Office in Hotel Room

Raise your hand if you know this story: You go away on a business trip. When you return, you are greeted by a pile of work that could have been done on the road if you had been able to see it. It’s a problem all right.

But to the owners of the Nob Hill Lambourne in San Francisco it’s an opportunity to set their small month-old hotel apart in that competitive and overbuilt market. The hotel, whose rates range from $175 to $250 per night, offers fax machines, voice mail services and IBM personal computers in each of its 20 rooms.

Hotel owners, who claim that their in-room services are a first in the United States, say guests appear interested in all the high-tech gizmos. However, few have made much use of the machines. “It’s hard to tell exactly why,” muses one clerk. “Maybe, they’re too busy at night to get much work done.”