Ninety-five percent of human resource leaders say employee burnout is eroding their workforce, according to a recent study.
Workers today spend so much time plugged into work that their gas tanks are draining quickly. If they're not careful with their agenda, meeting planners could push their attendees even further toward "empty." This could help explain why a growing number of meeting professionals are looking for ways to infuse even the most serious business meetings with moments of mirth -- employees, they realize, are a lot more productive when work is balanced with play.
Along with spaces to meet and work, many hotels are outfitting their properties with spaces to unplug and have fun. Among those spaces are grown-up game rooms and arcades that transport guests back to childhood, when playtime was all the time.
Here are five hotels setting the bar with play spaces that rival their meeting spaces.
Hotel Palomar Los Angeles - Beverly Hills (Los Angeles, CA)
Hotel Palomar Los Angeles - Beverly Hills recently completed a $12 million renovation that encompassed its public spaces, each of its 264 guest rooms, and a new bar and restaurant. Although the renovation is a homage to work -- its design pays tribute to the local film industry, which is one of California's largest employers -- its highlight is pure entertainment: a chic new game room that includes board games, shuffleboard, billiards, skeeball, video games, darts, and dual 4K high-definition TVs. The room can be rented on its own or in conjunction with the adjoining bar and restaurant. Under the same roof is 5,000 square feet of meeting and event space, including a ballroom for up to 200 attendees and several breakout rooms for groups of up 16 to 48.
Hotel Colonnade (Coral Gables, FL)
Miami's Hotel Colonnade -- a former Westin that is now part of Marriott International's Tribute Portfolio -- also recently completed a renovation. The $18 million project modernized the 1920s-era property and gave it an "indie" vibe that blends modern design with historic features, including the original vaulted ceilings and grand staircase in the hotel's lobby. The most contemporary thing about the 157-room property, however, isn't its new, Latin-inspired décor. Rather, it's its quirky new game room, which boasts activities like billiards, tabletop shuffleboard, darts, and video games, as well as a bar that's perfect for hosting events like liquor tastings. Of course, the hotel also has ample meeting space. Approximately 23,000 square feet of it, to be exact.
Chicago Athletic Association Hotel (Chicago, IL)
A former private men's club, the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel is now one of the Windy City's hippest hotels and hangouts. The second floor, in particular, is a destination for locals and visitors alike. There, you'll find the Drawing Room, a lounge with wood accents, leather chairs, and cavernous fireplaces; the Milk Room, a former speakeasy serving Prohibition-era cocktails to just eight lucky patrons at a time; and the Game Room, a wood-paneled gaming hall. Originally the billiards room of the Chicago Athletic Association (CAA), which occupied the building from 1893 until 2007, the latter features billiards, shuffleboard, foosball, cards, checkers, chess, and bocce, not to mention a food menu of "concession classics and street food favorites," including burgers, fish tacos, fried pickle pops, lobster rolls, and smoked chicken wings. Groups of up to 150 can rent out a portion of the space for semi-private events while parties of 150 to 250 can arrange a full buyout of the space. All told, the 241-room hotel has 17,000 square feet of meeting and event space, including two ballrooms, several executive boardrooms, and Stagg Court, CAA's former basketball court and gymnasium that has since been turned into a unique event space.
Hotel Zeppelin (San Francisco, CA)
Viceroy Hotel Group's Hotel Zeppelin describes itself as a hotel that "rebelliously celebrates the collision of San Francisco's countercultural tradition with a mischievous approach to contemporary hospitality." Its 1,300-square-foot, Silicon Valley-style game room perfectly matches this ethos. Called Peace -- named for the giant peace sign that adorns one wall -- it has a full-sized electronic Bingo board, a quick-shot basketball wall, skeeball, shuffleboard, and billiards, and can be combined with an adjacent meeting space to create a 2,000-square-foot event venue.
Excalibur Hotel & Casino (Las Vegas, NV)
In Las Vegas, "gaming" usually means "gambling." Several Strip-side resorts, however, are embracing games of a different sort in dedicated game rooms. One is MGM Grand, which recently opened LEVEL UP, a 12,000-square-foot bar, lounge, and gaming emporium that features pay-to-play games like billiards, foosball, Jenga, and Ping-Pong, as well as QuadAir Hockey, Bubble Hockey, Giant Pac-Man, and Connect Four. Another option, however, is Excalibur Hotel & Casino, where you'll find the Fun Dungeon, a world-famous arcade that's home to more than 200 games, including 15 carnival midways, 10 KiddieLand games, 60 arcade games, 10 sports games, and 106 redemption Games. A highlight is what the resort claims is the world's largest Pac-Man game. Private groups can rent the Dungeon, or gather there informally after a meeting in the resort's 12,000 square feet of meeting space.