Want to work from a hotel? Make sure it has these 7 things
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Like many of you, TPG staffers from across the U.S. have turned to hotels and resorts to stand in as their office for a day, a week or a month. While this desire for a change of scenery may have been prompted by the pandemic, it’s likely that the “work from hotel” trend will stay with us long after our traditional office spaces open once again.
All of the major hotel chains, from Hyatt to Marriott to Hilton, have rolled out packages to accommodate those that just need a place to work during the day as well as those that require overnight lodging. These offerings have helped countless people break the monotony of working from home, helped them be more productive and kept them on the path of earning elite status. TPG’s Scott Mayerowitz tried the work-from-hotel packages from Hilton, Hyatt and Marriott and outlined the pros and cons.
It’s different booking a hotel for work instead of play and there are some things to know before you do so. A hotel that’s missing certain features and amenities can make the workday less than enjoyable. Let’s review the seven things a hotel should have before you count on it to be your perfect office-away-from-office.
A bonafide work-from-hotel package
Many hotel brands have tapped into the work-from-hotel revolution and offer packages that make it easier — and sometimes cheaper — to book a hotel for the purpose of work. There are two types of packages to look for: those that offer daytime use of a hotel room for work purposes and those that offer longer-term stays that include overnight accommodations.
Day-use packages generally include a generous workday (Hyatt’s Office for the Day and Marriott’s Day Pass offer a set 12-hour block, for example), free (sometimes high-speed) Wi-Fi, access to the hotel’s business center (for printers, scanners, fax machines, etc.) and use of the hotel’s amenities, such as the pool and spa. Then, additional perks — such as free water, coffee or tea and discounted parking and food and beverages — are added from there.
The cool thing about these packages is that they more often than not allow you to earn points in the brand’s loyalty program and count toward elite status. Check the terms of your booking to be sure.
Here’s what the major brands are offering:
- Day rooms for work: Work from Hyatt — Office for the Day, starting at $65 per day
- 5-plus nights: Work from Hyatt
- 29-plus nights: Work from Hyatt — The Great Relocate
Fast and reliable Wi-Fi
This is a no-brainer and you’d think, in 2021, that most hotels would provide a fast and reliable connection to the internet. But that’s not always the case. Some hotels offer two tiers of Wi-Fi: regular and then a faster “premium” version, which usually costs more. (At Marriott hotels, for example, Wi-Fi is free in the lobby and to Bonvoy members, but it costs $14.95 per day to upgrade to high-speed internet.)
Remember, too, that location matters when it comes to internet connectivity. More remote places are likely to have slower Wi-Fi speeds while you’ll see faster options in big cities. According to ISP.com, Singapore has the fastest internet speeds, averaging at 153.85 Mbps, while a remote island could get a speed as slow as 3.61 Mbps.
For comparison’s sake, a speed test of my home internet confirmed a download speed of 280.3 Mbps. According to Google, that’s a very fast internet connection that “should be able to handle multiple devices streaming HD videos, video conferencing and gaming at the same time.” On the other hand, my home upload speed is 22.9 Mbps.
Most people only need to concern themselves with internet download speed, which affects how fast information gets to you. For example, how quickly you can open a webpage or download a file. But, if your job requires that you upload large documents to a server, you also want a fast upload speed.
ISP.com tested internet speeds across hotel brands (testing in 10 different cities) and here’s how the major players ranked:
- Ritz-Carlton: 76.2 Mbps
- Marriott: 45.9 Mbps
- Holiday Inn/Holiday Inn Express: 42.1 Mpbs
- Best Western: 32.4 Mbps
- InterContinental: 30.7 Mbps
- Westin: 28 Mbps
- Sheraton: 22.3 Mbps
- Four Seasons: 22.1 Mbps
- Hyatt: 20.8 Mbps
- Hilton: 16.2 Mbps
Before you book a hotel for the sole purpose of working remotely, call to inquire about their internet. And a quick scan of reviews may be able to shed light on if the property has sluggish Wi-Fi. No mention in the reviews likely means it’s pretty good. If the connection is terrible or if it’s difficult to even connect to the Wi-Fi, people will definitely comment on it.
Ergonomic worktables and chairs
Depending on why you’re visiting a hotel, you’ll have different requirements for the furniture. If you’re planning on a romantic date night with dinner delivered by room service, you want an appropriate dining table and chairs. Likewise, if you’re planning on a productive workday in the room, you need a desk of the proper height and a comfortable chair. A poor desk setup can cause arm, hand, wrist, back and neck pain after prolonged use.
