At the Park Hyatt in Washington, D.C., I had to resist. No swaddling in the plush bathrobe. No running a hot bath. No clicking through the movie channels. No vacation-style activities.
After months of working from my apartment, staring at the same sickly plant, I wanted a change of scenery and indoor flora. So I booked a day at the hotel and turned Room 415 into my office. The reporter will see you now.
Before the coronavirus pandemic, leisure travelers typically reserved daytime stays if they had long layovers or evening flights. The hotels were often near an international airport, so guests could rest and shower before hopping on a shuttle and jetting off to their next destination. Business travelers also occupied hotels during the working hours, using the properties’ conference rooms or executive suites as satellite offices. During the global crisis, however, a new type of traveler has emerged: the accidental digital nomad. To accommodate the needs of remote workers, hotels are flipping their reservation times and touting their office amenities over their R&R perks, many of which are closed or limited anyhow.
“Most hotels will be open to something like this,” said John S. Fareed, managing director of North America at Horwath HTL, a consulting firm that specializes in hospitality, tourism and leisure. “Some are really going for it and promoting it. Others are going with the flow. But right now, I think this should be a priority.”
Red Roof Inn was at the forefront of the WFH trend, with the “H” standing for “hotel.” The budget chain introduced its Work Under Our Roof promotion in late March. The initial deal was optimistic: It expired on May 31. The company has since extended the deadline to the end of the year. The weekday rate starts at $39 and includes a guest room from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., local and long-distance phone calls, a fax machine, workstation and coffee maker, depending on the room. Pets are also invited, as long as your cat or dog doesn’t chew the office furniture.
Since then, more properties have jumped into the carpool lane. In downtown Washington, the Hamilton Hotel’s Work from Hamilton package includes a room or suite from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., Starbucks breakfast, and access to the PressReader, a digital news source with more than 7,000 publications in 200 languages. Guests who sign up for Fig Works Perks at the Hotel Figueroa in Los Angeles receive accommodations from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., parking, high-speed Wi-Fi, use of a copy machine, and an in-room coffee machine and refrigerator. Just imagine: No one will poach your leftover pasta salad or accuse you of leaving a dirty coffee mug in the sink.
A few hospitality companies are going even further and proposing a lifestyle revolution. CitizenM, for one, recently unveiled two programs that might tempt you to break your lease and re-home your house plants. With Global Passport, subscribers can book up to 30 consecutive days at CitizenM’s 21 properties