With few people traveling, are hotels still open while the world quarantines? Many hotels are maintaining a barebones staff for first responders, family members visiting loved ones and truck drivers. However, not every hotel is open during this time.
Like the airlines cutting capacity up to 90%, hotel occupancy rates are a fraction of what they usually are. Hotel brands contemplate closures on a week-to-week basis. Thankfully, most brands have free cancellations (even on non-refundable bookings) if you must cancel at the last minute.
The hotels least likely to be open are resorts and upscale properties. These locations primarily cater to tourists, including Disney, Hawaii’s Waikiki resort area and likely even the local waterpark resort nearest you are closed for the rest of April, though this may be extended.
Until theme parks and major tourist zones resume operations, you will likely need to stay in a budget or mid-tier property. You should check the local travel advisories and self-quarantine requirements before traveling. Otherwise, you may become highly acquainted with your hotel room.
Some upscale boutique hotels are still open for business across the United States. While these hotels typically offer top-notch benefits, the regular amenities are limited. For example, you likely won’t be able to visit the spa or have a full-service breakfast.
Instead of catering to tourists, hotels are mostly seeing local residents who need more space than their regular dwelling permits. Some of those residents include doctors and nurses who cannot put their own families in danger.
SLH (one way to earn World of Hyatt points) has several open properties on the United States East Coast and West Coast. One property currently open for business is the 1906 Lodge on California’s Coronado Island. The best way to find the latest openings is to visit the hotel website and call to learn about availability.
Most Omni Resorts are suspending operations through May 15, 2020, and plan to reopen at this time. But two Omni properties are reopening on May 1, 2020 – the Omni Cancun Hotel & Villas and the Omni Orlando Resort at Championsgate.
Walt Disney Resorts
Disney states they are accepting reservations for June 1, 2020, or after. However, all resorts at Walt Disney World and Disneyland in the United States are closed indefinitely. The same goes for Disney’s Vero Beach Resort and Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort.
Las Vegas Strip Casino Resorts
Another travel hotspot that is feeling the direct effects of the coronavirus is the Las Vegas Strip. This active area is a ghost town until casinos have permission to reopen. For example, the casino hotels on the strip or off-strip are not open again until at least May 1, 2020. You won’t be able to spend the night, even though the attached gaming floor is closed too.
These Las Vegas Strip resort brands are taking reservations starting May 1, 2020:
- Las Vegas Sands
- MGM Resorts
- Caesars Entertainment
- Stations Casinos
- Hilton Grand Vacations
- Four Seasons Hotel
You will need to stay off-strip, downtown, or in the greater Las Vegas area to find open hotels. One open hotel is the Best Western McCarran Inn near McCarran International Airport.
Hotel Loyalty Programs
These hotel loyalty programs are keeping as many properties open as possible:
- Hilton Honors
- Marriott Bonvoy
- World of Hyatt
Outside of the many resort-type properties, many mid-tier and budget hotels remain open. These hotels may be along the interstate exits for truck drivers needing a respite. Airport hotels are also likely to stay open for flyers.
Hotels are also offering discount rooms for medical workers and first responders. Rooms can be free for out-of-town volunteers serving pandemic hotspots like New York City or New Orleans. Both Chase and American Express are partnering with the major hotel brands to donate rooms for these frontline heroes.
Book From The Hotel Website
The best way to book a hotel room during this quarantine season is directly from the hotel website. You’re more likely to see the current list of which hotels are open. Hotel loyalty programs are showing the hotels that are open at the top of the search result list. You can search for hotels by city, and for large cities, you can filter results by neighborhood.
Some of the top category hotels and resorts are still open during April. For example, you can stay at The Westin Nashville, which is a Marriott International luxury hotel in downtown Nashville, TN. However, Marriott’s Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Resort, also in Nashville, is temporarily closed.
Mid-tier hotels like Holiday Inns or Hampton Inns in sparsely traveled areas may temporarily close as well. You may need to spend more time researching your options than usual if you have a specific hotel type in mind. Instead, you might be better off searching for an open room by a hotel loyalty program to compare your options quickly.
Third-party booking sites offer extensive cancellation fee benefits as well. But if you need to cancel, it may require extra effort to get a refund or travel credit.
If traveling abroad to Europe or Asia, your best option can be using an international travel brand like Marriott, Hilton, IHG or World of Hyatt. It’s a quick way to find open hotels. In Rome, upscale Category 7 and Category 8 properties are open in addition to mid-tier options.
Third-party booking sites make it easy to find mom-and-pop hotels that appreciate the business as well. However, whether or not the hotel is open may not be accurate. The closure dates may be out of date, and directly contacting the hotel to verify available dates can be challenging.
The group of hotels least affected by the slowdown is budget hotels. However, occupancy rates are still higher than usual. Choice Hotels has one of the largest portfolios for budget travelers. Some of the Choice Hotels brands include:
- Comfort Inn
- Woodspring Suites
- Suburban Extended Stay
You may appreciate the privacy that vacation rentals from Airbnb and VRBO offer during these times. Individual owners and rental agencies operate these properties. However, the cancellation policies and nightly rates rival most hotel brands. You should still check the property’s COVID-19 cancellation policy if you’re traveling in April or May.
Another reason to consider renting a vacation home is that hotel loyalty isn’t worth it all the time. Not every traveler needs hotel points or qualifying night credits to maintain elite status. These short-term booking sites can also help you find properties in tourist-heavy areas where hotels and resorts might be closed. Some people travel to tourist zones for business reasons, after all.
While many hotels from the largest loyalty brands across the United States are still open, it is recommended that you call and check the property website. Mid-tier and budget hotels are most likely to be open. A few upscale properties may remain open as well. Take into consideration that even though some properties are anticipating reopening in the coming weeks, some properties may not be able to open for some time.
Are Luxury Hotels Open?
Some luxury hotels are open during the coronavirus pandemic. Most resort-type luxury hotels are closed through early to mid-May and potentially later. Three of the most-affected brands include Omni, Waldorf Astoria and Walt Disney Resorts. The various casino resorts in Las Vegas that MGM, Caesars and Las Vegas Sands operate may reopen as soon as May 1, 2020, though that may change. Even upscale Las Vegas resorts without on-site casinos are temporarily closed, such as the Four Season Hotel.
IHG, Hilton Honors, Marriott Bonvoy and World of Hyatt are operating their high-end properties in major cities across the United States and the world. These hotels are offering reduced amenities for the safety of hotel guests.
What Are The Hotel Cancellation Policies During The Coronavirus Pandemic?
Each of the major hotel brands has more flexible cancellation policies because of coronavirus travel advisories. Even for non-refundable bookings, you can cancel your reservation at least 24 hours before check-in. In most cases, this cancellation policy extends through June 30, 2020, for most hotel brands.
You will need to verify the precise cancellation terms for any hotel booking you may have. Most hotel brands are enacting hotel elite status extensions through 2021 to offset your lack of travel bookings.
Are There “Coronavirus Hotel Deals”?
Most of the national hotel brands are offering discount rates for first responders and medical professionals helping in coronavirus hotspots. It’s possible to receive a free room as some parties are donating hotel points to cover the nightly rate for out-of-town volunteers. You might also find discounts if booking a minimum 14-night stay. Some in the industry call this hotel deal a “self-quarantine package.”
For short stays, hotel rates may be cheaper than usual as relatively few people travel. Rooms that generally sell for over $100 per night may be closer to $80 plus taxes and fees. Below-average prices are also available for plane tickets you book while airlines curtail service.