I received an email from a friend of mine about a meeting she wanted to set up with a few of us who work for a non-profit. I was told it was at the Sandbox Suites and first thought, “That’s a funny name for a hotel.” I looked it up on google maps and even looking at the street view I couldn’t see a hotel that might have conference rooms anywhere. Then after searching for it on the regular google I found out I was in for a surprise.
Sandbox Suites is aimed at start up tech companies. I used to work for one and I have to say it was great. I was working from home 5 days a week with a couple of hours on Monday’s spent in a meeting when we all got together. With everything now working off of the cloud you don’t really need a big office that costs you lots of money. Each person can work from their own virtual office space and then you either get together once a week or just use something like skype to have a free conference call.
This was a change that didn’t take much getting used to and the old place I worked would use a conference room at the place we’d have our meetings when they were making pitches to investors. Sandbox Suites was a bit different. Yes, there was free WiFi and you could print out up to 50 pages/hour, but it had something other places I’ve been at didn’t. It had amenities. Not just clean bathrooms, but they had a water cooler and coffee for free and there was a small dispenser that sold candy bars and chips that sat on the counter top. The best part was that it didn’t look like it was a carpeted echo-y room. It looked and felt like an actual workplace. The room we were in was about 12’x12′ and had a whiteboard, telephone and projector [big bonus!]
I believe this room cost around $25/hour and sat the four of us rather comfortably. There were smaller cubicles on the two floors and in the entrance area they had a couch and several plush chairs with tables you could use for small one on one meetings. Very nice.
For many people they need to get out of the house to actually get their work done and I know I was a bit like that at times. When I was working with a start up I’d get up and start working around 7:30 and sometimes not finish until 8pm at night with the day broken up by trips to the store and such. Sometimes you just want to be able to say I’m done with work for the day and with a place like this you can make it happen.
The place was busy with people who were renting cubicles, but it wasn’t the least bit noisy. Everyone there seemed very happy and at least looked like they were being productive. The receptionist was more of a concierge in that he was getting us everything we wanted and when we wanted it.
They have several locations around San Francisco in the SOMA and Union Square areas and also locations in Berkeley. You can rent conference rooms by the hour and each room has an electronic calendar outside that shows who has the room booked. You can rent cubicle space on a daily or monthly basis as you need it. We’ll probably we using this place again in the near future. It’s a short walk from a short metro trip and the environment is definitely worth it.
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