The 10 Coolest Offices of 2013

Way back in 2010 after I had my first real year of travel, I noticed that I’d not only had the opportunity to visit a lot of cool places, I worked in a lot of cool places.

Part of the draw of being a Location Rebel is your work can come with you wherever you go. To some this might sound like a curse, but when you don’t have to worry about taking days off or asking permission to travel, it can be life changing.

So in 2010 I started what has now become one of my favorite blog posts of the year: The Location 180 Coolest Offices posts.

At the end of every year I look back at my travels and do a post on the coolest offices I had throughout the year.

In the past this has included bungalows in Thailand, villas in Bali, and my grandma’s cabin on the Mckenzie River in Oregon.

Here are links to the previous write-ups in 20122011, and 2010.

This year may be the most diverse yet, but also has a few noticeable differences.

I traveled a lot in 2013, visiting 8 countries and hitting just about every corner of the US – but the biggest change from years past has been the amount of golf I played in 2013. Between launching Breaking Eighty and beginning my quest to play both the Top 100 and Top 100 public courses in the US I’ve been to quite a few scenic golf courses – often with laptop in tow. So keep an eye out for those.

With that, let’s get to the list!

10) Cosmopolitan Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada

#10 is actually a veteran of our top offices list, and was on the 2012 list as well. I returned to the Cosmopolitan in July of this year with my good friends Steve Kamb and Matt Kepnes for a few days of, well, fun.

I sat poolside with laptop in hand while we plotted our individual plans for world domination.

Cosmopolitan Las Vegas Poolside at the Cosmopolitan

9) Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

Coeur d’Alene (pronounced core-duh-lane) is about a 6 hour drive from my Portland home, and a place I’d been wanting to visit forever.

I went with my girlfriend Tate’s family and we stayed in a beautiful bed and breakfast about 10 minutes from the town. Two of the first top golf courses I played were here – but in between pouring weather and a fantastic wedding I had the opportunity to simply sit out in our back yard and get stuff done.

Relaxing summer office in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho Relaxing summer office in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

8) Guangzhou, China

Just because an office isn’t in a sexy location, doesn’t mean it isn’t cool.

After struggling to get into Nick and Tim’s apartment, I finally was treated to a great office for the week.

Guangzhou, China is a complete hub of entrepreneurship. It’s host to the Canton Fair, one of the largest trade shows in the world, and is a must visit for anyone looking to get involved in products or manufacturing in China.

This was my 2nd trip to China, and in the next month look for a big update as I’m releasing the details on a new project that I think many of you will like.

This was the view from their living from where I spent many hours working.

Sunset in Guangzhou, China Sunset in Guangzhou, China

7) The Raffles Hotel, Singapore 

I’d been wanting to visit Singapore for a long time, so when I had the chance to spend 12 hours there during a layover I made the most of every minute.

I got into town around 4pm and explored all over until 4am when I had to head back to the airport.

Obviously one of the things that had to be done was to have a Singapore Sling at the Raffles Hotel (it’s on the bucket list!).

The Raffles is one of the most famous spots in Singapore and the birthplace of the popular drink.

I got my Singapore Sling, but my host was a little mistaken as to the actual birthplace. He took me to the Courtyard Bar, rather than the Long Bar – so I’m counting it for now, but next time I’m in Asia a do-over is necessary. Thanks for the tour Justin!

Singapore Sling at the Raffles

6) Erin Hills, Hartford, Wisconsin 

Erin Hills was one of the most unique days I had this year. It’s a golf course that’s playing host to the 2017 US Open and is out in the middle of nowhere.

It was a bit of a struggle to get to, and the weather was completely schizophrenic. My round went from foggy to sunny to VERY wet, and then did it all over again.

When all was said in done, I went out on their covered patio, ordered a beer and replied to an hour’s worth of emails from one of the most surreal looking offices I’ve had.

Erin Hills Golf Club Surreal view on a surreal day

5) Arcadia Bluffs, Arcadia, Michigan

Another golf course, but what made this one so unique was how unexpected it was.

