Whee! The slide from first floor to reception at the Barceló Málaga epitomises the hotel trend for play being as important as work. Call it the natural conclusion to hot-desking workplaces where staff enjoy table football while sipping cold-filtered oat-milk coffee. It’s certainly a long way from the bland boxes company CEOs of old felt their employees deserved. The rationale? If you want a creative team, give them somewhere stimulating to stay.
Hoteliers also need to keep up with their guests’ demands for remote working and co-working spaces, according to Rosewood London’s managing director, Michael Bonsor. For Winnie Chiu, president of Dorsett Hotels & Resorts, the trick is to deliver a sense of place: "In China, a visit from a herbalist. In London, tastings at a gin distillery." And as Dimitris Manikis, Wyndham Hotel Group’s managing director for Europe, the Middle East and Asia, acknowledges, "If you aren’t on Instagram, you’re nowhere." What’s also for sure is that hotels in central business districts that aren’t inspiring will miss out on the lucrative weekend market. Here are three more that combine business and leisure with panache.
Pack your best suit. You probably would anyway, this being fashionable Milan, but the Armani Hotel Milano is so tightly tailored you’ll want to channel your inner Italian. There are at least 50 shades of immaculate grey in the design by Giorgio Armani in his home city. Floor-to-ceiling windows let in enough natural light to have fashionistas reaching for their oversized sunglasses. The 95 rooms and suites are as neat as pins, with palest blue satin bedspreads, velvet rugs and neutral stone bathrooms. The vibe is self-styled business-meets-comfort, and because it’s a given that guests are time-poor, each is provided with a ‘lifestyle manager’. This personal concierge will book restaurants and spa treatments, arrange valet parking and taxis, and – of course – the pressing of clothes and polishing of shoes.
If you feel you’ve arrived when staying at Andaz’s Liverpool Street Station outpost , it might be because the Grade II-listed Victorian red-brick building was originally one of London’s first railway station hotels, the Great Eastern Hotel. Handily, you’re also less than 20 minutes’ walk from St Paul’s Cathedral, and just as close is trendy Shoreditch with its galleries, bars and food markets. The Andaz was designed for wining, dining and meetings, and its seven restaurants include the wood-panelled Lady Abercorn’s Pub & Kitchen; the 1901, a ballroom (where breakfast is served) with one of the few stained glass domes to survive the Second World War; and Miyako, an intimate Japanese restaurant. You might also catch a yoga or street food pop-up in the Andaz Studio, or displays by local artists at The Gallery. The rooms feature oversized headboards kitted out with power sockets at just the right height so you’re not scrabbling around to plug in your iPad. Don’t hide away though, because the lobby is a great place to work or have a meeting. Complimentary drinks and snacks are served here throughout the day, including cocktails and nibbles from 6 to 8pm.
Rove Hotels is a fast-growing, homegrown chain offering affordable stays in a part of the world more used to five- and seven-stars out-blinging each other. Instead of celebrity restaurants and diamond-encrusted spa treatments, guests check in to a home-from-home, tailor-made for the Instagram generation. There are social media-worthy spots everywhere you look, from giant #rovehotel letters at the entrance to ‘Time to start the journey’ decals above the bed. Walls showcase everything from framed riding crops to hanging bicycles. The lobby lounge is hot desk central with speedy Wi-Fi and plenty of workstations, plus bean bags to lounge on after while relaxing with the PlayStation. Around half of the rooms have Burj Khalifa views. There’s also a self-service launderette, a 24-hour minimart and luggage lockers. This is the sharing economy in action.