Living In A Hotel?
March 2, 2007 12:51 PM   Subscribe

Ever since a month-long stay at a very nice hotel in my childhood, I've intermittently fantasized about making a hotel my full-time primary residence. Something about the idea of living in a hotel just appeals to me. Does anyone really do that? Is it commonplace? Practical advice? I know this is a pretty bizarre question.
posted by evariste to Home & Garden (54 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: condotel
posted by fourstar at 12:59 PM on March 2, 2007

Best answer: There's a nice old motel (The Birchmont Inn) up in Marquette, Mich. It's run by a kindly family that lives there, is fantastically cheap (for some reason I think about $60 a night), is pet friendly, and some of its well maintained 70's decorated rooms offer kitchenettes.

Last time I was there I talked to a fellow who had been living there a few months while he looked for an apartment. They were giving him a very generous monthly rate and, because it's in a small town, the laundry room for the turn down service has no lock and they let him do his laundry for free. We were lounging in the pool and he was telling me he wasn't even sure he'd ever motivate himself to leave: turn down/maid service every day, utilities and cable, free little soaps and shampoos, a heated pool and an excellent view of the lake, all for an amount comparable to even the cheap rates of the area (rent for a nice 1-bedroom apartment and utilities is $400-$600).

I was extremely jealous, but it seems a rather singular situation.

I also know upscale hotels offer apartment-sized rooms with kitchens, offices, etc. at weekly rates, but the cost is rather significant and more geared towards successful businessmen who live on short-term contracts (consultants).

And, of course, there is My Name is Earl.
posted by JeremiahBritt at 1:05 PM on March 2, 2007 [1 favorite]

Yes. People like Madeline really do live in hotels, at least in NYC.
posted by caddis at 1:05 PM on March 2, 2007

I think caddis means Eloise.
posted by spec80 at 1:09 PM on March 2, 2007

Some extremely poor people live in cheap motels because they can't put together enough money to pay a landlord a security deposit to rent an apartment. Probably not what you had in mind though.
posted by ND¢ at 1:09 PM on March 2, 2007

Some hotels in NYC, including The Plaza, are going part-condo. I don't believe you get all the amenities of hotel living, though.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:13 PM on March 2, 2007 [2 favorites]

I have no cite, but I read a recent issue of Architectural Digest which featured a story about a wealthy family that had purchased and renovated a room in a swank New York hotel. It's also been featured in numerous pieces of literature over the years (for instance, didn't the protagonist of Saul Bellow's Seize the Day live in a hotel, along with his father and various other mildly hostile elderly folks?), so I'm led to believe that, while not exactly common, it's far from extraordinary, especially in New York City.
posted by saladin at 1:13 PM on March 2, 2007

Best answer: The Hotel Chelsea is known for it's long term residents.
posted by kimdog at 1:24 PM on March 2, 2007 [1 favorite]

yes, I have my little girls of story all mixed up.
posted by caddis at 1:32 PM on March 2, 2007

There used to be what were known as "residential hotels". They used to be quite common.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 1:40 PM on March 2, 2007

The Pantages in Toronto is a hotel on the first few floors and a condo building up to. I believe the condo residents can use some of the hotel facilities. I stayed in a hotel room there and it was sort of a suite with laundry and a kitchenette.
posted by marylynn at 1:41 PM on March 2, 2007

Your question fascinates; what exactly about hotel living is most appealing to you? Service? Maids? Location?
Maybe a doorman building would give you all the above, at a more reasonable price...
posted by Dizzy at 1:47 PM on March 2, 2007

There are a lot of part condo, part hotels these days, but yes, some people just live in regular hotels. There have been a few celebrities who did this permanently, and I know a fair number of people who have done it for extended periods of time (6-12 months).

