While the majority of hotels and resorts around the world have been closed during this global pandemic, many of them are beginning to slowly reopen and welcome guests back with open arms. by Lisa Truesdale and the TTW editorial team
Here, in random order, is a roundup of what hotels, resorts and hospitality brands around the world have been doing during their forced closures, and the important steps they are taking as they begin to slowly open their doors and welcome guests once again. The * denotes members of the Wellness Tourism Association
SANGHA Retreat by OCTAVE Institute has launched a new Immune Boosting program to evaluate and enhance the strength of a participant’s physical and mental immunity through highly scientific testing methods across areas of stress, sleep, nutrition, thought patterns, pollution exposure, metabolic functioning and more. Located west of Shanghai in the culturally and historically rich city of Suzhou , China, Sangha’s results-driven Immune Boosting program can be experienced over a 3- or 6-night period and, dependent on length, include Traditional Chinese Medicine, Aromatherapy Massage, Acupuncture, Moxibustion, Lymphatic Drainage, Personal Training, Pilates and more.
The program is guided by a team of wellness experts in Eastern wisdom and modern science, and rates starts from $2,691 for single occupancy or $4,339 per couple. The 6-night program starts from $4,606 for single occupancy or $7,142 per couple. For more information and to make a reservation, email Sangha at email@example.com or check out their web site
Red Mountain Resort *
Surrounded by the Red Rock Mountains of Utah, and with its programming inspired by the healing benefits of nature, the 130-room Red Mountain Resort is planning to reopen September 3rd. General manager, Tracey Welsh says she is continually reviewing both government and tourism industry recommendations on sanitation, PPE and prevention methodology. “What will be most important for our resort,” she says, “is that our guests and team members are comfortable and feel safe.” Red Mountain is offering a 15% discount on their all-inclusive Essential Retreat Package to anyone who books by August 31st for dates through to February 2021.
Joali, Maldives *
Joali, Maldives has announced that the resort will be welcoming back guests beginning August 1st. Surrounded by the India Ocean and located on Muravandhoo island in The Maldives, Joali sits on one of the world’s largest and deepest ring-shaped coral reefs. A 40-minute seaplane journey from the city of Malé, the luxury resort is home to 73 villas built with sustainable materials, and all with private pools. The luxury resort has implemented new procedures to protect the safety, health and peace of mind of guests. It has performed health and safety checks approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) and has taken the necessary measures to ensure that visitors can spend time safely at the resort. The newly-launched JOY in Family Time health program was created to help families mentally and physically. In 7+ day includes daily family fitness plus special diet programs.
Hilton Head Health *
Hilton Head Health on Hilton Health Island, North Carolina opened early July allowing guests to take in the fresh salt air and enjoy a week or more of much-needed restoration. The campus setting, with safety protocols firmly in place, is operating at about half the usual capacity with private accommodations. Other new protocols include smaller and more personalized classes; dining options with staggered seating times, outdoor dining and meals to-go; guests and staff required to wear masks in all common areas, and all guests and staff will receive a daily temperature check prior to accessing the building and campus amenities. Upon check-in each guest will also receive a safety kit including a mask, hand sanitizer, thermometer for personal temperature checks, and a microfiber fitness towel.
Greater Palm Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau *
The Southern California desert region of Greater Palm Springs is now open with the Greater Palm Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) launching a destination-wide health and safety pledge. To ensure visitors will be able to truly relax and feel safe throughout their stay, the CVB launched the “Greater Together, Safer Together” pledge, with Greater Palm Springs tourism businesses committing to increased health and safety protocols. The pledge has been signed by more than 200 plus local businesses and stakeholders including those from the hotel and resort community to restaurants and attractions such as the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens. To further bring the community together, Greater Palm Springs also recently unveiled a new music video: a reimagined version of their song Find Your Oasis, which was originally released 2018.
Pritikin Longevity Center *
The Pritikin Longevity Center in Miami reopened on June 28th with a commitment to provide an environment where guests feel, and are, safe. To accomplish their safety goals, Pritikin has made several operational and program changes to comply with the CDC and City of Doral guidelines. For instance, reduced guest capacity, social distancing, temperatures taken daily, increased cleaning and sanitizing, mandatory face masks in group areas, and reduced class sizes.
Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa
Situated atop Camelback Mountain in Paradise Valley, Arizona, Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa has recently reopened its award-winning Sanctuary Spa, elements restaurant and jade bar. While the rooms of the luxury boutique hotel have remained open, guests are now able to enjoy all other trademarks of a stay at Sanctuary resort, including its infinity-edge pool, tennis facilities and fitness center. The resort is conveniently located minutes from downtown Scottsdale, and is just a short 20-minute drive from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. As a welcomed oasis for those ready to venture beyond home, Sanctuary has an abundance of specials to offer, including the Arizona Residents Special, which offers a 20 percent discount to Arizona residents. New procedures such as enhanced sanitizing protocols, single-use dining and drink menus and adjusted table and seating options throughout public areas are in place to ensure guests can safely enjoy the serenity of its Sonoran Desert setting. A detailed outline of the resort’s enhanced protocols is available online.
