Travel | August 28, 2020 1:00 pm

Here’s What Luxury Resorts Are Doing to Keep Guests Safe

But new COVID-19 precautions may or may not be enough to keep you calm

Encore Boston Harbor
An employee with a hand sanitizer station at Encore Boston Harbor
Lane Turner/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Luxury resorts are trying to keep guests safe. But even with advanced cleaning and screening protocols, there’s still a lot to consider before you go anywhere, even if it’s somewhere that’s invested heavily in keeping its (rich) clientele safe.

As the Wall Street Journal notes:

What passes for indulgence now: hand sanitizer at every turn and staff in PPE scrubbing down deck chairs around the pool. Luxury is the 6 feet of social distancing that large resorts make easier and the vision of fellow guests wearing masks without complaint. Your ability to relax relies on your faith that the resort has both the will and resources to train its staff in health procedures, keeping them healthy and by extension, you.

The doctors interviewed for the WSJ suggested you really shouldn’t travel at all, but if you do, you should stick to states with low infections rates (e.g. Vermont) or hotels with bungalows. “A place where you don’t have to interact with anyone—that could be safer than almost anywhere,” suggests Dr. Davey Smith, head of Infectious Diseases and Global Public Health at U.C. San Diego School of Medicine.

Social distancing, masks, UV-C sterilization and HEPA filters are only part of the solution. At the Velas Resorts in Mexico, the staff has to pass a “smell test” (one symptom of COVID-19 is a loss of smell) and have their temperature taken every morning. Other high-end resorts have had to rethink how to change sheets (you can’t violently tug or snap them off) and even how to properly disinfect guns at shooting ranges.

Occupancy rates at resorts are up to 46% this summer, which is higher than in March and April but down about a third from 2019.

The Journal suggests four possible destinations for vacations if you’re trying to avoid staff or other guests: Terranea, CA; Ranch at Rock Creek, MT; Mirror Lake, NY; and Sea Island, GA.

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