A sense of déjà vu has gripped India, as the graph of Covid pandemic has begun to escalate again. Yesterday, Maharashtra’s CM Uddhav Thackeray enforced a new lockdown in the state until May 1, allowing only essential services and travel modes, including flights, trains and road-bound vehicles to function.
Amidst this, for employees across various industries and businesses, work from home, seemingly, is the fate for the rest of 2021. No doubt then, workation has become a hot travel trend for millennials today. The virtual and work-from-anywhere policy has given people the freedom to travel more – albeit cautiously – and set up work desks wherever they want.
LuxeBook decodes this trend and finds out how luxury hotels, resorts and holiday villas are designing their offerings to optimally suit their guests’ workation needs, while making sure they stay safe.
Business on the go
Since the end of last year,W Goa has had many celebrities stay at the five-star resort for as long as three months, “They are all working and having their meetings from the hotel,” says Sohrab Parakh, Director of Marketing at W Goa.
Since October 2020, the resort has alsoseen young professionals check-in for two weeks or so. There have been a few start-up owners, freelancers and architects, too, booking workations on the property. “Although it’s hard to pinpoint an age group, I will say work travellers in or within early 40s have been choosing W Goa,” says Parakh.
Surveys conducted byLuxury Escapes, a travel website that designs holidays,show that high-impact contributors at mid-senior levels are the ideal target market for the workation travel segment in the long run.
“They are typically involved in the technology sector and possess coding, data analytics and product development skills,” says Arun Ashok, Regional Head, India & Middle East, Luxury Escapes.
SaffronStays’ Devendra Parulekar says CXOs, entrepreneurs and industrialists are lapping up the chance of working out of safe holiday homes. “As a few companies have already adopted ‘work from home’ as a permanent working model, people don’t hesitate to travelfrequently.Many are also reserving our villas in Khandala and Alibaug for office group outings.”
‘SaffronStays for Corporate program’ that offers all meals, fully-serviced and staffed villas and estates in Maharashtra, to companies forteam-building trips,saw a great response last year. Brands like Netflix, Yash Raj Films, ICICI and Autohangar booked packages under this programme.Amongst the various amenities, SaffronStays offers pet-friendly stays, WiFi-strong spaces, aesthetic corners for video calls, private lawns and home-cooked food in fully-sanitisied properties.
Luxury Escapeshas curated workations in many Indian luxe properties. Ashok says that Grand Hyatt Goa and Mary Budden Estate in Uttarakhand are the hot favourites for such work vacations. These premier abodes offer longer stay packages of 7-14 nights, including all-meal plans that ensures a hassle-free stay for business travellers. Complimentary high–speed WiFi and unlimited tea and coffee at the Members Lounge help them stay at their keyboards for as long as required.
Known for its motto of ‘wherever whenever’, “W Goacaters to a lifestyle. We are very different from other hotels. Our goal is to make you feel like family and we do this by personalising everything during your stay,” says Parakh.An Indian football club owner, who has been staying at the resort for a few months now conducts all his meetings from his villa.
“Once he asked for a treadmill and some extra fitness equipment, so we’ve provided that as well.” Moreover, for every stay booked at the resort, all meals are taken care of by the property and the guests get complimentary access to its business centre, Wired.
The working traveller demands…
Planning a workation requires checking off the basics on the list – steady internet, 24-hours electricity, strong cellular range, spacious living areas, waterbodies or a pool and unfailing sanitisation measures.
But what’s also crucial is choosing a destination that is remote enough for a unique, scenic experience, away from the noise in the city. “A view of the beach or a hill ensures that the working traveller is constantly inspired and productive at work,” says Ashok. At times, these guestswant basic supplies like marker pens, flipchart, projectors or even karaoke and sound systems, which can be arranged at an additional cost, informs Parulekar.
“At W Goa, We give them their spaceand privacy to work in peace. In case of any requests, we assign them a talent coach or a head of the department, who is their one point of contact for everything they need,” says Parakh.
Unwinding after work
A portmanteau of work and vacation, workationmakes it vital to relax and soak in some hours of enjoyment, away from the laptop. At W Goa, one can sign up for an indulgent session at Away Spa or head to the Rock Pool, the resort’s famous sundowner spot and a buzzing club. “Located in Vagator, we’re literally in the heart of Goa. All the hotspots, especially the fine-dines Titlie, Olive Bar & Kitchen, Mahé and Thalassa are at a 10–min distance,” says Parakh.
Most of SaffronStays’ villas and holiday homes have private pools or a lake or a river. Their spacious lawns are scaped as the perfect chai time and picnic-worthy spots. They also have libraries for bibliophiles.
The X Series Estates,Arrivée andGreen Acres in Alibaughave a mini theatre as well. For guests stayingat the brand’sestates in South India, “They can go on a coffee plantation touror for trekking or have a romantic dinner in the lap of nature,” says Parulekar.
Pick your stay: The best luxury workation properties in India
By the Beach by SaffronStays, Alibaug In Alibaug’sMandwa beachside is SaffronStays’ five-bedroom luxury pool estate, By the Beach. Dotted with coconut trees, a huge lawn and an outdoor pool, this property also has a home theatre and table tennis area.
Casa Riviere by Lohonostays, Karjat Casa Riviere is a 12-acre vacation home in Karjat, about 2 hours away from Mumbai. It has five plush king–size bedrooms with views of the mountains and a serene lake, an entertainment area, a multipurpose court, a verdant lawn and a private pool.Guests can also go freshwater fishing and to Bhivpuri waterfalls here.
The Leela Palace Jaipur, Rajasthan The Leela Palace Jaipur is the newly opened property in the Pink City. Out of its 200 rooms, 41Royal villas have a private plunge pool. Some of its packages include WiFi, 3-course meal and chauffeur-driven cars.
Mountain Edge, Shelapni by Vista Rooms, Shimla Mountain Edge is a quaint, pet-friendly cottage located in Mandhol, two hours away from Shimla city. Its four bedrooms, ahuge lawn and a swimming pooloverlook the mighty Himalayas.
Ragamaya Resort and Spa, Munnar, Kerala Ragamaya is perched on the Munnar hill with hypnotic views of the Ponmudi lake and the western ghat rainforests. The resort houses 18 guest rooms, each with scenic views, and an ayurvedic spa. Bird watching, tea plantation trails, cooking classes and cycling are some recreational activities guests can opt for.
Coorg Wilderness Resort, Karnataka A luxury stay by Paul John Resorts & Hotels, Coorg Wilderness Resort in Karnataka flaunts European styled, grand rooms and suites amidst the spellbinding presence of hills and woods. Their longer stay packages pack in WiFi, indoor games and all-meal plans for four nights or more.