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Go on workation! How to get away and take the office with you


If you’re fed up with working from home and need a change of scenery, we have just the fix.  

A number of hotels in the UK and further afield have launched ‘workation’ packages to allow people to work remotely while enjoying their luxurious surroundings.

Here we round-up the best offerings, from a London hotel where you get your own ‘work butler’ to a resort in the Maldives with desks overlooking the ocean.

Dukes London

Working hard: Harriet and her dog Pippin with their 'work butler' at Dukes London in Mayfair

Working hard: Harriet and her dog Pippin with their ‘work butler’ at Dukes London in Mayfair

Dedicated ‘work butlers’, plush, leather stationery and bubbles at the end of the day all come as part of the ‘workation’ package at Dukes London in Mayfair. The butlers are raring to go, offering printing and scanning services and serving a healthy lunch from the Eat Well, Work Well menu either in-room, at the restaurant or in nearby Green Park.

Lunchtime treat: Head to Fortnum & Mason, a five-minute walk away, to browse the luxury hampers.

Book it: Doubles from £183 per night, plus £65 pp for the Workation Package (dukeshotel.com).

Silverholme Manor, Lake District

Balance Holidays has created week-long remote-working packages across the UK and Europe. At the 5,000-acre Silverholme Manor, perched on the shores of Lake Windermere, guests set up office in secluded workspaces and can unwind with mindfulness sessions, creativity workshops and fitness sessions. Fire pits, pizza ovens and an indoor heated pool and gym are also on offer.

Lunchtime treat: Borrow a kayak and paddle along Lake Windermere.

Book it: Seven nights from £1,700 pp, including activities and meals (balance holidays.com/curated-working). 

Queens Hotel, Cheltenham

Grand: Pictured is one of the rooms at Queens Hotel in Cheltenham, which has a seating area and a desk

Grand: Pictured is one of the rooms at Queens Hotel in Cheltenham, which has a seating area and a desk

Work in total tranquillity at the Queens Hotel at the top of Cheltenham’s tree-lined promenade. Guests have access to suites with desks, fluffy robes and park views and can order from the in-room dining menu.

Lunchtime treat: Browse the eclectic independent stores and regency townhouses of the Montpellier District.

Book it: Doubles from £128 per night, plus £50 per room for a Workation Package (queenshotelcheltenham.co.uk).

Culloden Estate and Spa, Belfast

Standing on the slopes of the Holywood Hills overlooking Belfast Lough and the County Antrim coastline, office views don’t get much better than this. Between 8.30am and 5.30pm, guests are given access to bedrooms with desks, tea and coffee and complimentary shortbread.

Lunchtime treat: Explore the magnificent estate and surrounding area on one of the hotel bikes.

Book it: Doubles from £138 per night, plus an additional £125 per room for the Workation Package (hastingshotels.com). 

Shangri-La, London

Book a room for the day at The Shangri-La in London, which features a large desk, marble bathroom, L’Occitane toiletries and Nespresso machine

Book a room for the day at The Shangri-La in London, which features a large desk, marble bathroom, L’Occitane toiletries and Nespresso machine

Zoom backgrounds don’t get much better than panoramic views of London from The Shangri-La, which takes up the 34th to 52nd floors of The Shard. Remote workers can book a room for the day, with a large desk, marble bathroom, L’Occitane toiletries and Nespresso machine.

Lunchtime treat: A swim at the infinity pool on the 52nd floor, the highest in London.

Book it: Doubles from £435 per night, plus £250 for use of suite between 10am to 5pm (shangri-la.com).

Roseate Reading Hotel

Unwind after a day in front of your laptop with a complimentary cocktail in the chic bar at The Roseate Reading Hotel. As part of its Work From Roseate package, guests are provided with lunch, a concierge and tea and coffee whenever you like.

For dog lovers, walking services and dog-friendly lunches are also available.

Lunchtime treat: Take a stroll around Forbury Gardens and gawp at its impressive 16-ton Maiwand Lion war memorial statue.

Book it: Doubles from £81 per night, plus £75 pp for a day for the Workation Package (roseatehotels.com).

