Travel 2.0: Guest etiquette advice as DINE inns re-open

Back to business signWhile re-opening dates vary from state to state throughout New England, soon the Distinctive Inns of New England (DINE) will be allowed to welcome guests back.  During the initial stages of re-opening, state-ordered limitations will be strict, creating a new normal for the inn traveler.  Yet, as businesses re-open across the country, customers will soon become accustomed to masks, temperature taking and social distancing.  In fact, for many travelers, these safety precautions will be welcomed and bring a sense of security for the places they visit.

Change never comes easily, but the 13 Distinctive Inns of New England are taking the task of guest safety and cleanliness very seriously, always meeting state and federal CDC requirements and often exceeding them.  DINE innkeepers have always taken guest safety and sanitization to the next level, and now they’ll be taking the next level to the next level.  Of course, with this uber-focus on keeping clean and safe environments comes some change in how things are done, all the while working as hard as possible to maintain the welcoming and hospitable environments you know and love.

The DINE inns are pledging to do their best to create respites for housebound-weary travelers to take much-needed romantic getaways.  However, it takes a village to create a safe setting.  If our guests don’t or won’t adhere to new protocols, then everyone is at risk.  Thus, we present to you a social distancing primer for guest etiquette in the new era of travel.

A primer for guest etiquette once inns re-open

Standards vary from state to state and therefore will vary from inn to inn too.  Each DINE innkeeper is working hard to create standards and protocols for their guests based upon best practices recommended at a federal, state and local level.  Thus, please expect some variation in “the new normal” from inn to inn.

Reservations required. While we never say never, the need for guest rooms to “fully rest” for Camden Maine Stay hallway24-hours in between guests will make it tough for innkeepers to accommodate walk-ins.  In addition, some states require pre-screening of guests prior to arrival to ensure that guests have had no symptoms or contact with COVID-19.  While we love spontaneous travel, for the near future, guests should make reservations prior to arrival.

Fever free is the new ticket to pass go. When DINE innkeepers and staff meet you at the door instead of the front desk, which has been eliminated or partially walled-off to help eliminate contact, please understand.  And when we arrive with thermometer in hand and ask to take your temperature, please smile and agree, knowing that you’re fever-free.

If you arrive with a temperature, please understand that you may not pass go. You could be sent back home to protect other guests and staff.  Thus, if you are sick, have been sick, or have been around a person who is sick, please speak up before you arrive.  Your visit can be re-scheduled much more easily than having to inconvenience you by sending you away. Make note: If you are unable to check-in, each inn will have a specific policy regarding your deposit.

Masks are no longer just for Halloween.  Expect to see staff wearing them to protect guests from their germs and to protect staff from guests’ germs.  While innkeepers will do their best to find the prettiest masks available, they will have no choice but to wear them.  Please don’t be alarmed or ask why they or you must wear a mask.  Many states are requiring innkeepers and staff to wear masks in order to re-open.  It’s that or doors shut.  Some states may require guests to wear masks in public places too.  Don’t leave home without one, just in case.

Contactless is the new standard in cleaning.  Federal guidelines from the American Hotel and Lodging Association recommend that rooms are thoroughly cleaned and sanitized then no re-entry of staff allowed after the guest arrives.  Does this mean you’re on your own to make your bed?  Afraid so during the initial phases of re-opening.  Fear not, however, extra towels will be available upon request.

Along the lines of cleaning, you can rest assured that the room will be fully sanitized, right down to the hangers in the closet. Yet to keep the possibility of germs low, expect items like guest books, pens, and magazines to either be digital for download or no-longer there.  The good news is, you won’t have to feel guilty about taking the soaps and shampoos home – you’ll be asked to take them as they can no longer be recycled.  Robes? That’s another story! Since they can be safely laundered between guests, feel free to use them, but you can’t take them unless you purchase them.  Thanks for understanding.

We’re sending you to your room.  Temporarily, some innkeepers may not be able to accompany you to your room per state orders. Don’t worry, maps, directions and keys will always be available in this case. Initially,  your room may be your base camp due to required limited occupancy in commons spaces, breakfast rooms, etc.  However, with summer soon upon us, you certainly can enjoy the inviting outside spaces and porches.  More good news: take advantage of breakfast in bed and private in-room meals options offered at some inns.  In other cases, you may receive a specified time to enjoy breakfast in dining rooms set up for social distancing.  This will vary from inn to inn, we hope you’ll understand.

Hugs sign at Rabbit Hill InnSocial distancing means no hugs.  Arrive as a stranger and leave as a friend has always been the norm at DINE inns.  More often than not, that means a hello and goodbye hug. Innkeepers have taken the no-hug vow, albeit with disappointment.  Social distancing will be the new norm and not only will innkeepers ask that guests keep a six-foot distance from one another, but they also have to insure guests do too, so we hope you’ll understand when you see furniture moved in certain parts of the inn to insure this.

While we may be a bit tongue in cheek with our description here, we really do want to provide safe yet welcoming environments for DINE guests.  New limitations and restrictions make that much harder, but we’d rather open our doors and welcome you back with rules in place than not offer a safe refuge for your isolation-weary souls.  We promise to do our best to maintain the haute hospitality you know and love from DINE inns and can’t wait to welcome back the sound of guests around our inns.

When you make your reservation – and we hope you do – don’t forget to book direct.

In Vermont:  Rabbit Hill Inn in Lower Waterford & Grafton Inn in Grafton

In New Hampshire:  Manor on Golden Pond in Holderness & Chesterfield Inn in West Chesterfield

In Connecticut: Inn at Harbor Hill Marina in Niantic

In Maine:  Camden Maine Stay Inn in Camden and Inn at English Meadows in Kennebunkport.

In New Hampshire:  Manor on Golden Pond in Holderness & Chesterfield Inn in West Chesterfield

In Massachusetts:  Harbor Light Inn in Marblehead, Gateways Inn & Restaurant in Lenox, Deerfield Inn in Historic Deerfield and Captain’s House Inn in Chatham on Cape Cod.