What is an aparthotel? Can I convert to one?

 

An aparthotel comes under C1 Use Class. This might also be known as a serviced apartment, apartment hotel, extended-stay hotel or even a residential hotel. Whatever you call it, what actually is it? How does it differ from short-term lets or serviced accommodation?

It is one of those made up terms (like serviced accommodation), but as we are seeing more and more of them, we need to try and understand them.

Read on to understand as to whether your Aparthotel is actually Use Class C1 or not.

 

Dining and living room of an aparthotel

 

With the impending introduction of Use Class C5 for short term lets or serviced accomodation we are seeing a number of people looking to create aparthotels instead. The problem is you need to be careful. An aparthotel is not simply a number of SA or short-term lets operating in the same building, even if they have some form of keybox entry or even perhaps a digital check-in. It needs more than that to qualify as a C1 Aparthotel.

Therefore, if converting say an old tired Bed and Breakfast into a building for apartment stays, you need to keep on the right side of planning. That original B&B served breakfast and probably had a lounge for guests. As a result it fell neatly into Use Class C1.

Use Class C1 according to the Use Class Order 1987 says ‘Use as a hotel or as a boarding or guest house where, in each case, no significant element of care is provided’ – therefore whilst it does not mention aparthotels in the UCO, what you provide needs to still fit into the description.

At the end of the day and aparthotel needs to still qualify as a hotel or as a boarding house or a guest house. For obvious reasons (the clue is in the name) it needs to function as a hotel. Albeit a small hotel.

 

Facilities of an aparthotel

 

In the apartment room itself, one might expect to see a bed and shower as a given, but also a kitchen or kitchenette (needs to be well equipped for self-catering), a dining table, somewhere to sit and relax, a dedicated work space and more. It ought to be suitable for extended stays.

All that is fine for the room, but that alone does not qualify as an aparthotel. The building will need a bit more to be suitable for anything more than a long weekend away. Whilst this list is not exhaustive, your aparthotel should have at least one or more of the following:-

  • Self-serve laundry in the communal area
  • 24-hour reception and concierge (guests should not be expected to use a keybox)
  • 24/7 Vending machines
  • A pantry for snacks
  • Daily housekeeping
  • A gym
  • Breakfast option included – might be just a bagel and coffee for example or a better offering
  • A chill out space for guests to mix

Offering communal free wifi isn’t going to cut it either. Whilst that is a given these days, along with the en-suite, the building needs to offer one or more communal facility for guests.

If your building does not offer at least one or more of the above, then it is unlikely to qualify as a C1 aparthotel and instead might fall foul of planning. This would then be subject to enforcement. If this is a conversion from that B&B it would have required a change of use. So instead of cramming that extra bedroom in, look to create some communal space as well.

If that aparthotel room isn’t suitable for a stay of a week or two and the guest needs to rely on external providers, then it probably doesn’t qualify. Of course guests are not compelled to use the facilities on offer, but some must exist. Let’s face it, you wouldn’t expect to walk into a hotel or B&B and just see rooms with no communal space. The same is true of aparthotels. It is at the end of the day a small hotel!

Maybe that conversion from a B&B needs a bit more thinking…….

 

Page Updated: 12th May 2024

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