When I found out that my daughter was expecting our second grandchild, my first reaction was elation. And my second was trepidation. Her first son had been born four months before the pandemic took over our lives, and that had been tough. 18 months later, what would it be like to give birth to a baby during the pandemic, with its rules and guidelines around family contact in place?
I knew I wanted to be able to help with the newborn and the toddler, so I made the decision to make myself a single household, by moving out of the family home, which still included my husband (working from home), my 22-year-old daughter and my 19-year-old son, who were finishing up their university studies, online. The current rules dictated that we couldn’t “bubble up” with my daughter’s household of herself, her husband, and their babies.
Luckily, we live in an urban neighbourhood, and I was able to find, with the help of Booking.com, a hotel that had rooms with a kitchenette, a desk, eating area, and enough space for me to set up my home/hotel gym (as the hotel gym was not allowed to open). I needed a room that would allow me to deliver a half dozen live and taped tv appearances, deliver virtual speeches, conduct radio interviews, participate in podcasts, and desk space for writing, editing, and office work. I work out with weights every day, so I needed a spot for my gym mat, as well as a storage area for my hand weights, skipping rope, sliders, etc. (all the equipment needed by a home gym enthusiast).
I needed the hotel to be clean and safe of course, and I really wanted a ground floor room so I could avoid stairwells and elevators if possible. I might be bringing a stroller into my room also.
I wanted housekeeping, but not every day, and only when I would be out of my room for extended periods of time.
Easy to access for grocery and take-out food deliveries, as well as walking or cycling distance to my daughter’s house, and other amenities such as a pharmacy, parks, and my own home. I would be leaving my own car in the driveway at my house, for my daughter and son to share. My bike would be my only transport besides my own two feet.
Pretty long laundry list. Oh right, laundry. While there are laundry facilities here (as well as pay-for launder services), I was lucky to be able to have my husband pick up my laundry once a week and wash it at home before returning it to me, masked, and at a distance.
Luckily, I found a hotel that fit the bill, exactly. The Residence Inn by Marriott at the QEW and Erin Mills Parkway in Mississauga fulfilled all my needs. Opened in May 2020, I got a spacious one room suite, kitchenette, desk space, floor space, even a fold out couch should I need it (but that would defeat the purpose of being a single household.) Ground floor, with a side exit, meant that I only had to spend limited time in the clean and safe public areas such as the lobby and hallways.
Hotels have been hard hit by the pandemic, and they have had to sink costs into ensuring that their facilities are clean in safe in ways they hadn’t had to in the past. At time of writing, their rates remain among the lowest seen in recent years, as they attempt to compete for the small traveling public. As the pandemic resolution continues to progress in a positive way, there may still be occasions where sharing a household with vulnerable people may not be advised. Checking into a neighbourhood hotel can not only solve any safety issues surrounding transmissions, at a time when we have all been locked down in our homes, can make for a welcome respite from the same four walls. Whether it’s for a few nights, or, like myself, two months, the opportunity to help support a struggling industry while providing a safe space for you to escape the confines of Covid, you should consider this in your newly fledgling travel plans. Before booking that long awaited trip to Europe or a drive across country, testing out some local hotels can give you that sense of security and experience you’ll want to move around in our new world.
Visit Booking.com to find out the safety procedures being taken by the hotels you want to visit and review their comprehensive Q&A’s.
The best part? My second grandson was born, happy and healthy on May 20th. Big brother, mom and dad, and this grandma are doing just fine. And counting the days when the rest of the family can join in hugging and holding everyone. This may call for drinks in the hotel lobby bar when it’s allowed to open.
- My #1 tip is to remember to tip! Tip your housecleaning staff and be a little bit more generous than usual, if you can. Their work schedules and resulting compensation have more than likely been impacted. Include a note of thanks.
- The restrictions at the hotel are not the fault of the staff, they are following provincial health guidelines. Frustrations shouldn’t be directed at them.
- If you witness other guests breaking health and safety protocols, don’t hesitate to report them to the hotel staff. Keep the hotel and the hotel industry safe for everyone. (Luckily, I didn’t have the occasion to do this at my hotel.)
- Respect the rules – wear masks while inside the building, keep six feet apart when moving through the hotel, don’t crowd the elevator, etc.
- If you are a smoker, please move more than six feet from outer doorways so that other guests may enter and exit safely.