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Bolero Casita; Barnsley Cottages; Alyssa Powell/Business Insider
- As Americans seek safer travel, hotels with enclosed, shared common spaces are likely to be avoided in favor of socially distant lodging.
- But some hotels make it easy to maintain distance with standalone accommodations similar to a vacation rental home, but with all the amenities of a traditional hotel experience.
- We rounded up hotels around the country that offer cabins, bungalows, and cottages with exterior entrances to encourage safety and privacy.
- All are highly rated, range from $175 to $650 per night, and feature policies such as contactless check-in, rigorous sanitation, and outdoor dining.
- Read more: Is travel safe? We interviewed experts on risks associated with flying, booking hotels or Airbnbs, renting cars, and more, plus ideas on safe vacations during COVID-19
Much of the US has reopened following shutdowns in response to COVID-19, including a return to travel.
However, hitting the road looks quite different these days, with many travelers choosing to stay closer to home and booking safe, private, and socially distanced domestic vacations.
As such, some guests may feel averse to entering a traditional hotel lobby where mingling with other guests in shared common spaces, hallways, and elevators is hard to avoid. And while we know experts say private vacation rental homes are likely safest as they limit these types of interactions, not everyone wants to stay in someone else’s home. Instead, they still prefer the level of sophistication, style, and comfort only a hotel can provide.
These types of travelers should consider claiming extra space for themselves at hotels with guest rooms in the form of private standalone cottages, villas, bungalows, and cabins with exterior entrances. These accommodations offer all the conveniences of staying in a hotel and remove the need to enter enclosed areas with strangers. And with many hotels offering new COVID-19 safety measures, everything from check-in to dining can be achieved without contact.
Of course, without a vaccine, there is no firm guarantee with regard to safety and travel. It’s crucial to follow guidelines from organizations such as the CDC and WHO, and practice safety measures including wearing a mask, washing hands, and maintaining social distance. Additionally, consider your own level of risk, individual state quarantine restrictions, and whether you’re traveling from or to a hotspot, so as not to increase the rate of infection.
With that said, we carefully selected top-rated hotels that offer standalone cottages, villas, cabins, and bungalows across the country to enjoy the experience of staying in a hotel while promoting social distancing. Selections were made based on personal experience, ratings and reviews on trusted traveler sites such as Trip Advisor, Booking.com, and Hotels.com; and a range of budgets, with prices between $175 and $650 per night to start.
These are the best hotels with standalone guest rooms, sorted by price from low to high.
JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa – Paradise Valley, AZ
Spread over 125 acres between Paradise Valley’s Camelback and Mummy Mountains, the JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa boasts 453 rooms with casita-style entrances in the Sonoran Desert. With private grounds for hiking and meditation, the resort also offers the Camelback Golf Club with 36 holes of championship golf, plus six tennis courts, a 32,000-square-foot spa, four swimming pools, and seven restaurants and lounges. A lobby with original handmade brick adobe walls dating from the 1930s adds to the Southwestern charm.
Each of the 453 pueblo-style casitas features either garden patios or balconies, kitchenettes, and JW Luxury Bedding pillowtop mattresses and duvets. Some rooms, such as the Deluxe Pool Suite, include private plunge pools. The decor is warm and muted, with wooden-beam ceilings, ample natural light, and bronze and stone accents. Pets are welcome, too.
Due to COVID restrictions, dining and concierge options are more limited than when we’ve visited in the past, but three heated outdoor pools are still open, including a children’s pool, adult pool, and recently updated main pool.
Trip Advisor Ranking: 4 out of 5 hotels in Paradise Valley
Booking.com Rating: 8.9 out of 10
Pros: The desert grounds are gorgeous, while rigorous safety measures leave guests feeling safe.
Cons: COVID-19 measures means limited dining and temperatures in the summer can be oppressively hot.
COVID-19 status and policies: This hotel is open and accepting reservations with the following protocols in place:
- Temperature checks for associates at all shifts.
- Associates wearing personal protective equipment.
- Hand sanitizing stations throughout the property, including hotel entrances, front desks, elevator banks, and meeting spaces.
- Utilization of EPA-approved cleaning & disinfecting agents.
- Hand sanitizing wipes in the guest rooms.
- Sanitizing stations at high customer touchpoints.
- Signage promoting social distancing.
- Reduction of shared use items.
