How Hotels are Preparing for Travelers: Staying in a Hotel During Coronavirus

There is a lot of speculation about what the future of travel will look like for the remainder of 2020 and into 2021. One of the biggest questions travelers want to know is how hotels are preparing for travelers and what protocols will be in place for safety and cleanliness. I polled 100+ travelers, travel writers, and bloggers and asked “What is your top concern about staying in a hotel once we can begin to travel again”?

The three top concerns were:

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  1. Beds (Pillows/Mattress) Cleanliness
  2. Air conditioner systems actively spreading disease from room to room
  3. Blanket or bedspread cleanliness

I placed the poll on my personal Facebook page and The Aspiring Travel Writer Facebook group which has about 8,000 travel writers, journalists, and bloggers as members. I was curious to ask a group of people who make travel a large part of their life (many make a full time living from travel writing) what concerns them most about staying at a hotel when we’d begin to travel again.  

Staying in a Hotel During Coronavirus

hotel room bed
Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

It’s no secret that the novel coronavirus has temporarily put an end to what we know as the travel industry. Hotels, tour companies, travel insurance, travel publications, theme parks, restaurants, travel writers, travel bloggers, travel photographers, airlines, trains, travel gear brands, travel clothing brands have all been hit hard. As an industry, I’m sure we’d all love a crystal ball to know when and how travel will begin to happen again and what this will mean. Local travel is a far easier thing right now compared to international travel.  

Here is what over 100 travelers as well as travel writers, bloggers and journalists are most concerned about when it comes to staying in a hotel. 

Hotels are Preparing for Travelers

Related: Coronavirus and the Future Of Travel Predicted by 180 Travel Writers

As the world envisions what life will be like after coronavirus, hotels are beginning to give us an idea of what a hotel stay is going to look like, from socially distanced lobby arrangements and the assurance of cleanliness and safety. Below is a breakdown of what some hotels are preparing for travelers as the world starts to open and begin to travel again. 

Arabian Travel Market

I recently attended the online conference for the Arabian Travel Market. One of the sessions entitled, “The New Normal: What the Future Looks Like for the Hotel and Tourism Industry” that was led by Paul Wilson, Executive Vice President at Cross Hotels and Resorts. During the session, Wilson shared that when travel opens that it is predicted that 39% of travel with be family travel and family reunions, 29% will be holidays and leisure travel and 31% will be business travel. It is predicted that medical tourism is going to take a huge hit and comprise 1% travel.  

Wilson also noted that surveys have shown that 66% of people would prefer internationally branded hotels because of their safety guidelines. 

Hotels share their plans to re-open and how they plan to address the concerns of travelers

As well as polling travelers and travel bloggers, I also asked over several hotels to share their plans to re-open and how they plan to address the concerns of travelers as well as the top concerns from the above poll.

My goal with this article is to help support the hotel industry and share why it will be safe to stay at hotels again. Understanding what protocols are happening at hotels across the globe can help put our minds at ease. Learning about the safety measures for hotel staff and guests are at the forefront of opening resort hotels so as a society we can begin to dip our big toes back into travel! 

Please note: The EU travel ban is extended until at least June 15, and the US still maintains a US Level 4 Warning for the entire globe. It is scheduled to lift at the end of June, but that could change.

How Hotels are Preparing for Travelers

Solmar Hotels & Resorts (Cabo San Lucas, Baja Mexico)

Solmar Hotels & Resorts

Set along the private golden sand beaches of Playa Solmar at the southernmost tip of the Baja California peninsula, Grand Solmar Land’s End Resort & Spa enjoys unobstructed ocean views from everywhere on-site. Guests will appreciate the best of both worlds – ultimate privacy in a cove-like setting, as well as the convenience of a ten-minute walk to downtown Cabo San Lucas, to enjoy the marina, shopping district, and exciting nightlife. Picturesque ocean views, infinity pools, a seaside spa, multiple restaurants, a private beach, and luxurious suites make Grand Solmar Land’s End one of the top resorts in the destination.

