The best part of being a digital nomad is being able to work from anywhere with a good wifi connection. There are a lot of things I look for in a place to stay – you can read about how I choose where I stay, what to look for, and specific places I recommend here. A coliving is a place where digital nomads and remote workers live and work together. I love it – a built in community of likeminded people who are serious about their work, love exploring new places, and go on adventures together. Outsite is a one such coliving place – “Beautiful places to stay, designed for remote workers.” They’re up to 50 locations and 4,000 members around the world. They are now crowdfunding from members. They are not currently profitable, and based on my experience I wonder if, rather than the coming of the “remote work revolution” this is more of a gasp for funding and dilution of the brand (with franchising, etc) that will destroy everything that was special about this place. I stayed with Outsite in Bali in 2019 (they’ve now switched locations), and in 2022 in the Ocean Park location in San Juan. Two data points isn’t many. So it’s hard to say if the brand has experienced a massive decline, or if the San Juan experience was a bit of a fluke.
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Here’s my in-depth review. I’ll compare the two stays.
|Outsite Bali in 2019 (no longer used by Outsite)||Outsite San Juan (Ocean Park) December 2022|
|Price||When I dropped $1.3K on about a month of lodging in 2019, it was a lot for me. I had never paid that much for rent in DC. But the value & experience felt worth it. When I dropped $3.2K in 2022, it similarly felt super expensive – but I felt confident from my previous experience it would be an amazing value. After arriving, it did not feel that way.|
|44 nights for $1,386 = $31.50/night||35 nights for $3297 = $94.20/night|
|Bedroom||Beautifully designed. Loved the way the room looked and felt. No desk in the bedroom, but a table on the porch. Noisy from adjacent room & street. Private bathroom with shampoo, conditioner & soap provided.||Beautifully designed – but unfinished. They ran out of budget halfway through the renovation, and it shows in the details. Poor quality dresser. Room was not clean when I checked in, and the shampoo, conditioner & soap had not been filled. Great desk in the room, but wifi in the room didn’t work great.|
|Work spaces||Outdoor (hot but beautiful) coworking space, air conditioned call room||Air conditioned gorgeous workspace with a view, beautiful outdoor un-airconditioned spaces, common area that could also be used for co-working|
|Common areas||Gorgeous pool & daybeds, lounge chairs, breakfast table/coworing space, lots of nice nooks and porches, kitchen that was rarely used||Beautiful rooftop space with couches, covered outdoor tables, comfy living room, well-stocked kitchen|
|Breakfast & coffee||Incredible breakfast every day – dragonfruit smoothie bowl or full American breakfast (eggs, bacon, etc). You would fill out a breakfast form every night for what you wanted. Barista-level coffee made for you every day – lattes, etc. On Fridays, we had a big communal breakfast with our community manager that was made for us where we’d get extra treats like croissants. The breakfast & coffee alone was worth at least $15/day||No breakfast Coffee & coffeemaker provided|
|Amenities||Gorgeous pool, incredible coffee, breakfast made for you, toiletries provided. No laundry onsite, but Outsite would get it done for you.||Coffee and toiletries provided, washer/dryer on site.|
|Location||Across the street from a restaurant, walking distance from some places to eat and a great gym. Best to rent a scooter to easily get places; also very easy and cheap to take scooter taxis. 10-minute drive to the beach.||10-to 15-minute walk to the nearest restaurant, 10-minute walk to get groceries, Across the street from the beach! Very close to a nice park for exercise and a yoga studio, but no gym nearby.|
|Cleanliness & room cleaning||Excellent. The on-site staff would clean the property most days, and would clean your room at least once a week. The staff also took great care of the plants, which really added to the ambiance.||Lacking. My room was not clean when I arrived (dead bug on the floor, lipstick on the towel, stains on the sheets, stains on the curtains, stains on the shower, what looked like period blood on the desk chair). Cleaning staff come once per week, and the property isn’t very thoroughly cleaned at all/regularly. A lot of the plants were dying from lack of regular care, but there were still plenty for nice ambiance. Room cleanings only once per stay. Outsite’s overall approach to cleanliness was super stingy – they were super stingy with the hours they’d authorize for cleaners. There were a ton of maintenance issues from lack of care. Nearly everyone who stayed here had issues with their room and/or cleanliness. A terrible-smelling fish pond was left to linger for the entire month I was there. There were barely any extra linens or towels that could be swapped. The members had to do a ton of follow up to get basic things done. Many of the rooms were out of commission at various times for lack of hot water, mold, and bed bugs. One member left because his mattress was too hard, and Outsite would not give him a refund.|