Tiny Town Cabins – Estes Park, CO
A five-minute walk to Rocky Mountain National Park, this 12-acre property offers 19 rustic cabins set on the banks of the Big Thompson River.
Tiny Town’s cabins are made from stone and wood with picturesque red trim exterior and copper accents. Interiors offer wood-burning fireplaces, small but fully-equipped kitchens, comfortable Queen-sized beds, and porches. Bathrooms include complimentary toiletries and offer hair dryers. Some cabins are dog-friendly for a charge of $50 per night, and rooms include flat-screen TVs with cable, free Wi-Fi, and BBQ grills.
While the property itself is small, activities include fishing at Trout Haven Fishing Pond, mini-golf, and an obstacle course for kids, with a Jacuzzi available. There are also charcoal grills and picnic tables, with numerous restaurants a short walk away.
Trip Advisor Ranking: 41 out of 73 specialty lodging in Estes Park
Hotels.com Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: The property boasts an excellent location to explore the area and is directly near the park entrance. Plus, parking is free.
Cons: Rooms are non-refundable, so cancelation policies are not very flexible, and cabins do not have air conditioning, though, portable fans are provided.
COVID-19 status and policies: This hotel is open and accepting reservations with the following protocols in place:
- Daily housekeeping is not provided. Guests must contact the front desk for a towel exchange or additional paper products.
Seaside Cottages – Cape Cod, MA
With 46 nautically-themed cottages overlooking Nantucket Sound in the Cape Cod town of Yarmouth, accommodations are located around a village green and set just off the beach. Room types include studio, one-bedroom, two-bedroom, and three-bedroom private cottages.
Book by the day or the week for rooms that include Queen-sized beds, TVs, free Wi-Fi, kitchens or small kitchenettes with a mini-fridge, microwave, coffee pot, and a toaster. New linens are available upon request and pets are not allowed.
Rooms here are cozy and welcoming, with a homey feel, though, the unbeatable location is the real star. There are five acres on property that include two picnicking areas, and although there’s no restaurant, there are several eateries right across the street.
Trip Advisor Ranking: 2 out of 5 specialty lodging in South Yarmouth
Pros: The property’s location means direct, walk-on beach access, which is particularly coveted now that Cape Cod has restricted access to many beaches for non-locals who don’t have parking stickers.
Cons: Only two cottages, #1 and #1A, have air conditioning and beach views, although no cottage is a more than a 60-second walk to the beach.
COVID-19 status and policies: This hotel is open and accepting reservations with the following protocols in place:
- Guests traveling from high-risk states must either quarantine for 14 days when arriving to MA or produce a negative COVID-19 test result that has been administered up to 72 hours prior to arrival.
- Guests must also complete the Massachusetts Travel Form if coming from a high-risk state. Failure to comply may result in a $500 fine per day.
- Deep disinfection will be performed prior to every arrival. All areas are disinfected that are likely to have been touched, including (but not limited to): All handles: doors, cabinets, closets, windows, faucets, etc.
- All soft/porous surfaces such as carpets, rugs, drapes, couches, etc., will be cleaned and disinfected with appropriate cleaners.
- Special care will be taken with bedding, linens, and other soft materials.
- Staff will not provide daily housekeeping in the cottages, but if you need assistance please call the office; housekeepers will be providing deep cleans between each reservation.
- All dirty linens and trash can be left outside of cottages for the housekeepers to pick up.
- Guests should wear wristbands on the beach at all times so staff can monitor non-guests utilizing space.
Bolero Casitas at Europa Village – Temecula Valley, CA
With three wineries spread over 45 acres in Southern California’s Temecula Valley, Europa Village promises to transport guests to old-world-style villages modeled after Spain, France, and Italy.
The Spanish-style winery features 10 private Bolero Casitas, plus a separate hilltop bed and breakfast called The Inn at Europa Village, the French winery C’est La Vie, and soon-to-open Italian winery, Vienza.
The 10 Bolero Casitas are, fittingly, Spanish style, with four-poster beds, tile floors, woven carpets, and vaulted ceilings. Bathrooms are large, featuring walk-in showers, some also with soaking tubs. Other perks include Wi-Fi, in-room tablets for resort amenities, and a private courtyard with outdoor furniture.
When checking in to the Bolero Casitas, guests are only allowed in one group at a time with a single staff member to both check-in and pour a complimentary glass of wine. Guests can order room service from Bolero Restaurante for packaged meals of Spanish cuisine that are left on their private patio.
