MIXING BUSINESS WITH LEISURE
WORK MEETS PLAY IN THE MODERN HOTEL
Forget boxed-in business: the modern workplace thrives on borderless flexibility, with creative nomads eschewing the monotonous routine of the 9-5 and designing new ways of working outside traditional limits. This potential for experimentation is captured perfectly in the hybrid space of the contemporary hotel. The blurring of the line between business and leisure (or ‘bleisure’) is one of the dominant trends behind hotel design of recent years, leading to multifunctional meeting spaces that conflate the concepts of ‘work’ and ‘play’ and the reinvention of the lobby as a collective workspace. The topic of bleisure will be explored at LE Miami’s first Leadership Lab, supported by American Express Publishing and FINE HOTELS & RESORTS.
As digitalisation and urbanisation alter the ways in which business gets done and corporate travellers grow to 68% of boutique hotel guests*, it is vital for contemporary hotels to continuously evolve their offering. The Hoxton Hotel in East London is responding to this change with The Apartment, a collaboration with Soho House Group set to shake up the meeting room scene. The project consists of six individually designed meeting rooms set around a stylish open plan kitchen, each reflecting a different apartment space (Library, Living Room, Study, Dining Room and Play Room) and with an individual front door and letterbox. By day the kitchen is a communal, laidback zone complete with retro sweets and soft drinks, but by night it transforms into a fully-stocked bar with a DJ booth, decks and moveable walls allowing events for up to 200 people. The South Place Hotel is similarly putting a creative spin on their meeting rooms, naming them after fictional spies and secret agents and including fun elements like a meeting table that flips over to become a pool table.
This multipurpose aesthetic reaches its apotheosis in the lobby. Forerunners like Ace Hotel, Public and Andaz have all invested in making the lobby a point of cultural connection for hotel guests and non-guests alike. The Ace’s mix of self-conscious hipster chic with functional extras like free WiFi and a killer food/cocktail menu draws writers, designers, artists and ad execs from across New York to use the lobby as an ‘office’. Ace co-founder Alex Calderwood says “The environment here is more or less a spontaneous organism striving for homeostasis”. Similarly, the $40million renovation of Andaz West Hollywood includes iPad check-in, free WiFi and computers and communal tables designed for laptop use, and Public Chicago keeps workers hooked with free coffee refills. The dynamic atmosphere generated by the mixture of high design, seamless functionality and like-minded crowd in stand-outs like citizenM and Fasano provides an inspiring environment that attracts the creative class for work as well as play.
*according to a survey by PwC
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