It's fantastically expensive, but if you've got the scratch good for you :-)
posted by PEAK OIL at 1:47 PM on March 2, 2007

Serviced apartments/condos are quite common. Like the Four Seasons Residences. They were going to build one in Austin but then the dot com bubble burst. $4 million for an overglorified hotel room -- but with a killer view -- seemed to be too steep. It is a condo but you get the hotel services like housekeeping, concierge, spa and whatnot.
posted by birdherder at 1:47 PM on March 2, 2007

I tried to link to the Ritz Carlton Residences website, but it was apparently down. There are a lot of hotels doing it though. The W in Las Vegas offers condos (with the weird option that you can let them use it as a hotel room when you aren't there, if you'd like.)
posted by PEAK OIL at 1:49 PM on March 2, 2007

I believe there are many moderately affluent old people who live in hotels along the south coast of England. It's not much more expensive than going into an 'old folk's home', and has the inestimable benefit that the staff are still your servants rather than your minders. You get everything done for you if you want it, but you're still in control.

On the other hand, it's never really home in the same sense as your own house. That must be why it only really seems to appeal to elderly people who basically need to be waited on more than they need perfect privacy.
posted by Phanx at 1:50 PM on March 2, 2007 [1 favorite]

Various movie stars and celeb types have lived in Hollywood's Chateau Marmont for extended periods.
posted by box at 1:55 PM on March 2, 2007 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Along a similar vein, some people live on Cruise Ships
posted by jefftang at 1:57 PM on March 2, 2007 [1 favorite]

Coco Chanel lived in the Hotel Ritz in Paris for 30+ years.
posted by knave at 2:09 PM on March 2, 2007 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Writers such as nabokov, who spent his final years in a swiss hotel, did this frequently. It appeals to me as well.

guardian article
posted by vronsky at 2:11 PM on March 2, 2007

Didn't Howard Hughes live at the Sands in Vegas?
posted by clh at 2:27 PM on March 2, 2007

Best answer: In Milwaukee, Wisc., people live at the Astor Hotel, the Plaza Hotel and the Knickerbocker.

The hotels are well-kept, and popular with retirees and professionals who have long-term jobs.

But now that I'm in Chicago, "residential hotel" seems to be a euphemism for an SRO, and are mainly for transients.
posted by limeswirltart at 2:28 PM on March 2, 2007

Best answer: When I visited Paris, I stayed in a (very) small hotel in the French quarter. The place had about 10 rooms in it and one shared bathroom. On the top floor in a tiny garret lived a very handsome American guy in his late 30s. I believe he was a writer. He'd lived there for about a year when I talked with him; his plans were to stay as long as it took to finish the novel. The place was extremely cheap because it was exceptionally small and moderately dirty. But the location could not be beat. He was probably paying around $300 / month.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 2:39 PM on March 2, 2007

Best answer: I lived in a hotel for a few months about 8 years ago. I'm not sure what you're looking for in the way of "practical advice"; the experience was about what you'd expect. My bed was made every day and my room was kept clean. The hotel was owned by a major chain; I spoke to the sales office and bargained for a reduced rate. (Actually, I shopped around to compare rates. Toward the end, two hotels were bidding against each other and the sales agents from each took me to lunch.)
posted by cribcage at 3:01 PM on March 2, 2007

Best answer: I have a friend who lives in a studio in Manhattan where the building is set up to operate almost like a hotel--there's concierge service, maids to make your bed and clean your bathroom, pick up and drop off drycleaning, they'll hold your keys at the desk, etc.

I suppose it's one way of making Manhattan rents more palatable!
posted by bcwinters at 3:33 PM on March 2, 2007

Best answer: I know plenty of consultants who "live" in very nice hotels for months at a time, because someone else is paying for it. The points you accrue are awesome, too. I don't think that the original poster is really asking about crappy SROs or even Motel 6-type places. Why would someone want to live there for an extended period? But the Ritz? Sure!
posted by jcwagner at 3:33 PM on March 2, 2007

The Hilton children grew up in the Waldorf-Astoria.
posted by birdie birdington at 3:44 PM on March 2, 2007 [1 favorite]

I'm in a hotel 5 nights a week, and traveling the other 2. Does that make me famous like those other folks? :)
posted by WetherMan at 4:01 PM on March 2, 2007

Response by poster: Dizzy—all of the above, plus all the hotel amenities, plus the imagined ability to change to a different room/suite whenever I please or whenever I get bored of my "house" (assuming different rooms are decorated in different themes, which is true of some but not all hotels), plus meeting travelers, and I like hotel restaurants and bars too. I guess there are a lot of things about the idea of living in a hotel that appeal to me.
posted by evariste at 4:03 PM on March 2, 2007

Best answer: I know plenty of consultants who "live" in very nice hotels for months at a time,

Some of my colleagues on the east coast (especially those doing federal work) live in fantastically expensive hotels because of proximity to Washington and negotiated rates.
posted by WetherMan at 4:03 PM on March 2, 2007

When I visited Paris, I stayed in a (very) small hotel in the French quarter.

