Hotels offer classic game nights, and it's a winner for guests

Hotels offer classic game nights, and it's a winner for guests

For those burnt out on Netflix, video games or dating apps, hotels are offering up an analog and far more old-school alternative: the game night.

"There is a general sense that people are fed up with their own addiction to their phones and want time out," said Martine de Geus, director of marketing and communications at the Beaumont, a 101-room luxury property in London's Mayfair district.

In November, the Beaumont began hosting monthly game nights, inviting guests to come together and socialize over games of chess, backgammon, Rummikub, Scrabble or cards. The events, held the first Tuesday of every month in the hotel's Gatsby's Room, are free to attend. Players can purchase drinks or snacks off the regular Gatsby's Room menu.

This March, however, the hotel upped the ante with its first "special" game night event, featuring a presentation by University of Oxford professor and mathematician Marcus du Sautoy, author of the book "Around the World in 80 Games."

Tickets went for about $75 per two-person table or about $137 per four-person table, inclusive of a round of snacks and a copy of du Sautoy's book. According to de Geus, tickets for the special game night, which was capped to just under 40 attendees, sold out surprisingly quickly, resulting in a waitlist.

"These sorts of events force you to put your phone down, concentrate on the person you are playing with and be in the moment," de Geus said, adding that for a hotel, game nights and other similar social gatherings have the added benefit of creating "a relevance and foothold in the local market, and not just to visitors."

To wit, in Los Angeles' Koreatown district, the 384-room Line Los Angeles has successfully turned its monthly game night into a can't-miss social event for many locals.

Since launching in late 2022, the game night has steadily grown, going from an average of around 100 attendees at its inception to nearly 200 today, according to Jennie Wright, brand experience manager for the Line Los Angeles.

"I think people miss face-to-face engagement," Wright said. "And what something like this does is drive authentic relationships and meaningful interaction. People are able to actually talk and get to know other people. And it's less transactional than Internet interaction."

Attendance to Love, Peace & Spades is free, with a menu of specialty cocktails and other food and beverage items available for purchase at the lobby bar. A pair of instructors are also on hand to teach those who may be unfamiliar with any of the games.

Although Love, Peace & Spades wasn't built as a singles mixer, the event recently celebrated its first long-term romantic pairing.

"We had our first couple that recently got married," said Wright.

In Charleston, S.C., Mahjong Mondays at the Charleston Place's Palmetto Café have similarly become a fixture of the local social scene.

"It's been selling out every night," said Becky Hubbard, managing director of the 434-room Charleston Place.

According to Wright, part of the appeal of a game night is not just the fun, but also the opportunity for cultural exchange.

"We live in such a diverse melting pot, so it's cool to introduce these games to other cultures or to people who may not be familiar with them," Wright said. "And then seeing all the similarities between the different games that people may have played growing up, I think is beautiful."

By Christina Jelski

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