To Pull Off Socially Distanced Vacations, Some Americans Are Renting Entire Inns

Hotel buyouts could have a moment this summer

To Pull Off Socially Distanced Vacations, Some Americans Are Renting Entire Inns
South Harbor Inn
By Tanner Garrity / July 11, 2020 7:20 am

Hotel buyouts — a move usually reserved for Wall Street wolves, mysterious foreign royals and Drake — could hit the mainstream this summer, as Americans angling for a summer vacation opt for the safest, if most expensive, choice.

On Long Island’s North Fork, for instance, a boutique hotel called the South Harbor Inn is offering its four-bedroom property (where rooms are around $450 a night) for buyout arrangements through the end of July. A full buyout triggers a 20% discount. A full buyout for the entire season unlocks a 35% discount.

On the even pricier end of the spectrum, Cape Arundel Inn in popular Maine vacation spot Kennebunkport (where the Bush family compound resides) is asking for $9,500 a week. Out in Montauk, meanwhile, the CEO of 13-room property Shou Sugi Ban House emphasized to Skift that if a group wanted to orchestrate a buyout of her spa hotel for the summer, she would be prepared to make that happen.

That last point zeroes in on the mutually beneficial nature of this relationship. While recent signs, like heightened TSA screenings, indicate that leisure travel is starting to experience a resurgence, there are no guarantees quite yet. The American hotel industry has lost $33 billion in revenue since February. Major hotel brands are partnering with everyone, from cleaning brands to colleges, in order to attract visitors and guarantee rooms are filled up for the rest of 2020. Inns and boutiques, in contrast, are going to have to hustle and think creatively in order to begin to recover and possibly make a buck this summer.

For deep-pocketed guests, meanwhile, a buyout is basically a fast-pass to renting the most well-appointed summer home in town without having to sift through the dusty remains of whatever happened to Airbnb this year. These places often have ocean views, heated pools, bars with shuffleboard tables and most importantly: reliable, consistent cleaning regimens.

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