The first half of 2020 is behind us and its been one for the record books. A history making pandemic has led to the largest drop in GDP in the history of our country. Hundreds of thousands of lives lost, and the impact on livelihoods has been epic. Coronavirus has impacted every aspect of our lives and our businesses. Yet even within all these epic scenarios, the Distinctive Inns of New England (DINE) innkeepers are finding reasons for hope. Innkeepers are a resilient bunch and have found ways to adapt to the restrictions which vary from state to state. With adherence to new strict and often restrictive guidelines, all of the Distinctive Inns of New England are re-open and operating as normally as possible in the face of protocols that deplete funds, energy and resources for DINE innkeepers.
Distinctive Inns of New England is a marketing consortium of hand-picked inns, chosen for their exceptional reputation for service and hospitality. Each one of the DINE members offers personalized and cordial warmth and unparalleled romantic getaways setting them into the “distinctive” category. It pains DINE innkeepers to have to restrict or limit guests’ stays in any way, but state and federal guidelines plus industry protocols have mandated new safety and cleanliness procedures to keep all guests safe. And DINE innkeepers make the safety of their guests and staff the highest priority.
Not only have DINE innkeepers shifted thinking and planning to address new protocols and procedures, but they’ve had to shift their spending to accommodate everything from new cleaning solutions and materials to PPE – all in the midst of limiting reservations after months of being closed. It’s for this reason that we ask DINE guests to please understand the reasoning behind some of the new rules we’re about to explain.
Your guide to the reasoning behind the new normal at Distinctive Inns of New England
As much as we love seeing you, there are so many new measures that go into getting rooms ready, it’s more difficult than ever to allow guests to check into their rooms early. Did you know that many of the DINE inns are allowing 24-hours in-between guests for each guest room to “rest”? That means that the room sits empty for at least 24-hours before it can be cleaned to allow any possible germs to expire. Additionally, all bed linens, including blankets, coverings, etc. are washed in-between guests too, thus it takes at least 24 to 30 hours between guests to make a guest room safe for the next person. While your innkeepers would love to allow you to come early, they also want to ensure a safe environment during your stay. Thus, we hope you’ll understand if we have to say, “We’re sorry, the room won’t be ready until check-in time,” why we’re having to abide by a stricter policy.
Reservations are a must
While we never like to say “never”, for the most part, gone are the days of walk-ins. With all that must go into cleaning rooms and planning meals, innkeepers are now more dependent on having a few days planning time than ever. Social distancing rules require some innkeepers to assign breakfast times (this varies from inn to inn), and that requires some advance planning. Some states are even limiting inns to no more than 50-percent of their occupancy, meaning only have the rooms are available. Many travelers say the best part of travel is the anticipation; thus planning in advance will allow more time to look forward to your stay. The farther out you plan – especially for weekends which are busier – the better the chance the room you want will be available.
Please arrive on time for breakfast and dinner
Oh how we miss the days of two hour breakfasts when guests could arrive at their leisure and help themselves to the buffet. The new rules to food service are long and meticulous to protect guests from exposure to anything. In addition, state guidelines have required innkeepers to remove tables in dining room and/or set up limited outside dining allowing less seating during mealtimes. Some innkeepers are assigning guests a specific breakfast time. Please understand if you arrive late for your assigned time, you’ll either have to rush through breakfast or the next person will have to wait until you finish. To avoid either scenario, we ask that you arrive on time.
The same is true for those DINE inns offering dinner. Reservations for dining are a necessity. With less seating, we ask that guests arrive on time to allow for two seatings (again, this varies from inn to inn – some have just one seating all night). While it doesn’t happen often, imagine the losses the innkeepers experience when a guest makes a reservation and then doesn’t show for dinner. The innkeeper has most likely turned other diners down, anticipating that the reserved guest would be dining at the table. Then when the guest doesn’t appear, all revenues are lost for that innkeeper. Bottom line: if you must cancel or be late for a reservation, be sure to call to let them know, or best of all, please arrive on time.
Masks are simply a necessity
We’re certainly not the first to tell you that masks are a requirement to protect both you and our innkeepers and staff. Yet, additionally, each of the state guidelines for DINE inns require the innkeepers to enforce the mask rule for their own staff and guests in order to stay open. Thus, we ask you not to leave home without your mask. And if you forget it, please wear the one we give you with a smile.
It’s tough being in the travel business right now. Heck, every business is tough during a pandemic. We want to maintain the distinctive hospitality we’re named for even in the midst of excessive restrictions. We thank you more than you will know for understanding the unique complications to providing hospitality in the midst of the pandemic. We really appreciate our guests’ willingness to travel and come stay with us this summer.
One last request…when you book your reservation to stay at a DINE property, please book directly with the inn for the best experience.
In Connecticut: Inn at Harbor Hill Marina in Niantic