Hotel owners say that investing in better lobbies is starting to pay off because it enables them to charge higher room rates. Marriott, Starwood and Hyatt have invested heavily in stylish lobbies that are more conducive to working and socializing. "People want to go where people are," says Michael Slosser, managing director of operations for Destination Hotels and Resorts. "They want to go to be seen, to relax and to people watch."

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