This summer, hundreds of hotels around the world began reopening their doors, ready to welcome guests again after months of coronavirus-fueled closures. Nearly all of them are following strict guidelines and protocols to ensure guests’ safety, whether it’s by reducing capacity, keeping rooms empty for a period of time between stays, installing touchless check-in processes, or minimizing contact between staff and guests. Luxury hotels, especially, have always applied extremely high standards to everything they do, including housekeeping and cleanliness.
Still, as with most activities in our pandemic world, the risk-benefit calculation of prioritizing health while also not losing out on the joys of a summer holiday is highly personal.
If you do decide that travel—and staying in a hotel—is worth it right now, there are a few simple things you can do to make it as safe as possible. First, though, make sure you’re comfortable with the hotel’s new rules. “Housekeeping protocols and sanitization standards have always been a top priority in the hospitality industry and that is true now more than ever, especially at luxury properties,” says hospitality expert Anthony Melchiorri, host of the Travel Channel’s Hotel Impossible. “If you’re feeling hesitant, call the hotel and ask what changes have been implemented. If their standards are not up to yours, explore alternate places to stay.”
Disinfect high touch points, even though housekeeping has done it already.
High touch points such as TV remotes, light switches, faucets, and handles have likely already been cleaned by staff. Many hotels have also gotten rid of germ-collecting room amenities, like magazines and throw pillows, and have replaced glasses with single-use plastic cups. In addition to that, according to Melchiorri, many hotels are using electrostatic sprayers that completely sanitize surfaces within a matter of minutes and are leaving a seal on the room so it remains untouched until guests’ arrival.
But it doesn’t hurt to do a fresh sweep of your own with disinfectant wipes (which, it goes without saying, you should be carrying with you wherever you go). In addition to the places mentioned above, make sure to wipe the phone, bedside lamp switches, and the alarm clock, as well as surfaces you’ll use often. If your hotel hasn’t removed glasses, give them a wash with soap and hot water. If the comforter and throw pillows are still there, ask for them to be removed. “Hotels should be taking pride in their hygiene more than ever, but at the end of the day, you should take any extra precautions to help you feel more comfortable and better able to enjoy your stay,” Melchiorri says.
Should you bring your own pillowcases and sheets?
Not necessary, says Melchiorri, especially if you’re staying at a 5-star hotel. But again, do whatever will put you most at ease. A lot of hotels have created welcome kits for guests that include necessities like hand sanitizer, masks, and disinfecting wipes. You should still have your own pack, which you would have needed anyway for your journey to the hotel, whether it was by plane, car, or train.
Remember that hotels are doing the best they can.
“Be kind, patient, and respectful, and abide by hotel policies as requested,” Melchiorri says. “What used to be instant may take a little longer now—or simply not be available.” And, of course, wear a mask in public spaces! The hospitality industry has been one of the hardest hit by the pandemic and they’ll be eager to welcome guests back and ensure they have a pleasant stay. While traveling with a pack of Clorox isn’t necessarily a guaranteed shield against Covid-19, it’ll at least bring peace of mind so you can focus on what matters—enjoying a holiday at last.
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