Recently, I needed to stay overnight in New York City. Living in New Jersey, I didn’t have to quarantine because the two states have a mutual travel agreement, but this was my first stay in a hotel since the lock down. How’d it go?
Full disclosure, I am a germophobe (not really, just more of a clean freak) so the thought of staying in a hotel generally skeeves me out, but more so during the pandemic. Pre-pandemic, I had a disinfection kit of wipes and sprays that I would use to wipe down every surface and high touch area before settling in. I even bring my own pillow case and bedbug spray because, ew. Since the pandemic, I’m looking pretty smart with my cleaning routine....
For starters, I needed to stay in a specific part of Manhattan – the upper east side. Fortunately, there were lots of nearby options and I chose a Hilton. Hilton is currently running a double points promotion, I would get the double points if I paid for the room with cash/card. In spite of the promotion, I decided to pay with points because if I needed to shorten my stay (which I ended up doing), there was a good chance I’d get my points back for any unused night (as of this writing, I’ve been waiting for about two weeks for those points to get redeposited, but I’m not super worried that it won’t happen).
Next, there were lots of COVID related precautions in place. Even though my state doesn’t have to quarantine in New York, I still had to complete the New York State Traveler Health Form, and take a photo of the form with my phone that says I’m cleared, to present to the hotel upon checking in.
Upon entering the hotel lobby, there was a Plexiglas screen at the front desk to separate the hotel staff and guests. There were also distance markers on the floor. I received a room key rather than a digital key because of unrelated security measures the hotel had implemented. Upon receiving my room key, I headed to the elevator. There was a hand sanitizer at the elevator and the interior of the elevator car was marked for social distancing....to the extent that’s possible in an elevator.
When I got to my room, there was a seal on the outside of the door to show that it had been cleaned and that no one had entered the room after cleaning. In fact, upon check in, I was informed that no one had stayed in my room for 48 hours.
While the room looked pretty clean, I refused to break with my pre-pandemic cleaning drill, so out came the cleaning products. Door handles, light switches, counters even the plastic wrapped remote got the treatment. And well, I expected my wipes to come up dirty, but they weren’t!
So the room was apparently clean, but what about other stuff like complimentary hotel breakfast or even coffee (please let there be coffee)? Well, my friends, no such thing. In fact, the hotel restaurant was being used as storage! Since I am completely non-functioning without morning coffee, I was prepared to suck it up and use the in-room Keurig, which grosses me out. Alas, the Keurig seemed to be broken. So with a full on headache from the lack of caffeine, I barely made it to the nearest coffee shop to order the biggest coffee I could and a diet Coke,(in case I needed a caffeine bump later).
As an aside, walking to the coffee shop, the streets of New York City were empty. EMPTY. In a city of 8.4 million people, somebody’s walking around at 6:30 on a Wednesday morning, right? Nope. It was creepy for sure, but that’s a post for another day.
So what did I think of my stay? Overall, it was as I expected. The hotel was basically empty and there were no amenities, but the hotel staff was really nice. I felt bad for them. I mean, hotels in New York (and everywhere) are suffering and closing.
Would I do it again? Well, I’m going to have to - I’ll in New York City again next month.
Have you stayed in a hotel since the pandemic? What was your experience? Tell me about it on Facebook or in Traveleidoscope’s comment section!