I paid $160 to work from a 4-star luxury hotel in LA for the day, and the free coffee and rooftop pool made me feel surprisingly productive

  • I tested the “Work Perks” remote work program at Los Angeles’ luxury Hotel Figueroa.
  • The Work Perks program costs $140, about $162 after tax, for a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. stay.
  • The program was a great way to break my work from home routine and offered amenities not found in any office.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Los Angeles — the home of movie stars and sunshine — has a hidden secret: a luxury downtown hotel with a robust remote work program.

Remote work has been a hot topic since the start of COVID-19, and more companies are now offering full-time remote or flexible work options.

To cash in on this trend, Los Angeles-based Hotel Figueroa launched its "work perks" program in early June, and about two to three guests use the program every week, Connie Wang, the hotel's managing director, told Insider in an email statement.

The hotel received a "very positive response" last summer when the program was first unveiled, and its popularity only continued into the fall, according to Wang.

The hotel has also been in discussions with "larger companies" interested in booking its team spaces for remote work.

The majority of the hotel's work perk guests live close-by, but want a workspace away from the confines of their homes, according to Wang. I'm sure many can relate to this.

After over a year of working from home, I decided it was time to try out Hotel Figueroa's program.

A Work Perks session costs $140, about $162 after tax, per day, and guests have the option to book an overnight stay as well.

The hotel is located in Downtown Los Angeles, just a few blocks away from the Staples Center. I rarely frequent the downtown area, but decided the drive through the traffic would be worth the opportunity to work by a pool under the sun (more to come on that).

After an hour of navigating the streets of downtown, I finally found the valet parking lot that was pre-reserved ahead of my arrival.

I handed my car keys to the lot attendant and walked right around the corner to check into the hotel.

After getting a rundown of the amenities, I waddled over to the elevator with my tote bag full of work gear, tapped my card in the elevator, and headed up to the fifth floor to my temporary office.

The hotel offers three levels of accommodations at varying sizes and amenities: rooms, suites, and signature suites.

Guests with the work perks session get to work out of the hotel's Classic Suites, which offered more space than I was expecting.

The suite had three separate areas: a bathroom, bedroom, and living room-like space where the workstation was located.

This suite was nothing like my typical work from home setup, which normally consists of the cheapest desk I could find online, a lamp, an office chair, a half-eaten bowl of oatmeal, and an empty cup of coffee.

Here, the two-tiered desk came with built-in outlets, an overhead TV, a thick cushioned seat, and a lamp similar to the one I have at home.

A couch, coffee table, and some additional seating were all located directly behind the desk.

Across the way from this office-living room space was the bedroom, which was lined with a full-length mirror, king bed, and nightstands.

The bedroom was also equipped with another wall-mounted TV and an iPad that conveniently displayed the time, weather, and options to play the radio or request guest services. I wasn't sure what all the TVs were for, but I couldn't complain.

Finally, the bathroom sits adjacent to the bedroom and comes with two sinks, a giant mirror, and enclosed toilet and shower spaces on either side of the bathroom.

There's even a little espresso maker by the entryway for a constant stream of caffeination …

… but I opted to get a coffee from the complimentary coffee bar downstairs instead.

My trusty water bottle rarely leaves my side, but if I had accidentally left it at home, I could've used the complimentary in-room water bottles.

Aesthetically speaking, this is one of the nicest hotel rooms I've ever been in (with the caveat that I didn't get a chance to nap on the bed during work, which I'm sure my editor will be glad to hear).

When I finally finished exploring my suite and grabbing coffee downstairs, I settled down at the desk, opened my laptop to free WiFi, and began work.

I was initially skeptical about working from a hotel. "How different could it be than working from home without pajamas on?" I thought to myself.

But within the first few minutes, I realized my initial impressions were wrong.

I found myself being extremely productive in the WiFi and coffee-equipped space.

I enjoy working with some ambient noise, so I decided to have the news playing on TV while I was typing away at a story.

And being alone meant I could read aloud, which I often can't do because I share my home office with the person I live with.

It was nice to work in a space where I had none of my usual distractions, but full access to all of the amenities I could possibly need while working.

However, I do have one qualm about the suite. The room had two windows and several lights, but the space was still too dim for my liking (I enjoy bright workspaces). But besides this, I have no complaints.

After a while at my desk, I decided to explore the rest of the hotel.

Like other guests with the program, I opted to work in my private suite and in the common spaces available throughout the hotel.

The hotel has several open tables for guests to work at, whether it be by the pool, on the first floor, or at a large outdoor deck on the second floor.

I saw several people seated at different nooks around Hotel Figueroa's first floor, keeping to themselves while typing away on their laptops. For a moment, it felt like I was at an upscale coworking space.

There are a few reasons why I miss working in Insider's New York office. For one, there were plenty of open tables and seats available for when I needed a change of scenery.

The hotel gave me the opportunity to do just that — work wherever I wanted without being too far from my personal desk.

I still don't feel comfortable sitting in confined indoor spaces for too long, even with a mask on, so I opted to work by the sun-drenched pool instead.

I saw a few unmasked guests lounging in the indoor common spaces and one employee without a mask on, but other than that, I felt safe working in my private room and out by the pool.

Many hotels have upped their cleaning protocols amid COVID-19. This includes Hotel Figueroa, which sanitizes its rooms and leaves them empty for at least a full day in-between guests.

There was also a steady supply of hand sanitizers near commonly touched surfaces, including one inside the elevator, and one by the hotel's pool entrance.

After a few hours of working and exploring with no snacks or a meal, I decided to order lunch and a juice (I am in Los Angeles after all) while seated at my nook by the pool.

The hotel's restaurant, a Mexican-inspired Veranda Al Fresco, is right by the swimming area, which means hungry remote workers can lounge under the sun, eat, and work at the same time.

After a few minutes of indecision while staring at the menu, I settled on the elote bowl and a spicy fireball juice. The former felt like a glorified Chipotle bowl (that's a good thing), while the latter was too spicy for my then-empty stomach to drink. The total came out to over $30, not including tip.

Besides access to different workspaces, the work perks session also offers free Wi-Fi, a copy machine, and a printer …

… and access the hotel's gym, which is equipped with two Pelotons that I didn't get the chance to use.

After a few productive hours and lunch, I decided it was time to wrap up my workday. I gathered up my belongings from the pool and suite and marched out to the valet parking lot where I began my traffic-filled drive back home.

The program is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., but I decided to leave early because I'm still working East Coast hours while I'm temporarily located in California.

Overall, I enjoyed my $160 Work Perks experience and would do it again if I could afford to.

It felt like a great way to break up the work week, which often makes me feel bogged down and stressed at home.

It felt luxurious working from a hotel room that was over twice the size of my home office. And having amenities like a gym, free coffee, and bottled water was a huge plus, even if I didn't have time to take advantage of everything the hotel had to offer.

The hotel also had great service — any questions I had were answered kindly and promptly.

However, there's no denying that $160 is expensive for an eight-hour daytime hotel stay. That price is pretty much comparable to an overnight stay at other hotels.

This price point likely makes it inaccessible for the majority of remote workers looking for a new permanent office solution.

But if you're sitting on a pile of cash and feeling burnt out from working from home,I'd highly recommend booking a Hotel Figueroa Work Perks session, especially if you plan on using its gym and pool.


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