On any given weekday, you can walk into the lobby of the Public Hotel in New York or the Santa Monica Proper Hotel in Los Angeles and almost always find people sitting on couches, sipping lattes in front of their open laptops, working. It’s almost serene — inspiring, even — in a way that most people’s homes or offices will never be.
Briani Callender, a New York-based casting producer and content creator, works from hotels three or four days a week. She describes her favorite hotel lobby, The Beekman in New York City, as awe-inspiring.
“It has the same awe as your first time like walking into The Plaza,” Callender says, referring to a historic luxury hotel in midtown Manhattan. “It’s just very intricately designed and very thoughtfully put together.”
The atmosphere is one of the reasons remote workers and freelancers are taking advantage of hotels, especially boutique and high-design hotels in cities, as another space for productivity. These workers aren’t necessarily digital nomads. Some are just looking to get outside of the house.
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Michelle Fang, head of social at Safara, a curated hotel booking platform, said in an email that she’s noticed more people working from third spaces — outside of work and home — over the past few years.
“Remote workers were cooped up at home for so long during the pandemic, but not quite ready to return to a ‘cookie cutter’ workplace,” Fang said. “So third spaces like hotel lobbies rose in popularity, especially as hotel lobbies were already designed with the frequent, working traveler in mind.”
And those running hotels don’t seem to mind it, either. It can be another way for hotels to connect with the community and maybe get more locals to buy food and beverage on the property.
If you’re a remote worker, freelancer or student, here are some of the reasons you might want to try coworking from a hotel.
1. Free or affordable rates
During the COVID-19 pandemic, some hotel chains experimented with special day rates to rent a hotel room for remote working. These days, most people prefer the cheaper alternative: setting up shop for free or little to no cost in the lobby.
For example, The Kimpton Everly Hotel in Los Angeles welcomes remote workers in any public space — including the lobby, pool or restaurant area — for a fee of $10 a day or $100 a month, which is more than $100 cheaper than official area coworking spaces like WeWork. It also comes with other perks like unlimited free brewed coffee and water, free printing and scanning and discounts on hotel rooms or meeting rooms.
Before you go, research the hotel’s policies for allowing nonguests. In free spaces, it’s usually good practice to support the business by buying food or drink from the hotel’s cafe or restaurant.
2. A chance to check out the amenities
One of the reasons hotels allow their public spaces to be used for free or cheap is because it helps people get familiar with their amenities.
Patty Quiroz, director of sales and marketing at The Kimpton Everly, says people who participate in the coworking program often learn about the hotel’s programming, like paint nights, by being on-site.
Some workers also like the convenience of having a cafe, restaurant or bar in the building, especially when meeting up with other people.
“It’s really nice because when you’re with other co-workers or friends, you’re like, ‘OK, 6 o’clock is the cutoff and we’re gonna move 5 feet to the bar,’” Callender says.
3. Designed for work
One of the reasons that hotels are great places for coworking is because they’re already designed to be welcoming and inviting. They might already have large tables for people to sit at and natural light coming in through the skylights.
Content creator and partnerships coordinator Mya Miller said in an email that she prefers working from hotels rather than coffee shops. Hotel public spaces are often bigger, meaning it’s easier to find outlets and comfy seating.
“For someone that doesn’t go into a traditional office, it’s also a great way to be surrounded by other people working remote jobs and I find it to be motivating and comforting at the same time,” she said.
It’s not right for everyone, though. Miller suggested working at hotels when you can do quiet independent work, instead of days when you have back-to-back meetings. There’s nothing worse than someone being too loud on their conference call.
4. Reliable workspace when traveling
“When I book my hotels, I will take the lobby into consideration for where to book,” Fang said. “It’s always a good fallback for when I’m in a new city and am not able to figure out the best co-working space or local coffee shop to go to just yet.”
After all, a hotel doesn’t have to be just where you sleep. It can be a place to gather and work, even if you aren’t a guest.