These Hotel Brands Are Helping First Responders During the COVID-19 Crisis

Ramsey QubeinApril 17, 2020

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Travel for most of us may be significantly reduced due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but there are some who have no choice but to travel due to their particular job. Some first responders, including doctors, nurses and other support staff, have had to ramp up travel to assist in areas that need it most. Many are doing so at their own personal expense (not to mention risking their own health).

If there is a glimmer of hope in the darkness, it’s watching how people are stepping up to help each other. The travel industry is playing its role too, with hundreds of hotels around the world helping in their own way. This is in addition to what larger brands like Hilton and Marriott are doing in partnership with issuers like American Express and Chase. IHG is donating 50 million IHG Rewards Club points to cover the hotel needs of frontline COVID-19 responders. Brands are stepping up in big ways, but so are individual hotels. Here are a few of the other hotels paying it forward during this difficult time.

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Supporting first responders directly

Many hotels around the world are offering free accommodations for traveling nurses, doctors and medical staff. These include Candlewood Suites Bethlehem South in Pennsylvania, Sophy Hyde Park in Chicago, Hotel Revival in Baltimore, Residence Inn Sandestin at Grand Boulevard, Fairmont Royal York in Toronto, Hotel Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik in Croatia and many others.

In addition, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts is honoring frontline essential workers with free Gold status in the Wyndham Rewards program as part of its new #EverydayHeroes initiative. This status comes with perks like bonus points and late checkout on eligible stays.

And it’s not just hotels that are offering to help. TurnKey Vacation Rentals is comping many of its home listings around the country for first responders and medical professionals fighting COVID-19.

Below we’ve highlighted some unique contributions of other properties by location. While this list is certainly not exhaustive, we hope readers can find a sense of inspiration in what these hotels are doing to make a difference.

California

Rosewood Miramar Beach is using its food truck to take free coffee and breakfast burritos to various first responders and essential workers, including post office and pharmacy staff around the community.

Georgia

The Crowne Plaza Ravinia in Dunwoody, Georgia donated 500 bed linens to be used for making protective masks.

Hawaii

Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort is one of the many Hawaiian properties participating in the Hotels for Heroes program, hosting doctors, nurses and other vital staff responding to patient needs. And the Fairmont Orchid in Hawaii has donated masks to area hospitals.

Illinois

Swissotel Chicago is delivering boxed lunches and gloves to area hospitals, as well as donating dinners to Catholic Charities.

New York

The Four Seasons New York opened its doors wider than ever to “frontline healthcare heroes,” becoming the first hotel in the area to offer complimentary housing to medical personnel. It has partnered with Ecolab to provide the necessary disinfectant and sanitation products for each room. Management has also tapped a medical expert to assist in the implementation of stringent cleanliness standards. First responders can reserve rooms through their affiliated medical associations rather than directly through the hotel.

Nevada

The Atlantis Casino Resort Spa in Reno, Nevada is donating face masks, gloves, bleach and even cell phone chargers to the Northern Nevada Medical Center.

Texas

The newly opened Westin Houston Medical Center, which is no stranger to hosting medical staff employs a germ-zapping robot that roams each room to disinfect every surface.

International

When things improve, the Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin is donating 1,000 room nights to thank the city’s health care workers with a little staycation reward. In the meantime, the hotel baked and delivered 500 traditional Easter Lamb cakes to area crisis workers.

At Schweizerhof Zermatt in the Swiss Alps, food and beverages are being delivered to staff at area hospitals and pharmacies.

Sandals Resorts International donated its 52-room Carlisle Inn in Montego Bay to serve as an incubation center, and it is also helping finance 40 ventilators to treat patients.

Silversands Grenada delivered care packages of food and water to area hospital workers and police officers on the island.

Helping locals and guests

Beyond helping first responders, other properties are stepping up to offer a helping hand to those who may be in need during these troubling economic times. Here are some of the more interesting stories we found:

Alaska

Anchorage’s Hotel Captain Cook donated supplies like rollaway beds and toiletries to a local homeless shelter that works with area youth.

California

In downtown Los Angeles, The Figueroa donated all perishables and prepared meals from its hotel kitchens (including the poolside Veranda menu) to the Downtown Women’s Center.

