COVID-19 changed the travel world in countless ways. Some alterations will fade faster, like quarantines and resort lockdowns, while others will linger in some form, including hand sanitizer and face mask use, for quite some time. Still, a few more welcome additions show no signs of going anywhere — such as the idea of working from paradise.
As infections increased during the height of the pandemic, major cities shut down and for those who could, working from home became commonplace. Free-wheeling professionals of means discovered they could escape hot zones while knocking down banker’s hours just about anywhere they chose. As long as they got the day’s tasks done to their boss’s satisfaction, “working from home” could be “working from a beach chair.”
Meanwhile, hotels and resorts throughout Asia, along the Pacific Rim, and around the world emerged from total inactivity to partial capacity. These venues looked for ways to raise revenue quickly, while many tourists proved slow to leave home or brave the airlines.
Where to Work from Paradise
Reaching out to life’s more adventurous workers, destinations created extended stay packages for guests to take care of business by day and enjoy amenities after-hours. Including everything from improved cleaning procedures to enhanced Wi-Fi and shipping services, the hotels brought in COVID-weary pros looking to rejuvenate without disrupting their daily business routine.
1. Island Shangri-La, Hong Kong
The Shangri-La Group operates more than 100 hotels and resorts throughout Asia. Senior Vice President Pippa Williamson said Shangri-La Group implemented their “work from hotel” programs as an essential way to serve consumers.
For example, Island Shangri-La, Hong Kong offers the Residential Privileges long-stay for guests booking a minimum of 14 consecutive nights at $219 per day. Each booked guest room provides a full-size writing desk and access to the hotel’s business center for printing, copying, and teleconferencing, and more capabilities. The package also includes:
Daily buffet breakfast, complimentary Wi-Fi
15% discount on business center services
30% discount on minibar food and beverage items
30% discount on laundry or dry cleaning services
20% discount on food and beverage at the hotel’s many restaurants and bars
20% off spa services
“The ‘work from hotel’ programs give a much-needed sanctuary to many,” Williamson says. “We find that our guests seek to escape to paradise to clear their minds and reset, while others have embraced the ‘work from home’ trend and have chosen to work remotely.”
2. Pueblo Bonito Golf & Spa Resort
Pueblo Bonito in Cabo San Lucas offers more than 201 suites, the Armonia Spa, and access to the world-class Quivira Golf Club (designed by “The Golden Bear” Jack Nicklaus himself).
According to Enrique Gandara, vice president of sales and marketing for Pueblo Bonito Golf and Spa Resorts, the Productive in Paradise package offers office and IT support, enhanced Wi-Fi, scanners, printers, and photocopying services. Shipping and receiving options are also available through DHL and Federal Express. The guest maintains access to the resort’s other amenities, including restaurants, beach access, complimentary parking, laundry, and dry-cleaning services.
3. Fullerton Hotels
Both the Fullerton Hotel and The Fullerton Bay Hotel Singapore offer guests “day use rooms” with high-speed Wi-Fi and coffee or tea service as part of the Work from Fullerton service. After work, participants can unwind with a workout in the gym or go for a swim in the infinity pool before heading home. The Fullerton program includes a $50 dining credit in the room package for use throughout the given hotel.
Cavaliere Giovanni Viterale, general manager of The Fullerton Hotels and Resorts, explained the properties saw an immediate demand from corporates looking for a safe and comfortable environment to integrate work and leisure.
“We have received very positive and consistent demand,” Viterale told us. “Instead of having to make arrangements to organize an overnight stay, our ‘Work from Fullerton’ guests enjoy the flexibility of spending the day in the hotel to utilize the amenities before returning home to be with their family.”
4. Banyan Tree
The Banyan Tree Group owns hotels and resorts internationally, with multiple stops available in China, Indonesia, and Malaysia. Adrien Lahoussaye, head of content and innovation, described their Banyan Tree Habitat program as a way to live, work and travel via long-term stays at properties in more than 30 destinations around the world.
“At this point, given the growing success of the program, we are no longer seeing Habitat as a solution to a low-demand period, but instead as an offer to emerging travelers’ needs that are here to stay,” Lahoussaye says. “We are constantly and rapidly refining the program based on guests’ feedback in an agile way, including more convenient remote work stations, new equipment, travel guides, etc.”
5. Four Seasons Resort Los Cabos at Costa Palmas
A newer development build along the more remote East Cape of the lower Baja Peninsula, Four Seasons Resort Los Cabos at Costa Palmas will continue to offer its Private Retreats program for extended, live-in stays through December 1, 2021
Visitors must book for a minimum stay of seven nights. They’ll enjoy:
Round-trip transportation between Los Cabos International Airport and the Resort once per stay
Daily breakfast for up to two guests per bedroom
Exclusive dinner with a private chef, served in their villa or residence or on the East Cape Beach, for two guests per bedroom once per stay.
After-dinner beach bonfire with desserts and drinks for two guests per bedroom once per stay
Access to the services of a Personal Residential Assistant
Of course, the tricky part might be getting any work down with the Costa Palmas Golf Course on the property.
6. COMO Hotels
COMO Hotels and Resorts specializes in luxury spots and operates on a global scale. Khumar Askerova, cluster director of sales and marketing for COMO’s resorts in the Maldives, reported he started seeing guests seeking extended stays with a minimum of 30 days as outbound travel slowed.
“With every new announcement on further lockdowns and restrictions, there came more requests for ‘stay and work remote,’” Askerova explains. “These offers have remained in continuous demand. Requests for long-stay offers were primarily coming from the U.K. and U.S. markets, particularly from families with children looking for a beautiful remote destination where they can also maintain online learning while parents work remotely.”
COMO is considering keeping its long-term stay and working guest programs in place like their international competitors even as the pandemic wanes because times remain uncertain.
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