The Hotels Reimagining Their Rooms as Stylish Work Spaces

Throughout the pandemic, the hospitality industry has found new ways to attract and serve guests — including providing them with a desk for the day.

A room at the Ace Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles.
Credit...Spencer Lowell

For some people fortunate enough to be working from home during the pandemic, forgoing a commute and sending emails from the living room has been a surprisingly welcome adjustment. For others — especially those sharing small spaces with loved ones — not so much. Where can you take a call when every room in your home is occupied by another family member, when a pipe bursts or when deafening jackhammering begins outside your window? Hotels, which have been hit hard during this time of social distancing and travel restrictions, have in recent months begun offering a possible solution, repositioning their rooms — in some instances by actually swapping out beds for luxurious desks and comfortable chairs — as picturesque offices in which to work in peace for a reduced day rate.

Some properties are also treating their day guests to additional perks. In New York and Los Angeles, many are including a complimentary in-room meal and, in at least one case, soothing, specially curated Spotify playlists, while in London, others are repurposing their gardens as open-air offices and assigning staff members to assist with everything from printing to tech difficulties. In Milan and Tokyo, bonuses might include unlimited coffee or even free yoga classes. Of course, not every hotel has been able to adapt in this way (in Paris, for instance, lockdowns have made this sort of operation largely impossible) but it allows those that can to get people into their rooms — while allowing guests to get out of theirs, if only for a day. Here, a roundup of some of the most work-friendly hotels in a handful of major cities around the world.

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Credit...Simon Brown
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Credit...Courtesy of the Langham, New York

The Crosby Street Hotel, located on a quiet cobblestone stretch of SoHo, is making its 86 rooms and suites — designed by the creative director Kit Kemp and each outfitted with a writing desk and floor-to-ceiling windows with views of Manhattan — available for special day rates (starting at $595) exclusively for members of the co-working space NeueHouse. Working guests are welcomed with tea or coffee, and have access to private areas that are usually reserved for those staying the night: the gym, library, drawing room and honesty bar. The Beekman in Lower Manhattan has created a new members-only club, the Raven, its name a playful nod to the fact that Edgar Allan Poe first published his newspaper, The Broadway Journal, in the building in 1845. Membership (starting at $250 for a day pass and $995 for a five-day pass) allows access to private offices set in guest suites with expansive living rooms and aged oak flooring, all located off the spectacular, nine-story atrium. The offer also includes daytime use of the rooftop terraces and in-room dining credits for the hotel’s Temple Court restaurant, which is overseen by the chef Tom Colicchio. And for Midtown Manhattan residents, the polished, contemporary Langham is giving overnight guests half-price rates on conjoining rooms to use as an office or a private fitness studio (the staff will even outfit the additional room with Technogym equipment, free weights and yoga mats).

ImageThe rooftop at the Santa Monica Proper in Los Angeles.
Credit...Courtesy of Design Hotels

In Downtown Los Angeles, locals can now work in the splendor of the renovated 1920s-era Spanish Colonial manor that houses the Hotel Figueroa. A day pass to the property, which costs $129 (with the option to extend to an overnight stay for an additional $20), includes access to one of its 268 suites, each complete with a living area, an executive writing desk and free printing. In between meetings, guests can enjoy workouts on Peloton bikes in the hotel’s fitness center, which overlooks the courtyard, or lounge beside the pool. The Line, which is located between Hollywood and Downtown in the heart of Koreatown, also has a pool perfect for taking a casual call or just a break, as well as a serene second-floor garden terrace, and makes things easy for a new breed of commuters with its free valet service (a day pass costs $89). Nearby, at the Ace Hotel, half- or full-day passes ($75 and $125, respectively) translate to Wi-Fi-equipped, water-stocked work spaces in rooms — outfitted with vintage furnishings and turntables, along with a collection of records selected by the store Amoeba Music — and vouchers for coffee and after-work cocktails. Perhaps the most ideally located option is the Santa Monica Proper, which is within walking distance of the beach. The hotel’s rooftop restaurant, Calabra, which serves California-style Mediterranean cuisine, now doubles as an open-air, ocean-view communal office open to members of NeueHouse, who are also eligible for discounted rates on massages and yoga.

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Credit...Simon Brown
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Credit...Courtesy of the Hoxton

Taking things one step further, the modern, design-conscious Hoxton in Southwark is now host to its own co-working space, which occupies six floors of the property. Set near Blackfriars Bridge, with views of the Thames River, it offers various membership tiers ranging from single day passes ($40) to long-term access to open library desks or private studios (starting at $400 per month). At the cozy Ham Yard in Soho, day visitors (inquire for rates) are able to use the property’s library and verdant courtyard garden as meeting spaces. Guest rooms are available for remote work, too, each one light and airy and equipped with a writing desk and a selection of drinks that are replenished throughout the day. Set, fittingly, in the city’s business district, in a renovated 1920s bank, the Ned offers a daily rate ($399) for its glamorous suites, which have dedicated working areas, as well as lunch at any of the property’s nine ground-floor restaurants — more enticing food options than most office workers will be used to. Meanwhile, the Rosewood, in High Holborn, provides a special work package (starting at $794) that includes an overnight stay and the services of its expert butler team — who can help coordinate conference calls and even child-minding. When the day is over, this level of care continues with complimentary access to the spa and sauna, and discounted cocktails.

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Credit...Courtesy of Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group
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Credit...Courtesy of Dorcester Collection

Located in the magnificent 19th-century Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II shopping arcade, the Galleria Vik Milano has created a special working retreat package: for a special rate (starting at $220), you can spend the day in one of the hotel’s 89 opulent rooms and suites appointed, in some cases, with site-specific artworks, including original frescoes. Printing and an in-room coffee station are part of the deal, and lunch can be ordered through room service for an additional fee. Nearby, adjacent to the Scala Theater, the elegant Mandarin Oriental is providing guests with half-price rates (starting at $490) that include the use of rooms as private offices, as well as a dining credit for the Mandarin Bar & Bistrot, and access to the property’s fitness center. Not far from there, another dose of daytime glamour can be found at the grand neo-Classical-style Principe di Savoia, where guests will find a fresh bouquet of flowers and fine stationery waiting atop the antique desk in their room — along with a minibar and pantry stocked with croissants and cakes prepared by the in-house pastry chefs. For a more formal lunch, there is Il Salotto, the lobby restaurant, which serves cold-pressed juices, pizzas and housemade pastas (day rates start at $720).

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Credit...Courtesy of Global Agents

At the luxurious Park Hyatt Tokyo in Shinjuku, guests can work at a property designed by the Pritzker Prize-winning architect Kenzo Tange: for a day rate ($464), the staff will turn any of the hotel’s 177 rooms, many of which provide views of the Tokyo skyline or Tokyo Bay, into an office. Each features a minibar filled with Japanese whiskies, and chocolates made in the downstairs pastry boutique (access to the property’s all-hours business center, which is equipped with everything from Japanese-English laptops to video recorders, is also part of the package). The Grand Hyatt Tokyo, meanwhile, located in the city’s international business district, Roppongi, offers rooms with expansive mahogany desks. The hotel was already known as a great place to get work done, but a special day rate ($500) now includes breakfast and a roughly $100 credit for a future overnight stay. What’s more, the property’s bathrooms are equipped with large ofuro soaking tubs, making a luxurious midday bath a tempting possibility.