Could you retire to a hotel – or a cruise ship?

4 min | 12 June 2023

Janice Warman
Janice Warman

If you're not keen on moving into a retirement home, you could walk in the footsteps of celebrities who've seen out their twilight years in a hotel in later life – or choose to cruise on the ocean waves.

Many famous elderly people have lived in hotels, including Irish actor Richard Harris, who made a luxury London hotel his home for the last 28 years of his life.

It could cost less to live in a good hotel with meals delivered to your room, and help at the touch of a button, than it costs to live in a retirement home. So, could you opt for hotel life, or even go on a permanent cruise instead, on what is essentially a seaborne luxury hotel?

First, do your research

What does it cost to live in a retirement home? According to, care homes can cost over £1,500 per week, although the average residential care home will set you back up to £39,000 a year, and this goes up if you need nursing care.

When it comes to choosing a hotel, it’s important to check out its room rates and reviews, and visit to discuss your requirements with management. Few of us could afford a 5-star hotel, but the average daily rates for hotel rooms in December 2022 were £152.68 across the UK. This would come to £55,728.20 per year or £4,644.02 per month, although some hotels may offer long-term discounts.

Here’s another option: you could choose to spend your retirement on a permanent cruise travelling around the world whiletaking in stunning scenery. But what would it cost to go on a cruise? It 2017 it was estimated that the annual cost of retiring on a cruise is around £34,349 a year or £2,862.42 per month, which for a 12-month itinerary on 8 ships would include visiting places such as New Zealand, Singapore, the Caribbean, Vietnam, the French Riviera and Hawaii, with housekeeping service, 24-hour entertainment, nightly shows, gym and health club access, restaurants and spa treatments.

A hotel on the South Coast

Michael Scanlon is a retired geophysicist whose widowed mother now lives in a hotel on the South Coast near her 3 children. She had often stayed there when visiting her children, and in 2021, she came for Christmas and never went home.

He says it’s been a successful transition from her home in Dorset. 'She was living on her own, about a 3-hour drive away from us. She wasn't eating properly and was becoming increasingly isolated because she wasn't going out much. I wouldn't say that she was lonely where she was living – she had friends ­– but, of course, they were increasingly elderly and not able to visit as much. But we didn't want to move her into a retirement home, because she's quite an independent character.'

It's a family-run hotel, he says, which is set up for older people to live there independently. 'The benefit is that you get three meals a day in the restaurant, which means that there's a bit of structure to the day. She comes down for the meals and there's a lounge where there's a bit of a community, so it's transformed her life.'

'It's probably taken 5 years off her, moving back into quite an active community. She's settled in, she's got her friends, and every day she walks along the promenade. She's turning 94 soon.'

Remaining independent

In the hotel, she has a suite of her own, with a bathroom, kitchen, sitting room, bedroom and a view from the bay window over the sea. 'What is important for us is for her to retain her agency, which means her sense of being independent. She's got her own front door, but all her meals are prepared for her, and everything is taken care of.'

'She can comfortably afford the hotel, which provides full board for £3,600 a month (£43,000 per year), but we were looking at something like £6,000 pounds a month (£72,000 per year) for her to go into a decent care home nearby.'

When your care needs change as you get older, if your medical needs aren't too severe, you don't have to end up in a care home. You could find a new sense of adventure and choose a path of greater freedom: a hotel, in the UK or abroad, or a luxury home on the high seas. Just be sure to do some planning and calculations.

Disclaimer: The Hub is intended as a knowledge portal to provide information on a range of topics, including financial products and lifestyle management. These articles are not financial advice. Articles may reference products and services which Chase UK does not currently offer.

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