ISSUE #19 | THE PIE REVIEW | 51
“IF YOU CAN’T see your breath in the mor-ning,
you’re not having a true student expe-rience,”
my former housemate once said when
we were discussing whether to put the heating on when it
was zero degrees Celsius one British winter.
How times have changed. Or have they? Luxury student
housing is certainly on the rise in many global cities,
with companies such as The Student Hotel, Unite, Yara
Students and Campus Living Villages becoming known as
operators that are providing private gyms, cinemas and
modern hang out spots for international students willing to
pay more for additional amenities.
Investment in student accommodation assets has been
estimated at £4.1bn in the UK alone and considered an
investment that can outperform commercial property
investment in terms of yield. There are still two students
for every one purpose-built bed space in the UK, according
to industry title Development Finance Today. Which means
that investors are still eyeing up student housing as a safe
But how does this filter through to the typical expe-rience
of living abroad and how does experience differ
across the many countries and cities that are now home to
New normal in the UK
According to Kristian Else, founder of British accommoda-tion
review site hallbookers.co.uk, the top providers are the
“luxury brands” that are forward-thinking and have honed
their offering to accommodate any demands they imagine
the modern student might have.
“Libraries in the private student halls, top-notch wifi that
doesn’t cut out and a community where students can easily
make friends, fit in and provide a safe and secure, conve-nient,
easy lifestyle,” he summarises.
Else set up his comparison website in 2014, after living in
a property run by Unite in the UK as an international stu-dent,
and witnessing a “real discontentment” from students
with the quality of the accommodation. Unite is now one
brand he lists under the “forward-thinking” banner. “There
are definitely still complaints and we wouldn’t put them as
the top hall provider but I’d say that they’ve improved,” he
explains. Others on his list in the UK include Chapter, Pewer,
CRM, IQ, Victoria Halls and Student Castle.
Else explains that the main complaints that his website
users have with some of their accommodation providers are
around the modern life essential of internet connection: poor
wifi. But also bad customer service, treating customers like
children and a lack of social atmosphere in the halls.