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What is a Serviced Apartment and is it Better Than Co-Living?

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A couple of decades ago, the terms ‘serviced apartment’, ‘co-living’, and ‘digital nomad’ would have been alien to most of us, but in recent years there’s been a huge growth in the arena of remote working and travelling that has meant a huge rise in popularity for both serviced apartments and co-living spaces.

What is a serviced apartment? What is co-living? And what is better for the digital nomad? At Sanctum, we can explain it all.

The Key Points

No time for an in-depth dive into the world of co-living and serviced apartments? Here are the key points:
  • Both co-living spaces and serviced apartments are dedicated spaces perfect for the digital nomad lifestyle.
  • With only one fee to cover your accommodation and associated costs, there are no unpleasant surprises when staying in a co-living space or serviced apartment.
  • Serviced apartments tend to be more costly but offer a wide range of additional facilities and services.
  • Co-living spaces and serviced apartments exist all across the world, making it easy to combine internet-based working with the experience of travelling.

Where to Live as a Digital Nomad

The digital nomad is someone who can work anywhere, provided there’s some power and a decent enough internet connection. Many freelancers fall into this category; writers, artists, photographers and website developers are all among those who are happy to open their laptop anywhere in the world and jump right in.

It can lead to a really diverse lifestyle, allowing you to live anywhere in the world, experience a whole host of new things, and gain opportunities that would have been simply impossible twenty years ago.

But where do you live?

The traditional route of buying a home and raising a family doesn’t necessarily suit the digital nomad (at least, not yet). Typically young and enthusiastic, these remote workers are looking for adventure before any sort of settling down. So, mortgages and long rental contracts are out.

Co-living spaces and serviced apartments are perfect options for the digital nomad. Borne out of similar needs, each is fully equipped with all the facilities a travelling worker would need – high-speed reliable internet connections, comfortable desk space plus, of course, a bed. 

Both co-living buildings and serviced apartments come fully furnished and with one fee that covers all bills – making it easy to manage your finances.

As it’s possible to find both co-living buildings and serviced apartments in almost every major city in the world, when you are looking for adventure while still maintaining an income and furthering your career, they truly are the answer to the need for a base.

Looking for somewhere to stay in London?

Book a Sanctum serviced apartment today.

The Difference Between Co-Living and Serviced Apartments

The main difference between serviced apartments and co-living spaces is in the word ‘serviced’. With serviced apartments coming from a more hotel-like model, many services and amenities are included to provide a similarly relaxed lifestyle. Serviced apartments, for example, have housekeeping services, laundry services and a concierge desk.

Co-living spaces are an improvement on the old shared house model, where young people (often students) share a building to keep bills low – separate bedrooms, but shared kitchen, bathroom, and living room areas. Today’s co-living spaces add a considerable amount of sparkle and shine to the basic idea, but they are similar in outlook.

Many digital nomads follow a path from co-living space to serviced apartment as they become more successful, trading the slightly cheaper option of a co-living space where they have to share facilities, to a more private serviced apartment when their roaming business is able to provide for it.

BathroomOften En-Suite, or SharedPrivate
Living AreaSharedPrivate
Working SpaceSharedPrivate
High-Speed Internet ConnectionYesYes
Concierge / Front Desk SupportSometimesYes
Additional Room for GuestsNoYes
Gym / Health FacilitiesSometimesOften
Cinema / EntertainmentSometimesOften

The Pros and Cons of Co-Living vs. Serviced Apartments

Much of the difference between co-living and serviced apartments is based around cost. With all its additional privacy and services included in a serviced apartment, they are a more expensive option than co-living. This extra expense, however, does mitigate the downsides of co-living such as:



Outside of your bedroom, co-living spaces are generally communal and privacy is low. If privacy is important to you then a serviced apartment is a far superior choice – certainly better than hiding out in your bedroom all the time.



Security for co-living spaces is typically well catered for, but there is no hiding the fact that you will be living among strangers and anyone they wish to invite into the space. The security of a serviced apartment is of paramount importance, ensuring that both you and your belongings are always safe.



Serviced apartments are far more spacious than most co-living environments. You have your own private kitchen and bathroom, as well as a separate living room. Where the space of serviced apartments is a huge improvement on co-living, is when you have a partner or family. Co-living spaces are very focused on single people and, though some offer options for couples, there is rarely room for children. Serviced apartments scale up to include multiple bedrooms for full family occupancy.



While serviced apartments typically include facilities such as a gym, on-site (or nearby) restaurants, and even room service, co-living spaces tend to be more minimal, with many simply having the bedroom and communal areas. If you are looking for a higher quality of amenities during your stay, then a serviced apartment is a far superior option.


Leasing Terms

Co-living spaces tend to set longer periods for leasing than serviced apartments. A typically co-living space lease will be three months or longer (though some do allow for one month stays), while serviced apartments (having grown from a hotel model) will typically allow bookings for as short as a single night. This makes serviced apartments more suitable for many short-term business travellers.

The Current Trends for the Digital Nomad Lifestyle

The growth of digital nomads isn’t limited to young adults starting their career, or full-time freelancers. Many businesses see the advantages in providing digital nomad lifestyles for their employees, expanding on the rise in work-from-home positions that has occurred in recent years. With companies more understanding of the need for their employees to be comfortable and well looked after (as well as being more willing to shoulder the cost), serviced apartments are well sought after for travelling workers.

The opportunity for ‘bleisure’, where business is combined with leisure, as well as the educational and mental health benefits of new environments, means that many people are looking to the sector for providing a superior working lifestyle.

Whether looking at becoming a digital nomad for an extended period of years, or just dipping into the world of working while travelling for a few weeks, co-living spaces and serviced apartments have much to offer.

Digital Nomads in London

At Sanctum, we offer premier serviced apartments in the heart of London. Our three locations offer the finest accommodation for business travellers and digital nomads with bookings available to accommodate any length of stay.

Experience a time working in London, splitting your time between the business of the day and all the exciting opportunities the thriving UK capital has to offer.

Book with us today to enjoy everything that’s included in a serviced apartment.

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