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Claire Newell’s First Experience Staying
at a Hotel During the Pandemic

July 31, 2020 by Claire Newell

Those who know me, know how much I love to travel. They also know that I am a bit of a germaphobe. So when I was offered the chance to spend a night at The Sutton Place Vancouver to see the health and safety protocols that they have put in place during Phase 3 of B.C.’s “Restart Plan” in the face of COVID-19, I was torn. My first thought was excitement to have a little getaway from my own house; my second thought was a bit of fear of the unknown. However, after visiting the hotels website which explained the Sutton Place PureClean program, I decided to take the opportunity so that I could report on my experience.

On Thurs. July 30 my daughter Lauren & I checked in for our one-night stay. We had our masks on and hand sanitizer & wipes in our bag. There were hand sanitizer stations at the entrance of the hotel & at the elevators. Floor decals indicated appropriate social distancing. The Front Desk clerk from behind a plexi-glass barrier told us that the hotel rooms are left vacant and sanitized for up to 72 hours between guests. We both instantly felt more at ease.

Once we had our keys we headed to our room. Now before we even arrived at the hotel we set a few rules for ourselves. We would wear our masks anytime we were inside public spaces, we would only ride elevators by ourselves, even if it meant waiting at times, and we would use a new tissue each time to push elevator buttons and open hotel doors. On the way to our room, I noticed that the staff were all wearing masks and extremely mindful to keep their distance. I also noticed that at least 50% of the guests that we passed were wearing masks.

We opened the door to our room which was big, bright and extremely clean. I noticed no paper marketing materials in the room, obviously to reduce touchpoints that are difficult to clean. Although I was assured the room was sanitized, the germaphobe in me needed to take one more step. I took out sanitizing wipes that I packed and cleaned high-touch surfaces myself including the TV remote, light switches, bedside clock, handles, faucets, etc.. Maybe excessive, but I felt more relaxed once it was done.

Once we unpacked we checked out the facilities that are open at the hotel. The pool is open from 8am – 8pm daily with a maximum capacity of 6 people & pool deck furniture spaced to ensure proper social distancing. However, the change rooms are closed. The fitness facility also only allows a maximum of 6 people at a time and they have imposed a 9 feet social distancing rule. The spa, jacuzzi & steam rooms are closed as per provincial health & safety regulations.

My daughter Lauren is a bit of a foodie, and she was very excited about our dinner reservation at Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar which is one of Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants. We asked to be seated on the patio which is at the front of the hotel. The menu was offered to us as either a paper disposable or a version where we could scan the QR codes. Boulevard’s own blended hand sanitizer spray was on the table and our amazing server was wearing PPE. Our dinner was outstanding from start to finish — the safety protocol, service & cuisine were exquisite.

Many people have asked me if there is a deal for the hotel— there is & it’s a good one! Now-Dec 31, 1 night at The Sutton Place Hotel, with a $50 gift card (per stay) to Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar, wifi & parking, from $239 + $46 tax per night.

I do understand that people’s comfort level with public spaces varies. It is also important to do your research on what healthy & safety protocols are being taken wherever you plan on staying. However, now that I have experienced a hotel stay first-hand, I know that if you take precautions and bring along a wellness kit with disposable gloves, mask, sanitizer, disinfectant wipes & tissues as well as properly socially distance, that you can mitigate any fears and have a wonderfully relaxing escape from reality.

*For video commentary of my stay you can visit Instargram @clairenewelltravel saved in the highlight section called ‘Covid-19 Travel’.

**The hotel is located at 845 Burrard Street, Vancouver, BC.

***Thanks to The Sutton Place Hotel for providing one night’s stay and meals; all opinions and content inclusions are those of the author’s and were not influenced in any way, and the business was not granted previews of the story prior to publication.