Maryland

The Hotel Revival Baltimore is letting small businesses without a brick-and-mortar location use its kitchen to prepare food and offer it for pick up.

Massachusetts

The Four Seasons Hotel One Dalton Street, Boston learned of a paying guest who was staying with them in order to make a “Gift of Life” donation, despite the ongoing pandemic (Gift of Life is a bone marrow and stem cell registry that supports those with life-threatening illnesses). Management decided to offer the room for free in honor of one of its own staff members who received a recent bone marrow transplant that saved his life.

North Carolina

The Remington Hotels-managed Marriott at Research Triangle Park in Durham is hosting the Urban Ministries Shelter at its hotel during the current pandemic. Urban Ministries helps the homeless with shelter, meals, clothing and therapy, and the hotel’s help is important due to new social distancing guidelines requiring more space for each guest.

Tennessee

Nashville’s Kimpton Aertson Hotel is using its brasserie kitchen to prepare food for those in need.

Texas

The Fairmont Austin is preparing food kits for the families of food service workers who are out of work due to the pandemic.

International

Acre Resort in Los Cabos is sharing its farm-to-table harvest with the community since its restaurants are closed. It has also set up a kitchen to keep some of its staff employed as they use the fresh ingredients to prepare meals for those in need.

Also in Cabo San Lucas, Solmar Hotels & Resorts is visiting low-income families in the area to deliver school and sanitation supplies, like toilet paper and disinfectant wipes, through its Solmar Foundation.

The St. Lucia Hospitality & Tourism Association and many of its member hotels are banding together to provide meals for locals and first responders. In just one weekend, 16 hotel kitchens (including familiar names like Ladera Resort and Sandals Grande St. Lucia) prepared more than 3,000 meals with plans to continue making more.

In Jamaica, RIU Hotels is making food donations that go toward care packages and grocery deliveries for those in need.

Austria’s world-famous Hotel Sacher Wein, a member of The Leading Hotels of the World, donated perishable food to local charities, but also handed out their celebrated Sacher Tortes to the community.

Two other members of The Leading Hotel of the World grouping, Conservatorium Hotel and De L'Europe Amsterdam, joined forces with other Amsterdam hotels to deliver 1,000 Dutch tulips (originally planned for a now-canceled event) to eight elderly care homes around the city.

InterContinental Singapore delivered freshly made bento boxes and sandwiches to frontline medical workers.

Both the Shangri-La Hotel Wuhan and Shangri-La Hotel Suzhou in China donated meals to medical staff and community workers. Other Shangri-La properties donated supplies like face masks, bed linens and toiletries to those in need.

Safari company Natural Selection and its owner-operated safari camps are supporting local villages through a program that provides food resources. It is also assisting with transportation, which it calls the Elephant Express, to help those that need to travel to medical clinics so they don’t have to pass dangerous elephant corridors on foot.

Hotels are also surprising regular guests in other ways. The Radisson Blu Hotel & Residence in Cape Town is shopping for groceries and picking up medication for a long-stay guest undergoing medical treatment.

Helping staff and their families

The ripple effect of a hotel closure or reduced operation is enormous. Many hotels are also looking internally to support their staff. Hourly associates at the Galt House Hotel in Louisville can access a food pantry for fresh fruit, vegetables and household goods instead of going to the store themselves.

In San Martin, California, the Rosewood CordeValle set up a phone line for its staff to call in if they needed care packages of supplies for their families. These include things like eggs, milk, bread, toilet paper and hand sanitizer. The hotel’s own managing director handles each package and leaves them outside the front gate for staff to collect. Other kitchen supplies are being used for to-go meals to serve law enforcement and the elderly.

Punta Mita, a luxury resort and residential community along Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit, has identified close to 200 children and 100 elderly in the region at risk of going hungry (including many staff and their extended families). The development, in partnership with a local grocery store, is delivering food on a regular basis.

Photos courtesy of Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort & Spa, Crowne Plaza Ravinia, Chris Nielson, Four Seasons Hotel New York, The Westin Houston Medical Center, Solmar Hotels & Resorts, St. Lucia Hospitality & Tourism Association, Conservatorium Hotel and Galt House Hotel.

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