Today’s new reality of travel bans and social distancing has had a crushing impact on the hospitality industry. And while many hotels remain shuttered, a handful of properties across the US and around the world are staying open for essential travelers and those displaced on the road in addition to anyone looking to shelter in place or self-isolate in style. From a secluded eco-retreat in North California to an urban oasis in Sydney, Australia, here are five places to stay during the lockdown.
Hotel Saint Cecilia in Austin, Texas
The boutique Hotel Saint Cecilia remains open for a limited number of essential travelers. Guests can still use the pool (home of the photogenic neon ‘SOUL’ sign) in limited numbers and canine companions are still allowed, too, although not poolside. Named after the patron saint of music, suites and bungalows have a rebellious vibe – the lending library of vintage LPs and collection of rock star biographies should help to pass the time.
Based on city mandates, indoor dining is currently closed, however the “Room Service at Home” menu – which ranges from breakfast in bed and cheese boards to DIY cocktail kits – is still being offered. Additional protocols include safe social distancing, such as placing all food and beverages at a six-foot distance for pick-up, limited housekeeping and touchless payment during check-in and check-out.
One of only two properties to remain open in hotelier Liz Lambert’s Bunkhouse Group, for those not traveling but who want to give back the Bunkhouse Employee Relief Fund is raising money for furloughed workers most affected during the shutdown.
Le Bijou, locations across Switzerland
Exceptionally well-heeled travelers looking for the ultimate self-isolation retreat might want to plump for the ‘COVID-19 Service’ with luxury hotel chain, Le Bijou. The Swiss hospitality company has a total of 42 fully automated apartments in city centers across the country, including Zürich, Basel and Geneva, all digitalized and designed to perfection, which means there’s no need for human interaction, even during check-in. Amenities range from private gyms and saunas to a remote 24-hour concierge – think classic five-star hotel meets exclusive private home. The price for a custom package varies (doctor visits and 24/7 nurse care notwithstanding), but healthcare workers fighting the coronavirus are eligible for free stays.
NewTree Ranch near Healdsburg, California
If the Pacific Redwood forests of Northern California are more your speed the secluded and eco-friendly NewTree Ranch is currently accepting long-term shelter-in-place reservations for stays beginning April 27 and four and six-night retreats from July 1. Set on 120-acres near the Wine Country town of Healdsburg, accommodations at the biodynamic ranch comprise four luxury suites each sleeping up to eight guests. Couples can also opt to “glamp’ under the stars in a luxury canvas tent with an outdoor soaking tub and wood-burning stove. Centered on spiritual-ethical-ecological ethics, all meals are plant-based and made with locally sourced ingredients; month-long retreats include a cooking class with resident chef Matteo Silverman and lunch or dinner at the outdoor farm kitchen.
SKYE Suites Sydney, Australia
With its desirable CBD location, SKYE Suites Sydney is providing a safe and comfortable environment for stranded travelers in Australia. Designed for both short-term and long-term stays, its collection of 73 boutique studio and one or two-bedroom designer apartments feature city views, natural lighting and generous open plan living areas. Units come equipped with a well-appointed kitchenette, dining area, and lounge, plus a state-of-the-art entertainment system with access to streaming services, like Netflix and Amazon Prime, and high-speed Wi-Fi. Keeping in step with the latest COVID-19 developments, the hotel has increased its frequency of deep cleaning and disinfecting procedures in addition to conducting regular temperature and travel history checks for all guests and team members.
Petite Ermitage in West Hollywood, California
While many Los Angeles hotels have closed their doors, Petit Ermitage in West Hollywood remains open and ready to receive stranded travelers while operating in strict compliance with CDC guidelines. With a design vibe that says upscale but decidedly off-beat bohemian, each of the hotel’s 80 suites is equipped with individual HVAC systems. Guests can order from the room service menu, however, breakfast, lunch and dinner specials prepared by the executive chef can also be pre-ordered online from the Petit Grand Bazaar Market for pick-up. Complete with a heated saltwater pool, fireplace deck, and relaxing garden, the private rooftop is open and available for guests seeking a little fresh air during the lockdown. For a limited time, all bookings include a complimentary continental breakfast and parking.