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The Best COVID-Safe Hotels, According to People Who Visited Them in the Pandemic

The Rockhouse Hotel in Jamaica is the most recommended property on this list. Photo: Lin and Jirsa Photography

As travel restrictions lift and vaccination rates rise, many people are starting to get the itch to take a proper vacation. But COVID has not disappeared, nor will it any time soon, which means most folks are looking to travel as safely as possible. Board-certified physician Dr. Stacy De-Lin, a family-medicine specialist based in New York City, reminds us that “the best way to travel safely is to get vaccinated.” Still, even those who are vaccinated might understandably want to take more precautions. Renting a private home, of course, is a great way to get away while minimizing the number of people you may see — but, as De-Lin notes, many hotels have also taken measures to be just as safe. “COVID is mainly transmitted in indoor areas with poor ventilation, and many hotels have done a great job of providing services that eliminate the need to stand in crowded spaces,” she explains. Services she says to look for include “digital-key entry as well as contactless check-in, check-out, and payment options.” If you’re checking in to a hotel, De-Lin says that other ways to minimize your exposure to COVID (or any other viruses) include “choosing a first-floor room to avoid the use of elevators” and “opting for room service, picking up local takeout, packing food with you, or choosing outdoor dining when it’s available.”

While countless hotels promise some version of these safety measures, we at the Strategist wanted to dig a little deeper to find ones that go above and beyond to make guests feel secure — and, more importantly, have fun on their vacations. So, like we do when we want to find the best gifts or products for working from home, we polled some of the most interesting (and responsible) travelers we know about hotels they went to over the last year that took precautions to make them feel safe enough to fully enjoy the experience. Our thinking is that if people felt secure at a hotel in the worst of times, that hotel probably has a solid handle on safety precautions now, even if some may have changed as COVID restrictions have loosened. Below, some 17 cool people share the 17 COVID-safe hotels they’d recommend (based on their stays) in the United States, Mexico, and the Caribbean, which we’ve organized by location. Where applicable, each section begins with any hotels that came up more than once — like the cliffside Jamaican retreat we heard about from three different people — and if you know the region you want to travel to, simply click on the links in the previous sentence to jump straight to those hotels. In terms of cost, they range from a no-frills desert inn in California where rooms start at $135 per night to a swanky (several-thousand-dollar-a-night) Wyoming ranch that would most definitely be a splurge — but, on average, the hotels on this list cost between $300 and $500 a night. Again: The folks we talked to visited these hotels at different times over the last year, so if you want to confirm a specific precaution mentioned is still in place, we’d suggest contacting a hotel directly before you make any bookings.

Best COVID-safe hotels in the United States

The Roundtree, Amagansett, New York

From $895

Lawyer and content creator Thema Emanuel took a trip to this hotel in Amagansett, New York, for a mini-honeymoon in October of 2020, right after she eloped. “I recommend this place to everyone,” she says. “Compared to a chain hotel I stayed at, the staff took COVID precautions so much more seriously.” Two of those precautions, she told us, are the option for contactless check-in and check-out. It has ten rooms and five cottages available to book, and those who’d prefer to spend more time outdoors than in will find what Emanuel calls an “expansive” lawn on the property with “plenty of chairs and tables spread out.” (When she was there, Emanuel says she “almost never saw anybody else on the property.”) She adds that during her stay, each room had an Airthereal HEPA medical-grade air purifier. On top of all that, Emanuel says it was the “most dog-friendly” hotel she has ever been to. The hotel provided her pup with a bed, water bowl, welcome treat, and a towel.

Marram, Montauk, New York

From $645

Another COVID-safe option on the eastern end of Long Island is the 96-room Marram in Montauk. According to Jillian Shatken, the founder of fashion label Saylor, the hotel had “thoughtful but nicely subtle” precautions in place during her stay, including hand-sanitizer stations and signage recommending guests to wear masks in its completely open-air common spaces — another feature she says cautious travelers will appreciate. “There are also no shared hallways or indoor spaces that you need to navigate in order to get to your room,” Shatken says. “I highly recommend the hotel to anyone who wants to err on the side of caution.”