Trip Advisor Ranking: 1 out of 9 B&Bs/inns in Temecula
Hotels.com Rating: 9.4 out of 10
Pros: Parking is free and the inn is close to Temecula’s well-known hot air ballooning pastime.
Cons: Breakfast is not included when staying at the Casitas, although it is for guests at The Inn.
- Guests required to wear a facial coverage while in common areas and not eating or drinking, and practice social distancing.
- Tables and seating area will be set six feet apart for groups of six people or less.
- No more than 50% of the building’s capacity at all times.
- Employees are required to wash hands, wear masks and gloves, and undergo temperature checks.
- Sanitizing stations placed in specific locations on the property with continual cleaning of all high-touch areas throughout the day.
- Contactless payment available for guests using credit cards and one-way flow through buildings when possible.
- Compliance with the CDC and local mandates.
Barnsley Resort – Adairsville, GA
A 3,000-acre property located roughly halfway between Atlanta, Georgia; and Chattanooga, Tennessee; Barnsley Resort is home to 39 cottages, as well as the 55-room Inn and Georgian Hall. The resort feels like an elegant country home bursting with Southern hospitality with walkways weaving between cottages, ample green space, and rolling green hills dotted with trees, all overlooking a 10-acre lake.
Barnsley’s 39 picturesque cottages dot the village green and range from one to seven bedrooms. Each is uniquely decorated, though hardwood floors, wood-burning fireplaces, and clawfoot bathtubs are found throughout, and some come with porches.
The resort is particularly known for its 18-hole Jim Fazio-designed golf course, which frequently tops lists and offers 378 acres of championship greens. Other activities include the Beretta Shooting Grounds by High Adventure Company, canoeing, fishing, horseback riding, a farm, spa, saltwater pool, and bicycle cruisers. Each night, s’mores kits are put out at the resorts numerous campfire pits.
Trip Advisor Ranking: 1 out of 5 hotels in Adairsville
Booking.com Rating: 8.9 out of 10
Pros: The property is pet-friendly and staff are reported to be especially attentive.
Cons: The shooting facility, particularly its long-range rifle offerings, might be distasteful to some. Turndown service is not available and some guests have expressed displeasure with food errors.
- Face coverings are required for guests in all indoor public areas of the resort.
- Guests are requested to maintain social distance from others and signs or other markers are noted in key gathering areas to offer reminders.
- PPE is required for all staff, including disposable gloves, face masks, and protective eyewear with training on these protocols.
- Safety committee members audit each work area daily for appropriate PPE supplies, sanitizer stations, and safety practices to ensure staff is following cleanliness protocols.
The Cottages at Cabot Cove – Kennebunkport, ME
Overlooking saltwater Cabot Cove, just off Maine’s Kennebunkport River, the Cottages at Cabot Cove features 16 storybook cottages arranged around an Instagram-perfect circular green. They’re nautically-themed with charming decorations and include fully-equipped kitchens, bath amenities, front porches with rocking chairs, and televisions. Each morning, fresh baked goods, butter, and jam are delivered for breakfast.
While accommodations are picturesque, activities are slightly limited. Guests may rent complimentary kayaks, canoes, and standup paddle boards, as well as board games and DVDs. However, numerous activities are found in nearby Kennebunkport, known as a favored summer retreat of the Bush family.
Trip Advisor Ranking: 5 out of 24 B&Bs/inns in Kennebunkport
Booking.com Rating: 9.7 out of 10
Pros: Each guest has their own dedicated parking space and many services are adapted to be contactless. The location in posh Kennebunkport offers a wealth of activities including two golf clubs, restaurants and art galleries, the George H.W. Bush estate at Walker Point, and various beaches.
Cons: Standard beds are only Full-sized. Only the Endless Summer cottage offers a King-sized bed.
- All linens sanitized in a high-temperature wash.
- Face masks required for guests and staff in public areas.
- Hand sanitizer available to guests and staff
- Regularly sanitized high-traffic areas with contactless check-in and check-out.
- Staff required to regularly wash hands and undergo temperature checks.
- 24-hour minimum vacancy between guests.
- All guests will receive a pre-stay call detailing arrival protocol and check-in options and complete health questionnaires 24 hours prior to arrival, including a temperature check.