Surely you mean the Latin quarter? The French Quarter is in New Orleans.
posted by donajo at 4:23 PM on March 2, 2007

evariste, you might not have the stomach to watch a whole half-hour of Disney Channel programming, but they run a nightly sitcom called The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, in which twin brothers grow up in the swanky but fictional Tipton Hotel, wreaking havoc and making mischief and the like.

It's your average silly tween show but might still provide 10 seconds of a twinge of nostalgia for your childhood experience.

(The rest of you who didn't live in a hotel as a child, stay far away.)
posted by pineapple at 4:26 PM on March 2, 2007 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks pineapple. I might look for that on TV.
posted by evariste at 4:44 PM on March 2, 2007

Best answer: Robert DeNiro, Keanu Reeves, and Dominic Dunne each lived at the Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles. Seems like it was several years for Reeves.

The late Cary Grant lived for 12 years at the Warwick Hotel in Manhattan.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 4:49 PM on March 2, 2007 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks, Steven-I read some of the reviews of the book on Amazon and it seems to be about the "SRO" things mentioned above. Not really what I'm looking for to live in, but still, I think I'll pick up the book and read it for the history.
posted by evariste at 5:47 PM on March 2, 2007

I lived for several months in a residential hotel when I first moved to San Francisco.

I also lived for a summer at the Panama Hotel when I was in college.

Also, Vladimir Nabokov lived the last 17 years of his life at the Montreux Palace Hotel in Montreux Switzerland.
posted by trip and a half at 5:49 PM on March 2, 2007

Best answer: I lived at the Royalton in Manhattan for 6 months (actually was in the Plaza a month before that)

Also, not much to add. I didnt arrive and say "Hey! I'm here for 6 months!" It was for a project that kept getting pushed further and further out. After the first month, I realized I could start asking for nice things and getting them. I kept asking to be moved to a nicer and nicer room until I got a top-floor room with a private balcony. I got to know most of the staff by first name. When I went down to eat at the hotel restaurant, I was always given a good seat even if it was crowded. Also I had many friends in Manhattan so I wasn't isolated or anything like that. retrospect that was a pretty good time...
posted by vacapinta at 6:54 PM on March 2, 2007 [1 favorite]

Best answer: This is pretty common for Germans of a certain class -- when I was in Mallorica a few years ago, there was a older (70-ish) couple from Aachen staying in the same hotel as we were. They did this every spring and stayed for about two months. The hotel room didn't have a kitchen but their rate covered two meals (quite delicious ones!) every day. I found it very charming but I imagine fairly pricey.
posted by bluesky43 at 6:57 PM on March 2, 2007

Best answer: Post Hurricane Andrew I knew several of my fellow Miamians who were living in hotels on their home insurance company's dime because their homes were destroyed and housing was otherwise unavailable.

I asked one person if, tragedy of their home being destroyed aside, it was enjoyable to live somewhere where the bed was always made, the toilet cleaned daily, and the towels always fresh. He said that while that was certainly not bad it was otherwise like living in a small and antiseptic studio apartment that you'd never be able to decorate.
posted by phearlez at 7:13 PM on March 2, 2007

Best answer: It is not a bizzare question, at all. I would love to be able to afford it.

In fact one of the best restaurants in NYC (Café Des Artistes) is now housed in what used to be Hotel des Artistes, a residence and meeting place for artists in the 1920s. The Café itself served as a little kitchen where the residents could get some food or even cook their own, would meet and talk, or just spend peacefully a few hours reading books and listening to music. Noel Coward, Norman Rockwell and Isadora Duncan were among the denizens. Apparently several buildings in NYC served as such residencies back then. Pity, this tradition is not affordable by the many nowadays.
posted by carmina at 7:25 PM on March 2, 2007 [1 favorite]

Best answer: >Does anyone really do that?
When R.B. Bennett was Prime Minister he lived in the Chateau Laurier. When Maurice Duplessis was Premier, he lived in the Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City. I think of it is a way of being spartan but pampered and somewhat appropriate for someone working long hours. And both were unmarried. That's the picture I have, single and a demanding career.
posted by philfromhavelock at 8:20 PM on March 2, 2007 [1 favorite]

>Does anyone really do that?

