Hotel lobbies new workspaces

Hotel lobbies new workspaces

Many five-star hotels encourage non-staying guests to use their lobbies and cafes as workspaces. Professionals love the quiet, non-cubicle ambience

Hilton Bangalore Embassy GolfLinks offers free Wi-Fi to those who order food and drinks.

Hotels are now opening up their lobbies and cafes to professionals looking for quiet workspaces. An Internet connection and a space away from the office cubicle is something many Bengaluru professionals appreciate. They use the space to meet clients and work in peace.

Hilton Bangalore, Embassy GolfLinks
Hilton Bangalore Embassy GolfLinks has added foosball, PlayStation and board games to engage working guests who might want to take a break, just like in a corporate office. “Usually in a cafe located in a luxury hotel, there is no consistency of footfalls. Some days it’s extremely busy and on other days, it is empty,” says Rishabh Bhargava, commercial director. At the Hilton, the lobby is across the bar. “If there is a bigger crowd, we add more manpower to increase efficiency…. And we also have a library,” he says.

The Sheraton Grand Bangalore at Brigade Gateway offers
laptops and Wi-Fi on request.

Sheraton Grand, Yeshwantpur
Amit Kobat, food and beverage manager at Sheraton Grand at Brigade Gateway, Yeshwantpur, explains, “When people come into your space to work, they are there for a

particular reason. Yes, they will require our food and service but waiters must know when to approach them. Disturbing them during a call or meeting is not acceptable.”

ITC Gardenia, Residency Road
Located on Residency Hotel, in the heart of the city, ITC Gardenia is a space preferred by many working professionals. Upender Singh Tomar, food and beverage manager, says professionals use its banquet hall and restaurants to work.  “The trend now is to be as informal as possible when working. The Lotus Pavilion is a preferred location by guests as it has open space, a good view and a relaxed ambience,” he explains. But not all hotels are comfortable providing free Wi-Fi for casual visitors. “There are security measures we have to take. If you are staying at the hotel, you will have access to the Internet but we don’t give out the password if you are a non-resident guest,” Tomar says. Those working in hotel lobbies prefer not to be disturbed. And that calls for sensitivity on the part of the hotel staff.

The Lalit Ashok, Kumara Krupa Road
Sandhya Nair, manager at The Lalit Ashok, says many outsiders use the hotel as a workspace. “We see more professionals on Thursdays and Fridays. They hang out in the lobby or take one of the corners of the cafe. They usually order a hot beverage with cookies and do their work. Some even stay back for lunch and work through the day,” she says. Hotels are happy the practice adds to the footfalls. “The music isn’t loud and people are soft-spoken in a hotel environment. Maybe that’s why professionals prefer a space like this,” says Sandhya. 

The Leela Palace, Old Airport Road
The Leela Palace takes a slightly different approach. The hotel has rented out an area in the complex to Indiqube, a co-working space. Shalabh Arora, director of sales and marketing, explains, “The crowd that comes to work also brings in business. If they are hosting a client, they might end up booking our property or use our hotel space for drinks and dining.” He says professionals are happy to use hotel spaces for work: they are safe and secure, and located conveniently near prominent business hubs.

Free Wi-Fi? Yes and no
While The Lalit Ashok Bangalore provides free Wi-Fi to their guests, other hotels aren’t open to the idea. ITC Gardenia believes it’s risky to provide passwords to non-guests, but does make Wi-Fi available for a fee. They don’t encourage this though. Sheraton Grand at Brigade Gateway is soon launching a high tea menu between 3 pm and 6 pm: a guest can order bite-sized snacks and tea at Rs 500 (plus tax). ITC Gardenia will also be launching a package where the non-resident visitors can enjoy their services for between Rs 1,000 and Rs 1,500 per person.