I hope this message finds you safe and well! This past month, I took two weeks to travel to all our destinations in Mexico and experienced what each of our resorts are doing to keep everyone safe during these COVID-19 times. Read along for a recap of my travels so that you know what to expect during your next trip to paradise.
Firstly, the travel experience overall is much different than what we are normally used to. While flying, you must always wear your face mask and social distancing is enforced throughout the airports. The overall airport and flying experience is much cleaner than pre-COVID days as many of the planes I boarded smelt like the clean smell of Lysol. Hand sanitizer stations are located throughout key areas. Some airlines like United even hand out individual Lysol wipes to each passenger upon boarding. To learn more about what to expect while flying right now, click here to ready my blog post “Traveling During the Pandemic.”
Upon arrival at all the resorts, my temperature was taken, and I was given hand sanitizer before entering the lobby. The bell boys sanitized my luggage while I checked in. During check-in, each resort gives you a COVID-19 questionnaire to complete to ensure that you do not have any COVID-19 symptoms.
All staff wear masks. Members and guests are encouraged to wear a mask as well, especially when walking through the resort and in high-traffic areas such as the elevator, lobby, and walkways.
Below are highlights by department of what is being done at the resorts to keep you safe while travelling.
I shadowed the Housekeeping department as they cleaned, sanitized, and conducted room inspections. The staff wear face masks and gloves at all times while cleaning and use hospital-grade disinfectants to sanitize the rooms. Special attention is given to high-contact areas such as light switches, door handles, the TV remote, bed, water faucets, etc. They even wrap the TV remote in saran wrap after disinfecting it [and they change this after each person’s stay]. In the rooms, resort information is provided by placing new papers in each room (which is completed before each new reservation), showcasing info on the TV, and/or by placing QR codes in your room so that you can scan and read the information on your phone.
Once the room is done being cleaned, the Housekeeping Manager does a walk-through inspection with a blacklight to ensure that there wasn’t any residue that was missed during the cleaning process. To conduct the blacklight inspection, the Housekeeping Manager turns off all lights and draws the curtains close, so the room is dim, which makes the blacklight show up better. [S]he walks through the room and shines the blacklight on everything. The light remains clear if everything is completely clean. For the room to pass the inspection and be able to be occupied, the light must remain clear for the whole room inspection. With these practices you can rest assured knowing that every item in your room has been sanitized and inspected thoroughly.
Cleaning of high contact areas
High contact areas such as elevator buttons, the front-desk counter, door handles, etc. are cleaned with hospital-grade disinfectant every 15-20 minutes. All resorts have hand sanitizer stations located at key points such as in the lobby, restaurant entrances, spa entrance, and gym entrance. These stations are placed strategically so that when you enter an area where you are going to east/drink or engage in an activity, you can sanitize your hands.
The Food and Beverage departments are exercising immense care in ensuring that all the food you receive is covered. Additionally, all condiments and silverware are wrapped. When you are dining in any of the restaurants, all groups/tables are set-up so that you are 6 feet away from all other dining groups.
When ordering room service, all food is delivered to you in containers so that it remains covered for your safety. You have the option to have your room service delivered to the outside of your room so that you do not have to come into contact with any person. This option is available upon request only; once the food is delivered, you will receive a knock so that you know the food is waiting for you right outside your door.
Visiting the spa is still a relaxing and rejuvenating experience that I highly recommend, especially if you are looking to unwind and reduce stress. Upon entering the spa, you will sanitize your shoes at the front door by stepping in disinfectant cleaner and then stepping onto a mat that whisks the liquid off your shoes. Once you enter the spa, you will be given a pair of spa sandals to change into and your shoes will be placed in a bag up front. Each spa has an occupancy limit per hour based on their size to keep foot traffic low and the spa sanitized.
When receiving a spa treatment, your massage therapist will give you an overview of the service and ask if you prefer to have your service with or without gloves. If you choose to take your service without gloves, your therapist will then explain that you will hear him/her wash their hands every 15-20 minutes. The massage therapists wear what I like to call COVID-19 attire, which is either a thick cloth spa robe (worn at resorts such as Villa del Palmar Cancun) or a one-time use apron that is changed after every client (worn at resorts such as Villa del Palmar Puerto Vallarta). You can see photos of both below.
I took some time to shadow the Spa teams as they prepared the treatment rooms for each service. Before each service, the treatment rooms are cleaned using hospital-grade disinfectant. The spa attendant wears a full body suit along with a face shield as this process is completed, which you can see in the below photo.
To use the gym at each of the resorts you must make a reservation in advance. The gyms have occupancy limits per hour, and this is followed for everyone’s safety. The gym is deep cleaned regularly, and all members and guests are encouraged to wipe down equipment before and after use.
Onsite activities are occurring at all the resorts. If you are participating in an activity class, socially distancing is followed. For example, I participated in yoga at Villa del Palmar Cancun and special markers were added to the pier at the resort (which is where this class occurs) to remind everyone to keep their distance. When I participated in craft-based classes, such as bracelet making at Villa del Palmar Puerto Vallarta, all participants wore masks since were sitting closer to one another.
You can use paddleboards and kayaks while at the resorts. One difference to note is that the two person kayaks were not in use while I was travelling since the dual passenger set-up does not allow for social distancing. The activities staff wipes down all boards and materials before and after use with disinfectant to ensure that the equipment you use is clean.
All pool and beach chairs are setup socially distanced from the other groups of chairs. While I was at the resorts, I noticed all pairs and groups of chairs together and then separated by six feet from the next pair/group of chairs so that each family, couple, pair, or group can safely relax next to each other.
If you have any questions about the travel experience, please feel free to email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Stay tuned for more updates and recaps of my travel experiences.
Your fellow #TravelTrendSetter,
Member Marketing Manager, UVCI