Solmar Hotels & Resorts is considered the pioneer of tourism in Los Cabos. The company has been welcoming guests to its collection of seven all-suite resorts in Baja California Sur since 1974. Here are some of the ways these hotels are preparing for travelers:

Solmar Hotels & Resorts Response to top three concerns from poll:

Beds (Pillows/Mattress) and Blanket or bedspread Cleanliness

  • All linens will be changed daily and a high-tech fogging machine will be used on the mattresses and pillows daily.
  • All blankets and bedspreads will be cleaned daily in hot water that is above 140 degrees.

Air conditioner system

Each room has its own system of fan and coil. A sanitizer spray will be used throughout the fan and coil return.

Additional changes in place for the health of your employees and guests:

The brand just launched the “Solmar Standards in Safety & Care” which includes new protocols and policies to ensure the highest levels of prevention control across all seven resorts. Highlights include a temperature measuring stations for guests and employees, luggage sanitation, new pool lounger floor plans, and increased room service and take away options.

Employee Safety Protocols:

Opening Date:  The company is opening three resorts (Grand Solmar Land’s End, Playa Grande and Quinta del Sol) in June and the other four resorts are expected to open in October.

Opening room capacity/percentage:  

Grand Solmar Land’s End Resort & Spa and Playa Grande Resort & Grand Spa will open at 100% occupancy, and Quinta del Sol will open at 80% occupancy.

Juma Opera Hotel (Manaus, Brazil) 

Juma Opera Hotel

Juma Opera Hotel in the city of Manaus, comprises two mansions that have preservation orders against them that have been restored and two buildings that have been built in the same style. The hotel overlooks the Amazon Theater, a masterpiece that was inaugurated in 1896 during the Amazon Rubber Boom.

They have a second property, Juma Amazon Lodge that offers a real experience in Brazil’s Northern Region. Children and adults are encouraged to learn about the habits and characteristics of the animals that inhabit the area surrounding this jungle hotel, which is located 100 kilometers from the city of Manaus.

Response to top three concerns from poll:

Beds (Pillows/Mattress) and Blanket or bedspread Cleanliness

In the post-coronavirus environment, cleanliness will be extremely important.

  • For beds and spreads will consider: Wash all bed linen and laundry at a high temperature.
  • Individual bag dirty linen in the guest room to eliminate excess contact while being transported to the laundry facility.
  • The use of approved disinfectants against coronavirus and other viruses throughout guestrooms and all public areas will enhance guests’ confidence that their room is safe to stay in.

 Air conditioner system

Juma Opera will double the regular cleanliness air conditioner system and spray air conditioning filters in guest rooms and public areas with disinfectant.

Additional changes in place for the health of your employees and guests:

  • Housekeeping staff to clean bedrooms wearing protective equipment.
  • Deep cleaning of guest bedrooms between guests
  • Front office staff to inform guests of the hotel’s hygiene, health and safety measures
  • Offer guests a welcome kit with antibacterial disposable hand wipes or gel.
  • Disinfect hotel key cards using a special hospital-grade disinfectant
  • TV remote controller in a plastic sleeve and replacing it for new guests checking in the room
  • Spray guest luggage with disinfectant spray upon guest arrival
  • Your set or tentative open date.

Employee Safety Protocols:

  • Ensure all staff are familiar with basic prevention measures.
  • Wear PPE and train accordingly
  • Create a cleanliness checklist with the frequency of cleaning specific areas.

Opening Date: The date depends on the local government, the due date is the beginning of June 2020.

Opening room capacity/percentage: Juma Opera is a small boutique hotel with 41 rooms so yes we will operate at full capacity.


Aqua-Aston Hospitality, Hawaii 

Aqua-Aston Hospitality, Hawaii

Brand-Wide Changes: 

  •  Implementing a new disinfecting process for hotel room keys
  • Increasing the frequency of cleaning in public areas, such as elevators and lobbies
  • Replacing certain shared amenities and services like lobby coffee, water, fruit and programming that would lead to large gatherings with new guest amenities including locally designed face masks, complimentary clean wipes and haånd sanitizer for all guests. 


