Monday, August 5, 2013

Our Rental Experience

I spent hours upon hours planning our recent trip to Scandinavia. More time than I’ve ever spent planning a trip before, actually. For some reason, a lot of the logistics of this trip just didn’t fall into place as easy as one would think. More on that in a future post.

I usually start my trip planning by researching our lodging options (which, for our family, is almost always a rental property.) I was scouring some of the larger property rental websites and not finding much that looked suitable for us. Then, as I was perusing a guidebook I checked out from the library, it listed as a good option for properties for the Copenhagen portion of our trip.

Bingo. I found several apartments that were perfect for us. All at prices that were reasonable, very much in line with what I was seeing on other websites. And often cheaper than a hotel stay.

Our home away from home in Copenhagen.

The property we chose, Nansensgade 50, seemed custom-made for our family.

Here's why:

-Location. We did so much exploring and sightseeing in Copenhagen (I can’t wait to share more!) We never once took public transit because we could walk everywhere from the apartment. That alone was a huge cost savings in a very expensive part of the world. Besides being close to the sites we wanted to see, we were also within a few blocks of several grocery stores, restaurant options, even a large market. And I highly recommend the Thai takeout directly next door. One of our best meals!

-Space and floor plan. This was an incredibly spacious apartment given typical European standards. We had room to spread out and be comfortable, unpack, get toys out, etc. There were two living rooms (adjoining), a very large kitchen that opened into the dining area. The boys ran lap after lap around the apartment and we never felt crowded. Enormous windows in almost every room let in tons of natural light.

This chair in one of the two lounges was a big hit with all of us. I even fell asleep in it! 
The bedroom situation was also ideal for our family. Two separate bedrooms, but the second is then separated into two smaller bedrooms. So the boys each had their own room to sleep in.

Master bedroom.
-Cleanliness and convenience. The apartment was very clean upon our arrival (I wish I could say we left it that way!) Fresh linens and towels for each family member were on the beds ready to be used. A staff member of Apartment in Copenhagen met us upon arrival and showed us around the apartment. Instructions were left by the apartment owners with all the details we needed (what to do with trash, free Wifi, etc.)

-Toys. Two little boys live in this apartment when it’s not being rented out. So there were several bins of toys that my boys really enjoyed playing with. I loved that it meant I could save some of the activities I had packed for later in the trip or the flight home. It also meant that when we were “home” at the apartment, my husband and I could truly relax and not be constant entertainers. The apartment was particularly great for Little Arrow (19 months) because it was essentially childproof. (We only had to move a few breakables out of reach.)

Playing in one of the children's bedrooms.
If the sign of a great place is how your kids feel, then I can tell you each morning we had to beg them to leave so that we could go out and see the city. They would have been content to stay at the apartment all day!

A few things to note:
-There is no microwave. (This is apparently common in Europe.) So if you plan to heat up leftovers like we did, you’ll have to do so on the stovetop or in the oven.

-The bathroom is small. Again, not unusual for Europe. But a very tight squeeze if you’re trying to clean up kids in the shower.

-One of the beds in the children’s bedroom is quite small. My 1-year-old fit without any problems. But I think any child over the age of 4 or 5 would be too big for it.

-The unit is up one flight of stairs. We parked our stroller in the courtyard during the day (which is locked off from the street). And we carried it up to our apartment each night. Not a big deal, but just something to be aware of.

One of the best unexpected benefits from renting this property is that we felt like we got to live like a local, even if just for a few nights. We observed a neighborhood dinner one night in the courtyard. Saw others in the building coming and going to work each morning and afternoon. Passed by Danish families in the stairwell. It was a nice way to get a different glimpse of Copenhagen than we would have at a hotel or a dedicated vacation property.

Oh, and did I mention there’s a gelato shop on the same block? These are the things that make a vacation truly memorable, people.

More details on this particular property are available here, including a calendar of availability.. 

Disclosure: Apartment in Copenhagen provided my family a complimentary stay at their property. All opinions about the experience are my own. I chose the apartment in which we stayed.