After my round at Medinah in October I headed to ORD and picked up my buddy Dan to prepare for our 6 hour drive to Arcadia, Michigan (aka, The Middle of Nowhere).

We arrived at 2am, completely delirious and leaving our host to question whether or not we’d actually be showing up. We passed out, and I woke up early to eat my included breakfast and answer some emails on the balcony before our round.

I’d been told Arcadia Bluffs was scenic, but nothing could prepare me for the view I saw when I woke up that morning.

I think the photo speaks for itself. This also happened to be my favorite course I played during the Road Trip.

Arcadia Bluffs from Balcony Not a bad view to wake up to.

4) The District Hotel –  Boracay, Philippines

I was in Portland Steakhouse, El Gaucho’s cigar lounge around this time last year with my friend John when he said he wanted to celebrate his birthday in Hong Kong in February – since he’d be close to there for work.

“Let’s do it!” I quickly said.

This led to a much larger question: Along with Hong Kong, what Asian destination made the most sense to visit for 4 or 5 days?

It came down to Bali, Thailand or Boracay, Philippines. He and Tate left it up to me to decide where we’d go, and since I’d never been to Boracay that won out.

We had an incredible 2 story loft at The District and they had some great beachfront spots to work.

The District Boracay The District Resort, Boracay

For a more detailed tour, check out this episode of Location 180 Digs:

Honorable Mention: The Shangri-La Boracay. It’s worth noting the day we spent hanging at the private beach at the Shangri-La was easily as good if not better than the office at The District (how we got in is a story for another time). However, I didn’t have my laptop with me here, so I don’t officially qualify it as an “office.

It is worth noting that the beach (yes, the BEACH) there did have faster wifi than any other place I’ve found in the Philippines.

Shangri-La Boracay A Panorama of the Shangri-La in Boracay

3) Detroit Lake – Detroit, Oregon

In August my sister Courtney got married on the banks of the Willamette River outside Eugene, Oregon. For the bachelor party we spent 3 days on Detroit Lake in Central Oregon. The cabin we rented couldn’t have been better, and the views it afforded from our upper deck exceeded all expectations.

When I first posted this photo on Facebook over the summer it received nearly 150 likes – so obviously I wasn’t the only one who enjoyed this office.

Detroit Lake, Oregon Lakefront Office

2) Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Similar to Guangzhou, it doesn’t necessarily have to be sexy to be cool.

I’d never been to Vietnam and the week that I spent in Ho Chi Minh City working, eating, and drinking $.50 beers was one of the best of the year (Pro Tip: Saigon Green is better beer than Saigon Red).

My room here was nothing special. It was a place to hang my $80 custom suit and work when I wasn’t out exploring the town, and made for a fantastic office.

Ho Chi Minh City Hotel Roon. Ho Chi Minh City Hotel Roon.

But so did the local coffee shops near Bui Vien. This is the most touristy street in the city, but it’s also one of the best for people watching.

Working in Bui Vien, Saigon Working in Bui Vien, Saigon

For a few of the more interesting stories from that trip, check out “A Few Short Travel Stories”.

1) Alegranza – Los Cabos, Mexico

My favorite office of the year may have gotten a little help. Why? Because it’s where I’m currently sitting writing this post.

Alegranza Condos in San Jose del Cabo, Mexico is one of the best spots I’ve found for a “workcation”. It’s got great work spaces, is quiet, and has wifi throughout the resort.

Oh, not to mention the incredible views of the Sea of Cortez.

This was taken this morning as I enjoyed my coffee and caught up on emails.

Alegranza - Los Cabos, Mexico

However, I thought I’d leave you with one more photo.

This was originally posted to our Facebook page with this story:

“So this morning, at precisely 6:23am I was awoken by what I was pretty sure was the end of the world.

Through the blinds I could see a giant fiery ball that had to have been the sun coming to its utter demise.

Upon further investigation, it was actually just the sunrise. Without thinking I sleepily jumped out of bed, walked out to the balcony and was treated to what could only be described as the most beautiful sunrise I’ve ever seen.

