In 2019, we spent over 150 nights in hotels. In 2020, well…let’s just say that number was dramatically slashed due to COVID-19. The only hotels we stayed in up to this point were in January 2020 and as I write this, it is now June 2020. As we drove across the country in our Airstream, we decided to take a break from #vanlife and treat ourselves to a few nights at the Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Before we booked our stay, we wanted to make sure that we would be safe. What is it like to stay in a hotel during COVID? Read on to find out…But first, here are some questions you should ask a hotel prior to booking during COVID:
Questions you should ask:
- What is the capacity of the hotel?
- What precautions are your cleaning staff taking?
- What precautions are your kitchen / cooking staff taking?
- What type of cleaning is done between guests?
- If guests are sharing ventilation systems, how is the hotel protecting guests from shared air that is potentially contaminated?
- Will the hotel provide PPE?
- Will PPE be required throughout the hotel in public spaces?
- Will all amenities be available?
Our experience at the Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado
We were greeted by a cheery bellman wearing a face mask who kindly escorted me to check-in. Even though he had a mask on, I could tell he was smiling. I was asked to put on a mask and then given a sanitary kit that included multiple face masks, hand sanitizer, and cleaning wipes. Everyone working at the hotel was wearing masks, there was hand sanitizer everywhere, and every guest who was in public areas was also wearing a mask. The exception to this rule is that you don’t have to wear a mask when you are eating, drinking, or exercising (which coincides with the New Mexico governing guidelines).
In addition to the hand sanitizer, masks, and wipes, the hotel was operating at a 50% capacity in accordance with New Mexico state law. All of the rooms at the Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado are spaced out in casitas so social distancing was already innately implemented.
“Lead with Care”
Four Seasons Hotels and Johns Hopkins Medicine International have teamed up to create a “Lead with Care” program. This document was distributed to myself (and every guest) at check-in. It states,
- Each Four Seasons property has appointed a Hygiene Officer focused on implementing enhancements to already stringent procedures;
- Rooms are being disinfected daily with EPA approved products and will have blacklight inspection by room attendants.
- Focused re-training programs for Housekeeping teams on all cleaning protocols have been implemented across the portfolio.
- Public areas are being cleaned hourly with extra attention to frequented areas including front desk counters and public restrooms.”
In addition, there is heightened guest safety including,
- “Lead with Care kits have been placed in each guest room providing masks, hand sanitizer and sanitization wipes, with additional masks supplied on demand;
- Social distancing measures will be embedded in all services for guest protection…
- Restaurants and bars may operate with reduced capacity to ensure adequate space and socially distant set-up;
- Turndown service and ice service are available upon request only, and housekeeping service will be conducted only when the guest is not in the room”
Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, many of the hotel amenities were not in use. For example, the famed hotel spa was unfortunately closed due to New Mexico State Law. The pool was also closed when we first arrived, but it did open up while we were at the property. The caveat was that each guest was allowed to book a 1-hour time where they could swim laps in a designated lane. The pool deck however was open for lounging, food, and drinks.
We couldn’t use many amenities, but the hotel was able to arrange a wonderful hike nearby!
Overall, we felt extremely safe staying at the Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado. The safety initiatives implemented by the team along with the reduced capacity of the resort alleviated any stress we initially had regarding our stay. While the experience isn’t 100% what it would be pre-COVID, we are confident in the measures the hotel is taking during these unprecedented times.
One thing that we did find surprising was the pricing during this time. We understand that the hotel needs to recoup money that it lost during the pandemic; however the pricing was not very inviting. At $2,000 for 3 nights (and that’s including a third night free with a special promotion they were running), it was an extremely high price for limited amenities and service offerings.
Leave A Comment