Glass House Retreat, Essex

Relax: Spend your lunch break in the Himalayan salt block sauna at Glass House Retreat in Essex

Relax: Spend your lunch break in the Himalayan salt block sauna at Glass House Retreat in Essex 

The Work From Our Home package at this Essex countryside retreat includes workspaces with superfast wi-fi, cryotherapy sessions, motivational evening talks, exercise classes and £60 spa vouchers.

Lunchtime treat: Relax in the Himalayan salt block sauna.

Book it: Two nights start from £559 pp (glasshouseretreat.co.uk).

AND FURTHER AFIELD…

Vakkaru, Maldives

Sea view: Switch between working by the pool, in your study villa, or the ‘Ocean Office’ at Vakkaru in the Maldives

Sea view: Switch between working by the pool, in your study villa, or the ‘Ocean Office’ at Vakkaru in the Maldives 

A personal assistant (to manage schedules, organise meetings and print documents), bespoke fitness and nutritional programmes, and mornings spent snorkelling the reef are all part of Vakkaru Maldives ‘work well’ package.

Switch between working by the pool, in your study villa, or the ‘Ocean Office’ (sand between your toes, obligatory), on desks overlooking the sea.

Then unwind in the spa or on a sunset cruise spotting whale sharks and manta rays. Daily Brain And Body Fuel pick-me-ups every afternoon help keep the mind and body healthy.

Lunchtime treat: Try a guided jet-ski tour.

Book it: 21 nights, full board, including the Work Well Package, from £13,959 for two adults (vakkarumaldives.com).

Waves Hotel & Spa, Barbados

Take a Zoom call on a balcony overlooking the sea at Waves Hotel in Barbados. The hotel runs month-long working packages

Take a Zoom call on a balcony overlooking the sea at Waves Hotel in Barbados. The hotel runs month-long working packages 

Barbados offers year-long visas for UK-based remote workers. In response, Waves Hotel has launched all-inclusive month-long working packages with daily fitness classes, spa treatments — and excellent wi-fi. Take a Zoom call on a balcony overlooking the sea, Spend evenings on a catamaran, or dining by the pool.

Lunchtime treat: Glide across azure waters on a paddleboard.

Book it: 30 days, all-inclusive, including Workation Package, from £6,000 per room (eleganthotels.com/waves-hotel-spa).

Check in to a new style of hotel  

Waiters with man buns are whizzing around dishing out coffees and croissants to guests taking part in morning Zoom meetings and presentations.

Pippin, my cocker spaniel, is snoring on a Persian rug as I type away on a laptop propped up on a distressed copper table. Across from me, a group of young women sporting dungarees, Hunter wellies, large headbands and even larger lips sit on velvet orange sofas surrounded by colour-coded notepads and MacBook Pros.

This is Birch Community, a new 140-room hotel in the Hertfordshire countryside just north of London. I’m here to try out a ‘workation’; a growing trend which sees remote workers lured to hotels with offers from personal butlers to bubbles the moment you shut the lid of your laptop.

Birch Community is a new 140-room hotel and co-working space in the Hertfordshire countryside just north of London

Birch Community is a new 140-room hotel and co-working space in the Hertfordshire countryside just north of London

TRAVEL FACTS 

Rooms at Birch Community from £120 a night, which includes access to The Hub (birchcommunity.com).

My base for the day is Birch’s ‘Hub’, a co-working space with eclectically designed side rooms, conference-room desks and presentation facilities. Guests come here mid-week for a change of scenery during working hours, with mornings and evenings in holiday mode — all while saving annual leave.

Birch opened in August and, while many hotels have battled for survival in the pandemic, its timing could not have been better. Just as workers were ordered back to their offices, last month we were told to return to the confines of our homes.

I find the chatter and creative buzz far more motivating than the four walls of my spare bedroom-cum-office.

My new colleagues and I exchange smiles as we take calls and order from the menu, a marked step up on my sad sandwiches.

Guests can spend their lunch breaks meditating at the wellness centre, reclining in the cinema room or taking part in workshops (Birch offers everything from glass-blowing to beekeeping). But Pippin and I venture out on a brisk walk around the 55-acre grounds, passing the hotel’s sheep, pigs and flock of clucking chickens.

A few hours then whizz by before I finish off emails with a glass of Viognier, shut my laptop and head to Birch’s delightful main restaurant, The Zebra Riding Club.

My stay may have lasted little more than 24 hours, but I return to my little London flat feeling as if I’ve been on a holiday.  

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