Westgate River Ranch – Kissimmee, FL
The largest dude ranch East of the Mississippi, Westgate River Ranch is a luxury glamping resort located on 1,700 acres along central Florida’s Kissimmee River, an hour south of Orlando. The resort offers glamping tents and luxe teepees, plus a personal concierge to cater to your every whim.
Socially-distanced accommodations are plentiful, including air-conditioned 651-square-foot luxe teepees with living rooms, dining areas, and full bathrooms with walk-in showers. There are also 705-square-foot one-bedroom cottages that also include air conditioning, a living and dining room, a full bathroom with a combination shower and tub, screened-in patio, and a kitchen.
A myriad of fun activities are offered from scenic horseback riding and fishing in the Kissimmee River, to camp-like pursuits with archery, rock climbing, and zip-lining. Guests can also dip in the pool, bungee jump, play mini-golf or tennis, enjoy a full-service marina with airboat rides and pontoon boat rentals, ride a mechanical bull, and visit the petting farm for pony rides.
Trip Advisor Ranking: 2 out of 9 hotels in Lake Wales
Booking.com Rating: 7.5 out of 10
Pros: Guests praise the wealth of activities, providing something for everybody, with rodeo repeatedly cited as a do not miss.
Cons: While many activities are offered, some popular options are temporarily unavailable, and there are no grocery stores within a 30-mile radius, with options from the resort store limited and pricey.
- Westgate Resorts will temporarily change its rental cancel policy to “24 hours prior to arrival” (by 4 p.m. the day before arrival). This policy change will be in effect until 09/07/2020.
- All guests and visitors must wear face masks while inside interior public spaces, restaurants and retail outlets. Face masks will be provided to those who don’t have one.
- New personal hygiene and public area cleaning procedures in both guest-facing and back-house areas. All departments have implemented handwashing or sanitizing procedures, as well as hygiene protocols.
- All public and guest areas receive regular and extensive sanitization and deep cleaning protocols with the use of CDC recommended cleaners and disinfectants. The cleaning staff has been provided with disinfectant wipes/Clorox bleach germicidal wipes, and Purell surface sanitizer for routine cleaning of all guest and staff touchpoints.
- Additional hand sanitization stations have been deployed throughout the resort.
- All Team Members have been instructed to not travel to any destination that is experiencing outbreaks of the virus, and if they do, they will be subject to a 14-day self-quarantine.
Eastwind Hotel and Bar – Windham, NY
Roughly two-and-a-half-hours from New York City, this Scandinavian-style property in the Catskills Mountains feels like a rustic countryside retreat, minus any roughing it. While traditional guest rooms are available (and currently limited to 50% capacity), 10 Lushna cabins with views of Windham Mountain offer cozy and indulgent, socially distant lodging.
Each eco-cabin is an individual abode built in wooden A-frame style, somewhat akin to glamping but without sacrificing any comforts. Cabins are small at only 14 by 14 feet, but offer panoramic windows with mountain views visible from the Queen-sized bed. They’re further buoyed by sleek touches such as Frette linens, Pendelton robes, wool Faribault blankets, wildlife journals, a private bathroom with Zenology bath products, and BBQ kits for grilling on your own fire pits. Guests may also access a wood barrel sauna and partake in experiences like morning vinyasa flow yoga overlooking the mountains.
The 17 acres around Eastwind’s property are ideal for meandering walks and romantic picnics, plus the use of a spa, hammocks, and picnic tables. There’s a bar only open for in-room drink delivery, and breakfast is also delivered each morning via individual breadbaskets.
Trip Advisor Ranking: 4 out of 8 B&Bs/inns in Windham
Booking.com Rating: 9.2 out of 10
Pros: Accommodations are pet-friendly for an extra $50 per night fee. Wi-Fi is free.
Cons: Lushna cabins are small for the price, and might feel cramped to those seeking ample room to move around. Expect much higher prices in peak seasons.
- Rooms are empty for a minimum of 24 hours between stays for proper sanitation.
- Check-in is contactless via key code entry.
- Each staff member’s temperature is taken before their shift begins.
- Cleaning of property amenities occurs daily and additional sanitizer stations are positioned near all amenities.
- Change/cancelation policy remains flexible during COVID-19.
Buttermilk Falls Inn + Spa – Milton, NY
Roughly 80 miles outside of New York City, the Buttermilk Falls Inn + Spa in Milton, New York offers 75-acres in the Hudson River Valley. While Buttermilk normally offers 10 rooms in a historic main house dating from 1764, due to COVID, only the property’s eight free-standing carriage houses and cottages are available, with current occupancy capped at 30 guests.
