Sun, sand, and laptops: This Chicago-based startup is building a beachside coworking resort

by Andreas Rekdal
January 5, 2016

For many startup employees, taking extended vacations off the grid are completely out of the question. With lean teams, everyone needs to be on deck if something unexpected were to happen. But staying connected doesn’t necessarily mean you need to stay chained to your desk.

Laptops were invented for a reason, after all.

, a Chicago-based destination coworking concept, offers the perks of vacation with the convenience of staying at the office. In other words: write code and make conference calls in the morning, hike in the rainforest at lunch time, and brainstorm business strategy with like-minded individuals over margaritas on the beach around a bonfire at night.

“The idea for Sabbatical is that it’s sort of a hybrid,” said founder Daniel Mason, who thinks many startup employees are frustrated by having to choose between their careers and seeking out memorable experiences. “You’re in a really productive coworking atmosphere around other smart, motivated people, but you’re also in a place where you can go take surfing lessons, or go volunteer with nonprofits and have what we think is the best of both worlds.”

The company’s first destination will be opening in the summer of 2016 near San Juan, Puerto Rico, but the plan is to eventually expand the concept to a number of destinations under the Sabbatical brand umbrella.

The resort will be a combination hotel and a coworking space. The workspace area has open landscapes, space for collaboration, conference call rooms, and, most importantly, reliable WiFi. Guests have their own rooms on-site, and easy access to local cuisine.

The company is also partnering with locals to offer experiences like surfing lessons, hikes, tours of local coffee farms, and volunteering opportunities with local nonprofits.

Although the program will be open to freelancers and solo entrepreneurs, Mason’s primary focus will be on building relationships with companies that offer Sabbaticals as perks for their employees, to ensure an atmosphere where people actually get work done.

“We want to keep it a business-focused professional community,” said Mason. “We want everybody to be hard-working, like-minded, career-oriented professionals.”

When it comes to price, he expects it to be competitive with vacation options like AirBnB and hotels.

The resort is expected to officially open late this summer, which should give you plenty of time to sell your company’s HR rep on it.

Image via Sabbatical.

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