I can still remember a trip to Austin several years ago when I walked into my mid-scale hotel (located near to the company I was visiting) to see what seemed like hundreds of teenagers swarming through lobbies and hallways — with band instruments. Apparently, the Texas high school marching band trials were taking place nearby. Luckily, I was able to get room on the executive level for no additional charge.
I also cringe when I open the door to a room with a tiny desk and, worse, a single bedside telephone.
How do you ensure that you get a work-friendly room if you are shopping in the mid-price or upscale hotel market? There are properties, such as Four Points, Courtyard, Holiday Inn Select, or Wingate, that cater specifically to business travelers. (I will cover these in depth in an upcoming article.) But if they are not an option, the hotel gods have created the business class room and executive or concierge floors (limited-access floors typically with a private lounge, complimentary drinks, and hors d’oeuvres, along with a certain level of privacy) to meet your needs.
Some chains have a standard business class room, while at others, features, cost, and availability vary by property. You might also find it challenging to reserve these rooms on the Internet. In this case, try reserving a standard room and then call for an upgrade. The bottom line is that you should inquire directly with the hotel about options and cost and insist on an upgrade if, upon arrival, you find yourself battling for space on the elevator with several fluffy bridesmaids or tuba players.
The following list offers a summary of the business class room and executive floor products and services available.
Taking Care of Business suites feature a separate bedroom, upgraded continental breakfast, an oversized desk with executive chair, office supplies, snacks, two-line speakerphones, data ports, and voice mail. Most rooms have high-speed Internet access. These rooms run about $10 above standard suites and can be booked on the Internet.
Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Select and Holiday Inn Express
Executive Guest Rooms are larger-than-average rooms that typically offer a work area, upscale linens and toiletries, a complimentary newspaper, and other special items; specific amenities vary by property. Most rooms have free high-speed Internet access. Some are suites. Holiday Inn also offers Executive Floors with lounge, complimentary drink, and hors d’oeuvres. Executive Guest Rooms and Executive Level Floor availability varies by property. You are more likely to find them in airport and urban properties. The additional cost for these rooms also runs the gamut, ranging from no additional charge to $20 above a standard room rate for a room on an Executive floor to $60 for a suite. You can book these rooms on the Internet, or try your luck and ask for an upgrade when you arrive.
All properties offer Home Office rooms, which have large, well-lighted work desks and computer data ports; some offer high-speed Internet access and mini-refrigerator/microwave combination units.
Business Plan rooms are available at most Hyatt properties. These rooms are specially equipped with a separate work area, desk phone, and computer hookup, as well as a printer/copier/fax machine. Rates include complimentary local, toll-free, and credit card calls; continental breakfast; and a newspaper. Business Plan rooms are located on a Business Plan Floor with 24-hour access to a private business center. Business Plan rooms generally run $20 over standard room rates.
About 70% of rooms at Marriott hotels are designated as the Room That Works, which includes an expansive work desk, bright and direct lighting, an adjustable ergonomic chair, and telephone(s) with voice mail and a data port.
About two-thirds of Radisson hotels offer Business Class rooms. These are typically larger rooms with a large desk and work area, data port, full breakfast, a newspaper, and local and toll-free phone access. Some locations offer high-speed Internet access. These rooms are generally located on Club floors and run about $25-$40 more than standard rooms.
Ramada Plaza Hotels
Business Class rooms have a king-sized bed, a work area and desk, complimentary breakfast, data port, voice mail, weekday newspapers, free local and credit card calls, free incoming fax service, oversized bath towels, and other upgraded amenities.
Look for Club Level Floors at Sheraton. Amenities vary by hotel, but generally, you’ll find an upgraded room with ergonomically designed chairs, ample task lighting, modem hookups, and personalized voice mail — plus printing, copying, and faxing capabilities. Amenities on the floor include a lounge, continental breakfast, and hors d’oeuvres. High-speed Internet access varies by location. The Club Level Rooms run $20-50 more than a standard room.
The Room That Performs is a standard feature at Wyndham hotels. These rooms offer high-speed Internet access, a two-line cordless phone, a Herman Miller Aeron desk chair, and upgraded Serta mattress with luxury bedding.
What are your favorite hotels to work in — or stay at while traveling for business? Let us know and we’ll share some of the best suggestions in a future edition of Transit Authority.