The Azores, Portugal
Distinguished by European Best Destinations as one of the Coronavirus Safest Destinations to visit in Europe 2020, the Azores have begun to ease their rules for visitors but have strict rules in place. Visitors must subscriber to the following:
1. Arrive with a negative result test for the SARS CoV 2 virus taken within 72 hours before a flight left for the Azores.
2. Take the free screening test for the SARS CoV 2 virus offered upon arrival. The time limit to receive your test result is 12 hours, meanwhile, visitors will be advised to maintain physical distancing and normal safety precautions, but will be free to check into a hotel, rented house, or live aboard a boat.
3. On the 6th day of the visit, they are advising guests to take a free test to guarantee personal safety and the safety of everyone each visitor might come in contact with. Read about a Travel to Wellness contributor’s past visit to the Azores
Mexican hospitality brand Chablé Hotels reopened June 8 with the implementation of several strategic updates under the banner of Cleaning for Wellness. Beyond physical distancing policies, Chablé will be increasing hygiene and sanitization measures throughout both of their properties, and enhancing food, personal safety, and service procedures. Such efforts will be further enhanced by each Chablé property’s low density, privacy and secluded accommodations with at least 10 meters /33 ft. of separation between each Casita or Villa. The 750-acre Chablé Yucatan hosts a maximum of just 80 guests, while Chablé Maroma Themeans hosts just 140 guests. At both resorts social distance becomes much easier, even when the properties are at full capacity.
Lake Austin Spa Resort
Following an extensive two-year renovation and refurbishment of all guest rooms and public areas, Lake Austin Spa Resort in Austin, Texas reopens July 1st. The intimate 19-acre hideaway, named the #1 Destination Spa Resort in North America by the readers of Condé Nast Traveler, has just 40 rooms, most offering a private canopied front porch and/or private walled garden and surrounded by nature. Plus only guests, employees and service providers are allowed on the property. New protocols include facilitating al fresco dining in such locations as the Lakeside Arbor, the guest’s private porch or personal picnic baskets.
Canyon Ranch, Tucson, Arizona reopens August 3rd, while Canyon Ranch Lenox in Western Massachusetts will reopen its doors on July 23rd. Both wellness resorts will be putting health and safety first (as they always do) by adopting strict health and sanitation standards as directed by the US Surgeon General and local health authorities. In the meantime, the wellness experts in the Canyon Ranch family continued inspiring guests by sharing their wisdom via online videos. The free videos, available to everyone, cover topics including at-home massage techniques, practicing peace, the healing power of music and daily stretching. Here’s a story on our past visit to Canyon Ranch
On March 12, hospitality group Accor announced a partnership with Bureau Veritas Africa & France, a testing, inspection and certification group, to develop a special label for certifying that appropriate safety standards and cleaning procedures are followed before businesses are allowed to reopen post-pandemic.
“Today, more than ever, our employees, customers and partners need to be reassured of our ability to offering them the best welcome possible,” says Franck Gervais, the CEO of Europe Accor. “As the European leader in hospitality, it is our duty to anticipate needs and respond to health and safety requirements by adhering to the highest standards.”
The initiative, which will be developed in partnership with doctors and epidemiologists, will set new sanitary standards. It will be shared later in May with Alliance France Tourisme and other agencies.
The Accor group includes more than 5,000 unique hotels in 110 countries, including the Fairmont, Sofitel, Banyan Tree, Swissôtel and Novotel brands. Many locations feature innovative wellness strategies, including Vitality Rooms at Swissotel, So Spa and So Fit concepts at Sofitel and Fairmont Fit, a personalized workout and apparel offering.
Eden Roc Cap Cana*
The Dominican Republic has reopened and so has Eden Roc Cap Cana where the staff has been working diligently to prepare for the opening. Taking guidance from the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and HS Consulting, an international hygienic consultancy company, they’ve implemented new protocols to ensure the safety of their guests. Occupancy rates will be reduced by one-third for a few months, and restaurant operations will be reduced by 50 percent. For proper social distancing, tables in the restaurant will be placed at least 6 feet apart. In the spa, staff will be observing new safety measures for treatments that cannot be completed while socially distant.
Skyterra, an award-winning wellness retreat in Lake Toxaway, North Carolina, reopened May 31, and is offering COVID-19 frontline workers a $350 discount off a one week stay. Skyterra’s wellness team has implemented a rigorous screening process for every guest and employee post enhanced safety and precautionary measures. And, for those not yet ready to travel, Skyterra at Home continues to offer online fitness and yoga classes, culinary demos, stress management techniques and more.
Sedona is slowly and cautiously reopening, while following Executive Orders issued by the governor of Arizona Trails, restaurants and various other things to do. Hundreds of businesses have agreed to stringent health standards in accordance with the Sedona Safe, Clear, Ready initiative with 20 plus standards implemented to protect the community and its visitors. Over 250 participating businesses are listed on SedonaSafeCleanReady.com along with the safety standards they agree to follow. The site also contains eight safety practices Sedona asks of visitors, such as staying home if sick and avoiding congregating in large crowds.