  • Select AAH hotels and resorts remain open to qualified, controlled reservations from the National Guard, utility companies, cable companies, first responders, road and rail works and non-profit partners, like the Red Cross, American Cancer Society, Ronald McDonald House and more. For all other properties, re-opening will align with state orders. 


  • Aqua-Aston Hospitality is one of Hawaii’s largest hotel management companies and host to 6 million guests each year across 30 island properties. 
  • AAH is currently running a #ShareTheAloha social media campaign to raise awareness about the importance of responsible tourism in Hawaii, and now in the absence of travel, the small “acts of Aloha” anyone can do to help the community, like a local venison producer who started a program to improve residents’ access to fresh meats during coronavirus. 

Mayflower Park Hotel in Seattle, Washington

Mayflower Park Hotel in Seattle
Photo Courtesy of Mayflower Park Hotel
Response to top three concerns from poll:

Beds (Pillows/Mattress) and Blanket or bedspread Cleanliness

  • The mattress is encased. All bedding (pillows & pillow linens, mattress pad, sheets, blankets replaced after 48-hour pause for the next guest…then another 24 hours after cleaning before a guest enters the room.
  • No bedspreads – all bolsters removed.  Beds continue to be triple-sheeted (so sheet each side of the blanket) and again see above – sent down the chute after each say.

 Air conditioner system

Guest Room HVAC units in our hotel:  For your knowledge as well as our guests please know that each guest room has individual air handling units; there is no central unit that handles all guest rooms.

Additional changes in place for the health of your employees and guests:

Masks, 6′ distancing, hand sanitizer in all public areas, Fitness Room Closed, Will have plexiglass by 20th, Sanitizing touch spots hourly in public areas (elevators, ice machines, doorknobs, valet parkers using seat cover/floor mat, wearing gloves, mask (no thermostat yet so no mention yet)

Employee Safety Protocols: Hotel Safety Guidelines posted on the website. 

Opening Date:  May 6th

Opening room capacity/percentage: 

Room Service Only no outlets, no Fitness Center. Because the hotel staff waits the 48/24 hour periods for room registration and cleaning, the hotel will not be 100% occupied in the near future and probably for quite some time.

The Wayfinder Hotel, Newport, RI 

The Wayfinder Hotel, Newport, RI 
Photo Credit: Read McKendree

Slated to open over Memorial Day Weekend, The Wayfinder Hotel has already made significant shifts to their guest experience in an effort to welcome travelers and help them feel safe and taken care of as they begin their first summer getaways, including: 

  • Check-In: Skip the lobby curbside check-in service and keyless guestroom entry.
  • The Wayfinder has teamed up with Mission Group, a notable Newport restaurant group, for their Nomi Park restaurant, and will open the restaurant with limited seating in an effort to maintain social distancing guidelines.
  • To provide guests with even more flexibility on where they’d like to dine, The Wayfinder will also offer bagged/boxed options for beach trips and picnics at the Miantonomi Memorial Park next door and a larger menu of in-room dining options. (The hotel’s spacious rooms were designed with families and groups in mind, with plenty of space for gathering around a meal.)
  • Additional Considerations: With its location outside the busiest Newport corridors, with ample parking, multiple guest room entries, and nearby outdoor green space, The Wayfinder is well poised to provide guests with a comfortable Newport vacation in the face of recent events. 

Background on the Hotel: An adaptation of an existing Newport property (the ultimate “reuse and recycle”), The Wayfinder is a boutique hotel that embodies Newport’s creative evolution, created by a group of local chefs, bartenders, artists, designers, and entrepreneurs who are redefining the ‘typical’ Newport experience. In a destination known for its gilded history and stately accommodations, The Wayfinder offers a fresh, contemporary stay – at a more affordable price point! — that embodies the coastal city’s relaxed feel and free-spirited energy.  

