No longer just reserved for the domain of corporate suits and golfing weekends, business travel reflects the change in how we work today. With more freelancers and remote workers than ever before and co-working spaces that are more akin to hip design studios with a strong focus on wellness and camaraderie, it would naturally follow that hotels have changed their handling of the corporate traveller too, serving up the perfect mix of business and pleasure, to ensure you’re always ready to bring your A-game.
Here are our top picks of hotels raising the bar on ‘bleisure’ (business + leisure).
If you want to rub shoulders with the glitterati, step inside Rome’s iconic Hotel Eden. With an impressive guest list that includes heads of state, royalty and the most celebrated actors, this is a truly regal experience.
Having recently celebrated its 130th anniversary, Munich-born hotelier, Francesco Niestelweck’s illustrious hotel spared no expense when they underwent a full renovation. With an abundance of gold and marble from the lobby to the bathrooms, this is decadence at its unadulterated finest.
Centrally located, Hotel Eden offers everything a discerning corporate traveller could ask for. There are many exquisite hotel conference rooms to choose from to host your meeting, conference or event. From boardrooms to banquet halls, expect high ceiling, dramatic colour palettes — red walls are de rigueur after all; and lots and lots of opulence. La Libreria is another alluring option, with its frescos and secret speakeasy bar hidden inside a bookcase — we won’t tell if you don’t!
Foodies are in for a feast. The top floor of this illustrious hotel is home to not one but three restaurants, including the Michelin-starred La Terrazza, led by award-winning chef Fabio Ciervo. As a former athlete, Fabio’s menu is designed around a macrobiotic food plan with degustación menus featuring delights that are as healthy as they are tasty. Frazzled business travellers will get a much-needed nutritional boost whilst taking in the panoramic views of the Eternal City below.
Forgotten your shampoo? Never mind. This grandiose 98-room landmark is the only hotel in Italy where your toiletries are supplied by Bottega Veneta. At the end of the day, put away your MacBook and make time to decompress at The Eden Spa, a luxurious vaulted hideaway offering the ultimate oasis of calm. Deadline, what deadline?
Want a vision of the future? Viceroy Los Cabos provides it. In total contrast to the popular stucco of Los Cabos, the Viceroy offers an amalgamation of polished glass, ultra clean lines and lots of white; straight out of A Space Odyssey, but 50 years further into the future.
Set only 10 minutes from downtown, this extraordinary hotel offers the most memorable spot for any meeting or conference, and with seven dedicated spaces you’ll be spoilt for choice. Most of the rooms come with TV screens and AV set up, but it doesn’t stop there — business guests can also take their pick from numerous other spots within this unique complex. From NIDO, the ‘bird’s nest’ dome to the rooftop Cielomar, with the Sea of Cortez as its backdrop, who wouldn’t want to discuss their yearly projections.
With an in-house business centre to deal with any last minute copying and faxing (do people still fax in the 21st century?), why not take a load off and retreat to your room. These 192 curious white cubes, imagined by the fascinating mind of architect, Miguel Angel Aragonés, have an in-built lighting system that enables guests to change its colour at the touch of a keypad. Without moving or even lifting a finger (well, maybe just one finger) you have full control of the music, curtains and colour of your room.
A futurist’s dream, this space-ship style resort with an array of pools, bars and dining experiences must be the ultimate in bleisure, and kind to the Earth too, if we’re still on Earth. The straw in your smoothie is made from recycled avocado pips. And as for the spa with its soothing array of health-boosting rituals, we heard that clothing is optional. Maybe not the best place for a meeting with the boss!
There’s a new breed of 5 star hotel in town. One that’s a little less pretentious and that little bit cooler. Let us present the The Serras Hotel. This slick minimalist boutique hotel in all its white and chocolate glory, situated in the heart of Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter, offers everything a business trip could ask for. Once home to Picasso’s first studio back in 1896, with its original façade still intact, The Serras offers a private room with boardroom table, along with a variety of less formal settings to talk shop. Take your pick from the Michelin-starred restaurant, ‘Le Nine’ mezzanine bar, as well as the rooftop terrace bar, and if you’re too occupied to get up, press a button and a bartender will magically appear.
