In January, if somebody said that you could live in a hotel for months on end without taking annual leave, you would have assumed that a lottery win was on the cards. But since Covid-19 swept through the world, city denizens seeking escape had some common options: leave altogether; stay with family or friends out of town; rent a house; or set up at a hotel. And once lockdowns were lifted and hotels were deemed safe to reopen, that is what many people chose to do.
Living in a hotel has long been a romanticised notion, reserved for those that can afford to be anywhere, anytime. But this jarring new normal has brought on some unexpected freedoms. Why not do a stint in St Tropez and take your Zoom calls from Club Cinquante Cinq? It’s certainly appealing for those with the economic means.
Further along the French Riviera at Grand-Hotel du Cap-Ferrat, there has been a 30 per cent rise in the length of stays, with the longest visit spanning three months. The palatial pool suites are an excellent option for travellers seeking a five-star experience with the seclusion of a private villa. Aman Resorts has experienced a similar trend. “The preference seems to be one or two longer getaways rather than multiple short trips as travel now comes with many more stipulations and adjustments,” explains Audrey Huttert, the general manager at Amanera in the Dominican Republic.
With 14-day quarantines, travel is now less spontaneous. The weekend trip has been replaced with prolonged holidays where minimal movement is required. Hotels have had to adapt and cater to long-term guests. Can Bordoy Grand Hotel and Garden in Palma, Mallorca, is one such property, offering a monthly rate of €3,500 (£3,159) for stays from one to six months. This is a significant saving on nightly rates from €350. The hotel will also arrange a private Covid test on departure.
Proximity is a key factor, too, and hotels that are within driving distance of major urban centres have been in high demand. In this country, Beaverbrook, Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, and Barnsley House are all easily accessible from London and offer luxurious accommodation for extended stays.
In the United States, the most dramatic exodus was evident in New York. The stylish new Roundtree Hotel in the Hamptons is still hosting guests from when it opened in June. In Nantucket, the White Elephant has been popular due to its individual units with apartment-style amenities. “With some schools continuing virtual learning into the new year, we are having families extend their stays into October,” says Bettina Landt, the general manager. The hotel is now offering a 25 per cent discount on stays of 30 nights or more until June.
“The trend went from booking a week at a time to booking extended stays of months.” says Misty Belles, of Virtuoso. While life in limbo continues, it’s a part of the new normal that has been welcomed.