Here's How to Work From Home in Paradise
Working from home is here for the foreseeable future, so why not do it in style?
In January, Stephanie Trunzo’s vacation home on Daufuskie Island in South Carolina was completed. They planned to go down during their 13-year-old daughter’s spring break but went in March as the world started shutting down. Stephanie, an Oracle executive, could work remotely, her husband is retired. The family have since spent little time in their primary residence in North Carolina. They’re loving island life.
“A typical day begins with enjoying coffee and breakfast with my family looking out to the water. I bike 30-40 minutes while listening to a podcast if my daughter doesn’t join me, and then start my workday,” says Stephanie.
She typically has back-to-back video Zoom meetings with her team and clients, which she takes from the guest cottage office. “The fiber cable makes my connection even better on island than it is at our regular home in NC! My daughter completes her online virtual school, and my husband handles meals, and golfing of course!”
Hubby and daughter take the labradoodle and beagle on long walks. Her daughter has riding lessons at the equestrian center. When Stephanie has a break in her meetings, or over lunch, the couple enjoy an hour on the beach. Evenings are about a healthy home-cooked meal, yoga on the deck, and watching a movie.
Says Stephanie, “We love the beauty of the island and the community. My daughter isn’t loving virtual school, but she is loving being on the island and has a few great friends.”
It’s a good life for sure, one that increasingly people are seeking. Fifty percent of those polled for a new Amex Trendex report said they would be willing to travel to live somewhere else for a year if given economic and health incentives. The pandemic ushered in a new era of working from home, making that possible. While there are challenges, the change mostly suits employees and companies alike. Some folks may not return to their offices even when it is safe to do so. Working from home is the new normal and will likely be for the foreseeable future.
Already, there’s a twist. Call it Work From Anywhere or a workcation, but since remote means remote, why not take it to another level and work from an exotic locale or somewhere that’s simple, beautiful, and less stressful than home? Have laptop, will travel. That tropical background everyone sees while you’re on Zoom can be the real deal.
The beleaguered travel industry is seizing the opportunity with programs to entice you to come for an extended stay. Countries like Bermuda, Georgia, Estonia, and Barbados recently announced programs that let you enjoy working remotely from paradise for a year. Rumor has it that Costa Rica, Panama, and several other countries are hard at work on legislation that will make a visa program similar to the “12-month Barbados Welcome Stamp” possible. Even if there aren’t formal programs, you can find extended stay offers at resorts and hotels around the globe, be it the Maldives, Greece, the U.S., pretty much any place on the planet. You will likely save money too, by booking extended stays via Airbnb, vacation rentals, and house swaps through Home Exchange. To get you started, here’s a look at a handful of the destinations where you can work and play for weeks or months.
Take your pick of lovely spots to spoil yourself for a year. The Hilton Barbados Resort has two options, the Before You Choose program offers a special introductory rate and amenities to help with relocation. The offer includes an introductory rate, assistance connecting with a local real estate agent and shipping/moving company and transportation during your stay. Individuals relocating can also enjoy access to the resort’s facilities, with a special program providing access to the fitness center, hotel events and more. Or, the Home Away From Home program is for those who want to spend their year at the beachfront resort. Monthly rates at the Hilton start at $2,500 per month, and includes discounts on food and beverage, spa and access to laundry services. The resort also offers office space with beach views. Cobblers Cove is offering special perks and rates for stays of over two weeks, including free laundry service, personal housemaid, and super speedy Wi-Fi, among others. For the jet set, Hammerton Caribbean can hook you up with villas that range from $3,000 to more than $60,000 a night.
Go ahead and splurge. You can go for full private island rentals such as Hawkins Island or Oswego Island, but if that’s above your pay grade, no worries—there are gorgeous finds elsewhere. Take for example, Newstead Belmont Hills Golf Resort & Spa overlooking Hamilton Harbour. It’s close to downtown Hamilton and is loaded with goodies like full-service kitchens, private balconies for al fresco dining, array of restaurant options, 18-hole championship golf course, spa, fitness room, and infinity pool featuring the best views of Bermuda’s spectacular sunsets. The resort’s The Longer You Stay, the Less You Pay program offers guests significant savings off of long-term stays. The cost for a two-bedroom suite is $11,500 a month and for a one-bedroom suite $9,500 (including all taxes and surcharges). A savings of $8,000 and $3,040, respectively per month. In addition, the resort will offer long-term guests concierge services for groceries and complimentary transportation to and from the resort to Hamilton via its private water shuttle. Or, consider Rosewood Bermuda. Their two- and three-bedroom residences are ideal for an extended stay. Trade in commuter traffic for tooling around in a golf cart. Dip in your private pool. During your down time, there’s the Tucker Point Golf Course, tennis, spa, junior golf and tennis for the kids, as well as the Rosewood Explorers and Children’s Program.
Riviera Maya, Mexico
The Grand Velas’ Home to Grand Extended Stay Program is for a minimum of 10 nights. You’ll get a private office, beach and pool area just for you, personalized gastronomy by an international chef, 24-hour personal concierge, spa treatments, (30-minute massage for each person and 20 percent discount on additional massages) private bar in your suite and margarita, additional suite exclusively for your family to hang out to play Xbox or board games, private dining areas in restaurants, two personalized classes for the family, high speed Wi-Fi, jeeps at your disposal and more. Consider too, Rosewood Mayakoba’s recently debuted long term private residence experience that jives well with remote working. Each residence can be customized to meet your needs be it office amenities or education tools. In addition there are pre- and post-office hour wellness offerings at Sense Spa. Enjoy a 2-, 3- or 4-bedroom villa for 20 nights or longer. Family Discovery programming includes private offerings like cooking classes, mangrove kayaking, hiking, sailing, golf, tennis, Cenote tours, Mayan storytelling and more. A 55-foot private yacht is available, offering snorkel and SCUBA trips and chef-prepared. Other perks continental breakfast in the villa, $100 resort credit daily, 30 percent off food, beverages and spa treatments. Rates start at $1,200 a night
Some things you don’t have to think about for very long. One of them is likely to be the Stay a While Longer program at One & Only Reethi Rah in the Maldives. Set in the Indian Ocean and surrounded by crystal blue waters lapping against white sandy beaches, why wouldn’t you want to linger? The extended stay package permits you to stay 28 days or more. You get additional perks like daily breakfast for two, a half board supplement to be enjoyed in Reethi Restaurant, the Resorts main restaurant, and return shared transfers from and to the airport. When you’ve finished working enjoy wellness activities, family-oriented experiences such as snorkeling, fitness center, outdoor movie theatre and the Beach Club. No need to worry about the youngsters in the family, there’s the KidsOnly and OneTribe clubs. Vakkaru Maldives’ Workcation is for stays of 21 days or longer, the package includes a decorated study room with a printer and personal assistant, complimentary activity of yoga, meditation, personal trainer or tennis coach one hour a day, daily complimentary afternoon juice booster and snacks.
Royalton Riviera, Cancun, Mexico
Leave behind your makeshift office at home for the Upgrade Your Office option at the Royalton. A 14-night stay is $900 a person and comes with 24-hour access to the Diamond Club Lounge, complimentary Business Center access, Wi-Fi, coffee bar, breakfast pastries, snack. Shrug off your workday with sunset yoga.