(I may earn a small commission on the products mentioned in this post.)
If you’re planning a vacation to the beach you’ve likely spent a few hours doing your research. You’ve scouted out the activities you’ll be doing, and triple checked the weather forecast.
You’ve also started looking at places to stay. There will be plenty to choose from, or the selection might be scarce if you’re going during a holiday weekend.
- Should you stay on the beach or a few blocks away?
- Should you rent a beach house or stay in a hotel?
These questions will depend on a few factors, such as how many people are in your group and if you prefer to eat out or cook your own meals.
- Will you be going out at night?
- Will you want to wake up with a morning dip in the ocean?
In this article, we’ll review the pros and cons of staying in a beach hotel vs a beach rental. Either way you choose won’t be bad – after all, you’ll be enjoying yourself at the beach!
Why It Matters: Beach House (rental) vs Beach Hotel
Before we break down the pros and cons of a beach hotel vs a beach rental, let’s take a moment to understand why it matters.
First, price plays a big role in the decisions we make and there are often big differences.
Second, how much space will you need (in a hotel you get separate rooms versus sharing in a rental).
Third, availability will impact your decision (off season vs high season)
Fourth, cooking can be done in a rental but it’s more of a challenge in a hotel room.
A Beach House
Beach house rentals have been around for years, but only recently has their availability increased.
Well, prior to the internet people who wanted to rent a beach house had to go through a property management company where they had to sign a paper, put down a deposit, and ensure the house would be well-taken care of.
Technology has come a long way and the internet has allowed people from all over the world to reserve beach homes at the click of a button. Property managers might still exist, but the paperwork and payment processing has become streamlined.
- More variety (not a cookie cutter hotel room)
- Live like a local
- More space
- Great for families and large groups
- Usually cheaper, especially with large groups
- Ability to cook in a kitchen
- Better selection of homes near the beach
- Often walking distance to the beach
- Free beach parking – usually 2 places
- Usually free-to-use beach gear (boards, snorkels, games)
- Backyard and pool (sometimes)
- Price negotiation
- Requires deposit
- Requires cleaning fee
- Expectations to clean up after yourself (not like a hotel)
- If something doesn’t work you can’t call the “front desk”
- No free breakfast
- No onsite restaurant
- Less opportunity to meet other travelers
- Harder to have expectations for the house
Beach rentals aren’t always perfect and I’ve had problems with the owners of the house I’ve rented. Recently I stayed at an AirBnB near Disneyland. The house and amenities were excellent! There was everything we could have wanted and the kids loved the pingpong table and all the toys for the pool.
What wasn’t appreciated was a stack of paperwork that was brought over by the owner to sign (this should have been done well in advance of the trip). The owner stopped by the house multiple times and even had cameras in the backyard so everything we did outside could be seen.
This didn’t sit well with my family. The lesson I learned: each house and experience will be different, depending on the owners.
A Beach Hotel
Beach hotels have been around much longer than rentals as a place traveler’s stay on vacation. Beach hotels are convenient because they employ onsite staff to answer your questions and make sure your stay is enjoyable.
If you’re the type of person that utilizes room service, then a hotel might be best for you. Hotels also have tours and packages available for guests.
- Amenities (expected options like pool, exercise room)
- Free breakfast
- Privacy (sharing a building but not sharing rooms)
- Tours options
- Free shuttles to airport/beaches
- No deposit
- Don’t have to worry about cleaning up after yourself
- Free cancellation (depends)
- Usually a good location for walking, restaurants, or views
- Easier to meet other guests
- Membership points and rewards
- Hotels usually have less personality
- No kitchen to use
- Feels less homey
- Can be generic (cookie cutter rooms)
- More expensive for large groups (more rooms, more expense)
- Won’t have beach gear to use (probably can rent)
- Pricing is heavily seasonal
- Can’t negotiate the price
- More expensive for balcony or view
So there you have it. A beach hotel vs a beach house (rental) is a decision you’ll have to make if you’re traveling with family.
For me, the deciding factor is cost, however, if I know the location well and I know the hotel, I can make a decision based on experience.
The number of people in your group will be important as big groups do well with beach rentals.
Hotels are usually better for individuals, couples, and small families and people know what to expect. If you travel a lot for work, you likely have miles and credit at certain hotel chains – this goes a long way to keep people loyal to certain brands.
I find that I like the rentals best because I get a better feel for the community. I blend in and have more privacy than I’d have at a large hotel. I find there’s often more control over location as well. Beach rentals are spread out.
Although some are right on the water, others are hidden in quiet areas a stones-throw from the beach (this are the place I like). Beach rentals are a great way to explore a community in a way that can’t be done if staying in a hotel.
I hope this article on beach hotel vs beach rental (house) answered some of your questions and highlighted the pros and cons of each. It’s a much different experience depending on the type of accommodation you choose.
Good luck planning your adventure and enjoy the beach!