Living in a Hotel FAQ: How does living at a hotel work and what does it cost?


  1. Why am I living in a hotel again and is BF living with me?
  2. How living at a hotel works & the cost of it (cooking, laundry, rates, mail, apartment hunting)
  3. Purging my wardrobe (again) — this one is very difficult for me because I love wardrobe variety
  4. General re-purging process — what did I allow to pass the test and what have I decided is not worth it any longer?
  5. How to handle sentimentality — photo frames, sewing machine — would it all fit into one suitcase?

How does living at a hotel work and what does it cost?


I am at one of those hotels that has an ensuite kitchen. Not a kitchenette, but a kitchen with a stovetop oven & fridge.

The hardest part about cooking is not having anything to cook with.

Granted, they even have cooking pots & utensils, but it’s REALLLLLLY slim pickings. We’re talking just ONE pan, ONE pot and a strainer.

I had to pack my rice cooker and my new immersion blender (I have yet to crack open the box), as well as some tupperware to store food in and my tea strainer for making the perfect cup of Earl Grey Cream tea in the morning.


They have laundry ensuite downstairs. Most hotels do, if you ask… they are not just in hotel apartments.

If worse came to worst, I’d plug up the bathroom sink and wash my laundry the old-fashioned way. I really hate doing laundry however, so I’m willing to fork over the $2.25 it takes for a wash, and let the clothes dry in the hotel room, draped over chairs & on hangers.

They also provide you with an iron and an ironing board, but I always bring my own iron because theirs tends to be old & once I had one leak rusty water all over my pristine white top.


This is why I do everything I can online. I have all my taxes and contracts done and sent online as much as possible.

For any pieces of paper that absolutely MUST be in hard copy, I’ve put the permanent mailing address of my parents in another city, and on occasion my mom will call if something big comes in, like a envelopes from the government or from the tax agency.

Then she asks me if it’s okay to open the letter (so cute!) and then proceeds to read it out to me, unless it’s in French… in which case she gives up before trying and spells out the title for me in English instead.

I can certainly have all of my mail sent to that permanent address and then forwarded to my hotel, which is what I’m going to probably do.

If not, I just pop by my parents once a year and pick up my mail.

I have my own mailbox at the hotel as well, but even if I didn’t, the hotel will receive & sign for things for you as long as it isn’t 24/7 and if you give them fair warning, as not to annoy the staff.


*rubs hands* my favourite part!

So the apartments for 12 months I was looking at, cost around $1200/month.

$1200 x 12 = $14,4000 / year

Seeing as I semi-started in January, but wasn’t really confirmed for a full-time contract until July… I’d have to get an apartment for let’s say August to December, which is 5 months.

I would have to sign a one-year lease, so my final cost is $14,400 for the 5 months, even though I could technically stay in it until August.

I say this, because we are contractors who travel a lot.

We could definitely be staying in the city after December 2010, but we can’t bank our money on this, because I could get a contract in January 2011 in another city, and end up having to pay out the one-year lease, or try to find someone to sublet the apartment (all a huge time suck and hassle).

Plus, what if I don’t have a contract at all in January 2011, but BF snags one in another city? I am not going to stay in the city alone for the whole week just because I paid for it — I’ll go and stay with BF in the other city, if he’s going to stay in a hotel or rent an apartment.

It’d work out to be about the same cost in the end, minus the commuting for BF.

For us, monthly rentals are the best option.

Most hotels will gladly offer a monthly rental (let’s face it, who DOESN’T want guaranteed revenue for a month to 5 months?), and everything is negotiable.

My initial rates to stay in a hotel were $95/night.

$95 x 30 days (1 month) = $2850/month

$2850 x 12 months = $34,200/year


Compared to the $14,400 I’d be paying before, I am OVERpaying by $19,800, or more than double.

So I contacted them for their monthly rate, and negotiated them down to $70 – $80/night (depending on which month we’re talking about, because some, like in September are CRAZY booked).

$80 x 30 days = $2400/month

$2400 x 12 months = $28,800/year

Better, but still expensive, but I’m overpaying by double, which kind of makes sense, because these hotels provide housekeeping, internet, utilities, cable TV, telephone and all of the other amenities you can’t get in an apartment.

Granted, the sum of all of those costs are much cheaper than if you were just to grab an apartment and pay for each service individually, but if you want a monthly rental (like us), you’re really stuck for options.

The good news is that I found another apartment hotel (never stop looking!) for $65/night, but we have to pay for the whole month in advance, instead of being able to check out the next day at any time (no sweat).

$65 x 30 days = $1950/month

$1950 x 12 months = $23,400/year

Much better. We’re now only over paying by $9000, which is not chump change.. but was better than overpaying by close to $20,000!


The last nail in the coffin is the consideration of the following:

We only need the place for 5 months!!

One-Year Leased Apartment: $14,400* @ $1200/month

*Total paid, regardless of if I stayed in there for 12 months or not, found a sublet in time for Jan – Aug, etc

5 months in a Hotel: $9750 @ $1950/month

Sure, it costs almost double to stay in a hotel apartment, but if we only need it for 5 months (as is what is confirmed), and we want to be able to move at a moment’s notice, we are saving $4650 and gaining the flexibility we so desperately need to be able to leave.

What if my contract ended like the last one did? I’d be stuck paying for 12 months in a city that I don’t work in any longer, when if I just paid for a monthly rental, I can leave at any time.


I tried. Kijiji apparently is a great resource, but the problem is that students start in September, and lease their apartments for June to August. Then they want their apartment back, and I need it until the end of December.

It’s not as easy as it seems. I almost want to start a SUBLET-ONLY website just for this reason, but I don’t have statistics on how many people travel the way we do, or need apartments for more than a month and so on.

About the Author

I'm a 20-something year old girl who lived out of a single suitcase in 2007, and now I'm living with less, but only with the best. You don't have to get rid of everything to become a minimalist! Minimalism can help simplify and organize your life, career, & physical surroundings. You can read more about me as a minimalist. Or come and visit my other blog Fabulously Broke in the City where I got out of $60,000 of debt in 18 months, earning $65,000 gross/year.