Life Doesn’t Suck.”

Sunrise in San Jose del Cabo, Mexico Sunrise in San Jose del Cabo, Mexico

Other Notable Offices:

  • O-Zone, Hong Kong – This is one of the highest bars in the world and is located at the top of the Ritz-Carlton in Kowloon.
  • Standard Hotel NYC – Tate and I spent 4 days at the Standard which is easily one of the most chic hotels I’ve ever stayed in. The views of the city were absolutely incredible, and I hope to make it back sometime soon.
  • Hilton Head, South Carolina – After the Masters this year I spent a few days visiting family friends during my first visit to Hilton Head Island.

Every year I’m nervous that I won’t be able to live up to the previous year’s offices. And luckily, so far that’s never been an issue.

I can’t tell you how lucky I feel to be able to travel and live the life that I do. This is all because of you. Thank you so much for reading the Location 180 posts, joining Location Rebel, and for sending emails and building a relationship with me.

I hope in 2014 I get to meet even more of you virtually and in person while adding more and more “offices” to the list.

Oh, and if you’re around in March, I’d love to see you at Pioneer Nation!

So, what was your coolest office? Tell me in the comments!

Jen Brentano December 12, 2013 at 9:49 am

My favorite office location this past year is easy to pick….. Bali. I had the pleasure of being selected 1 of 13 writers to spend a month there writing my book. Second place, Austria…St. Gilgen, a small town south of Salzburg. It truly is amazing what happens when you shift the focus. Thanks for sharing your favorite places!!

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Sean December 12, 2013 at 10:11 am

VERY cool. There were a few Bali locations on our 2011 list :) Anywhere in particular?

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Hieu Nguyen December 12, 2013 at 10:17 am

Awesome! All are very beautiful places to work! Thanks for your tip about Saigon beer in HCMC, Haha!

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Evelyn Ivy December 12, 2013 at 9:34 pm

Followed the link on twitter and totally not what I was expecting. I smiled when I saw the list because it really resonated with me. Thanks for writing this article.

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Sean December 13, 2013 at 1:05 pm

Glad we were able to provide a positive surprise!

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James December 12, 2013 at 10:28 pm

You’re a lucky man Sean! I love Coeur d’alene, definitely one of the places I could see myself living in the future.

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Sean December 13, 2013 at 1:05 pm

I’m right there with you, really liked CDA. Some fantastic golf there as well :) ha

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Nica Mandigma December 13, 2013 at 12:46 am

Oohh! So glad to know that a part of the Philippines made it to your list! I’m a Filipina (and an aspiring location rebel like you and I just visited Boracay for the first time this year. Due to planning mishaps, we only stayed there for 3 days and 2 nights so there was no opportunity for me to get work done! But for 2014, I am planning on going back and staying a month in Kalibo (where the airport is) and spending a few days in Boracay!

I hope you don;t mind me doing a similar post to this?

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Sean December 13, 2013 at 1:04 pm

Of course not, make sure to come back and share the link with us :) Glad you were able to make it to Boracay even if it was only for a few days. Absolutely beautiful.

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James Tolf December 14, 2013 at 6:24 am

Hey Sean I found the best place to read this article

https://www.dropbox.com/s/710awlnr9nczahh/DSCF7113.JPG

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Sean December 15, 2013 at 10:36 am

DUDE. This totally just made my morning :) Thanks for sharing!! Where is this exactly?

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James Tolf December 16, 2013 at 5:43 am

Oh yeah I guess I should have put that.
It is in Bangkok Thailand on top of the Furama hotel.

Joshua Topp January 2, 2014 at 3:55 am

Loved the Shang last time I was in Boracay. it was a couple of years ago and The District wasn’t open yet. Looking forward to trying it this year though.

Thanks for the inspiration to get out and hit the beach. Been working too much lately ;)

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Mark Charles January 8, 2014 at 4:48 am

Sean,

Almost every picture I see a mug of coffee…

Ever thought about contacting Nescafe? :D

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