Image: Marktgasse, Zurich
Travel for work, and you have the same desires as on holiday, surely? We want to spend time somewhere with personality and personal service, with uplifting interiors and a charismatic ambience. Back in the 90s, hotelier Ian Schrager made “lobby socialising” a thing in his New York hotels, and corporate creative types started to crave business hotels that matched their taste as much as their needs. Andre Balazs’ bunk-ups, from LA’s Chateau Marmont to The Mercer and the Standards in NY and Chiltern Firehouse in Marylebone are still the places to see and be seen.
But we don’t always want somewhere showy. Edgy is good, but so is equipped. When the Ace opened in Portland, it kick-started a style of stay which was as suited to start-up CEOs wanting a good night’s sleep as rock stars in the mood to socialise. “The hotel industry has often been about delineating a clear distinction between the business hotel and the hotels that foster a sense of escapism,” says David Brody, a professor at Parsons The New School for Design in New York. “Properties like Ace asked us to rethink that model,” Mr Brody said. “Ace has created well-designed spaces that permit guests to combine business and pleasure.” Now the Ace has grown into chain itself, here we navigate you to some indie neighbourhood hotels which are hip and hi-tech in a low-key way. Those sexy stays that are perfect for… don’t make us use that word… BLEISURE. Okay, there, we said it.
Pack light: Less is more. Even when going long-haul. If checking bags, be sure to pack essentials in hand baggage so you can survive if separated from your suitcase. Douse tissues in your fragrance and layer into packing so everything smells fresh; this also helps if you need to give anything an extra wear. Low-cost airline limitations? Digital luggage scales are great to keep tabs on how heavy bags are to save you getting stung.
Fully charged: Make sure devices amped to the max before you leave the house, obviously, but take a Meem’s Sync & Charge cable and back up data while you boost your battery.
Jetlag: Since no magic pills exist, wellbeing strategies include drinking lots of water in transit and stretching when you can. Far-flung foray? Keep eyes open to sunlight on arrival to programme your body to the new time zone (no sunglasses); stay up until bedtime – napping knocks you out of synch.
In-flight accessories: A tennis ball is a great massager for back and feet. Wear layers of quality fabrics such as an oversized Lily and Lionel silk scarf so you can adapt to unexpected temperature changes at the other end and on board.
Upgrade: When flying, ask if they have any upgrade offers – last-minute surcharges are often a snip compared to the full fare for the next class up. Dressing smartly and being sweet always helps your chances. If it doesn’t seem busy at the hotel, smile at the receptionist and ask nicely – preferably when no one else is around – if they can bump you up a room category; worth a punt.
Be appy: Expensify (free) helps you keep track of receipts, mileage and billable time in reports that can be converted to PDFs. Citymapper (free) is a godsend when you want to figure out the quickest and easiest and most efficient way to get from A to B – especially in a new destination where you haven’t got a clue about the bus or train network – includes London, New York, San Francisco, Singapore and more.