How Big Resorts Have Embraced Covid Safety

So guests can social-distance, the Homestead is booking half its rooms. Photograph of pool courtesy of Homestead.

Resorts can be very big places, with hundreds of travelers from all over—not necessarily ideal in the time of Covid.

Yet avoiding people at resorts may be easier than you’d think these days. Properties are not only limiting the number of guests—at Virginia’s Omni Homestead, they’re booking about half the rooms—but also limiting how many people are allowed at one time into facilities such as fitness centers. At Virginia’s Wintergreen, pool capacity at press time was capped at 75 percent. At Nemacolin in Pennsylvania, guests wanting to be alone can buy out an experience, including a round of mini-golf, a game of paintball, or a movie.

Resorts have modified activities, too, for safety. Instead of a germy kids’ club, they might hand out DIY craft kits. Primland in Virginia set up an outdoor gym with balance beams and pull-up bars. Lansdowne in Leesburg added more private pool cabanas. The Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay, which for years has hosted a group s’mores roast, now sets up private fire pits on the beach.

You won’t be near staff at resorts right now, either. Check-in is usually contactless, including handling your own luggage. Housekeeping is often only upon request.

Worried about mingling with strangers in hallways and lobbies? Nemacolin; Montage Palmetto Bluff and Kiawah Island in South Carolina; Sea Island in Georgia; and Virginia’s Kingsmill offer private homes and cottages. Kings­mill and the Tides Inn, also in Virginia, have some rooms with private outdoor entrances.

Rather not eat in a dining room? Some resorts have increased the outdoor options. Primland set up a smoker and occasional pizza oven outside and added picnic tables.

Even golf, that resort staple, has changed. At the Hyatt Chesapeake, tee times are now staggered by 15 minutes, versus back to back. And forget reaching into a cup that someone else may have touched to triumphantly retrieve a sunken ball: The cups are stuffed with foam inserts—you “make” a putt when your ball touches a pin protruding from the hole.

This article appears in the May 2021 issue. 

Editor in chief

Sherri Dalphonse joined Washingtonian in 1986 as an editorial intern, and worked her way to the top of the masthead when she was named editor-in-chief in 2022. She oversees the magazine’s editorial staff, and guides the magazine’s stories and direction. She lives in DC.