Business travellers will love the amenities and services offered at this Catalonian gem aimed to make your hectic life, well, less so. In need of a limo, concierge or valet parking? Consider it done. As for accommodation, all rooms boast their own private balcony, overlooking the swanky Marina Port Vell, and the beds feature the same make of mattress you’ll find at Buckingham Palace. Did we mention that the rooms are soundproofed? Who knows, you’re probably already counting sheep.
Follow your nose all the way to the Hotel Magna Pars Suites Milano. Set in the heart of Milan’s buzzing fashion and design district, this former perfume factory has been transformed into a super chic all-suite hotel by Italy’s most famous perfumiers, the Martone family. The first Hotel à Parfum is like a breath of fresh, fragrant air. The original post-industrial features are carefully offset alongside lofty glass walls with all of the 55 elegant suites, named after flowering shrubs, such as Magnolia, Neroli and Jasmine. So-soft-you-can-sink-into leather couches, and original paintings by artists at the Brera Academy add warmth and cosiness to the contemporary décor.
If you’re looking for business hotels with meeting rooms, prepare to be blown away. From the 240 SMQ of the Concreta to the mind-blowing 387 SQM Quintessenza, the Magna Pars Event Space is a multi-purpose venue housing enough rooms, levels, lighting systems and audio amplification systems to host any meeting, conference, or perhaps a sell-out concert! The rooms can even be darkened if that’s the mood you’re going for.
You know what they say, it can’t be all work and no play. There are enough ‘pleasure points’ here to ensure you leave more rested than when you arrived. A state-of-the-art spa with anti-jet-lag massages and a colourful chromotherapy shower, said to create harmony in the body and mind. Or, perhaps unwinding with one of their 600 strong vintages at the Liquidambar bar is more your copa de vino. So many places to mix business with pleasure but whatever you do, don’t forget your sunglasses; this is Milan after all.
The Al Bustan Palace in Muscat is the only remaining palace in the whole of Oman, and takes the meaning of 5 star to a whole new level. Set before the shimmering gulf of Oman, with the imposing Al Hajar Mountains as its backdrop, this palace of grandeur is the ultimate destination for luxury business trips and high profile events.
There is a sense of majesty from the moment you enter the towering lobby, with its large crystal chandelier casting sparkles around the room, and the business amenities are no less impressive with an incredible 4000 sqm of meeting venues to choose from; from an intimate boardroom to the largest ballroom in Muscat. Groups can also reserve two outdoor lawns, a theatre-style auditorium or deck space alongside the 50 metre infinity pool. It goes without saying that the hotel offers the most comprehensive planning services and bespoke catering imaginable. What more could you ask for, except perhaps your own personal camel. Actually that could probably be arranged.
The Al Bustan Palace even has its own meeting-services app for added convenience, alongside a full service business centre. If you’re in the mood for team building, activities like beach cleaning and mangrove rehabilitation can be organised; or, simply pick a spot anywhere along the 200 acres of beachfront, and build on your tan instead.
In the heart of Geneva, close to Lac Léman, sits the Eastwest Hotel. This stylish boutique hotel is your home (or should we say, office) away from office. As the name would suggest, there are many Asian influences around this elegant Swiss establishment that add to the East/West fusion. Striking orchids abound, as splashes of fuchsia, red and gold bring a beautiful contrast to the dark wooden furniture.
Business travellers have the option to hire one of two intimate meeting rooms. Complimentary Wi-Fi comes as a standard, and any reservation can be personalized with extra services and delicious eats from the restaurant. The hotel library is also a fabulous option, overlooking the patio, with its warm chic atmosphere, ideal for a meeting, interview, or simply to plan world domination. But if a working lunch is more appetising, head over to the hotel’s laid back lounge bar to discuss the latest marketing ideas over a fruity glass of Chasselas.
Eastwest also offers a fully equipped gym to get you pumped for your meeting, whilst all rooms come with an interactive cable TV and heaven-sent Nespresso machine — rest assured you, your coffee and Wi-Fi will all be strong.
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