Working remotely is best at a hotel lobby

by Сашка

You can go from work call to happy hour in less than a minute.

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Working from home isn’t for me. Blame it on cramped apartments and desk-next-to-bed setups.

However, I cherish the ability to work remotely. I can be cocooned in a hammock while on the phone or furiously typing away on a wobbly airplane tray table at 35,000 feet. My office can be anywhere with semi-usable WiFi or one bar of cell service, but my favorite place to work is a hotel lobby.

The lobby isn’t just about checking in or out anymore. For many hotels, these shared, mixed-use spaces foster a sense of community. It’s where guests can work and mingle outside of tiny rooms, often without a desk. The hotel’s lobby or common area is a “third place” that is often overlooked. Personally, I crave an environment where other people are working; it produces a kind of social white noise.

Despite what you may think, hotel common areas are not solely for overnight guests. Instead of turning visitors away, more hotels are increasingly opening their doors to the neighborhood.

“We see that people today are traveling more on their own, looking for places to comfortably work during the day without feeling alone,” says Mitchell Hochberg, president of Lightstone, the developer of several Moxy properties across New York City, Miami and Los Angeles.

That’s ideal for visitors who want local flair — and locals coming down with cabin fever.

The Moxy in the trendy Brooklyn neighborhood of Williamsburg is one of many newer hotels that have created a quasi-community hub. Think of the Moxy brand overall as a third place for millennials. Hochberg said the brand wants its properties to be seen as a “public square” and as “social hubs.”

That Brooklyn branch, along with so many others, has a lounge providing the perfect venue to unpack my laptop by day. By night, I can move a few feet to the bar to meet with a friend who lives around the corner.

Other hip brands such as CitizenM, Hilton’s Tempo and Hyatt’s Thompson Hotels blur the lines between lobby, bar and co-working space.

As a travel writer and generally nosy individual, I love getting to people-watch in the nook of a hotel lobby. If I’m in town for an assignment and need to get work done, I often will look for cafes and lounges within hotels that can give me a feel for the local vibe. (The lively buzz and velvet sofas of the Hoxton Amsterdam were a recent standout.)

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Meanwhile, if I’m home, I know the hotels with gorgeous common spaces that tend to foster light and ambient conversation, have fast WiFi, and offer coffee and snacks for purchase. (The effortlessly chic Santa Monica Proper Hotel has been a recent go-to.)

Of course, there are some ground rules for working from hotels. Think of it as any outside cafe: You probably wouldn’t sit down without buying something first. It’s not the cheapest habit, and not something I do every day. There are also some properties — usually at the higher end — that have distinct rules about which reserved areas are off limits to non-guests.

While the intended effect of the new wave of lobbies may be to actually socialize, I love them for indirect interactions. That is, to go buy a cup of coffee, sit down and soak in the travel experience of a hotel — even if I’m just around the corner from home.

More travel tips

Vacation planning: Start with a strategy to maximize days off by taking PTO around holidays. Experts recommend taking multiple short trips for peak happiness. Want to take an ambitious trip? Here are 12 destinations to try this year — without crowds.

Cheap flights: Follow our best advice for scoring low airfare, including setting flight price alerts and subscribing to deal newsletters. If you’re set on an expensive getaway, here’s a plan to save up without straining your credit limit.

Airport chaos: We’ve got advice for every scenario, from canceled flights to lost luggage. Stuck at the rental car counter? These tips can speed up the process. And following these 52 rules of flying should make the experience better for everyone.

Expert advice: Our By The Way Concierge solves readers’ dilemmas, including whether it’s okay to ditch a partner at security, or what happens if you get caught flying with weed. Submit your question here. Or you could look to the gurus: Lonely Planet and Rick Steves.

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