The Rook’s Nest carriage house is designed for up to three with a cot and small bed. The look is Adirondack style and comes with air conditioning, a fireplace, flat-screen TV, ensuite bath with skylight, electric car charging station, and views of the pond and meadow. Six of the eight carriage houses have fully-equipped kitchens, some with private decks.
Elsewhere, there’s an on-site organic farm with orchards, aviary house, and apiary, as well as an animal sanctuary and livestock barn with Angora goats, miniature donkeys, llamas, and rescued alpacas. Guests may also visit the eponymous waterfall or relax at the temporary day spa, modified during the pandemic.
Trip Advisor Ranking: 1 out of 3 B&Bs/inns in Milton
Kayak.com Rating: 7.6 out of 10
Pros: All accommodations are pet friendly for a fee of $25 per pet, per night.
Cons: During the pandemic, there is only housekeeping in between guests that takes place before check-in and after check-out.
COVID-19 status and policies: This hotel is open and accepting reservations for Carriage and Guest Houses only, with the following protocols in place:
- Contactless temperature check and screening at arrival.
- When social distancing is not possible, masks are required.
- Physical distance of at least six feet must be maintained.
- 50% capacity limited for social distancing.
- Housekeeping only when room occupancy changed.
- Rigorous cleaning, supplemented by new technology.
- Restaurant Henry’s at the Farm remains open, though guests must wear masks until seated, and all guests are served on the tented patio. Take-out and picnic options are also available.
Paradise Point Resort and Spa – San Diego, CA
On a private island in San Diego’s Mission Bay, the AAA Four-Diamond Paradise Point Resort and Spa offers a bevy of amenities at a retreat that feels more like Hawaii or the Caribbean than a spot that is located just minutes from downtown San Diego.
The resort offers a mile of beach with 120 buildings housing 426 guest rooms throughout the island. The lack of a main building making it dramatically easier to practice social distancing, despite the sheer size. While guest rooms are scattered, the lobby, main pool, and lagoon are all in the island’s center.
Each of the 73 Bayside Casitas at Paradise Point offers a wet bar, patio, hardwood floors, and a marble bathroom, as well as flat-screen TVs. Bayside Bungalows also offer separate living areas.
There’s also five pools, all open for maximum social distancing, a fitness center, tennis and basketball courts, and a lagoon with water sports and paddleboards, kayaks, jet skis, pontoons, beach cruisers, and more for rent. Guests can also partake in activities such as skateboarding, kite flying, arts and crafts, lawn games, poolside movie nights, and beach bonfires and s’mores at one of the 14 fire pits.
Trip Advisor Ranking: 94 out of 292 hotels in San Diego
Booking.com Rating: 8.2 out of 10
Pros: For those worrying about COVID safety, breathe easier knowing pool access is limited, with security and staff on hand to prevent too many people from being at the pool at one time.
Cons: Some past guests report that not all guests strictly follow mask mandates.
- Team members will be screened, to include temperature checks, on a daily basis before reporting to their shifts.
- General screening will be done for all guests in accordance with the CDC protocols. Any guest who screens positive will be refused entrance to the property.
- Strictly enforced capacities throughout the resort to ensure proper social distancing and no in-room gatherings. Communal spaces have been redesigned to accommodate smaller groupings and allow for a six-foot distance between individuals.
- A mandatory training class is required for all team members, and PPE will be worn by all staff. All guests are encouraged to wear a face covering, as well.
- Hand sanitizer stations will be designated and monitored in all high-contact areas.
- Branded floor decals will be used to assist in queuing lines that are six feet apart at the front desk, restaurants, bars, retail, and activity areas.
- Plexiglas shields will be used in certain high contact and signage for health and hygiene reminders are placed throughout the property
- All activities and operations have been redesigned to follow local, state, and national health and sanitation guidelines.
- Team Members have been given clear instructions on how to respond swiftly and report all presumed cases of COVID-19 on property to our local health department.
- Three of the resort’s five restaurants are still open, while the spa is closed.
JL Bar Ranch – Sonora, Texas
Located in rugged Texas Hill Country, the JL Bar Ranch offers a spacious, relaxing getaway spread over 13,000 acres. The main lodge offers a variety of things to do, including a game room with shuffleboard and pool table, bar, and walk-in humidor, with ample activities including an infinity pool, hot tub, putting green, and firepits.
