New digs for business travelers .

An alternative to the same old hotel rooms

Tired of hotel rooms that all look alike? A short-term apartment rental may be the answer. Besides the additional space, an apartment may be a less expensive option. Living rooms can double as meeting rooms; co-workers can share; travelers can bring along small children and kitchens can save you on meals. Apartments may be up to 50% cheaper than hotels, and they typically cost less than all-suite hotels.

While extended-stay hotels offer suites or a studio with kitchen, apartment rentals range from fully furnished lodgings used solely for corporate rentals to private apartments whose owners offer rooms for rent through an agency. Apartment hunters supply desired locations and price range to agencies that find apartment options to meet those requirements.

Ask the rental agency specific questions first: are there laundry facilities, air conditioning and elevator access? How much street noise is there? Stipulate location and space requirements. Prices depend on location, size, style and time of year. Some agencies charge a one-time registration fee of $25-$75.

Barclay International Group (800845-6636) has short- term apartment, villa and cottage rentals in Europe. Apartments start at $700 per week, including tax. At Home Abroad (212421- 9165) features farmhouses, castles and luxury apartments in Europe and upscale Caribbean properties, which range from $1,500 to $20,000 weekly.

Offering mainly corporate housing are two large chains, Bridge Street Accommodations (800-2787338) and Oakwood Corporate Housing (800-888-0808 or www.oakwood.com). Bridge Street offers facilities in the U.S., Canada and worldwide. Prices vary according to length of stay. Expect to pay $85-$155 per night for a one-bedroom apartment in Canada. Oakwood, based in Los Angeles, offers all-inclusive rates from $117-$197 nightly for studios to two-bedroom apartments. Facilities include full-service kitchens, health spas and 24-hour doormen.

In terms of extended-stay hotels, there’s Residence Inn by Marriott (800-331-3131), which ranges from $75 to $105 nightly. Extended Stay America (800-398-7829) has lower-priced studios for $200-$300 a week.

ACROSS THE WEB