7 luxury 'workations' where you can mix business and leisure

It's time to give your Zoom background a real-time boost and swap 'work from home' with 'work from hotel'

If you’ve been working from home for the past year and have had about enough of the view from your kitchen table, or would like to give your Zoom background a bit of a real-life boost, it may be time to take a “workation”.

With much of the global workforce no longer tethered to an office, hotels around the world are offering long-term packages that allow you to mix work with leisure in a new and exotic location.

Here are some of the places we’d like to decamp to:

Time in paradise on Sir Bani Yas Island

The Desert Islands Resort & Spa by Anantara on Abu Dhabi’s Sir Bani Yas Island has launched the 30-night Time In Paradise package. For Dh45,000 ($12,253), you can swap your cramped home office for a sea-view room, while taking advantage of the resort’s business centre.

Access to the fitness centre is included in the package, to help you really hone that work-life balance, and you’ll get a choice of five 30-minute spa treatments or five mani/pedis at the award-winning Anantara Spa.

Also included in the package are 10 excursions or adventures, so instead of spending your evenings bingeing on Netflix, you can take in the island’s diverse animal population on a wildlife drive, embark on a nature or wadi walk, try your hand at kayaking and archery, or do a culture and history tour.

A long stay in the Seychelles

Hilton’s two hotels in the Seychelles are offering packages for those who want to “upgrade their work from home to work from paradise”. Digital nomads looking for a spot of luxury on their Seychelles sojourn will find themselves well catered for at the five-star Hilton Seychelles Notholme Resort & Spa.

Perched amid hilltops in the north of Mahe, the resort offers high-speed internet, meeting rooms and a peaceful library for when you need to really focus on the task at hand. Then there’s a host of free activities, including snorkelling and kayaking, for when it's time to unwind.

Available for stays of 10 nights or more, Northolme’s workation package welcomes guests to stay in one of the hotel’s Grand Oceanview Pool Villas, a tree-house style residence with panoramic views, a private infinity pool and an expansive terrace that tops even the swankiest of corner offices.

On those extra leisurely days, guests can enjoy a romantic candlelit dinner, either poolside in-villa or on the beach, or one of the hotel’s famous floating breakfasts in their private pool, both of which are part of the package rate.

Nightly rates for Hilton Seychelles Northolme Resort & Spa’s workation package start from $915 for stays of more than 21 nights, based on double occupancy.

Relocate to Zanzibar

As part of its Great Relocate package, Hyatt is inviting guests to “gather your work, your pets and your people” and spend a month or more at one of its properties around the world.

In addition to a much-needed change of scenery, the package includes private work areas, complimentary gym access, high-speed internet and an on-hand IT concierge, laundry services, airport or train station pick-up, twice-weekly housekeeping and a 25 per cent discount on onsite dining.

The offer is valid until December 31 for any stay longer than 29 nights. It is open to World of Hyatt members, or those who enrol for Hyatt’s loyalty programme on the spot, with prices starting at $1,000 per month, depending on hotel brand, location and room category.

We’d head to the Park Hyatt in Zanzibar, which sits on a stretch of beach in the heart of Stone Town and combines more than 140 square metres of flexible meeting and event space with an ocean-facing infinity pool, expansive spa and 24-hour in-room dining for when those impromptu Zoom meetings last longer than planned.

A Greek retreat

For a truly luxurious “work from hotel” experience, look no further than the Nana Princess on the Greek island of Crete. Set between pristine sandy beaches and rolling mountains, the resort consists of sea-view suites and villas, most of which have their own private outdoor pool, as well as in-room steam rooms and saunas.

With its Workation Package, guests will get complimentary access to office and meeting facilities, the use of office equipment, and soft drinks, tea and coffee throughout the day. You’ll also get a free dinner every Saturday, to celebrate the end of the working week, as well as unlimited access to the gym and fitness classes. The cherry on the top is a free weekly massage at The Royal Wellness Club, to counteract those cricks in your shoulders from hunching over your laptop all day.

Free time can be spent on the tennis or beach volleyball court, joining nature walks and cycling tours, or taking advantage of the 18-hole golf course that’s just 10 minutes away. Nightly rates at Nana Princess start from $398 per night in a deluxe junior suite.

Calling it in from the Caribbean

For a truly decadent escape from reality, head to the Caribbean. Set on a 400-metre-long stretch of beach on the west coast of Barbados, amid three acres of lush tropical gardens, the family-owned Cobblers Cove has introduced a long-stay offer on bookings of 21 nights or more.

Guests will enjoy a free laundry service, their own personal housemaid, a daily 30-minute water sports session and one lunch at the hotel’s Sea Shed beach bar. In addition, the mini bar will be re-stocked daily with your choice of soft drinks and snacks. You’ll also be gifted a canvas tote bag and seersucker bath robe, so you look the part as you roam your new home. Most importantly, the hotel promises that its Wi-Fi is “super speedy”.

For bookings of 21 days and over, room rates start from $350 for single occupancy in a Garden Suite. Barbados launched the Welcome Stamp Initiative in 2020, inviting international travellers to “work from home” on the island for up to a year.

Work from Windjammer

For an alternative island getaway, you could stay on St Lucia, where the all-inclusive Windjammer Landing has created the Work from Windjammer package.

This includes secure, high-speed Wi-Fi, a personal concierge, daily housekeeping service, on-site laundry and a fully equipped in-room kitchen, for when you need to at your most productive. Then there's nightly entertainment, a kids' club, non-motorised water sports and access to the resort’s six pools, five restaurants, spa and fitness centre, for when you want to kick back. Prices start from $293 per room per night.

The hotel is also offering complimentary antigen testing to any guests staying at the resort for a minimum of five nights.

"Over the last few months, we have seen a growing trend in extended bookings, with people looking to work from the resort,” says Michael O’Sullivan, general manager of Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort in Saint Lucia.

“In light of this, we have launched a new Work from Windjammer package, which is tailored for families with working parents or elder siblings. Our villas lend themselves perfectly to these sorts of holidays, where family members can work from home using spare rooms as offices and still spend quality time together.”

Total reset with SHA

Infinity Pool at SHA Wellness Clinic. Courtesy SHA Wellness Clinic

If you really want to reboot your life, ditch the work altogether and sign up for the 28-day Life Reset programme at Spain’s famed SHA Wellness Clinic.

A pioneer in integrated medical and holistic wellness, and one of Europe’s leading medical resorts, SHA has created the Life Reset programme to offer a holistic, multi-layered approach that combines physical, cellular, psychological, mental and spiritual aspects.

Highlights include bioenergetic electromagnetic mapping, neurocognitive stimulation sessions, stress management, sleep tests, osteopathy and acupuncture. A full nutrition plan is also included in the programme. Rates start from $22,000.