There are rooms and suites, as well as 16 standalone Casitas, decorated with Southwestern elements, King-sized or Queen beds, and come with stocked mini-refrigerators, TVs, and Keurig coffee machines. Each has a small sitting area, bathroom with walk-in showers, and double sink. Cozy bathrobes and slippers, as well as exceptionally plush beds, add to the sense of laid-back luxury.
Those seeking a true Texan experience can sign up for horseback riding or visit the sporting complex for skeet, trap, clay, and rifle shooting. There’s also a private corporate airport, a 5-star spa open with COVID-modifications, and a music-recording studio. Nightly rates include family-style breakfast, all on-property transportation, free Wi-Fi, access to the 24-hour fitness center, and free parking.
Trip Advisor Ranking: 1 out of 2 specialty lodging in Sonora
Pros: The resort’s enormous size contrasted against its relatively few number of accommodations means social distancing is east to maintain. The impressive number of things to do ensures maximum enjoyment.
Cons: Those who find hunting and shooting problematic may not appreciate the resort’s ample offerings, including a long-range facility, three-story tower, and game hunts on offer. Some reported long waits at restaurants.
- All guests, employees, and contractors will be screened at the main gate of the JL Bar Ranch, Resort & Spa. Any person showing signs of COVID-19 infection, will be denied entry and required to leave.
- Extensive cleaning and sanitation of high-traffic areas, e.g., handrails and doorknobs, will take place.
- All guest rooms are cleaned at least once a day with additional disinfection of rooms or other common areas when necessary.
- All persons visiting are strongly encouraged to wash their hands frequently and engage in safe hygiene practices.
- In accordance with the Texas governor’s proclamation, every person must wear a face covering over the nose and mouth when inside a commercial entity or other building or space open to the public, or when in an outdoor public space, wherever it is not feasible to maintain six feet of social distancing from another person not in the same household.
Big Cedar Lodge – Ridgedale, Missouri
Missouri’s Ozark Mountains are home to Big Cedar Lodge, a wilderness resort on 4,600 acres only 10 miles south of Branson, Missouri. Created by the founder of Bass Pro Shops, the property offers 302 private accommodations, including a variety of lodges, cottages, log cabins, and camp-style units.
The 100+ cottages and cabins are between 290 and 1,250-square-feet, accommodating between two and six people. Cottages line Table Rock Lake, divided into Bass Pro Shops Lakeside Cabins near a boat dock, Lakeside Cabins, and Cedar Trail Cabins near the Big Cedar beach and marina. Each features wood-burning fireplaces and tubs. Meanwhile, camp-style cabins at Camp Long Creek are designed for up to four and come with a screened-in porch, King-sized bed, bathrooms with both shower and tub, and living area with sleeper queen sofa.
The lodge offers five golf courses designed by luminaries including Jack Nicklaus, Tom Fazio, and Tiger Woods, as well as Bass Pro Shops Shooting Academy, and two full-service marinas for activities like fishing and waterskiing and wakeboarding. A variety of activities are on offer such as s’mores, bingo, lawn yoga, a kids adventure club, and a 50,000-square-foot activity center and spa.
Dining options serve regional food, steakhouse cuisine, wine and whiskey, and live music alongside views of the Ozark Mountains.
Trip Advisor Ranking: 1 out of 2 hotels in Ridgedale
Hotels.com Rating: 9.2 out of 10
Pros: Cabins are clean and comfortable, and guests praise the bevy of activities, including Top of the Rock Lost Canyon Cave and Nature Trail.
Cons: Some complain that activities are overpriced and service can be slow.
- The hotel is disinfecting all commonly touched screens, keypads, handles, phones, counters and switches, multiple times daily, with CDC recommended products.
- Housekeepers have added extra sanitation steps to include utilizing disinfectant products in rooms with a heightened focus in restrooms, kitchens, and dining areas.
- Hand-sanitizing stations are placed strategically across the property and social distancing protocols are enforced in necessary outlets.
- For the safety of guests and associates, temperature checks are conducted.
Fairmont Miramar Hotel and Bungalows – Santa Monica, CA
Spread across five lush, palm-tree laden acres in Santa Monica, the family- and dog-friendly Fairmont Miramar Hotel and Bungalows offers 31 chic bungalows that date back to the 1930s. We’ve personally visited many times and recommend it enthusiastically, especially the bi-level offerings with beach views.
