The Luxury Hotels Helping their Communities Fight Through Coronavirus
by Olivia Michel
Following the examples of high-end fashion and luxury car brands, as well as generous superyacht owners, a number of top hotels have now volunteered their resources to help local communities during the coronavirus outbreak.
In the Caribbean, five-star hotel Jamaica Inn is donating its towels and linens to health centres in the local area. While closed to the public, staff at Jamaica Inn are focusing their efforts on rehabilitating the surrounding environment through planting coral.
The Hartling Group, which manages a number of luxury hotels in the Turks and Caicos, has offered to provide food and basic essentials to members of staff who have been affected by the closure of resorts.
The North Sounds foundation, which was set up by the owners of Oil Nut Bay resort in the British Virgin Islands, has raised a total of $300,000 to help assist the local community as quarantine measures force businesses to close.
Idyllic islands like Koh Samui in Thailand are one of the country's biggest tourist draws, but COVID-19 has forced resorts and hotels in the area to close. Despite this, staff at Samujana Villas are now volunteering their time to help provide hundreds of meals and drinking water to locals currently out of work due to the outbreak. They have also offered meals and face masks to medical staff at Koh Samui Hospital.
"We want to help provide for the hungry and those in need, in any small way we can. Having worked in hospitality for over 30 years, my team and I want to care for people and provide support to the Koh Samui community," said Samujana general manager, John Dopéré.
Across the Atlantic, two iconic hotels in Los-Angeles have been helping their local communities as well.
The Beverly Hills and Bel-Air hotels have delivered a combined 400 salads to first responders and medical staff, packaged in the hotels’ signature pink hue. A further 400 salads have also been donated to staff at the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and an additional 160 meals to emergency room staff at St. Johns Hospital. Finally, 200 salads, soups and care packages (with items to feed the family for up to a week) have been offered by the hotels to anyone in the hospitality industry who has been laid off or is now living on reduced wages as a result of COVID-19.
“In times like these, it’s more important than ever that we take care of each other […] The community has supported us for the last 108 years and we are deeply grateful,” said general manager Edward Mady. The hotels are also looking to donate an additional 400 meals to the Los Angeles’ Veterans Hospital.
At the other end of California, SingleThread Inn is using its 3 Michelin-starred kitchens to produce 200 meals a day for local families in need. An additional 25 take-away meals will be made available for purchase to local residents each day.
Over on the East Coast, The Four Seasons hotel in New York is offering its five-star accommodations to doctors, nurses and medical personnel treating coronavirus patients. This will help shorten commutes for overwhelmed workers and keep their families safe from potential infection.
In Rhode Island, luxury hotel group Ocean House Management is helping tackle the food crisis caused by COVID-19. The group, which looks after the iconic Ocean House Hotel, has deployed its "Off the Menu" food truck to distribute complimentary lunches to families with young children in need of sustenance.
London institution Claridge's has offered free accommodation to 40 National Health Service (NHS) workers who are unable to live at home due to COVID-19 quarantine regulations. The Mayfair hotel will also provide dinner and breakfast to the temporary residents.
A similar gesture has been made by the Relais & Châteaux Stock Exchange Hotel in Manchester and by the Millennium Hotel belonging to Eclipse owner Roman Abramovich.
Additionally, staff at Belgravia hotel The Hari are being deployed to deliver food, necessities and medicine to vulnerable individuals. For those undergoing isolation alone, the Hari has also offered to pick up their phones for a chat or post mail on behalf of local residents.
In the Cotswolds, luxury resort Calcot Hotel & Spa will use its kitchens to prepare 600 meals for vulnerable residents of the local community.
Despite closing its doors due to the coronavirus pandemic, Cambridge hotel The University Arms has been looking after its staff by sending care packages to them.
After initially donating €50,000 to local hospitals, Portuguese resort Quinta do Lago has helped raise a further €500,000 in donations for the Algarve Biomedical Centre. The Magnolia Hotel, which sits on the northwestern corner of the resort's site, has also offered 100 free rooms to healthcare workers as well as a complimentary coffee and breakfast.
Boutique hotel Orania.Berlin has used its resources to help the homeless affected by COVID-19. The coronavirus pandemic has hit those living on the streets particularly hard, as a number of cafes and soup kitchens have been forced to close. To help combat this issue, the Berlin-based hotel has promised to cook 800 meals, which will be delivered to vulnerable individuals with the help of the Berlin homeless aid association, Berliner Obdachlosenhilfe e.V.
A historic Italian hotel, situated on the shores of Lake Como, has also made a generous donation to its local community. Instead of celebrating the hotel’s 110th birthday in July, all funds that would have been used to host an exquisite party at The Grand Hotel Tremezzo have now been repurposed in order to support Italian hospitals treating coronavirus patients.
Another Italian hotel helping out is the Palazzo Avino, located on the Amalfi Coast. To raise funds for coronavirus vaccine research, the hotel is offering guests hospitality vouchers worth €5,000 each that will be redeemable for two years. The voucher will include two nights at the hotel, a complimentary tasting dinner at a Michelin-starred restaurant, two treatments at the hotel spa and a mixology lesson with the hotel barman.
After closing its doors to the public, Amàre Hotel in Marbella was left with an unexpected surplus of food in its kitchens. The 1,500 kg of leftover food, which included fruits, vegetables, dairy products and cold meats, was donated to those in need, such as the elderly, with the help of Marbella’s Calvario Parish Church.
Over in France, the Hôtel Chais Monnet has closed its accommodation but reopened its kitchens for a good cause. On 1 April the five-star hotel delivered 365 meals cooked by top chefs to the nearby hospital of Cognac."We have enough kitchen space to ensure that everyone can cook safely. If we can help those in need, let's do it!” said the hotel’s general manager, Arnaud Bamvems.
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