I’m writing this during my week-long stay in Puerto Vallarta (see my separate article here for why you should consider it for your next tropical vacation!) and have split my stay between two hotels, plus I toured an additional four hotels/resorts to learn more about what travel is like during COVID and pandemic times. This trip was taken October 25-Nov 1.
I wanted to share some photos of the safety measures and current protocols in place for hotels. Some of these practices are truly impressive and a testament to the tourism industry’s ability to pivot and adapt. During our stay so far, it has been so easy to social distance and to be completely in control of how much we interact with others each day.
One caveat, it did seem based on my tours there is a strong correlation between the star rating of the resort and the level of adherence to protocols. When you choose a quality hotel it’s very likely you’ll encounter similar standards of safety, but I definitely urge careful research if it’s a hotel/brand you’re not familiar with. This is another reason to use a trusted travel advisor now more than ever – we’re tapped into agent communities where we are sharing on-the-ground reports of what conditions are actually like at each property.
Here are some of the protocols I observed:
–Temperatures taken and hand sanitizer dispensed every time you enter the hotel (and taxi drivers’ temperatures taken before allowed on property to pick you up)
–Masks required in public areas (can take off at the pool and beach etc)
-Rooms are sealed with adhesive stamps to show you the room has been cleaned and left empty for 72 hours before your arrival
-Housekeepers don’t enter your room to clean unless on request
-Room service is supposed to leave items outside your room unless you request them to enter yourself . Food is delivered in disposable containers.
-Toiletries in rooms are in plastic baggies to limit touch and are only replaced when asked. TV remote is sanitized and placed in plastic wrap.
–All staff wear masks at all times and some cases, masks plus shields
-Restaurants have spaced their tables out and both outdoor and indoor dining is available
-The Mexican government limits resort capacity to 50% currently, but most resorts I visited were at only 12%-35% occupancy. There are some days we are the only people at all on our end of the beach.
-Some resorts offered the ability to reserve the same beach/pool chairs for the entire duration of your stay, with cleaning of the chairs every night
-Personal hand sanitizer and other supplies provided for guests in rooms
–Shoe sanitizer and hand-washing required before entering resort restaurants
–Buffets have a fantastic new method of “assisted serving” where glass prevents any guests from breathing on the food or from serving themselves. You tell the staff what you’d like and they prepare your plate and pass it through a specific little “window”. There is absolutely no way to breathe on or touch food that isn’t yours.
-Fridges or other items in room sealed with adhesive to show sanitization has occurred
-Pool and beach chairs are spaced 6-8 ft apart (parties traveling together can be together of course)
-Gyms at resorts are open, limited to a specific number of people per hour and appointments requested
-Spas are open with additional precautions
–Social distancing is marked with decals on the floor
-Limited number of people allowed in the elevator
-Menus are available through QR codes on your phone (paper menus only given on request)
If I’m missing a protocol that you’re curious about, let me know and I’ll update the list. I hope this helps for anyone curious and for anyone else who is starting to sense the magical reawakening of travel.