The 17 Signature Bungalows count 425 square feet, sleep up to three, and come with soaking tubs, Keurig coffee makers, and patios. Cribs, mini-fridges, dog beds, and dog bowls available on request. Larger families can set up residence in Bungalow 1, a custom three-bedroom, 3¾-bath bungalow with a large private patio opening onto the manicured garden’s palm trees and pool.
One of the property’s major highlights is its beach accessibility, with shuttles available, as well as the complimentary summertime Fairmont Beach Club. Butlers ferry your belongings to the beach, arrange an umbrella, lounge chairs, tables, a water cooler, and privacy screens, and deliver drinks and lunch. Customized menus are available, as well as bikes, boogie boards, and paddleboards, plus sunblock and beach essentials for purchase.
Trip Advisor Ranking: 10 out of 38 hotels in Santa Monica
Booking.com Ranking: 8.1 of 10
Pros: The Fairmont offers the only private bungalows available on LA’s Westside. A nightly resort fee of $35 actually adds value with access to the Internet, bike rentals, fitness center, beach club, pool access, house car, and welcome amenities for children.
Cons: While it’s located near the beach, the hotel itself is set back on top of a bluff and across the Pacific Coast Highway, so you’ll need to take the shuttle to reach the sand.
- Sanitizer at the front desk, elevators, restaurants, and all key public areas.
- Contactless check-in, check-out, and payments whenever possible.
- Strengthened room cleaning protocols including extra disinfection of all high touch room and bathroom areas with reinforced cleaning program in public and high touch areas.
- Employees are given comprehensive safety and hygiene training with new food safety standards and protocols.
- Room service is provided at no extra charge in case of restaurant closures.
- Social distancing enforced in all common areas.
- The Fairmont’s signature seasonal California cuisine restaurant, FIG, is open, however only offering outdoor seating and to-go.
- There is now an outdoor lobby lounge, outdoor barbershop by appointment, outdoor fitness center, poolside food service for lunch, and the clothing boutique has modified hours.
Alisal Ranch – Solvang, California
For Californians sick of quarantine restrictions and desperate for a safe getaway, the expansive grounds of Santa Ynez’s Alisal Ranch present a wonderful haven. The ranch, nestled in the quaint Danish mountain village of Solvang, covers 10,000 acres including a 100-acre private lake, 50 miles of riding trails, and 73 private cottages for between three to five guests maximum. There is also a bevy of adventurous outdoor activities, small spa, a playground, an outdoor pool, and Jacuzzi. We visited last summer and yearn to return: it’s the kind of place where guests come back year after year.
Though cottages are simply decorated in a rustic Western ranch-style decor, all feel supremely inviting with a working wood-burning fireplace and porch or patio with outdoor seating. Accommodations are free of phones or televisions to promote maximum relaxation and housed along circular paths, summer camp-style.
Those with children will appreciate the extensive, family-friendly list of daily activities (some modified or enhanced with COVID safety measures) such as archery, yoga walks, arts and crafts, tie-dye, trail rides, lawn BBQs, karaoke, musical chairs, and family bingo. A working barn, petting zoo, and rodeo ring round out the dude ranch atmosphere, where guests can collect freshly laid eggs, take part in barrel racing, and enjoy hayrides and campfire stories, complete with s’mores. There are also two 18-hole golf courses and six tennis courts.
The nightly rate, starting at $650 for a studio with a King-sized bed accommodating three people, includes full hot breakfast and sit-down dinner, daily drinks, and a trail ride and golf, for added value.
Trip Advisor Ranking: 1 out of 12 hotels in Solvang
Pros: Activities are plentiful, ensuring nobody, regardless of age or interests, will get bored. Nearby Santa Ynez wine country offers an abundant number of high-end wineries.
Cons: Some cottages share a wall, with two accommodations in the same standalone building. COVID restrictions mean that all meals must be eaten outside, away from the resort’s signature Western fine dining room.
- Masks are required on property everywhere, per a mandate from the state of California.
- Guests will be advised to practice physical distancing by standing at least six feet away from people outside of their immediate party. This includes while standing in any line or moving around the Ranch. Restaurant dining, activities, and other physical layouts have been arranged to ensure appropriate distancing.
- Hand sanitizers, wash stations, and hygiene reminders will be placed at key contact areas for guests and employees.
- Appropriate PPE will be worn by all employees based on their roles and responsibilities.
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