Well, my family and I were supposed to travel last March to Washington, D.C., but, you know—COVID. Being the optimist that I am (ahem), I figured Florida for Easter that April would be nice, but, you know …
After months of sticking close to home, albeit trips to the family cabin, this fall I stuck my head outside, took a peek around and figured an overnight stay at The Hotel Landing might be a good way for me to ease back into extended travel. More importantly, it provided me with first-hand information to share with readers, who might consider packing up and heading out for a travel adventure—here or there. Understanding how some hotels are handling COVID-19-related issues might alleviate travelers’ concerns.
Upon my arrival to the Wayzata hotel, apart from the signage regarding mask requirements and the hand sanitizer dispensers in the lobby, the first noticeable adaption since the pandemic is the “touch-free check in process.” Plexiglas barriers are placed between registration staff and guests, and I was able to self-swipe my credit card and program my room key.
Worth knowing—staff members receive temperature checks up arriving for their shifts and must wear masks for the duration of the workday. The housekeeping team goes over high-touch areas with a hospital-grade peroxide solution from Ecolab. In public areas, a hospital-grade peroxide hydro-sprayer is used for disinfection. The hotel’s air filters are changed more frequently to ensure optimal air flow. “[It’s] just one extra level of cleanliness,” says Laura Garcia, general manager. “A lot of these practices just make sense and are the right things to do.”
To reduce staff/guest contact, rooms are cleaned after a guest checks out or upon request when guests are out of the room. Decorative pillows and bolsters were removed from the rooms to reduce contact points, and TV remote controls are wrapped in removal plastic sleeves.
The hotel’s dining spot, ninetwentyfive, has made changes, including allowing fewer seating options and erecting Plexiglas shields between booths. Guest rooms can be rented as dining rooms, too. The warmer months are conducive for dining on one of the four outdoor balconies. But, as we all are keenly aware, colder temps are always on the menu in the Bold North. Undeterred, Garcia says the balconies are equipped with ceiling heaters, and motorized shades to help retain heat were recently installed. Still chilly? Get your hygge on with cozy outdoor blankets provide by the hotel. Bonfire pits were installed outdoors to provide additional seating.
While not for use while COVID restrictions are in place for dining inside establishments, the Landing has four dining igloos for outside the front of the hotel, just off the main entryway. When they are able, diners can enjoy a meal under twinkle lights while being shielded from the elements. “The outdoor space at this hotel has been a real win for us,” Garcia says.
During my weekday stay, several dining parties dotted the outdoor first-level porch area over dinner, and there was plenty of space between guests. Our server took special care to stand an extra distance away from our table and was careful to avoid contact while serving our meal. Overall, business in the restaurant has enjoyed a steady clip, and reservations are necessary due to reduced seating. “It’s a good problem to have, but you hate to turn people away,” Garcia says.
Läka Spa, open on limited days, features facials, massages and products. Staff disinfects the space between each client. The fitness area, which is limited to four guests at a time, is sanitized throughout the day, according to Garcia. “We’ve put some great protocols in place to make it as safe as it can be,” she says.
Ultimately, travelers need to feel comfortable, and if that means calling ahead to inquire about a hotel’s COVID-19 protocol, do it. Many hospitality venues have health safety information on their websites, as does The Hotel Landing.
Review the state’s latest regulations before making dining and travel plans.
The Hotel Landing
925 Lake St. E., Wayzata
The U.S. Center for Disease Control says travel can increase your chances of getting and spreading COVID-19, and it’s recommended that travelers protect themselves and others by wearing masks, social distancing and engaging in regular hand washing/sanitizing. Some additional precautions could include:
Handheld Room Sanitizer
The Nebtec Sanitizer Pro™ 100 provides a micro-spray of disinfectant. We brought this handy pump-action sprayer along for an out-of-state hotel stay. Before unpacking, we misted the entire hotel room with a mixture of electrlytically generated hypochlorous acid (a non-toxic, eco-friendly disinfectant).
Pro tip: Prolonged use of hypocholorus acid can corrode the metal parts inside the sprayer, causing it to get a little leaky over time. So, we stored the sprayer in a small plastic bin during travel. This can be a handy extra measure for car trips, but we don’t recommend trying to pack it in any checked or carry-on bags during air travel.
Portable Air Purifier
We are hearing a lot more about fresh air and filtration when it comes to spending time indoors, so be sure to crack those windows! Some engineers and medical professionals also suggest air purifiers could help protect from COVID-19 when spending time inside, so long as they have specific filters that can capture those small airborne virus particles. We took a portable Medify Air Rx purifier with medical grade filtration along on for a stay at an Airbnb. It was easy to pack (at least for a car ride), and you just plug it in, and turn it on when you arrive. It cleans the air of an approximately 300 square foot room every 30 minutes.
Pro tip: We’re thinking beyond travel to college dorm rooms. In addition, these are great for allergy sufferers since they also eliminate pollen, pet dander and other irritants from the air.