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WELLESLEY (CBS) — Though the MassBay Community College campus was quiet Tuesday evening, online – the school community was celebrating the achievements of more than 670 new graduates. Students like Dinora Torres of Milford worked hard to get here.

“I had to be the stay-at-home mom, had to be the teacher, and then I had to be the student.

It was a little bit stressful,” said Torres.

Navigating this semester, while also seeing the stress and sickness of COVID-19, inspired Torres when it came to commencement.

“That opened my eyes that the things I’ve been wanting to do all these years, I really needed to go for it,” she said.

After keeping her singing and songwriting private over the years, Torres expressed interest and was selected to sing the National Anthem to begin the virtual ceremony. Her performance was moving – as is her pride.

“I’m a Hispanic mother with brown skin. This is the song that gave way to America. This is the song and I’m the one singing it. That’s a privilege. It’s such a big deal,” Torres said.

Dinora Torres of Milford (Photo Via MassBay Community College)

The 29-year-old accounting major is still finishing up some classes, with love and support from her greatest accomplishments — her children — every step of the way. Torres has four young daughters: three-year-old twins, and five and six-year-olds. She also loves four stepdaughters.

Torres took a break from school in her early 20s to care for her girls, including her oldest who was born with special needs.

“My oldest daughter always says, ‘You’re such a great mom.’ When she says things like that, I’m just like, you know, I’m doing what I’m supposed to do and I’m doing it right because my daughters can see that.”

News Source: cbslocal.com

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Tired of working from home? Upgrade to a luxury hotel suite for the day

With occupancy rates now at 44% in the U.S., and European hotels not expected to fully recover until 2023, hotels are reaching out to a new crop of clientele — local residents who are tired of working from home. 

Luxury hotels are now renting rooms by the day — often at steeply discounted rates — with extra perks such as gym, sauna and pool access for midday breaks. And unlike your local coffee shop or home office, suites are posh and Zoom-meeting ready with plastic-free fine dining delivery just a phone call away. 

InterContinental Hotels, New York City

When it reopens in late August, InterContinental New York Barclay in Midtown is launching "The Offices at Barclay" with customized rooms in three styles — traditional, lounge and comfort — that can connect up to five hotel rooms.  

Wireless internet, local calls, office supplies and printing in the business center are included in the room rental as is in-room coffee, cold brew, tea and energy drinks. Guests can break up the workday with a trip to the hotel gym and by ordering meals and snacks to the room.

A one-bedroom deluxe suite at Intercontinental New York Barclay.Courtesy of Intercontinental New York Barclay

"We understand the need of a change of scenery while working from home which is why we started to offer rooms as offices spaces," said Sofia L. Vandaele, the hotel's general manager. "We've recently had entrepreneurs and corporate professionals unable to return to their offices and shared workspaces inquire about our space."

InterContinental New York Times Square, which is scheduled to reopen Sept. 1, is also providing office space for workers who require longer stays or complete floor buyouts.  

Rate at Barclay location: from $500 per day or $6,250 per month
Rate at Times Square location: from $1,000 per week

Raffles Singapore

Singapore's iconic Raffles Singapore is transforming its luxury state room suites into elegant workspaces with butler service and suite access from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m in its new "Work from Home" package. Suites come with complimentary internet access, select beverages and parking.

Daily rentals of state room suites are limited to one guest per suite and are available through November 2020.Courtesy of Raffles Singapore

Day guests can access the hotel gym and hold team meetings in the library, which is limited to five people at a time. They also receive 15% off purchases in the hotel's restaurants, bars, boutiques and spa.

Interested parties will have to wait though. Last month the country lifted some restrictions put in place to curb the spread of the coronavirus, and hotels are now applying for approval to allow staycations for local residents.

Rate: S$290 ($208) per day

Hotel Figueroa in Los Angeles, California

Guests at "the Fig," as it's affectionately known, a historic hotel and urban oasis in downtown Los Angeles, can set up shop in a 353-square foot classic suite as part of its new "Work Perks" program.

Suites come with living rooms, executive desks, refrigerators and iPads, and can be virtually explored before being booked. Printing, coffee and Wi-Fi are complimentary, as is access to the pool deck and fitness room.  

Most "Work Perks" guests at Hotel Figueroa live near the hotel and want to escape the distractions of working from home.Josh Telles

Work Perks memberships have been purchased as gifts, said the hotel's Managing Director Connie Wang.

"One very clever husband pre-purchased a gift certificate last week from us for his wife as a gift to brighten her day," she said. "We are looking forward to welcoming her and making her 'alone-time' extra special."

Teams can join the hotel's tiered work subscription program, which comes with added perks such as onsite storage and use of the hotel's Gran Sala ballroom that accommodates more than 25 people working six feet apart. 

Rate: $129 per day, with option to extend to an overnight stay for an additional $20; $1,500 per week to $5,000 per month for the subscription program 

The Fullerton Hotel Singapore

Once staycations are permitted, another historic hotel in Singapore is inviting guests to escape their home offices with 12-hour room rentals and flexible check-ins from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

The Quay Room at The Fullerton Hotel Singapore.Courtesy of The Fullerton Hotels and Resorts

Rooms at The Fullerton Hotel Singapore come with a S$50 ($36) food and beverage credit and complimentary coffee and tea, Wi-Fi and parking. In between meetings, guests can access the gym and infinity pool overlooking the Singapore River.

The hotel's stylish sister property, The Fullerton Bay Hotel Singapore, has a similar "Work from Fullerton" promotion, which is cancelable up to 72 hours prior to arrival and is priced at slightly higher rates. 

Rate: from S$210 ($150) per day

Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi in Sante Fe, New Mexico

This Rosewood boutique hotel in the heart of Santa Fe is renting guest rooms as workspaces for half the normal daily rate. A day stay comes with Wi-Fi, an Apple TV, poly-com telephone and beverage service throughout the day.

The library at Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi.Courtesy of Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi

The Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi is also renting out other areas of the hotel for private workspaces; the living room, wine cellar (which has a large conference table) and library are available for up to 10 hours a day.

Another Rosewood hotel in California, the Rosewood Miramar Beach outside of Santa Barbara, is transforming suites into offices with computer monitors, printers and office supplies. Aimed at travelers who need to work while on vacation, suites are also available by the day.

Rate: from $250 per day

Royal Champagne Hotel & Spa in Epernay, France 

If you're already working at home, why not temporarily relocate your office to the hills of France's celebrated Champagne region? That's the question The Royal Champagne Hotel & Spa is asking guests to consider this year.

The Royal Champagne Hotel & Spa overlooks the hills of Champillon, France.Joann Pai

Until the end of 2020, guests can book a package that includes lunch served in your suite and access to indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a hammam, sauna and fitness room.

The stay also comes with an unlimited supply of tea, coffee and French pastries throughout the stay and an after-work glass of Champagne with cheese.

This stay is different in that the hotel does want guests to stay the night. In fact, it's required. A minimum stay of three nights is required.

Rate: 504 euros ($569) per night

Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit in Bangkok, Thailand

Guests can now book 398-square-foot luxury rooms at the Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit for the 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. workday and receive free Wi-Fi and complimentary lunch served in the room. 

The new "Work From Sofitel" promotion is designed to balance work and play.Courtesy of Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit

Guests can unwind in the spa, fitness center and swimming pool and enjoy discounts at the on-site beauty salon. 

Rate: from 3,300 Thai baht ($106) per day 

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