Hilton revamps suites into office spaces during COVID-19

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Nocatee residents, James and Kristen Howell, welcomed their newborn boy into the world on April 11. While many things have come to an abrupt halt during the pandemic, Calvin Howell wasn’t one of them.

Back from the hospital, James Howell is returning to business, working from home in a makeshift office in his kitchen. Amid all the changes going on, there is one thing for certain nonetheless – that is – babies don’t make good coworkers. It’s a fact many people around the U.S. are having to come to terms with while surrounded by sibling fights, interrupted Zoom meetings, fistfuls of hair and ever-shrinking homes. James is hopeful, however, as many new parents are.

“Luckily, my wife is on leave,” Howell said. “The hope is that she will be able to take care of him during the workday. I work off the kitchen table, so I expect frequent interruptions when he’s hungry or needs a diaper change. Hopefully productivity doesn’t fall to badly.”

While productivity just isn’t what it used to be these days, Howell still has a lot on his plate. It’s a situation that the Hilton in Ponte Vedra recognized and found a creative way to address.  

Recently, the hotel begun a new business model which targets those looking for somewhere to work without all the interruptions of home life. Once hotel suites, now “office suites,” the Hilton is renting space during the day – which includes all the complimentary peace and quiet one could ask for.

Since social distancing restrictions, the Hilton is currently being occupied by overnight stays at only about 12-15%, according to Anna Washington, director of sales and marketing. Creatively turning the empty suites into office suites is one way of making the most out of a bad situation for the tourism industry.  

“Our main thing is we want to emphasize is [this is a] safe solution to help the community,” Washington said.

The suites, once an average of $200 a night have been reduced to daytime rental hours of only $49. Check in is at 7:30 a.m. and checkout at 6 p.m. for one full day of uninterrupted work. Guests receive highspeed internet and room service availability, which includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, cocktails or Starbucks coffee.

The Hilton even offers hourly passes to use the gym and pool areas for those looking to get a quick workout in while the local gyms have been closed.

Washington ensures that the hotel has gone the extra lengths to adhere to social distancing and cleanliness since the onset of the pandemic. In fact, the hotel just received a “Best of Housekeeping” award for 2020, just prior to the business remodel. 

For those interested, Washington said the business suites will be available until the end of April, where they will revisit continuing the model.

For those interesting in booking an office suite for the day, call (904) 980-1661 or email anna.washington@hilton.com.

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