Catering to the needs of both leisure and business travelers, the serviced accommodation is gaining popularity as an ideal lodging option. Beyond major cities, this hospitality choice is expanding to diverse urban centers due to the pandemic and European travel regulations, offering location, luxury, flexibility, and affordability.
York – a tourist hot spot
Catering to diverse travellers, the UK offers a range of experiences, including historic city breaks, adventure tourism, business trips, and family getaways. Historic York in North Yorkshire, a fixture on property and lifestyle lists, witnesses a surge in demand for temporary accommodations. With over seven million annual visitors, the city’s blend of heritage and modernity attracts tourists. York boasts a mix of cafes, restaurants, and innovative businesses, creating a mini-metropolis within its historic walls.
The appeal of York lies in its historical significance, from its Roman origins to Viking heritage, charming Medieval houses, and the iconic York Minster. Families are drawn to the city for its educational opportunities and top-notch attractions, like the National Railway Museum, Fairfax House, and the York Army Museum. For history enthusiasts, the restored Cold War bunker, designed to monitor nuclear activities, offers an intriguing glimpse into the past.
Situated within a brief ten-minute distance from key business hubs and central York’s amenities, dining options, and attractions, Icona York presents 32 one and two-bedroom apartments across five floors. It features a communal rooftop, gym, and a dedicated concierge service. Overlooking the historic York Minster, Italian quartz kitchens, balconies, penthouses with private terraces, and residents’ parking enhance Icona’s appeal as the preferred choice for York lodging. Having been completed in the previous year, everything is freshly minted, offering a hassle-free investment with convenient low-maintenance accommodations and reliable rental returns. Starting from £255,000 for a one-bedroom unit, Icona York’s pricing is competitive compared to other contemporary developments, as its £442 per sq/ft price stands favourably against the average £475 per sq/ft of equivalent new builds.
Chester: The Historic Town
Chester, a historical town cherished by staycation enthusiasts, holds its allure as the county seat of Cheshire, nestled in Northwest England near the Welsh border along the River Dee. Its walled cathedral city status comes alive through the well-preserved Roman walls constructed from local red sandstone. These walls, the most intact among England’s historic cities, narrate its 1st-century A.D. past as a fortress. Chester boasts the nation’s grandest Roman Amphitheatre, the oldest racecourse, and a thousand-year-old cathedral showcasing Europe’s finest medieval carvings.
Weekend escapists to Chester increasingly gravitate towards serviced lodgings due to their adaptability for family and friend groups’ joint travels. The cost-effectiveness of this accommodation style, coupled with self-catering amenities in fully-equipped kitchens, permits indulgence in shopping at Chester’s renowned 700-year-old Rows galleries or an outing to the top-rated attraction outside London – Chester Zoo. Swift train connections from London, with a mere two-hour travel time, make Chester an enticing destination for both visitors and prospective investors. In the peak mid-August season, families of four can anticipate around £560 for a four-night stay in a one-bedroom city-centre serviced accommodation
Coastal getaways in the UK
Seaside towns are also highly sought-after retreats in the UK, reaching their zenith during the summer and school breaks as families gather to relish the sun-drenched beaches. Even in winter, these coastal havens attract walkers, with Bournemouth’s sandy expanse on the southern coast, Southwold in Suffolk, Brighton in East Sussex, and Newquay in Cornwall among the favourites. Enjoying fish and chips by the sea, a quintessential British custom, prevails, while the vividly hued beach huts, jutting piers, and traditional sticks of rock enhance the allure.
Bournemouth, situated on England’s southern coast, is a sought-after destination for sun, sand, and sea holidays due to its seven miles of sandy beaches and some of the UK’s warmest sea temperatures. Notably, its flagship beach was ranked the UK’s best and Europe’s sixth best in TripAdvisor’s 2019 Traveller’s Choice Awards. With five Blue Flag beaches—Alum Chine, Manor Steps, Southbourne, Fisherman’s Walk, and Durley Chine—Bournemouth meets stringent standards for water quality and safety. This town’s micro-climate, dramatic cliff line, and panoramic views of the Purbecks and the Isle of Wight make it a recurring draw for visitors, easily accessible from London and Gatwick Airport.
A quintessential tradition of British seaside holidays involves renting vibrantly painted beach huts right by the shore. Bournemouth and nearby Poole provide over 250 such huts for hire, while Boscombe Beach presents architecturally-designed beach pods exclusive to Bournemouth. These pods feature private balconies offering vistas of the Isle of Wight and Purbeck coast. For active travellers, Poole Harbour offers an array of watersports like windsurfing, sailing, and kitesurfing, along with a captivating marina to explore. Families can immerse themselves in the Oceanarium, a well-loved aquarium, and visit the bustling pier adorned with amusement arcades and ice-cream stalls for all preferences. A leisurely stroll along the picturesque promenade reveals the opulent waterfront residences of “Millionaire’s row” in Sandbanks to the west, renowned as having the “most expensive seaside in the world.”
Newquay, situated on Cornwall’s north coast in southwest England, remains a perennial favourite among seaside resorts. Easily reachable through its local airport and daily train service from London, Newquay has magnetized surfing enthusiasts nationwide and beyond, drawn to Cornwall’s “Atlantic Coast” for its powerful waves and the striking sandy shores of Fistral and Watergate Bay beaches. Earning recognition as one of the UK’s Preferred Seaside Towns in the Which Holiday Survey, Newquay has also secured accolades like Best Family Holiday Destination in COAST magazine and Best Seaside Town for Families in 2019.
Beyond its renowned surf scene, Newquay boasts an impressive zoo featuring lush tropical gardens, along with the Blue Reef Aquarium that promises to captivate children with its underwater tunnel showcasing pufferfish, sharks, and stingrays. Moreover, Newquay serves as a gateway to England’s South West region, famed for the celebrated South West Coast Path, a 630-mile National Trail coastal route commencing in Somerset’s Minehead and delighting walkers through Devon and Cornwall. During August’s peak season, a family of four can expect to pay approximately £695 for a one-bedroom serviced accommodation for a four-night stay.
The future of serviced accommodation
The serviced accommodation industry has exhibited remarkable resilience amid the challenges of the past year, underscoring its enduring adaptability. A study conducted by the UK Short Term Accommodation Association and data firm STR underscores the escalating demand for the ‘home away from home’ experience that short-term rentals offer, especially in light of distancing norms and heightened hygiene standards. Short-term rentals are positioned to outperform other accommodation types in fulfilling these requirements.
This trend persists as a diverse range of guests continue to favour this adaptable and convenient accommodation style. The sector is poised to regain investor confidence, moving beyond the demand shocks brought about by recent events. Cities like York, which enjoy consistent demand and aren’t confined to seasonal fluctuations, could yield returns surpassing seven percent net on serviced accommodation investments. These encouraging figures, combined with the tax-efficient operation of profitable holiday homes, might render this asset a more robust investment compared to traditional buy-to-let properties.