies.
  • No one will clean up while you're out and about. One hotel amenity you usually don't get with a short-term rental apartment is maid service—but do you really need fresh sheets every night? 
About the lodging star ratings (☆☆☆ to ★★★)

You will notice that all hotels, B&Bs, and other lodgingds (as well as sights and restaurants) on this site have a ReidsItaly.com star designation from ☆☆☆ to ★★★.

This merely indicates that I feel these accommodations offer a little something that makes them special (or extra-special, or extra-extra special, etc.).

These star ratings are entirely based on personal opinion, and have nothing to do with the official Italian hotel ratings—which have more to do with quantifiable amenities such as minibars, and not the intangibles that make a hotel truly stand out, like a combination of great location, friendly owners, nice style, and low prices.

In general, a pricier place to stay has to impress me that it is worth the added expense.

This is why I give ★★★ to some (official) "two-star" hotels or B&Bs that happen to provide amazing value for the money—and similarly have ranked a few (official) "four-star" properties just (★★☆).

About the lodging price brackets (€–€€€)

Accommodations rates vary wildly—even at the same hotel or B&B—depending on type of room, number of people in it, and the season.

That's why here at ReidsItaly.com we simply provde a general price range indicating the rough rate you should expect to pay for a standard double room in mid-season.

There are three price ranges, giving you a sense of which lodgings are budget, which are moderate, and which are splurges:

under €100
€€ €100–€200
€€€ over €200
Useful Italian phrases

Useful Italian for lodging

English (inglese) Italian (italiano) Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
Where is? Dov'é doh-VAY
...a hotel un albergo oon al-BEAR-go
...a B&B un bed-and-breakfast oon bet hand BREK-fust
...a rental room un'affittacamera oon ah-feet-ah-CAH-mair-ra
...an apartment for rent un appartamento oon ah-part-tah-MENT-toh
...a farm stay un agriturismo oon ah-gree-tour-EES-moh
...a hostel un ostello oon oh-STEHL-loh
     
How much is...? Quanto costa? KWAN-toh COST-ah
a single room una singola OO-nah SEEN-go-la
double room for single use [will often be offered if singles are unavailable] doppia uso singola DOPE-pee-ya OO-so SEEN-go-la
a double room with two beds una doppia con due letti OO-nah DOPE-pee-ya cone DOO-way LET-tee
a double room with one big bed una matrimoniale OO-nah mat-tree-moan-nee-YAAL-lay
triple room una tripla OO-nah TREE-plah
with private bathroom con bagno cone BAHN-yoh
without private bathroom senza bagno [they might say con bagno in comune—"with a communal bath"] SEN-zah BAHN-yoh
for one night per una notte pair OO-nah NOH-tay
for two nights per due notti pair DOO-way NOH-tee
for three nights per tre notti pair tray NOH-tee
Is breakfast included? É incluso la prima colazione? ay in-CLOO-soh lah PREE-mah coal-laht-zee-YOAN-nay
Is there WiFi? C'é WiFi? chay WHY-fy?
May I see the room? Posso vedere la camera? POH-soh veh-DAIR-eh lah CAH-mair-rah
That's too much É troppo ay TROH-po
Is there a cheaper one? C'é una più economica? chay OO-nah pew eh-ko-NO-mee-kah


 

Basic phrases in Italian

English (inglese) Italian (italiano) pro-nun-see-YAY-shun
thank you grazie GRAT-tzee-yay
please per favore pair fa-VOHR-ray
yes si see
no no no
Do you speak English? Parla Inglese? PAR-la een-GLAY-zay
I don't understand Non capisco non ka-PEESK-koh
I'm sorry Mi dispiace mee dees-pee-YAT-chay
How much is it? Quanto costa? KWAN-toh COST-ah
That's too much É troppo ay TROH-po
     
Good day Buon giorno bwohn JOUR-noh
Good evening Buona sera BWOH-nah SAIR-rah
Good night Buona notte BWOH-nah NOTE-tay
Goodbye Arrivederci ah-ree-vah-DAIR-chee
Excuse me (to get attention) Scusi SKOO-zee
Excuse me (to get past someone) Permesso pair-MEH-so
     
Where is? Dov'é doh-VAY
...the bathroom il bagno eel BHAN-yoh
...train station la ferroviaria lah fair-o-vee-YAR-ree-yah
to the right à destra ah DEH-strah
to the left à sinistra ah see-NEEST-trah
straight ahead avanti [or] diritto ah-VAHN-tee [or] dee-REE-toh
information informazione in-for-ma-tzee-OH-nay

Days, months, and other calendar items in Italian

English (inglese) Italian (italiano) Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
When is it open? Quando é aperto? KWAN-doh ay ah-PAIR-toh
When does it close? Quando si chiude? KWAN-doh see key-YOU-day
At what time... a che ora a kay O-rah
     
Yesterday ieri ee-YAIR-ee
Today oggi OH-jee
Tomorrow domani doh-MAHN-nee
Day after tomorrow dopo domani DOH-poh doh-MAHN-nee
     
a day un giorno oon je-YOR-no
Monday Lunedí loo-nay-DEE
Tuesday Martedí mar-tay-DEE
Wednesday Mercoledí mair-coh-lay-DEE
Thursday Giovedí jo-vay-DEE
Friday Venerdí ven-nair-DEE
Saturday Sabato SAH-baa-toh
Sunday Domenica doh-MEN-nee-ka
     
Mon-Sat Feriali fair-ee-YAHL-ee
Sun & holidays Festivi feh-STEE-vee
Daily Giornaliere joor-nahl-ee-YAIR-eh
     
a month una mese oon-ah MAY-zay
January gennaio jen-NAI-yo
February febbraio feh-BRI-yo
March marzo MAR-tzoh
April aprile ah-PREEL-ay
May maggio MAH-jee-oh
June giugno JEW-nyoh
July luglio LOO-lyoh
August agosto ah-GO-sto
September settembre set-TEM-bray
October ottobre oh-TOE-bray
November novembre no-VEM-bray
December dicembre de-CHEM-bray

Numbers in Italian

English (inglese) Italian (italiano) Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
1 uno OO-no
2 due DOO-way
3 tre tray
4 quattro KWAH-troh
5 cinque CHEEN-kway
6 sei say
7 sette SET-tay
8 otto OH-toh
9 nove NO-vay
10 dieci dee-YAY-chee
11 undici OON-dee-chee
12 dodici DOH-dee-chee
13 tredici TRAY-dee-chee
14 quattordici kwa-TOR-dee-chee
15 quindici KWEEN-dee-chee
16 sedici SAY-dee-chee
17 diciasette dee-chee-ya-SET-tay
18 diciotto dee-CHO-toh
19 diciannove dee-chee-ya-NO-vay
20 venti VENT-tee
21* vent'uno* vent-OO-no
22* venti due* VENT-tee DOO-way
23* venti tre* VENT-tee TRAY
30 trenta TRAYN-tah
40 quaranta kwa-RAHN-tah
50 cinquanta cheen-KWAN-tah
60 sessanta say-SAHN-tah
70 settanta seh-TAHN-tah
80 ottanta oh-TAHN-tah
90 novanta no-VAHN-tah
100 cento CHEN-toh
1,000 mille MEEL-lay
5,000 cinque milla CHEEN-kway MEEL-lah
10,000 dieci milla dee-YAY-chee MEEL-lah


* You can use this formula for all Italian ten-place numbers—so 31 is trent'uno, 32 is trenta due, 33 is trenta tre, etc. Note that—like uno (one), otto (eight) also starts with a vowel—all "-8" numbers are also abbreviated (vent'otto, trent'otto, etc.).

 
 

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