Villa del Palmar Beach Resort & Spa
Located on the outskirts of the town of Loreto, on the Sea of Cortez, off the eastern coast of the Baja Peninsula, overlooking Danzante Island and flanked by the rugged Sierra de la Giganta range, Villa del Palmar Beach Resort & Spa, is scheduled to reopen on May 31st. The property has six swimming pools, tennis courts, miles of well-marked hiking trails and plenty of open space for social distancing. There are four on-property restaurants, with abundant outdoor seating, in addition to a fully stocked grocery and sundries market. New health and safety guidelines will be in place throughout the resort. To date there have been no recorded cases of COVID-19 in Loreto
Blue Opal Villa
As of May 12, Turks and Caicos is slowly reopening, and with the anticipated opening of the Providenciales International Airport on June 1, Rebecca Gauss at Blue Opal Villa expects to begin welcoming guests again soon. “Our maintenance and cleaning procedures are always top-notch,” Gauss says, “but when we are able to reopen, the villa and the grounds will undergo an even more thorough cleaning, sanitizing and spruce-up.” Located Located just three miles from the airport on the island’s north shore, and with three large, well-appointed master suites, Blue Opal Villa offers a private pool, a rooftop deck with a stunning sunset view, and a short walk to a public beach that Gauss says is never crowded, even during the busy season. Her guests use the beach for relaxing, swimming, yoga, meditation, snorkeling and kite-boarding.
Fivelements Retreat Bali
While some countries have begun to relax their movement sanctions, it will be a while until international travel is allowed to resume, but Fivelements Retreat Bali. overlooking the Ayung River, continues to remain open in order to support staff and the surrounding community. Packages include accommodation in the new Hillside Pool Suites, daily morning yoga in the Mandala Agung, plant-based breakfast and private use of their new boutique gym. They are taking the necessary health and safety measures including using disinfectant liquid for daily cleaning activities, checking arriving guests and staff temperatures daily, and implemented safe social distancing.
Velas Resorts is planning to reopen various properties in Mexico by the end of June. With the reopening comes new sanitary measures (called the “Stay Safe With Velas” program), which features guidelines that include special training for staff, physical distancing measures, touchless sanitizer stations, guest temperature checks, luggage sanitation, sanitizing mats, personal protective equipment for staff members and personal protection kits for guests.
Pueblo Bonito Hotels & Resorts
Between now and their scheduled reopening on June 1, Pueblo Bonito Hotels & Resort’s luxury properties in Mexico will be prepared to welcome back guests according to the company’s new CARE Pledge: Conscientious Service, Advanced Standards, Rigorous Sanitation, and Elevated Hygiene. “We understand how crucial it is to establish new standards of cleanliness, hygiene and social distancing,” says Alberto Coppel, Pueblo Bonito’s CEO.
The resort company partnered with Preverisk, a company “certified in preventive protocols for COVID-19 disinfection, hygiene, general sanitation and food safety.” They’ve instituted new safety protocols, beginning when guests step off the plane at the airport. All luggage will be sanitized upon arrival, and guests will enter a sanitation cabin, where their temperature will be checked. All resorts in the collection will be observing social distancing of six feet in all public areas, including restaurants and pools, and mobile check-in will eliminate the need for up-close interaction with front-desk staff.
Whispering Springs Wilderness Retreat
Opening for its 3rd season May 29th, Whispering Springs Wilderness Retreat is located an hour and a half from Toronto near Cobourg, Ontario. It offers all the five-star frills of a carefully curated boutique hotel, right in the heart of the forest-covered Canadian wilderness. Last season, Travel to Wellness writer Erin Davis visited for this story.
Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise*
Fairmont Hotels & Resorts in Banff, Lake Louise and Whistler will reopen their doors to guests and visitors on June 1, 2020. This includes guest services and select food and beverage venues, as well as limited spa services at Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise and other Fairmont properties in Canada’s Western Mountain Region.
The new operational standards being implemented at Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise and other Fairmont properties were developed and vetted by a team of expert advisors to ensure maximum efficacy in preventing the spread of all viruses and pathogens, including COVID-19. At each touchpoint along the guest journey through the hotel, extensive measures are being taken to protect guests and employees, including physical distancing; mandatory screening for all guests and employees, which may include a temperature check; masks provided to guests and worn by all employees; a 48-hour “settling period” for occupied rooms post-departure; increased frequency of cleaning and disinfecting, with a focus on high-touch points; and continued use of EPA registered disinfecting chemicals, proven effective in preventing the transmission of COVID-19. Hands-on training for all employees, a dedicated on-property rollout committee and a formal audit program, validated under the global ALLSAFE Cleanliness label, ensure initial and continued compliance.
Editor’s note: We’ll add other updates as they come to our attention
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Lisa Truesdale is a Colorado-based writer and regular contributor to Travel to Wellness.