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5 Reasons to Retire in a Hotel
Yes, people do retire in hotels. It is not the most economical way to retire, but it can be done for about the price of a middle class lifestyle because many expenses, including home maintenance and utilities, disappear. People are routinely living into their 80s and 90s these days, so there is a lot of time between quitting work and moving into assisted living. Why not spend the time enjoying the luxuries of a hotel?
As long as you continue to pay the bill and are not throwing wild parties every night, many hotels are happy to have you stay for as long as you would like. Some specialty hotel chains, including Extended Stay America, even cater specifically to people who want to stay in a hotel long-term. And if you are single, why not bring a friend and share the costs?
The word hotel can actually mean anything from a roadside motel to a 5-star high-rise. Prices vary accordingly, as do amenities included in that price. In a lower-end motel/hotel, the costs can be as low as $39 per night in Tempe, $55 per night in Tampa and $49 per night in Albuquerque. Senior discounts may lower the price even more.
Even in nicer hotels it is possible to negotiate prices. Hotels are often only half full, so having a mature, well-behaved guest willing to pay for a longer period at a negotiated price is something many hotels appreciate. Keep in mind, though, that a hotel might want a higher rate during holidays and that rates in warm weather destinations go up in the winter. All hotels have online customer reviews, you can check out a place before making a reservation. However, long term prices are usually not found online. Calling the hotel is the way to get the best price.
So what are the benefits of a hotel retirement?
1) Daily or weekly maid service and fresh linens are standard. These alone should be enough reason to consider a hotel, but there are other amenities, too, such as free utilities, free cable TV, a free daily newspaper and often free wireless internet service. There may be a pool, a fitness center and a business center. Parking is free. The daily Continental breakfast is usually free, as is the coffee in the room. Hotels designed for extended stays usually have washers and dryers on site. These are not free but cost the same as any standard Laundromat. You can even get your mail delivered to your hotel's front desk.
Just the included utilities, cable TV and wi-fi are a savings. Conveniences such as dry cleaning often have an associated cost, but they are nice to have if needed. Stay away from the snack bar, though. Eating the little packages of cookies and drinking the little bottles of wine can get expensive.
2) Cooking chores are greatly reduced when living in a hotel. Although hotels designed for extended stays have kitchens, and regular hotel rooms may have a refrigerator and a microwave oven, eating in the downstairs restaurant or ordering room service are the standard hotel dining options. The hotel chef, not you, does most of the cooking.
3) Living in a hotel is a very freeing experience since it most likely means that you have sold your house and many of your belongings. Or at the very least you have rented your house to friends and put all of your possessions in storage. True, letting go of your "stuff" is not always easy. You have developed attachments to the six slice toaster and the lamp that you got at that garage sale in your 20s. Stuff, though, weighs you down and keeps you rooted in the past. If the idea of a hotel room without all of your stuff seems too impersonal, then keep your most important items. Place them in your hotel room to make it feel more like home.
4) Most people stay in a hotel because they are traveling or on vacation. There is no reason that you cannot do the same thing. In fact, moving from hotel to hotel, without having to worry if you left the stove on or stopped the newspaper delivery back home, is a great way to see the world during retirement. Or choose a hotel in three or four favorite towns and cities and rotate between them throughout the year. Stay in a Florida hotel in the winter, a Michigan hotel in the summer, a North Carolina hotel in the spring and a Vermont hotel in the autumn. That way the weather is always favorable, and the scenery is always changing.
5) Retirement in a hotel means that you are never completely alone. Maids and attendants come and go. New people are always in the restaurant or bar. Nicer hotels have concierge services to meet your needs. If you ever need help, you just call the front desk and ask for it.
Is a hotel retirement for everyone? No. Is it a cheap way to retire? Not necessarily. But it is an option, something different from the traditional 55+ community or staying in the same old house you have been in for the last 30 years. When the job is done, and the kids are gone, why not check into a hotel? Chef-prepared meals, free cable TV and perpetually clean sheets await.
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