Several residents in the UAE live without a lease, from a businessman who relocated to Dubai to start his operation to a fitness instructor. These individuals, known as “long-stay guests,” have turned hotel rooms into their permanent residences.
According to Paul Bridger, chief operating officer of Rove Hotels, which introduced long-stay packages in 2017, the fitness instructor has established a “community of clients and sports aficionados” around the hotel.
All utility costs, housekeeping, laundry, internet access, and access to the pool and gym are included in monthly stay packages, and some hotels offer complimentary breakfast.
This makes hotel rooms more affordable than standard apartment rents, according to Bridger. The average annual rent for flats rose by approximately 28% during the first two months of 2023 as Dubai’s rental market continued to climb. Experts believe that some locals relocate to hotels and hotel apartments.
This alternative is preferable to renting an apartment because it offers amenities such as access to a pool and gym without requiring additional internet fees, according to Bridger. Rove Hotels currently has over 300 long-term residents.
Long-term guests at Premier Inn usually stay between 30 and 120 days. According to Simon Leigh, General Director of Premier Inn Mena, the company hosts over 1.6 million visitors annually at its 11 hotels in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, with 240,000 people (15%) being “long-stay guests” who make reservations for several weeks or months.
Analysts claim that the introduction of visas for freelancers and retirees has increased the number of long-term visitors. At Rove, residents who prefer the flexibility of a monthly stay are popular among “remote workers, digital nomads, folks who have relocated to Dubai and are searching for a place to,” as well as those who travel as a temporary residence.
According to Leigh, some long-term residents are families who are new to the UAE and are finalizing a permanent living arrangement, while others are individuals, such as entrepreneurs engaged in a protracted project. Some stay with the hotels instead of renting a home because they are working here without their families or are visiting family for the holidays.
At Rove, monthly long-stay packages range from Dh4,999 to Dh14,999, all taxes included, with rates also influenced by seasonality, becoming more reasonable from May to September, according to Bridger. Payment is made at the beginning of each month, saving residents the inconvenience of frequently switching rooms and allowing them to pay only one upfront charge.
According to Anthony Wright, the area general manager for Suha Hospitality’s hotel apartment brand, studio rental costs range from Dh60,000 per year in Jaddaf to Dh80,000 in Bur Dubai. In JBR, a three-bedroom hotel unit costs roughly Dh300,000 annually. The same procedures as regular staycations are used to book extended stays. According to Bridger, no additional paperwork is necessary. The hotel unit owner handles every aspect of the lodging, including Dewa, Ejari, and WiFi.
Premier Inn hotels have private conference rooms, and the company is exploring new ideas for shared workspaces, according to Leigh. Rove provides communal seating areas and collaborates with Let’s Work, the largest co-working space in the region, to offer packages that include unlimited tea, coffee, and water, as well as exclusive savings on meeting rooms and food and beverage, according to Bridger.
In hotel apartments, residents often use a portion of the living room as a temporary workspace. To support their work, “we provide services like increased broadband,” added Wright.