If you’re between 5’8″ and 5’10”, you should be fine using a traditional work desk that’s between 28 and 30 inches high. If you’re much shorter or taller, that might not be ideal, but better than sitting on a sofa and crouching over the coffee table.
It’s nice when a hotel pairs a desk with an ergonomic chair that’s meant for an office setting. However, at resorts, you often won’t find that since those chairs may not be as aesthetically pleasing as a traditional side chair (the type you may use at your dining table at home).
Before you book a room for remote work, study the photos on the hotel’s website. Will that setup work for you? If there is an office chair in the room, the website may tell you what brand. CNET (owned by Red Ventures, the parent company of TPG) gives high ranks to office chairs from Hbada, Serta, Herman Miller and even AmazonBasics.
Of course, not everyone enjoys the traditional desk-and-chair approach to the workday. If you’re the type that’s happy as a clam sitting cross-legged on the sofa with your laptop perched on your knees, the type of desk and chair in the room won’t matter as much to you.
A room’s lighting — or lack thereof — is my pet peeve in any hotel room. I prefer a brightly lit room whenever I work and even when I’m simply on vacation. Yet, so many hotel rooms have no overhead lighting and rely on a series of floor and desk lamps that have low-wattage bulbs.
If lighting is an issue for you, there are a few things you can do to ensure the room you book will work for your purposes. Rely on natural lighting. To do this, make sure to ask for a room that gets morning to afternoon sun. At least then, if the lighting in the room underwhelms you, you can still throw open the curtains to let a little sunshine in.
If the weather is pleasant where you’re booking, splurge for a room with a balcony and you may enjoy a few hours working at the provided table and chair. (Just check out photos of the balcony on the hotel’s website in advance. Not all balconies are outfitted with tables high enough to accommodate a laptop or writing papers.)
Peace and quiet
You’re at the hotel to work, so you probably don’t want a 24/7 party atmosphere. When checking in, ask for a quiet room. What does that mean? Well, if you’re working from a hotel in Miami Beach during spring break, you probably don’t want a room overlooking the pool or outdoor bar. Or, if you’re working in a big city, you might want to ask for a room on a high floor to minimize the noise of traffic, ambulance sirens and car horns.
Each hotel will have its own sweet spots in terms of quiet rooms. Rely on the check-in agent to help you select the quietest option for a day of work.
A gym, pool, beach or spa
One thing we all know is that it’s not healthy to sit at a desk all day long. Whether you’re working at home or elsewhere, it’s wise to break up the day with some exercise. While that could be as simple as a walk around the resort’s grounds, it’s awesome if you can make use of the hotel pool, beach or fitness center. When you’re looking at potential work-from-hotel options, check out the recreational opportunities. Since you’re in a guest room, it’s easy to work up a sweat at the gym or take a dip in the pool midday because you can take a quick shower in the room before returning to your desk.
And, if you’re stressed out, perhaps a spa treatment is just what you need as a midday break. Some work-from-hotel packages even include discounts on facials, massages and other treatment options.
Food and beverage availability
Food and drinks: There’s no doubt you’ll seek out both during your work-from-hotel excursion. Some hotels include a bottle of water and some snacks in their packages and you’ll grab that to-go bag at check-in. Other hotels may preemptively stock your room with complimentary water, coffee and tea. But you may want an actual meal.
Hyatt’s Office for the Day package includes a 15% discount on all other food and beverages purchased on-site. Its longer-term Work from Hyatt package includes a daily food and beverage credit (differs per resort and length of stay).
Marriott’s Day Pass package includes lounge access (where a lounge is available) for Platinum Elite, Titanium Elite and Ambassador Elite members. Depending on the property’s current COVID-19 policies, you may be able to pick up drinks and snacks in the lounge too.
If you’d prefer room service or dining at the hotel’s restaurant — either indoors or out — be sure to check with the property before booking to be sure those services and venues are available during your stay.
Some of us crave these work-from-hotel packages to get a break from home — and sometimes the noisy people that inhabit it — during the day. Others are ready to hit the road and work elsewhere for an extended period of time. All of the major hotel chains can help you find the ideal hotel or resort to break the monotony of life under the thumb of COVID-19. Just be sure to do some research before booking to be sure the amenities in the room and throughout the property will work for your stay — whether that’s just 12 hours or several days.
Featured photo of the Park Hyatt Washington D.C. courtesy of Hyatt.
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