I have a friend who is currently touring Europe as he works remotely on projects, and attends various coding boot camps and summits along the way, who is the perfect target market for this idea. Globetrotting professionals are not a new thing, but with the help of the internet there are many more of us now, and this hotel is designed for us.
Zoku is a new kind of business hotel brand. A hotel where you have shared workspaces, and meeting rooms, and is suitable for extended stays. It's like a WeWork, where you also sleep.
Newly opened Zoku Paris is located in the Stream Building, opposite the Court of Justice in the 17th arrondissement. The top three floors has 109 lofts and walking into the Zoku is like entering a small neighborhood in itself. The hotel even has a Community Manager, who provides Check-in Chats, Community Dinners, and other social rituals for guests who stay 14 or more nights. They also host workshops, seminars, live podcast streams, and the Aperó Live Music Sessions every Thursday night.
The hotel boasts co-working areas which have work booths, long shared tables, breakout areas, and yes even a game room for taking a foosball break in.
In order to make the extended stay as pleasurable and "at home" as possible, the hotel has a laundry room, a pantry where one can borrow items one needs, there is a food pantry, and even an art swap area.
The hotel also has many social spaces, such as the rooftop area, to bring together guests and the local community. The concept is to create mixed-use buildings that encourage international living, remote working, and networking between guests and locals. Just pack your laptop and arrive.
The hotel rooms vary from small studio spaces, to more apartment-like larger layouts. These are images of the studio and the XL loft rooms. Unlike a regular hotel room, where the bed dominates, the layout here is more like an apartment with a couch, a dinner table and a kitchenette.
Many years ago, I would have been head over heels with this concept as I somehow managed to move around the world with a desktop computer (egads!) and ended up renting friends-of-friends-of-friends apartments while they were on vacation or similar, long before Airbnb, Soho House and now Zoku was invented. This is a nomadic expat living with a cheat code! Everything you need is here, you can borrow an ironing board from the pantry, and your hotel room can easily be your office on the days you want to meet collaborators in a more private space, or use as a podcast room when you're doing that.
To add to that, an event space is available where you can host your own conference, coding boot camp, or seminar, and easily turn the area into a dinner party at the end of the day.
There are also board rooms, called "not a board room", for important meetings and presentations, as well as a bustling café area for when you need a coffee break or an evening cocktail.
Paris isn't always the most welcoming city, in fact, last year it was ranked one of the worst cities in the world for expats, but this hotel may help nudge that reputation in another direction.
I can't help that I keep hearing the phrase "you will own nothing, and you will be happy" in my head.
But fair enough, if I am going to bounce around the world networking, I would want to do it in style. In my life stage, the concept of The Graduate Hotels may be more my speed. They are stylish hotels in University towns catering to parents who are visiting or bringing their kids to college. Each Graduate hotel is designed with a nod to the local culture in mind, creating a space where you'll quickly learn about local heroes, local art, and quirks of the city that it is in. Like Zoku, they also offer an in-house bar, café, space for working, meetings, and events as well as items to borrow such as bikes. For longer stays, there are suites with kitchenettes and even homes you can stay in.
I stayed at the Graduate in Cincinnati , where the elevator had a faint scent of pencil shavings and Bootsy Collins graced the wallpaper. It was a skip and a jump away from all of the downtown hotspots and university, and full of eclectic patterns, colors and materials.
As more cities clamp down on AirbnB and Vrbo, and more people work globally directly from their laptop, expect to see more creative hotel concepts like this.