|Staff||Multiple on-site staff for security, cleaning, making breakfast and coffee. Fabulous off-site community manager who WhatsApped the group regularly to suggest things to do, and joined us at least 1x per week.||No one on-site. Cleaners came on Mondays, paid by the hour, and Outsite was very stingy when authorizing them to do things. There was a “community manager” who rarely messaged and we rarely saw. It was unclear exactly what her role was, as she also seemed to be involved with some of the property management.|
|Community Management||Amazing. We had suggestions for things to do nearly every day of the week. Our community manager worked hard to cultivate community and made everyone feel welcome and excited; this totally rubbed off on all the members. She joined us at least a few times a week, came for community breakfast on Fridays, invited us to things, and told us about cool goings-on.||Nearly non-existant. We rarely saw our community manager. She organized 1.5 events in the month I was there. She only shared one or two things going on on the island the entire time I was there. Of all the colivings I’ve stayed at, this one had almost no feeling of community.|
|Members||Fantastic. I met so many incredible people at Outsite Bali in 2019 that I am still friends with and still in touch with. Nearly everyone I met was staying long term, invested in the community, and kind and welcoming. We hung out a ton, went on adventures together, and became great friends. There were maybe one or two people who weren’t my vibe.||The property felt very empty much of the time. I met several cool people here, but there was no feeling of community. We never organized activities or did things together as a group; only 1:1. There were a lot of people breezing through who only stayed for a couple nights as an alternative to a hotel (most colivings have a long minimum stay to ensure people are invested). There were a lot of people who clearly did not care about the community or about getting to know Puerto Rico and its culture.|
|Overall feel||Vibrant, relaxing, and fun. Not everything was perfect, but the space was so thoughtfully designed and the community was incredible. I absolutely loved it and felt I got great value.||Beautiful and beachy, relaxing. A walk to restaurants. Lack of cleanliness and maintenance, plus unfinished details and the lack of community made me feel like this was not worth the price.|
With Outsite crowdfunding, expanding, and beginning to do franchising, leasing, and partnerships. Outsite’s goal is to expand from 4K to 100K members and 50 to 300 properties worldwide. My take is that quantity does not equal quality. Bigger does not equal better. Did you guys not see the WeWork documentary? Outsite’s competitor analysis is sorely lacking, and they avoided all the tough questions on their “ask me anything” AMA with members about the crowdfunding campaign that I joined. The only thing I love in their crowdfunding materials is that they’re looking to establish a member advisory board. My take is that Outsite is overvaluing themselves, diluting what makes them special, and cutting a lot of corners in pursuit of profitability. Reading some of the reviews of current locations, members say there was zero community, and it wasn’t even an Outsite property, just some rooms in a resort. Personally, I would much rather put my money in the hands of a small business geared specifically towards digital nomads. I love boutique colivings that have just one or a few locations, where the founders live onsite, nearby, or visit regularly. Even if the space isn’t immaculate, these places are full of character and community – that’s what makes coliving special. Not just a view of the beach. Full disclosure: when I initially booked at Outsite San Juan, they gave me a couple of nights free in exchange for a blog. I ended up changing credit cards and no longer having the discount. I asked them not to reapply it, because, after seeing my unclean room and the overall vibe, I knew I had a lot to say. Being a creator is a tricky balance – I need to be able to afford what I do (and your girl loves a free stay), but I never want to compromise my objectivity. So, should you stay at Outsite? Up to you, obviously! You’ve got my full opinion in this review. It just depends on what you’re looking for. If you do, please use my affiliate link here ;p Will I stay at Outsite again?
- It will not be my first choice when looking for places to stay – I’d rather book with a smaller boutique coliving, like these.
- Generally, Outsite properties are beautiful and well-designed, so if I’m looking for that, the price is decent, and it’s a time when I don’t care about wanting community, I will probably book with them at some point again. I’ll keep a closer eye on if there is breakfast and how close it is to restaurants and gyms.
- I will read reviews carefully for the specific property to see what others are saying.