The Roxbury at Stratton Falls, Catskills, NY 

The Roxbury at Stratton Falls currently provides exterior access for all their new Tower Cottages and the Roxbury Motel, with ultimate privacy for individual entry, but the hotel is making significant investments for both employee and guest safety, including: 

Employee Safety:

  • Supplying Theraworx, a cutting-edge skin hospital-grade sanitation product used in hospitals that is “easier” on the skin than alcohol-based hand sanitizer and provides a protective coating that kills any virus for up to 2-4 hours after applied.
  • Hands-free sanitation pumps will be installed in all laundry and back-of-house areas for employees.
  • Protective shields purchased for hotel check-in desks for those who choose to check-in in person. 

Guest Spaces: 

  • Contactless Check-In: A registration form will be emailed in advance so guests can go straight from their vehicle to their exterior-access room door and never step foot in the lobby if they don’t want to.

Disinfection Investments:

  • A new “Proklean” disinfection system will administered throughout each guestroom, using an electrostatic gun which clings to all aspects and sides of a surface to kill germs and viruses in seconds.
  • A 35-watt handheld UV Germicidal Surface Sterilizer will be used in the rooms, and primarily on common surface touch-points in lobbies, lobby bathrooms, hand rails, or other areas of congregation. This technology is used to sterilize hospital utensils and other forms of sterilization. 

Amenity Changes: 

  • Branded face masks will be provided in-room, and the hotel has partnered with a local distillery, Union Grove Distillery to provide all guests with hand sanitizer in all lobbies, common areas, rooms and bathrooms.
  • In the beginning, The Roxbury won’t offer daily room refresh, but will compensate with more amenities throughout whole stay. If guests want new towels or sheets, they can place them outside the door in a special bag, or call the office to get replacement items.
  • Common-access ice machines will be off-limits for guests. For rooms with freezers, a bag of ice will already be in the freezer. For rooms without freezers, guests can ask for bags of ice to be delivered and put outside the door to their room. 


  • Buffet-style continental breakfast will become an a la carte option of 2 breakfast choices. Boxes can be delivered directly to the guest’s room, or in the summer, there are many places to eat outside.
  • Working with several local restaurants and gourmet food trucks to deliver meals directly to the guestroom door
  • Union Grove Distillery and Roxbury Wine and Spirits liquor store will also deliver directly to all room doors 

Inns of Aurora, Finger Lakes Region, NY 

This secluded lakeside luxury boutique resort in the Finger Lakes Region of New York reopened on May 1st. To ensure their guests feel confident when booking an upcoming stay, they’ve published a page on their website that outlines their updated safety and health protocol: https://innsofaurora.com/covid-19-updates/. They have also shifted their accommodation model to allow full buyouts of three of their five Inns – available at a base price and with the option to include customizable amenities for extra cost (i.e. private chef service, grocery delivery where guests can request a shopping list and arrive on the property to a stocked fridge, etc.) A few examples of how they will keep their rooms and public areas clean and safe include: 

  • The suspension of turndown service and removal of non-essential decorative items from all spaces, including throw blankets and pillows.
  • Daily disinfection of guestroom and all public spaces, including door handles, countertops, phones, light switches, thermostats, and electronic controls. All guests are asked to vacate their guestroom while housekeeping is at work.
  • Hand sanitizing stations available throughout the resort.
  • Requiring staff to wear masks at all times. Guests are asked to carry a mask at all times, and utilize it when entering indoors spaces or in circumstances where six feet of social distancing is unable to be maintained.

New dining offerings: 

  • Dine-in service is suspended. Guests can enjoy takeaway service and are permitted to dine in their personal guestroom or in socially distant public spaces at their inn (dining options include 1833 Kitchen & Bar, Fargo Bar & Grill, and Village Market).
  • Customized private dining is also now available on select days of the week, where guests can enjoy a private experience in consultation with Executive Chef Eric Lamphere.
  • All overnight guests will receive complimentary breakfast from local purveyors. 

