First published: March 7, 2020.
Current update: March 17, 2020
Surely by now, everybody has heard of COVID-19 (a.k.a. coronavirus). How do we balance our fears with reality?
Are there steps we can take to minimize our exposure and yet not suffer the economic and emotional hardship of a self-imposed quarantine for what may be a few months as we work through this virus? Of course there are.
It is becoming increasingly obvious that now is not a good time to travel to distant, often crowded hotspots for the coronavirus around the world. The congestion of airports, airplanes, and big hotels, as well as alarming infection rates will discourage many of us from traveling to faraway destinations where the risk of exposure to the contagion is much more intense.
However, lest we all develop a severe case of cabin fever, perhaps the option of vacationing in smaller boutique settings will be an attractive and low risk choice. At our seven-room boutique hotel (as opposed to a large hotel of hundreds of rooms), you can arrange for an unattended, written check-in to a freshly-sanitized suite. Checkout can be as unobtrusive as leaving the key on the desk of your suite and departing through the access/egress of a private door. (For extra seclusion, choose either of the suites on the bottom floor — the Spanish or Greek — and you have the advantage of added social distancing by using a private entrance from the outside patio to your secluded suite.)
The interior space and yards are large enough that you can easily maintain as much social distance as you would like. Outside activities include watching a sunset or sunrise from your suite maybe combined with a nature hike through the scenic orchards / vineyards with panoramic views of the beautiful Walla Walla river valley. We also have a bocci ball location and horseshoes pit in the spacious courtyard for couples’ individual entertainment, all while maintaining a respectful distance from all other guests.
Many of our past and prospective guests actually live less than 50 miles from our location, in áreas of low or no infection. If that describes yourself, we understand that you are not likely interested right now in vacationing in crowded metropolitan areas where the risks of infection increase dramatically. Now more than ever before, our remote location, away from congested population centers, continues to be your favorite choice as an intimate, exciting, and significantly so, safe romantic retreat.
Even dinner from our intimate and immaculate 5-star restaurant can be served in the luxury and privacy of your suite by one of our staff of of highly trained waiters who will either serve you each course at the table in your suite or leave each course on a tray right outside your door for the highest level of social distancing.
Read on to see a stay at Cameo Heights Mansion offers a unique advantage of “social distancing” with sanitary security affording our guests the very lowest possible level of interaction and thus infection to coronavirus or any other public contagion.
Here at Cameo Heights Mansion, we are dedicated to protecting your health and safety.
We have always been very careful to follow meticulous cleaning and sanitizing procedures to safeguard our guests’ comfort, safety, and well-being while they vacation with us. But now, with the public frenzy about the personal risk of coronavirus infection, we have immediately redoubled our efforts to ensure that you can come here with the absolute assurance that maintaining and protecting your health is taken very seriously by everyone at Cameo Heights.
You might be interested in knowing that, as a boutique hotel / B&B, we routinely spend over 2 hours per room night (as opposed to most hotels which spend minutes) in setting all the pampering and romantic details of your suite as well as the meticulous procedures that cleanse and sanitize your suite and the entire property on a daily basis.
Here is a summary of our current cleaning and sanitizing policies. This is not an exhaustive listing but it does detail much about the process of procedures we follow to ensure every suite is thoroughly sterilized after each guest turnover as well as activities that enhance the safety of guests throughout their stay.
- Replace all bed linens and pillowcases after EVERY guest. (Guests staying more than 3 days will also have their linen and pillowcases changed during their stay.)
- Clean and sanitize all cups, glasses, and mugs, (whether used or not) in a high-temp Hobart commercial dishwasher after EVERY guest.
- Replace every washcloth, every hand and bath towel (whether used or not) after EVERY guest.
- Replace bathrobes after EVERY use.
- Disinfect every touch-surface in the suite, including handles, keys, doorknobs, light switches, faucets, tables and desks, pens, buttons & remote controls after EVERY guest.
- Disinfect bathtubs, shower stalls, sinks, toilets, and water faucets after EVERY guest.
- We have switched from providing ice water in a thermos to sealed water bottles in each suite for your hydration and pleasure.
- Very effective house-made liquid body gel, bubble bath, and hair conditioner made with organic compounds are packaged in pump containers. These containers’ surfaces are sanitized after EVERY guest experience. Bath bombs and goat’s milk soap are packed in individual boxes for sanitary dispensing. The liquid products are pasteurized by bringing solutions to 180° before cooling them down for packaging.
- Multiple snacks, including coffee and tea, have always been provided. Now all snacks are items that come in sealed packages. (We will continue to offer s’mores kits which have marshmallows that are not prepackaged which you may use at your own discretion.)
- Provide hand-sanitizer in private and public areas, including the snack bar and each public and suite bathroom vanity.
- Repetitively (many times daily) disinfect every touch-surface in common areas including doorknobs; handles; microwaves; coffee makers; and sinks, toilets, faucets and handles in common bathrooms—-with sanitizer available nearby also so individual guests can sanitize any of these touch-points during their stay.
- Breakfast is prepared by trained personnel who follow strict hygienic procedures to maintain complete sanitization.
- Don’t want to eat in our dining room with other guests? You are always welcome to order an intimate in-suite breakfast at an extra expense of $20 per room, or a private dinner in your suite for $30 per room night.
What if I choose to cancel?
There are as many reasons for cancellation as there are people. Each situation is unique and each traveler must prepare for and protect himself from the unexpected. As a small, independent hospitality provider, we cannot be the aggregator of all the losses attributable to individual guests’ cancellations. Normally, the costs of cancellation remain with each guest whenever their room reservation enters into the 30-Day-Out period of “No Cancellation” regardless of the reasons for the cancellation (read our full policies here).
What about trip insurance?
Though we normally recommend trip insurance to any guests who are concerned about the potential for last-minute changes to their travel plans, we seem persuaded that it is unlikely that many, if any at all, of the policies available will cover cancellations due to fear of contracting a virus. So we do not recommend that you purchase trip insurance for the sole purpose of protecting yourself against the potential decision to cancel if the pandemic threat becomes higher than you are comfortable dealing with. It is still a great way to protect yourself against other unforeseen events that could affect your trip – just make sure to read and fully understand the scope of any policy before making a purchase.
Emergency Cancellation Policy for Coronavirus
There are emergencies situations where we will assume full responsibility and provide cancellation options where your total payments will be transferable as gift certificate credit toward future reservations whenever you choose to visit (within one year) without the repayment of the $100 non-refundable deposit or any cancellation fees. You will incur no financial loss if your stay is cancelled–only a delay until a more desirable date is selected.
Such an emergency situation would include the following:
- If Walla Walla or Franklin county is part of any region quarantined or on lock-down due to a health pandemic as declared by the CDC, WHO, Washington State Department of Health, or Walla Walla Department of Community Health.
- Cameo Heights Mansion is temporarily closed by choice, circumstance, or governmental order. (See “Current Update of our Status”)
- Your area or region of the world where you currently reside is under quarantine with closed borders and it is impossible for you to travel here.
- You have or suspect you may have the virus due to exposure to someone infected.
Alan & Deanne Fielding
Proprietors of Cameo Heights Mansion