Last weekend I finally decided to get away for the first time since COVID-19 began changing our lives. We packed up our beach bags and headed north to Boynton Beach in Palm Beach County, about an hour and 15 minutes away from Miami. I desperately needed some natural Vitamin D from the sun and salty ocean water (good for the sinuses).
While planning this last-minute trip, we weren’t quite sure whether it was safer to stay in a vacation rental property or hotel. So we began our search and to our surprise we came across many small boutique hotels that did not require you to enter into a crowded lobby or use an elevator. We ended up choosing the Sun Dek Beach House in a town called Ocean Ridge. The property only had 18 apartment-like suites with full kitchens, a small pool deck, barbecues and a tiki roof covering if you decided to enjoy your meals outside. And the property was located across the street from the beach, an easy 5-minute walk. Before we booked this property we wanted to make sure they were following CDC guidelines to keep their guests safe. This information was found on their FAQ page and also on their Trip Advisor page accompanied by reviews from recent guests. The Sun Dek Beach House had an amazing 5 Star rating with guests raving about just how clean and safe they felt during their stay, so we booked!
Sun Dek Beach House hit all of the important points we were looking for in a safe stay and below I’m giving you some tips on what you should be looking for when booking your next vacation.
1.Face Mask Requirements
Face masks have become an important part of our everyday lives lately and you’ll want to make sure the property you’re looking to book isn’t falling behind on this. In our stay we were required to wear a face mask whenever social distancing was not possible and in the common areas i.e. sharing the barbecue space and tiki hut covering. You’ll also want to look into whether or not the staff is required to wear a mask. They all should be but if they’re not I’m not sure you’d want to stay at that property. The staff at the Sun Dek were always wearing their masks and were very respectful. Remember face masks are used to protect each other from our germs!
2. Housekeeping Regulations
Many hotels now are requiring at least a 24 hour holding period after a previous guest checks out. This is to give time for disinfectants to settle in all high touch areas and make sure the room is thoroughly cleaned. The Sun Dek Beach House did not have this rule but they do use a fogger with CDC recommended disinfectant as a first layer of cleaning once a guest checks out. Secondly, they will have a housekeeper go into the room, with a mask and gloves, to continue their normal cleaning routine. This includes using a CDC recommended disinfectant to clean all high touch areas, sanitizing linens in a high temperature wash, having hand sanitizer available for guests, individually wrapped toiletries, remote controls, single use plastics, and more. The property also generously provided us with two masks and a pair of gloves just in case we needed them. When we arrived at our room the smell of Clorox was noticeable and made me feel a bit more at-ease. If you still feel uncomfortable, feel free to bring your own disinfectants and do one more wipe around the room, that’s what we did!
3. Usage of Common Areas and Beach Rentals
The pool deck of this property was very small which at first made me a little concerned but upon further inspection I was able to see that all chairs were spaced out 6 feet apart and social distancing wouldn’t be an issue. If I saw that there was a large family around I would simply put my face mask on and walk around with no issue. Every morning the staff would clean the pool chairs and set them up for the day. At this property, you were able to rent complimentary beach chairs and umbrellas for the day. These were also cleaned and fogged every day which is something that didn’t even cross my mind at first but I’m glad they did it.
4. Check-in and Check-out Procedures
Since check-in and check-out usually require contact and being in a lobby space that may be crowded you may want to call the property and see if it’s possible for contactless check-in. Luckily at Sun Dek the process was contactless! Once we booked our stay, we received an email with further instructions that included the code to enter the property, and the keyless code to enter the room. To double-check we also called for anything else we might need to know. When we arrived the process was smooth and staff came out of the office just to greet us and make sure we had everything we needed. No contact necessary!
5. Procedures for Staff
You may not be interacting with staff often while on vacation but it’s still important to make sure they are being taken care of by the property. Are they taking temperature checks prior to their shifts? Will they be wearing masks? Are they being provided with the appropriate protective equipment for their jobs? All of these are important questions to research as you wouldn’t want to stay at a property that doesn’t take care of their staff. At the Sun Dek Beach House the staff was required to take their temperature each day before their shift, wear masks, and regularly wash their hands. All of these rules were followed!
Overall, our stay was amazing! The property was so accommodating and they did it in such a safe way. I would 100% recommend this property to anyone who is looking to simply get away for a couple of days at the beach. I’m already planning to go back before the summer ends. If you have any questions please let me know and I’d be happy to help you.