InterContinental New York Times Square

InterContinental New York Times Square is offering free housing to healthcare workers on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19. The hotel opened 250 of their rooms and is currently housing 80 first responders from now until the end of the month, possibly through June. Below are some things they’re doing for current and future guests: 

  • Providing all hotel staff with PPE masks and gloves
  • Elevators are taped and staff is allowing people on one at a time to enforce limited interaction
  • Hotel staff has created routes throughout the building to ensure all are participating in social distancing
  • Packaged linens are given to guests so they can change the sheets themselves
  • Rooms are cleaned when guests are not in their rooms by either hotel staff or a third-party cleaning service – depending on staff’s comfortability
  • Healthcare workers are in communication with the hotel prior to their arrival via text to ensure they’re welcomed safely, with a distance
  • Hotel lobby is now equipped with a table for food deliveries for guests since the hotel’s F+B services are closed 

AKA Extended Stay – NYC, US, Philadelphia, etc. 

AKA, a collection of serviced residences is currently rolling out their new additions to their existing cleaning procedure which includes the below:

  • Non-toxic, sustainable electrostatic disinfection misters by EvaClean at every AKA property – they are used for common areas and in-suites
  • A color coded microfiber system to ensure there is no cross contamination – used for the bathrooms and kitchens – this is a current initiative they are continuing 
  • A new tab on their website on their Commitment to Cleanliness
  • Contact-free payment at all locations
  • Consistent internal audits to verify all disinfecting products used throughout AKA meet EPA’s criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 or if human coronavirus is listed as a target pathogen.
  • Opening windows for fresh air upon departure, weather permitting, and Team Members not entering to clean departures until 24 – 72 hours after, and releasing suites after 72-hour window of time 

All AKA properties have been opened through the pandemic.

Additional Hotels Sharing Safety Measures

  • Sonesta Resorts Sint Maarten, comprises the all-inclusive, adults-only Sonesta Ocean Point Resort and the all-inclusive, family-focused Sonesta Maho Beach Resort, Casino & Spa. The previous links share the Sonesta Resorts Sint Maarten’s new Covid-19 safety measures and outline the changes that will be implemented after opening.
  • Velas Resorts safety measures and protocols for it’s collection of all-inclusive luxury resorts and boutique hotels on Mexico’s most beautiful coastlines.  

What did you think of the steps hotels are preparing for travelers? What are you most concerned for when you visit a hotel right now?

If you haven’t taken the leap to book a hotel and travel, some of these below resources may be fun to check out. 

7 Ways to Satisfy Your Wanderlust When Stuck at Home

  1. Check out the 10 Best Travel Books Ever Written (and then read one) 
  2. Watch travel-inspired shows on Netflix such as Dark Tourist, Our Planet or Street Food. 
  3. Check out travel websites and travel blogger websites! Here is a great resource to find travel blogs
  4. Check out Google Earth’s Heritage on the Edge, an online experience of UNESCO World Heritage sites.
  5. Listen to a travel podcast about travel writing such as Break into Travel Writing.
  6. Listen to travel focused podcasts
  7. Print out a FREE travel calendar

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  1. Many of these hotels look fabulous, I especially like the Solmar. I enjoyed reading the steps that are being taken as well as what people’s priorities are in heading back to hotels. Thx for the article!

  2. It is good to know that the hotels are taking this seriously — as they should — the tourism industry depends on businesses being able to pivot and adjust quickly as the risks change.

    While I will only be traveling in-state through the summer, I feel that hotels have been working tirelessly to adhere to strict hygiene and safety protocols. Their business really does depend on it.

  3. This is reallllllly extensive! Thanks for that! I’m actually less worried about the rooms than I am about the common spaces…touching buttons on elevators, the arms of chairs in the lobby. And a lot of the ideas these hotels are mentioning are really practical even without covid driving them. Looking forward to seeing how it all plays out (Thanks for including the Finger Lakes region!)

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