Dreary hotel business centers may soon be a thing of the past. These days, more hotels are catering to the changing needs of road warriors by rolling out spaces designed for working in small groups. Here's the skinny on three of them.
The Yotel New York at Times Square features eight "club cabins" with free Wi-Fi, a flat-screen display for presentations, and a boardroom table that seats up to six people on surrounding stools and a sofa. For a more casual vibe, the boardroom table converts to a coffee table. The cabins, which offer full waiter service, are available for rent by the hour by guests and nonguests. Business travelers can also meet in the hotel's lounge, which has private booths. Yotel plans to roll out similar offerings in several new hotels worldwide. Cost: $50 an hour
Westin began transforming its business centers last year, turning them into small-group workspaces that can be booked online by guests and nonguests. The rooms, currently in the chain's Arlington Gateway, Grand Munich, and Boston Waterfront hotels, feature videoconference equipment, flat screens, printers, Wi-Fi, floor-to-ceiling whiteboards, and office supplies. Westin plans to roll out the concept in 30 hotels worldwide this year. It is also adding private nooks with noise screens to its lobbies. Cost: $50 an hour
Marriott Hotels and Resorts
Marriott recently converted the ballroom of its Redmond, Washington, property into a suite of small meeting rooms and common areas. The rooms, which include flat screens, free Wi-Fi, whiteboards, and individual cubbies, can be reserved by guests and nonguests online. Marriott is identifying other potential locations for the concept. In another effort to woo business travelers, the chain is adding communal worktables to the lobbies of 200 hotels. Cost: $38 an hour