Sonder is a short term apartment rental service for people who want amenities most hotels don’t have but want the consistency in experience Airbnb lacks. I recently rented a Sonder apartment in New York City and found they take some of the best from Airbnb and hotels but the end results aren’t as good as they could be. You can watch my full review in the video above or read on.

Sonder Rising

Sonder was founded in 2014 and now operates in 40 cities around the world with the aim to be a the homestay of hotels. They basically buy up apartments in cities where Sonder operates, then registers them as hotels. Most Sonder listings look a lot like traditional temporary accommodation from the outside but when you walk in you find mailboxes for individual units, like you would an apartment while there are services like complimentary toilet paper and housekeeping, hotel style.

sonder apartment

Many Sonder rentals have kitchens, refrigerators, and laundry machines but that’s not always the case, so you’ll want to review the specific rental amenities before booking.

Online Experience Excels

One thing that Sonder does well is the booking experience. You can search for apartments on their site or mobile app and rentals can be booked for days, weeks, or months. Trying to figure out what’s available isn’t always clear though as Sonder likes to show you a lot of choices in a given location without automatically removing options that are already booked.

Once you do find a place though Sonder lists out the total price you’ll end up paying, including taxes, fees, and any discounts. Having the final price listed makes for a much better experience when booking with Sonder. In contrast, Airbnb tacks on cleaning fees can be as much as the rental rate and hotels too can throw some hidden fees at you in the last minute. With Sonder you know how much things cost throughout the apartment search.

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Checking In Sonder Style

Check in and check out times are similar to hotels and you can adjust them by a few hours for a small fee if you’re arriving early or need a late check out. Once you’ve booked the Sonder app is the best way to manage your stay. You’ll get the access code to the building and your room, as well as the option to use your phone as a mobile key to get inside. The address is listed as are requests for services like cleaning or to report any issues. You can also get in touch with support who are quick to respond and everything else you need like wifi passwords are all in the app as well. (The wifi is also very fast, around 350 Mbps download.)

sonder new york city

Sonder isn’t like The Blueground, a premium long term apartment rental service I’ve previously reviewed, where the furniture, kitchen, and appliances are all better quality and the shortest rental term is one month. So although you can rent a Sonder for over 30 days and you get discounts the longer your stay – especially past 45 days, I’m not sure in every location Sonder has a presence it’s the best long term accommodation option for travelers.

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When To Sonder

Sonder is a good option for more expensive cities, like New York City, where you’re going to be staying for more than a few days. If you’re staying for a day or two, having a kitchen and fridge you can stock up probably won’t save you much money versus eating out, you should do some pricing comparisons with nearby hotels and and Airbnb.

But for stays of a few days or a week or two, where a trip to the grocery store is going to save you money on food over time, particularly if you want to cook or save money on laundry fees, than a Sonder might be a better choice in those circumstances. Their rates are pretty competitive with hotels and they’re usually in or very close to popular touristic parts of the cities they operate in.

Sonder is an option to check out if you want the hotel experience plus the perks that might save you money where it’s available. For longer stays though, especially over a few weeks, you might want to expand your search to some other booking sites.