The Auberge Mayflower Inn and Spa, Washington, Connecticut

Before she even arrived on its grounds in Connecticut’s Litchfield County, interior designer Ariel Okin says she was “already so impressed” by the precautions the staff at the 35-room Auberge Mayflower Inn and Spa took to prepare for her visit. “They sent multiple emails leading up to our stay, explaining new measures they took,” she told us, adding that “the concierge personally reached out to us over email and asked if we have any particular preferences.” She says that, when she stayed there, the hotel set up lots of outdoor activities on its 58-acre grounds, including guided nature walks and picnics. The safety measures even extended to its (20,000-square-foot) spa, where Okin says staff “added state-of-the-art HEPA filters, enforced mask protocols for all spa practitioners, and even did some treatments outside.”

The William Vale, Brooklyn, New York

Asia Milia, a junior writer at the Cut, says Brooklyn’s William Vale, in Williamsburg, was her “go-to hotel” for staycations during the pandemic. “The staff made me feel extra comfortable during all my stays,” Milia says, “by being super aware and helpful about protecting both themselves and guests.” Precautions she experienced at the 183-room hotel include a texting system for guests to make requests from the front desk and contactless deliveries to all rooms. Because it’s in New York City — where expansive outdoor space is harder to come by — Milia says the hotel was extra careful about how guests shared common spaces: It required pool and gym reservations so staff could control the number of guests in each place. “If you were too close to another guest in the pool, the lifeguard would flag that you need to remain socially distant,” she told us. “So it wasn’t an uncomfortable situation where you had to ask someone to move.” On her stays, the hotel also only allowed two people in the gym at once. “My guest and I had the entire gym to ourselves and didn’t have to worry about being in anyone else’s space while we worked out,” she says.

The Maker, Hudson, New York

From $492

Also upstate but slightly closer to the city is the Maker, an 11-room, three-building hotel that opened in the heart of Hudson in August 2020. Strategist contributor Elizabeth DuBois took a trip by Amtrak there in February 2021 and says that the rooms are “gorgeous and huge.” DuBois stayed in “the Artist” room, which she says has a working fireplace and a cozy reading nook. When she was there, “housekeeping was optional, but they made sure you weren’t in the room and would come when it was convenient for you,” DuBois says. “Room service also wouldn’t come into your room if that was outside your comfort level.” Its common spaces — while not open-air — are plenty spacious and include a restaurant, bar, library, and café. On her visit, DuBois says the library and café were often unoccupied, which made her feel “like I had the place to myself.” The hotel also has a pool for summer guests (though it was closed when DuBois was there) and a “beautiful, sparkling” gym next door where she says you can conveniently schedule Pilates, stretching, or personal-training sessions.

The Loews Miami Beach, Miami, Florida

Samantha Leal, a managing editor at Well+Good, told us that she “used to travel a lot for work.” Even so, she admits that returning to the normalcy of “airports and crowds is a bit daunting.” Leal says her stay at the 790-room Loews Miami Beach Hotel helped ease her back into a travel routine, thanks to the precautions staff took to make guests feel safe when she was there. “Staff members not only wore masks diligently,” she told us, “but there was a ton of room on the beach to spread out, and I could text any requests or questions I had — from what time the pool opened to ordering room service to where to have lunch outside at a distance from others — straight to their text line.” Leal adds that the Loews would be a good choice for anyone who might need to work a bit after checking in: Via the texting service, she was told “exactly where to go so I could have Zoom calls without a mask (away from people and in AC).”

KAYAK Miami Beach, Miami, Florida

Fude founder Charli Max was initially drawn to the 52-room Kayak for its décor, pool, and attached Mediterranean restaurant. But she told us her first priority was “physical and mental clarity, so finding a place that took the necessary precautions to protect guests’ health was very important to me.” The Kayak, she says, did exactly that. Max told us the “fully masked” staff were “very vigilant” about taking guests’ temperatures each time they entered the hotel. “The restaurant had outdoor seating, and if I ordered room service, they were very thoughtful about leaving the food outside the room,” she adds. Plus, “every common space had social-distancing measures in place” during her stay.