Residence hotels in Italy

Setting up housekeeping—without the housekeeping

Residences hotels--like this one in Italy--offer a cross between a rental apartment and a hotelResidences hotels--like this one in Siracusa, Sicily--offer a cross between a rental apartment and a hotel.

A "residence" or residenza—sometimes called an "ApartHotel" or "serviced apartment"—is a cross between an apartment building and a traditional hotel.

It's an apartment available for short-term rentals, usually with a hotel-like front desk and some level of maid service—kind of like the all-suites hotels in America beloved by business travelers (and savvy traveling families).

Usually, residence hotels are an option mainly for longer stays (often a week minimum, though plenty have three-night or even nightly rates), and they work a bit like having your own efficiency apartment in a doorman building.

Accommodations are at least studios with kitchenette, if not full-blown mini-apartments, and might sleep anywhere for one to six people. They are usually rented by the week or month, and they are usually cleaned weekly (sometimes more frequently)

Essentially, it's a bit like getting a time share just for the week or month—only without the whole annoying sales pitch. They are often used by folks in town on business for an extended period (in fact, when I studied abroad in Rome, Italy, a "residence" near the school served as student housing for the program), but that doesn't mean travelers can't shack up in them as well. You just have to plan to stick around town for a bit longer than the average tourist.

The reason this page is separate from that on how to rent an apartment is because I consider apartment rentals to be where you are getting a private apartment in a building surrounded by flats inhabited by actual local residents, whereas in one of these "residence" hotels, everyone is a visitor from out of town.

Not that this is a bad thing.

For about four months back in 1993, I lived in a residence in Rome—the Residence Medaglie d'Oro, a serviceable, if otherwise unforgettable, place in the un-touristy, middle-class Prati neighborhood north of the Vatican.

First day there, I was leaning over the railing of my balcony and happened to look up.

Two floors above me, a young woman was also leaning on her balcony rail, so I called up, "Buongiorno!" She looked down and replied, "I don't speak Italian." Turns out she was from, of all places, Tampa, Florida and we soon became friends.

Reader, I married her. I can't wait to bring our sons to Rome one day and show them the residence where Mommy and Daddy met.

How to find residence hotels

PartnerVenere.com(www.venere.com) - This European booking engine is one of the few to list residences—under "Vacation Rentals"—with often dozens of options in major cities. Even if this weren't our partner site, I'd suggest it as the best one-stop shopping for residence hotels.

PartnerBooking.com (www.booking.com) - Another rare booking engine which actually lists Residences (alongside other, non-serviced flats in the "Apartments" category) in cities and towns across Italy.

Biz-stay.com (www.biz-stay.com) - Keeps (farily well) updated lists of links to serviced apartment chains. The page that covers the world a bit better is at this link.

Tips & links

Residence links & resources
Other lodging links & resources
Useful Italian
Useful Italian phrases and terms for lodging

English (Inglese) Italian (Italiano) Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
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
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
     
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

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