Get the coffee to go next time.

You’ve seen it countless times – head to any coffee shop and the tables are usually littered with laptops, scattered with folks in search of a productivity boost and touch of social surrounding. Look closer and these people usually include independent/self-employed professionals who either don’t have or don’t prefer traditional office settings.

The coffee shop has been the go-to setting for an external office environment, yet few have realized that hotel lobbies offer the same things coffee shops do – but in far better capacities!

*Note: To be clear, I’m talking about hotels that are three stars and up; places where guest service is a priority. These places don’t mind non-guests hanging out in their lobbies, and in fact, prefer it buzzing!

I first discovered the joys of working from hotel lobbies while touring extensively with my music clients. I always noticed how those environments were conducive to productivity, and upon deeper examination, I’ve pinpointed specifically why hotel lobbies are the best-kept secret for independent and remote professionals like myself.

5 REASONS HOTEL LOBBIES BEAT COFFEE SHOPS

NOISE

Coffee shops often get super noisy with beans grinding, baristas yelling names and orders, loud conversations, music blasting… hardly the ideal setting for getting work done, taking a phone call, or having a meeting.

Hotel lobbies on the other hand are usually way calmer with softer music playing and fewer people walking around (depending on time of day and local events). Plus – at least for me – there’s something about a sonic environment of scattered conversations of international travelers, business professionals, and trendy music that makes me feel more productive.

COMFORT

Hotel lobbies slay coffee shops when it comes to amenities. Think about it: lobbies must be well maintained with the highest standard of cleanliness, comfort and service at all times.

Coffee shops oftentimes feel cramped with little space to work from, long lines for the restroom, and the occasional bothersome customer hanging around. Not the case at hotel lobbies – there you’ll find super clean restrooms (with no line), high-end furniture throughout, and a courteous staff ready to greet and assist you with beverages or food.

Speaking of which…

FOOD & DRINK

This one comes with a bit of a caveat. Food and drinks in hotel lobbies tend to be a bit pricier than coffee shops… but you’ll get what you pay for!

Instead of that pre-packaged turkey sandwich from Starbucks with your latte, you can get a hummus plate with a comparable latte with finer plates and utensils served to you while you work. You’ll likely pay 20-40% more, but it will ultimately be a better experience.

Also when taking meetings, it can add another layer of professionalism. Instead of offering a pastry, you can offer a genuine appetizer prepared in a high-end kitchen.

PRODUCTIVITY

You work better when you’re more comfortable, but hotel lobbies also tend to have stronger wi-fi than coffee shops – even on their free connections. In fact, more hotels are including free wi-fi in their lobbies to encourage more remote workers to come in, hang out, and spend some money.

Many hotels have an option to upgrade to stronger wi-fi (for a price of course), but for the most part, you’ll find smoother web surfing, downloading and uploading in a hotel lobby than a coffee shop.

NETWORKING

Here’s one I’ve only recently realized!

Hotel lobbies, particularly those in luxury hotels, are full of people traveling extensively and may only be in town for business or an event. I’ve personally found it easier to spark conversations with people in lobbies because it is assumed we’re both there for a similar reason.

You may overhear a conversation of theirs or they may overhear yours, and you’ll be more inclined to reach out due to the common ground that’s assumed you’re both sharing.

Next time you’re looking for a place to work from, try your local hotel lobby and experience the difference!