Like most travel components in the Covid-19 era, hotel check-in has changed – perhaps in many ways, forever.
As housing in states with a declining incidence of infection and hospitalization begins to reopen its doors for guests, hotel and resort owners, managers and staff get rid of some long-standing benefits and details, adding new security measures.
For example, at Diamond Mills Resort & Tavern in Soherty, New York, registration begins even before arrival, filling out a form and authorizing a credit card are done online. First of all, guests arriving at Luxury boutique hotel with 30 apartments signs will appear in the Hudson Valley 100 miles north of New York informing them that masks are required in all public places.
Having securely fastened the front coverings, guests only need to stop at the reception desk to pick up the key to the waiting room – a one-time pass, passing under a large plexiglass protective cover separating them from the staff at the reception. They are also given an information sheet explaining the security protocols adopted at the hotel, and there is also a lot of disinfecting gel.
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The key is in your hands, guests at the Diamond Mills are likely to head straight to their room, as the hotel’s small but well-equipped lobby no longer has – for now – free coffee, tea and fruit water, as well as the usual complimentary continental breakfast and evening wine with cheese to linger.
“We haven’t completely closed the lobby, but right now there is nothing special,” said Gina Hornbeck, manager of the hotel at Diamond Mills. “We are a boutique hotel; you go into your room and lock the door.
“However, we take precautions [and] We are doing everything to protect guests, ”she added. Thus, the gym is closed. However, the Tavern restaurant was opened during the recent phase 2 for outdoor service by masked service personnel at socially removed tables on the restaurant terrace. (Now that Ulster County has entered Phase 3 of New York State, the canteen is also available internally – with a capacity of 50%.) On the menu: food from farm to table from chef Marcos Castro.
In the age of Covid-19 security concerns, additional security benefits, like unique views, take on added value. View of the Cantin Dam in Soherty, NY from the balcony of Diamond Mills Hotel & Tavern.
Size matters when it comes to the comfort level of guests with possible exposure to pathogens in public places, said Brian Kelly, founder and CEO of The Points Guy, a travel site. Thus, smaller properties such as Diamond Mills may be better located than large hotel and resort chains, at least in the short term.
“Although Covid-19 can certainly live on the surface, it’s more about being on the same elevator and sneezing than about the virus hiding on the TV’s remote control,” he said. “Who wants to stay at 50go floor of a large hotel, if you can not ride the elevator with someone else?
“What are you going to do, wait an hour to go down for dinner?” Kelly added. “That would drive me crazy.”
At the diamond plants — a two-hour drive from Manhattan, as car trips are growing this summer — eight places were reserved on the weekend of June 20-21, which Hornbeck called “a good amount,” given that the property is closed to everyone. April and almost empty most of May.
The hotel usually runs a busy business not only with pedestrians, but also with skiers and visitors at special events such as weddings and the annual HITS Saugerties Series Horse Show. While it was closed, Diamond Mills focused on property cleaning and upgrades, as well as preparing and donating up to 5,000 units a week to local charities and hospitals.
With low workload, guests are accommodated in any other room and, if possible, are located between floors. “We could do a 100% fill right now, but we won’t be at this time,” said Hornbeck. “We want guests to feel safe and comfortable.”
The main hotel building at the Diamond Mills Hotel & Tavern Resort in Soherty, New York.
In mid-July, Diamond Mills expects to be fully employed, and at the end of August, when it is believed that Ulster County can complete stage 4 of reopening, to return all services and amenities to guests.
Owner Tom Struzzieri, a local entrepreneur, restaurateur, and equestrian show operator HITS, who opened Diamond Mills in 2011, is looking forward to it. “We get to [fully] opened in July, and we are delighted with this, ”he said. “We lost May and June, and it was sad, but, by and large, we are all healthy and everything is in order.”
A new way to stay
At the same time, management recommends what he calls the “new way to stay” for arriving guests.
“You still have comfort and luxury, but there are things that are suitable for the Covid-19, for example, visiting the city beach or hiking on local trails, or just sitting on the balcony with a glass of wine,” said Hornbeck.
All 30 rooms at the Diamond Mills designed and built by Struzzieri on the site of a 19th-century paper mill on the banks of the river have large balconies overlooking the scenic Cantina Dam waterfall. Premium features such as these verandas can make more sense, as guests prefer to spend more time in their rooms rather than in public areas of the hotels.
Luxury Royal Room at the Diamond Mills Hotel & Tavern Resort in Soherty, New York. Among the Covid-19, guest units were devoid of distressed additions such as decorative pillows on the beds.
Pandemic era settings for room amenities and amenities include bathrobes sealed in plastic, rolls of toilet paper wrapped, and all pillows removed from the beds. Meanwhile, room service and evening cleaning with fresh flowers and handmade chocolate were suspended.
According to Hornbeck, telephones, alarm clocks, coffee makers and TV remotes remain in the rooms, but they are disinfected using biological treatment standards before the client arrives. “All our housekeepers have always been trained in biological treatment,” she said. “They dress and go in, wearing masks and gloves to wash themselves.”
Housekeeping during guest stays, however, is also suspended if not required. “We want to be as hygienic as possible,” Hornbeck explained. “The fewer contacts, the better.”
However, one of the most common precautions that Diamond Mills follows is to check the temperature of guests. Although the hotel staff measures the temperature before each shift, guests are not asked about their health status upon arrival.
“We discussed this, but it seemed too aggressive, especially when you consider that the guests have little contact with each other,” Hornbeck explained. “There are not hundreds of people here, and we keep everyone apart.” Struzzieri noted that New York State does not require guest temperature testing as part of its enterprise pandemic guidelines.
Rates were reduced by 30-35%, in the range from 275 to 575 dollars per room for double occupancy this weekend. This is consistent with Kelly’s sensitivity in The Points Guy. “Paying for a full-service hotel, but it makes no sense to be naked,” he said. “Guests at hotels should understand that, like during flights, they won’t get the full experience” in many hotels and resorts.
But in the end, Kelly said, “it’s all about safety, security, security.”
Meanwhile, Struzzieri is confident that his employees will be able to return the Diamond Mills to working condition as soon as the New York Governor. Andrew Cuomo gives full details. “We spent an exhaustive amount of time with the county and state [officials] and downloaded all the possible pieces of information that you ever wanted to read about it, ”he said. “I think we are smart and smart enough to resume the discovery as safely as possible.”