How hotels are responding to COVID-19 testing changes

Dec 16, 2021

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As we all know, navigating travel during a global pandemic is a tricky business. Thanks to vaccines, masks and more readily available testing, people have been able to come and go more freely, albeit with plenty of hurdles to jump through to ensure that approved tests have been used, documentation is certified and accepted between destinations and that proper timelines are adhered to.

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Now, in part because of the omicron variant, things are even more complicated. As the variant emerged, countries around the world were quick to implement new testing requirements. Here in the U.S., all travelers entering the country are required to take a COVID-19 test no more than one day before entering the country, regardless of vaccination status. In the U.K, a negative test is now required before entering the country.

While the omicron variant doesn’t seem to be affecting winter travel too much, hotels around the world are helping travelers navigate the testing changes as best as they can.

As travel began to open up, hotels, especially luxury hotels in destinations dependent on tourism, began offering on-property testing or have been helping guests get tested at local sites or clinics. While it’s been no easy feat for resorts to basically build testing centers in conference rooms overnight, the service has been invaluable for both travelers and the local economies which rely on those tourists’ dollars.

According to Raiza Romer, marketing manager for the Curacao Marriott Beach Resort, which offers on-site testing, the service has been invaluable to guests. ​”We see that our guests really appreciate us having a testing facility on site, as it saves them the hassle of looking for a certified lab in a country they might not know that well,” she explained over email.

Related: Why I paid $200 for a COVID-19 testing service to come to my hotel room

Luckily, the recent changes haven’t been too complicated to navigate for the Curacao Marriott Beach Resort. According to Romer, the resort’s on-site facility is operated by an official laboratory, meaning “they are always equipped with the necessary tools and equipment to facilitate any changes that might happen.”

For guests, Romer explained, getting tested at the resort is easy. “​If a guest stays longer than four consecutive nights, they will receive up to four vouchers per reservation for the fly-back antigen test,” she explained. “Results of this test will be available within one hour. Otherwise, they will need to make an appointment at our front desk.”

At Montage Los Cabos in Mexico, the hotel provides one on-site rapid test per guest that can be used anytime during their visit, according to a hotel spokesperson. Since entry testing isn’t required for Mexico, the hotel now recommends guests use their free test within 24 hours of departure to meet the updated entry requirements for the United States.

To organize the test, which is administered by medical personnel, guests can make an appointment with the concierge who will facilitate the process.

Other hotels are working to help guests secure approved at-home tests that can be self-administered in the room if having an on-site testing facility isn’t an option.

It seems that most hotels offering on-site testing were quick to adapt to the changes made in response to omicron. Knowing the pandemic is a fluid situation, it makes sense they’d be ready to test more people — quickly — depending on the nature of the situation.

But for travelers, it’s always smart to have a backup plan, even if the place you’re staying has testing options. For example, at the Curacao Marriott Beach Resort, the testing facility is open from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. each day, meaning if you miss your test or change your flight at the last minute, you might find yourself in a pickle.

Luckily, we have a handy guide to help you navigate international travel right now. We also have tips for finding the right at-home testing kits you can travel with and advice on how to find the right testing window to reenter the United States.

Thankfully, the U.S. government doesn’t seem to expect any more travel restrictions, but as you make your next travel plans, why not consider looking into a place that helps take some of the COVID-19 burdens off your plate? Either way, it’s never a bad idea to pack some tests in your suitcase.

Featured photo by Jackyenjoyphotography/Getty Images.

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