Broadly speaking, there are 2 types of furnished accommodations available:
- The ones provided by established companies
- The ones provided by individuals
It is recommended that if your budget allows, choose the established companies. Here's why:
Location - They offer condos/suites that are located in hi-demand areas. Most of these buildings are located close to subway/public transportation and close to malls, shopping, restaurants and corporate hubs.
Consistency in service design - these companies offer a preset list of amenities that are typically designed for the traveller like you. There is no ambiguity involved as to what will be there and what won't. The suites are tastefully appointed (compared to the other category, at least) and you can expect things to function properly. You have direct dial, international calling, voice-mail and hi-speed internet access for starters, which may be a challenge for the individual company to provide due to billing and control issues.
Housekeeping standards - Lets face it ! Individuals renting out their investment condos are more concerned about the bottom line compared to companies that have hundreds of condos being operated at the same time. It is safe to say that the housekeeping standards are bound to be higher with the established companies. This may not sound like a huge thing, but when you walk into a suite and find a ball of hair in the shower, you'll get the point.
Payment Options - Most individuals renting out their condos aren't going to be equipped to accept major credit cards. Further, making an advance payment is a problem as you'll have to mail your cheque to the owner, he'll then wait for it to clear, etc etc. We've seen more than one case of the owner getting a better rate which leads him/her to send a sweet apology note to the first person who booked the unit.
Day to day problems - They happen! There's a leak in the kitchen sink, the toilet overflows, there's a draft from the window... These are condos and each will face the same problems that a regular condo faces. So if you're faced with any of these which makes living... well... a challenge, you'll have a relatively harder time sorting this out with the individual who rented the property to you because he probably has just one unit. He probably won't have anything else to offer you except an apology. With established firms, at least, you can be moved to another unit or better still - upgraded!
Budget - Here's where the individual owner scores well. These places could very well be in the same building as the established companies' furnished apartments. But you'll get these at a much lower price because the individual doesn't have the overhead. Another benefit is that certain amenities can be negotiated in advance which wouldn't be possible with established companies who have less flexibility in this matter. In no way are we suggesting that individuals are undesirable people to do business with... some of them are real gems and will go out of their way yo accommodate you and your needs. However, the inherent limitations do need to be recognized and that's precisely what we've spoken about.