No aspects of travel will be quite the same in the aftermath of the Coronavirus…whenever the aftermath arrives. In the meantime, the entire travel industry is scrambling to re-open safely and carefully, including the 11 Distinctive Inns of New England. While guidelines for operations vary from state to state, one thing remains the same throughout DINE country – safety and cleanliness are paramount. Yet in-between creating new protocols and shifting operations, each and every innkeeper is working hardest to maintain the traditional inn experience. Always characterized by high-touch and high-comfort, the new Inn experience 2.0 may be contactless but the professionalism, relaxing guest rooms, and welcome will still be there, along with friendly innkeepers who will work harder than ever to insure your comfort.
We created a state-by-state guide for re-opening two weeks ago. The rules and guidelines for re-opening are being reviewed at a state level daily, so be sure to check with your favorite DINE inn to be sure re-opening dates are still on track. If you have a reservation, it’s likely that your DINE innkeeper has been in touch with you prior to your arrival.
Here are three travel traditions that we hold to be true in the coming months as travelers slowly dip their toes back into travel to DINE country.
With quarantine restrictions present in many states, inns in a number of the six New England states are initially reopening for in-state travel only (this varies by date and state). In addition, as travelers decide to start venturing out, we are hearing they’d rather drive shorter distances to their vacation locations. This makes in-state vacations or staycations the new trend this summer. When is the last time you really spent time exploring your own state? This summer is the one to stay a little closer to home yet explore the corners of your own environs. Enjoy staying at one of the DINE inns you’ve always wanted to try. One word of caution – don’t forget to bring the mask!
Contactless is the new indulgence
In an effort to keep guest rooms as safe as possible, look forward to contactless check ins, cleaning and dining. This means that once your room is clean and sanitized thoroughly only you, the guest, will be allowed to enter that room in many DINE inns. This means that daily housekeeping may be eliminated. In some inns you may request daily housekeeping in other inns, it won’t be available. All DINE inns will happily provide clean towels, pick up trash you leave outside the door and/or add soaps or other amenities if you wish. Contactless also means that in-room guest guides, menu books, magazines and other high-touch materials may be eliminated or go online.
Say goodbye to the traditional breakfast buffet. Breakfast won’t be entirely contactless (after all someone has to deliver it to your table), but in some inns it may be grab-and-go, in others it will be timed to allow for proper social distancing and at still other DINE inns your breakfast may be delivered to your room. Breakfast will vary from inn to inn. For inns with restaurants, you may be dining outside until inside dining is allowed. Nothing better than moonlit-dining at a beautiful inn, though, right?
Contactless also may mean the closing of common spaces, including living rooms, bar areas, and all spaces where people might congregate. In some states, the inns’ pools may not be allowed to re-open either. All DINE innkeepers hope that as soon as they are able to relax the limitations, they will.
Please understand that innkeepers are working hard to abide by the guidelines governing them from various entities including state and federal CDC, Governor’s checklists/guidelines, American Hotel & Restaurant Association and local governments too. That’s a lot of commanders to keep happy, while juggling the most important person of all – their guests.
While the last thing innkeepers want to do is wear a mask, that will be a condition for them to re-open. In fact, look for masks on all staff from servers to housekeepers for the next several months. It goes against every innkeepers’ best intentions for you not to see their welcoming smile when you arrive at the inn and leave. Hugs? Sadly, a thing of the past. In our new era of “contactlessness” distance, masks and hand washing are the new forms of respect. Please understand while half their face is covered up, the same friendly innkeeper is behind that mask, happier than ever to see you and welcome you back to the inn.
And by the way, please don’t be upset if you are asked to wear a mask too. It’s likely that’ll be a requirement throughout while you stay. For some the mask is a security for others it’s a hassle. We hope you’ll all understand the request to wear it.
We’ve been writing about the “new normal” at DINE inns extensively, with weekly postings on the DINE blog. Come experience your own New England staycation and say a temporary goodbye to your home and your kitchen. We’ll still pamper you; it’ll still be romantic, it may just look a little different.
Please be sure to book directly with your favorite DINE inn for the best rate.
In Connecticut: Inn at Harbor Hill Marina in Niantic
Top photo: Spring planters at Chesterfield Inn
Guest room photo: Harbor Light Inn
Outside dining photo: Grafton Inn
All other photos credited to Pexels.com.