- As companies opt to have employees work from home through at least the end of 2020, some workers are starting to indulge "workation" packages at hotels.
- They can stay just for the day — or overnight — and enjoy new surroundings, like poolside cabanas with outlets.
- Freelance writer Molly O'Brien visited three hotels in Los Angeles to check out their "workation" packages.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Across the United States, timelines for remote work continue to extend and many companies are encouraging permanent work from home through at least the end of 2020.
In response, some employees have begun to seek alternative workspaces to get out of the house, looking to get some temporary separation from housemates or to experience a change of scenery.
In Los Angeles, many corporate offices still haven't opened due to safe gathering restrictions. A number of Los Angeles hotels are starting to offer up their rooms for "daytime" rental or extending their occupancy hours beyond traditional check-in times.
I wanted to check out some of the "workation" opportunities in Los Angeles, to compare and contrast their offerings based on their location in the city and the known reputation of the hotel's atmosphere.
I visited Viceroy Santa Monica on the coast, The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood, and the InterContinental in downtown Los Angeles to experience how they're welcoming back guests — even if it's just for a workday.
Viceroy Santa Monica
First, I visited Viceroy Santa Monica, which took advantage of its recent pandemic closure to renovate the lobby space and spruce up its interior and exterior design.
As I pulled up to this 169 room property and admired the newly painted mural on the side of the building, I noted it was only accommodating self-parking at the moment — no valet.
Upon walking in, I noted the lobby is chic and modern, with a very Angeleno feeling vibe; the artwork on the wall across from the check-in desk is made up of skateboard wheels, paying homage to Los Angeles skate culture.
The "work from hotel" offer at Viceroy Santa Monica is an add-on to the purchase of a regular overnight stay in a Viceroy Grande Ocean View room. Guests can check in at 12pm, and have an entire day to enjoy the space, work and relax for $600. If visitors don't want to stay overnight, they can instead check out at 5 pm and the rate will be reduced by 20% for a $480 daytime visit. The offer includes a king-sized bed and a pullout sleeper sofa, as well as a spacious sitting lounge area with a coffee maker.
The offer also comes with complimentary parking, a spacious business desk with a large desktop monitor — which many workers miss from having at the office now that they've been relying on laptops for six months — as well as a video game console with games (for when you need a work break), a printer, complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi, and an included bike rental (for when you need to work a bit of movement into the day).
I took a tour of the hotel with Kevin Anawati, area director of sales and marketing, who told me that this property is a popular destination for media and entertainment industry hangouts. Its four meeting rooms are even named after media that has been filmed onsite.
Through large open doors behind the lobby, I spotted the pool, where people were lounging in socially distanced chairs and chicly decorated cabanas. Use of the pool is included in the property's "work from hotel" offer. In fact, the poolside cabanas are even lined with power outlets so you can work on your laptop.
Next, I visited the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood. This property is located just off of Hollywood boulevard, directly on The Walk of Fame, and across the street from the iconic Chinese Theatre. It's full of both classic and modern Hollywood history, and appropriately outfitted with 250 palm trees onsite.
Originally established in 1927, during the "Golden Era" of Los Angeles entertainment and architecture, this Hollywood classic hangout has stood the test of time, and remains a popular spot for local celebrities and visitors alike.
The hotel's workation package comes with complimentary day parking for one vehicle, complimentary high speed WiFi, tea and coffee, as well as an additional guest pass access for Tropicana Pool and access to the hotel gym (available on an appointment basis). Remote workers can check into the hotel at 9 am and stay until 8 pm, Monday — Thursday with the opportunity to add an overnight stay for an additional $50.
Rates for this offer start at $159, and visitors can experience luxury accommodations and escape away from the home office for the day in a pool view Cabana Garden or Cabana Balcony room.
As I pulled into the valet parking off Hollywood Boulevard and the Walk of Fame to visit the property, the experience felt like something out of a glamorous old-Hollywood movie. Before I was allowed to enter the lobby, my temperature was taken at the door.
The lobby featured a charming "walk of fame" themed social distancing stickers on the ground, for guests to stand and properly space themselves out. The check-in desk was protected by a thick layer of clear plexiglass. Even the magazines in the lobby were still encased within protective plastic wrapping, and there was ample signage reminding guests to wear masks at all times.