An elderly relative of a good friend of mine lived in the Dorchester Hotel, London for a number of years. I never visited but I as far as I understood she had a suite and all of the normal hotel type services on tap. I guess it suited someone who was sufficiently affluent to do so but didn't want the hassle of running their own household ?
posted by southof40 at 9:23 PM on March 2, 2007

I've heard that Rick Majerus lives in a hotel year round.
posted by JPowers at 10:05 PM on March 2, 2007

Update: I found proof (11th paragraph from the top, or just search for "hotel"):

"True, Majerus doesn't have a home. He lives in a hotel room year-round. Is that the NCAA's fault?"
posted by JPowers at 10:08 PM on March 2, 2007

I looked at a place in the (now Jumeirah) Essex House when I was condo-hunting. I would have been able to get hotel services, but it didn't have a full kitchen.
posted by brujita at 12:36 AM on March 3, 2007

Surely you mean the Latin quarter? The French Quarter is in New Orleans.

Ha! Yes, of course. The Latin Quarter in Paris, France. Not to be confused with the French Quarter in New Orleans with the Latin Americans. I'm guessing that's what my addled mind was thinking, though I've given up trying to keep everything straight.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 1:46 AM on March 3, 2007

Best answer: I lived here for about 3 months while looking for an apartment (on the company dollar of course). What you are saying about meeting people passing through is right - due to not having a kitchen I mostly ate at the hotel restaurant, where I met an oligarch's private aircrew, a journalist, assorted travellers, along with the large numbers of oilmen exiled to the tundra.

After three months though, I was pretty happy to leave.
posted by claudius at 1:54 AM on March 3, 2007

From a theoretical/historical standpoint, you might check out the book Living Downtown by Paul Groth, a history of residential housing from flophouse to high society. It's very readable, and primarily focuses on NYC, Chicago, and San Francisco.
posted by soviet sleepover at 9:27 PM on March 3, 2007

Friends of mine stayed in a hostel in London recently and met a guy who'd lived there for 3 years, and when I was in a different London hostel a few years ago I remember a few people who looked pretty settled in. It was a pretty crappy place, but I think it was a reduced rate of about 60 pounds/week for long term stays, which is pretty cheap for inner London.
posted by jacalata at 6:04 AM on March 4, 2007

Best answer: If Brazil is not too far for you, Copacaban Palace has a nice 40's-50's style building next to the main building (here, to the left) with 750 square feet apartments where some people live. The building is beautiful and the view is amazing. If $550 a day fits your budget, definitely worth a look.
posted by AnyGuelmann at 6:06 AM on March 4, 2007 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: AnyGuelmann-that is way out of my league. But definitely well within the bounds of my fantasy :-)
posted by evariste at 7:17 PM on March 7, 2007

No best answer for me? I thought that the Guardian article was very informative.

And you know, doubles are cheaper than a single occupancy. Just saying, in case, you know, you ever need someone to split the bill with;)
posted by vronsky at 8:09 PM on March 7, 2007

Response by poster: Sorry, vronsky, I did read it! I don't know how I missed marking it.
posted by evariste at 1:40 PM on March 8, 2007

Best answer: Late to the party, but I worked in several hotels during and just after college and each of them had at least one person who lived there. In talking with friends at other hotels, almost all of them had someone living there. This is not counting hotel personnel who may live there for a few months or permanently. And it is not counting divorced dads who spend their weekends with their kids in the hotel. And it is not counting consultants or actors staying for a month or more.

It is do-able. You get a break on the room rate. [One place I worked the person who lived there paid $55 a night] You get furniture and maid service and you never have to put a hold on your mail if you travel. No kitchen though.
posted by Mozzie at 11:11 PM on April 3, 2007 [1 favorite]

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