LOS ANGELES — Welcome to the iHotel, where you can check in — but there's no check-in counter.
At the Andaz West Hollywood, a host stands near the entrance to register guests on an iPad tablet.
The 239-room boutique hotel — which also features free WiFi and communal tables designed for laptop use in the lobby — is just one of many hotels that have adapted their reception areas to be a better fit for the digital-savvy guest.
Because working alone in a hotel room seems as antiquated to young business travelers as typewriters, these hotels are going for a WiFi coffee-shop atmosphere in their lobbies.
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At the Hyatt Grand Champions Resort in Indian Wells, Calif., electrical outlets have been installed on the surface of the lobby bar so guests can power their laptops and mobile devices 24 hours a day.
The Luxe Sunset Boulevard Hotel in Los Angeles' Bel Air neighborhood recently created a large common area by removing the walls between the lobby and the restaurant, which added snacks to the menu for patrons who want to munch while clicking away. The hotel also increased the wireless Internet speed in the lobby by 600 percent.
"The idea is to give them a comfortable place to work, so they don't have to go to the Starbucks," said Efrem Harkham, founder of Luxe Hotels, which hopes to finish another lobby makeover — at the Luxe Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills — by April.
Perhaps most ambitious of all, approximately 250 hotels owned by Marriott International now have what the company calls "great rooms" that have been opened up to include adjacent restaurants and bars. The vast majority have WiFi.
"It's a way to bring new life to our lobbies," said Marriott Chief Executive Arne Sorenson.
Joe McInerney, chief executive of the American Hotel & Lodging Association, said the trend is not limited to the United States.
"I was in Berlin two weeks ago for a conference and everyone was sitting around the lobby of the hotel, working on iPads and iPhones and computers," McInerney said.
A recent Deloitte survey found that 36 percent of business travelers ages 18 to 44 say they often work in lobbies or other common areas in hotels, while just 17 percent of those 45 and older do the same.
"Many hotels have done a good job evolving these lobbies from the stuffy and uncomfortable marble spaces of yore," said Adam Weissenberg, vice chairman for global travel and hospitality at Deloitte.
Many major hotels still have business centers — small rooms equipped with computers and printers — but some hotel managers say they are rarely used and may eventually be phased out.
"Guests are more social today," said John Annicchiarico, marketing director for San Diego's Loews Coronado Bay Resort, where a lobby remodeling project scheduled to be finished in June will include several built-in iPads at the bar and nearby tables. "They want to be in the mix, but they want to be hooked up to their devices."