The Evolving Role of Guest Rooms in the Era of Bleisure Travel

    The changes wrought by bleisure travel for many properties begin in the guest rooms themselves.

    At the Monterey Plaza Hotel, that has meant a lot more than ensuring that there is a desk in the room along with a work chair.

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    “The most important thing is for the desk to have power outlets, USB ports for charging, and a lot of clear space,” said Chris Sommers, managing director. To make that happen, the hotel eliminated the stacks of marketing brochures and three-ring binders with hotel information.

    Instead, the room service menu and other information is accessed via QR codes, and the hotel’s website hosts its compendium.

    At the VEA Newport Beach, the room design has to strike a balance between its resort/spa orientation and the expectations of hybrid workers.

    “We wanted to make our rooms have modern comfort with a residential feel,” said Ben Stinnett, director of Sales and Marketing. “There’s a small desk, but one of the keys is modular furniture—a desk, round table, chaise lounge—that lets people move things around and make it their office for the day. If they want to face the ocean, they can do that.”

    In addition to adding power and USB outlets at the desk, some rooms have put more power on bedside nightstands—sometimes doing away with the ubiquitous clock radio in favor of more outlets and a Bluetooth-capable speaker for guests to stream music from their phones.

    “All our TVs are smart TVs, there are USB ports near the beds, we have our own Spotify playlist, with different programming depending on the guest’s mood, like a sanctuary playlist, and one for a workout,” Stinnett said. “They want the comforts of being at home with all the amenities of being at our property.”

    At the Argonaut, the rooms were already set up for the bleisure traveler, with full desks and work chairs—people “still want to work in their room,” said Tony Roumph, Area Managing Director for Noble House Hotels and Resorts. “We’re not really looking to reinvent what we have in rooms.”

    As for the bedside radio/alarm clock? It’s still there at The Argonaut.

    “You’d be surprised,” Roumph said. “Guests still expect it, whether they use it or not.”

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