Saturday, February 20, 2016

Warm Spot in my Boston Arctic Adventure

I traveled to Boston recently for 4 days and I was excited to be hitting a break in the Boston snows. The only problem is that I was hitting it during an arctic blast with subzero temperatures. Despite this trip not providing much opportunity for tourist trekking, I did find an unexpected warm light on my trip…the Club Quarters hotels. These hotels and facilities have to be one of the best kept secrets in business travel. I’m hooked.  They only have about 17 locations around the world so far, but if they have one in a city to which I’m traveling, I’m likely to go Club Quarters instead of Airbnb, which has been my staunch go-to housing option.  I never thought I’d have a hotel challenger to what I can get with Airbnb, but in Boston, the costs were comparable, and when you added in the discounts on parking, Club Quarters was the 2nd least expensive option even with considering Airbnb options too. I’ve used Club Quarters for business meetings in New York City, but didn’t stay in one until my recent trip to Boston. The reasons I’m now a fan of Club Quarters for all my business travel stays are many from location, price and amenities to business facilitation services – for free. 

Let’s start with the location…they are all in prime business locations. You will find yourself in the heart of all the “downtown” business areas of major cities from NYC, Boston, Chicago, Washington D.C., London, etc. I used the one in NYC on 51st street across from Rockefeller Center (very convenient to subway stations as well) for business meetings each of the last several trips to NYC in the last couple of years. They have a business club area along with a restaurant for convenient business meetings whether over coffee or lunch or dinner.  I didn’t stay in these rooms on this NYC trip (I stayed in Airbnb apartments in Brooklyn each time), so I can’t vouch for their rooms at this location, but they all come with free – that’s right – FREE – WiFi in the rooms as well as in the lounge area. When you’re in the heart of the business districts, to have free WiFi is a real benefit. The location in Boston was equally perfectly located. It was directly across the street from my in-town client building and everything you could want business, restaurant and shops were within a very small walking route.

The amenities are also very business friendly, personally convenient, cost-conscious and environmentally friendly – all of which I appreciate greatly.  In addition to the free WiFi, they offer a wonderful filtered water/water bottle station on each floor where you can
fill up as many water bottles of cold filtered water as often as you want. I’ve never seen or heard of any hotel offering such a service, but it is absolutely fabulous. I go through a lot of water, and I run through the 1 or 2 complimentary bottles in standard hotel rooms within mere hours – even if they’re replenished each day, I’m always having to go to the tap water the majority of the time. This self-service filtered water feature is environmentally conscious (re-use your own bottles as you refill them) and provides the efficacy and efficiency of providing me as much filtered water as I want whenever I want, while avoiding the delivery of more plastic bottles (if they in fact would give me more bottled water vs. just more glasses of water through room service at a cost with service fees). LOVE this feature.

In the same light as this efficient and convenient unlimited filtered water self-service, the Club Quarters (at least in the Boston site) has a “Member Request Closet” that has replacement coffees, teas, creamers and irons/boards. Instead of putting an iron and board in each and every room, they have about 10 per floor, and if you need one, go down the hall, get it and bring it back. Some will need those each and every trip and some won’t. If you know 
you’ll need it, just go grab one and leave it in your room (so you’re not trotting down the hall in your PJs or worse in the morning realizing you need a little refreshing on those suitcase packed clothes). There are plenty there in the closet, so, unless there is a “Fancy Pants” convention staying on your floor, you shouldn’t be depriving anyone of having one themselves. Grab some extra sugars, creamers and teas while you’re there….

Another very convenient feature of Club Quarters is their grocery shopping service for a very nominal fee. Many of the rooms include small refrigerators, small cook tops, microwaves, with dishes and pots/pans. So, if you want to cook, you can. If you want those nice fruits, yogurts and cereals for breakfast in your room and not from room service, give them a list and by the afternoon, your groceries will be delivered to your room for you while you’re out on meetings, etc. Of course, there is also a restaurant in the same building too, so you can also get room service 24/7 in most cases too. One of my personal favorite features was free document printing. They have this great cloud-based service where you can upload the document you want to print (by signing on to their free WiFi, it will automatically select their printer as the destination printer, but you can always change it if you want). The service will give you a “Document ID” that you will input into the printer’s number keypad and it prints out for you while you’re standing there and not before you input your document code. COMPLETELY FREE. It was so awesome! It isn’t a pretty color fancy printer, but it is more than adequate.

If these weren’t enough benefits, Club Quarters also has another very convenient and cost effective feature for those who require a car to get out and about beyond the city. Parking is always incredibly expensive in these downtown city locations (Boston was between $35-55/day on average).  In Boston, they had a relationship with a parking garage 2 blocks down the street where their stamp gave me a significant discount to only $25/day and guaranteed use. The day I came into town, the garage was already over-flowingly full and they initially told me they were full and I couldn’t park there. When I said I was staying at Club Quarters, they took me anyway.

There are more benefits to this Boston Club Quarters than I either could utilize then or can repeat here now, so I took a picture of one of their info sheets in the room for others to see. In addition to the fabulous features in staying there, I enjoyed their business lounge immensely as well. I had 6 meetings in 2 days in their cozy business lounge on the main floor where there was also free coffee, sodas, water and snacks along with the free computer and printer use. For all you business travelers to the major cities in the US and London, you really need to check out the Club Quarters hotels. No other hotel that I’ve experienced or researched can touch Club Quarters for price, convenience, location, efficiency and business facilitation. I will definitely be staying in one of their hotels from now on – even over my Airbnb gems – when I have meetings in the cities.  Here is the only catch…you have to belong to some group, company or club that has a “membership”.  By virtue of my business club membership in Atlanta, they have reciprocal membership, so I was eligible. If you belong to a business club, ClubCorp or some other group, you may have rights to use these facilities and don’t know it. If you don’t, you should get your company to get its own membership….If you’re not a business traveler, but these benefits sound good to you (the Boston location was also in the heart of many of the tourist sites), you don’t have to be a Club Quarter member for weekend and holiday stays.

On a more personal note, since I was in Boston during its most frigid weekend all winter, I didn’t spend much time walking around. So, unfortunately, not many personal pics of sites to show for my stay there. The few I did take were out at Rockport Harbor, about an hour drive outside of Boston. It is a beautiful part of the coast and a very charming town. It was so cold on the Saturday I was there, only a portion of the shops and restaurants were open and it was sub-zero actual air temperatures with double digit sub-zero temps “real feel”with the gusts of wind. I did get a couple of pics in, but needless to say, I didn’t get a lot of tourist time in during the trip, unfortunately.  So, I enjoyed some indoor benefits of Boston – good food. Oysters & champagne on the harbor will do…. I hope to be back…


Check out Club Quarters here

No comments:

Post a Comment