What is safest for your post-COVID vacation?
All photos courtesy of Molly O’Brien
I have stayed in a small boutique hotel and a larger scale resort in California and these are the main differences in my experience while visiting.
Across the United States, travel restrictions are loosening and businesses are reopening – and summer vacation is just around the corner. I wanted to determine if there was a difference in atmosphere and cleanliness practices between a large-scale resort and a smaller boutique hotel. I traveled to two major cities in my home state, California, to compare and contrast the on-site nighttime experiences between a smaller property, the San Francisco Proper Hotel, and a larger resort property, Town and Country Resort in San Diego.
The San Francisco Own Hotel
San Francisco, California
San Francisco proper is a design-driven boutique hotel located in San Francisco’s bustling Bay Area technology hub, in the Mid-Market district. It is housed in a historic flat-iron building from the early 1900s that was redesigned by Kelly Wearstler, with a modern and artistic interior. This property officially opened in the fall of 2017, so it’s relatively new.
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It houses 131 rooms over seven floors and offers luxury amenities including a fitness center, chic rooftop restaurant, and a boutique atmosphere. As I walked into the lobby, I could feel that this is a hotel that makes each of its guests feel really special.
As soon as I walked through the door, an employee took my temperature before I could check in. There were signs indicating that masks should be worn inside common areas at all times. There was hand sanitizer a few feet from the door, on the table in the lobby, at the lobby reception, outside the elevator, everywhere.
The property offers a ‘keyless entry’ opportunity where you can download an app to your phone and use it to enter your room. I signed a waiver stating that I have not been in contact with anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 and that I understand the risks of traveling at this time (I am vaccinated, but San Francisco County was still very cautious at the time of my spring visit).
Access to the fitness center was extremely limited due to indoor space capacity restrictions. You could only visit one of the three on-site restaurants with a pre-booked reservation.
I enjoyed the opportunity to visit Charmaine’s, the rooftop restaurant at SF Proper, to enjoy appetizers and cocktails. I was impressed when we got out of the elevator and immediately encountered a must-see sign that customers should put on their masks whenever their server approached (not just when they were not eating or drinking! ). And of course, the waiters were masked and gloved. The tables were well spaced and there was plenty of fresh air circulating in the outdoor seating area.
There was a time limit at the table to encourage guests not to mingle for too long and to allow more visitors the chance to dine with capacity restrictions.
The next day I enjoyed having afternoon tea at the Villon Restaurant & Bar downstairs, where the waiters and staff followed the same practices.
Overall, I was very impressed with the San Francisco Proper’s ability to create an enjoyable experience for visitors. Even though it was a smaller hotel, it felt like a luxurious escape from reality. The hotel itself was clean and safe and there was enough going on at the property itself to keep me entertained my whole weekend.
Town and countryside
San diego, california
Town and countryside is located in the Mission Valley neighborhood of San Diego and has been part of the history of the local community for over 60 years. This complex is huge. So huge, in fact, that there are directory signs scattered around the grounds so customers don’t get lost.
The resort is home to 675 rooms, three restaurants, a 10,000-square-foot pool complex, a three-acre riverfront park, several volleyball courts, and 258,000 square feet of space to host large-scale events like conferences and weddings. This includes the original San Diego Convention Center, which is on-site just steps from the pool.
Town and Country recently underwent a multi-million dollar design renovation. The resort feels like a place you can go for a whole week without ever having to leave the property, as everything you need from food and drink to basic necessities you may have forgotten at home, is accessible directly on site.
Upon arriving at the hotel, I immediately noticed how large the property was. I didn’t have to worry about making a conscious effort to distance myself from other guests as there was so much open space which was refreshing.
When I arrived, there were plastic barriers separating me from the clerk who activated my room key card. When I immediately walked around for a snack after checking in, there were also plastic barriers between me and the cashier at MRKT, the quick and relaxed take-out cafe adjacent to the lobby.
The pool complex is large enough to provide adequate distance between groups – and when I dined at the ARLO restaurant the tables were well spaced. There were hand sanitizer dispensers everywhere (in the lobby, outside the elevators) and signs reminding people to keep their distance from other customers.
The pool had a sign hanging on the door listing the California Department of Health guidelines. These rules stipulated that people were to stay six feet away from guests who were not in their party and were to wear face masks when out of the water. I did not experience any issues with the guests who did not wear a mask.
The hot tub remained closed under state distancing guidelines, but there were plenty of cozy fire pits to hang out outside on the poolside lawn to warm up in the evenings.
Overall, Town and Country struck me as a place where a family, couple, or group of friends could have a relaxing vacation together in California without having to worry about how busy they would be during their visit. .
There are activities for kids of all ages from 17 months to 17 years old to keep them entertained (and the four-story 150-foot “Twister” waterslide and craft cocktails at the “Monkey Bar” are also fun for adults) . The property had a fun atmosphere offering an authentically laid back Southern California vibe.
Which one should you choose?
Both properties seemed to me to be generally safe, with friendly employees and more than adequate cleanliness and sanitation measures. The San Francisco Proper definitely felt more geared towards adult travelers who want a luxury boutique vacation experience, while Town and Country felt more like a destination where a family or couple could enjoy a relaxed getaway next door. the beach.
The large-scale resort experience comes with a space and freedom of movement that an urban boutique hotel just can’t offer, but that doesn’t mean both aren’t options. enjoyable for a safe summer getaway in California.