I toured the hotel with Juan J. Pineda, director of entertainment sales at The Hollywood Roosevelt, Pineda told me the property remains a popular spot for Hollywood executives to meet, and has in the past been the site of many TV and film events (such as the Mad Men wrap party in 2015).
While in-person group gatherings have been temporarily halted in LA, the hotel is still hosting guests — and spacing them out between every other room on every other floor. Pineda showed me each of the amenities "workation" guests could access onsite, including spaced out lounge chairs at Tropicana Pool, and dining service with temporarily modified hours.
The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel's workation package also offers the option to extend any daytime stay overnight for $50 extra. An ideal evening to take advantage of this experience would be on a Tuesday, when the hotel is hosting guests-only poolside "summer movie nights at Tropicana" series, and screening well-known classics like "Saturday Night Fever" and "Footloose." Pineda told me this package isn't going anywhere anytime soon — the property plans to offer its workation experience through at least April of 2021.
The InterContinental, downtown Los Angeles
Finally, I visited the InterContinental in downtown Los Angeles, which is offering an "Elevate Your Work Day" package — a play on words of its proud status, since it's the tallest building west of Chicago (it's 1,100 feet above street level). The property is offering weekday use of its high-rise rooms for those looking to get out of the house. It's a newly built hotel, just completed in June of 2017.
With rates starting at $219, the offer includes use of a room from 9 am – 5 pm, unlimited wireless internet access anywhere in the building, office supplies, in-room coffee, espresso, and tea. It also comes with complimentary chef's choice Grab 'N Go breakfast and lunch at the hotel's downstairs cafe, as well as $10 flat daily parking rate (which is actually a steal in DTLA) and complimentary use of the 11,000 square foot Attitude Fitness Center and rooftop swimming pool. For an additional $50, "elevate" guests can also extend their stay overnight (with the payment of the overnight parking fee).
Many of the floors in the InterContinental are used as corporate office spaces, but the rest are hotel rooms. Unlike many hotels across the nation, the InterContinental never fully closed down during COVID and continued hosting overnight guests due to its central location in Los Angeles, and its ongoing demand to host pilots and crew members for flights out of nearby airport, LAX. The property offers 900 hotel rooms — ample space for allowing safe social distancing.
After I pulled up to the valet, director of corporate sales Cindy Tang told me the hotel is currently offering both valet and self-parking for its guests.
She gave me a tour of the particularly unique aspects of the hotel, including the corner "junior suite" with windows that showed views of LA for miles all the way out to the Hollywood sign to the Pacific Ocean, beyond. Tang said this style of room is a popular choice for workers who book the "elevate" experience.
The InterContinental lobby sits sky high on the 70th floor, but visitors won't waste any time getting to the top of this skyscraper — the elevators take just 40 seconds to ride to the 70th floor lobby (don't be alarmed if your ears pop!). Since it's a new building in an urban area, this property was designed to host events (it has 100,000 square feet of meeting space), and is equipped with modern amenities, including enough power outlets to satisfy any worker's electronic needs.
The hotel's location in DTLA is prime — it's right on the edge of the restaurants and attractions of bustling 7th street. When workers are ready for a break from the computer screen, both the pool and the hot tub are open and guests can even rent a cabana and order poolside food and beverage service.
Working hard, or hardly working?
These three Los Angeles hotels have taken advantage of the opportunity to host remote employees and offer workers who have been toiling away in the home office for months a chance to relax at an onsite pool and enjoy a cocktail at the hotel bar after a hard day.
It's a smart business bet, as onsite representatives for each hotel say the offers have been extremely popular among Angelenos needing a nearby escape — these properties don't plan on ending their "Work From Hotel" offers anytime soon. The hotels are filling rooms that might otherwise sit empty without the normally higher rate of tourists, and helping contribute to a recovering tourism economy.
The differing locations offer unique experiences from Hollywood to Santa Monica and into Downtown Los Angeles to get out of the house — and into the sky, out to the beach, or into a scene straight out of a Hollywood film.
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