I was at a hotel when the dreaded double red bars came for me. It was my first trip home to the Bay Area in more than three years. My family and I were in San Francisco at the Inn at the Presidio, a warm, low-key refuge in a former officer’s quarters on the military base turned preserve that sits at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge. I’d felt out of sorts the day before but chalked it up to travel fatigue. When I woke up and couldn’t stop coughing, though, it was time to take a test.
When I apprised the hotel staff of our situation, they were gracious and calm. Over the next few days, a steady procession of fresh towels and carafes of water arrived at our door, along with lovely, simple breakfasts, numerous Uber Eats deliveries, and cheese and charcuterie plates from the evening wine hours we couldn’t attend. Without ever encountering another person again during our stay, we felt cared for.
Hotels have gotten good at this during these terrible last two years, reminding us why we call it the hospitality industry. As I write these sentences, I’m looking out at the turquoise sea from my room at the Rosewood Baha Mar. In February 2021 Baha Mar, the game-changing Bahamas resort that celebrates its fifth anniversary this month, introduced its Travel With Confidence program, which guaranteed complimentary return private air transfer or a free extended stay for any guest who tested positive on the premises. The resort currently has testing facilities at all three hotels on the property; I wish every testing experience could be as pleasant and effortless as the one I had getting my rapid antigen to return to the States.
Much of this issue is devoted to the Hot List, our annual catalog of delightful new hotels and cruises (and now restaurants, cultural institutions, and more; for additional Hotness, please visit cntraveler.com). These are places and products that will wow travelers with their beauty, with their culinary and wellness offerings, with the connection they create to local cultures. But the bottom line is that they’re really good at taking care of people. In a world with so much uncertainty, that is truly a noble calling.
This article appeared in the May/June 2021 issue of Condé Nast Traveler. Subscribe to the magazine here.