The Surf Lodge in Montauk will reopen, for hotel guests only, on Wednesday, with contactless check-in, a virtual concierge, in-room wellness classes, pre-bottled cocktails, and other Covid-mindful protocols.
Because of the pandemic, the resort is accepting only reservations for stays of at least 30 nights, and only paying guests will be able to use the facilities. For the safety of guests and staff, "we wanted to create less turnover," said Jayma Cardoso, one of the owners.
In between stays, a room will be left empty for 48 hours before a cleaning crew is allowed in. After being cleaned, it will be sealed off for 24 hours prior to a new arrival. "Given what we are doing operationally, it only made sense to switch to long-term stays," she said.
An ultraviolet-light sanitizer will be used to clean both rooms and common areas, towels and linens will be bagged and isolated for at least a day after use, and the hotel has hired ServPro, a professional cleaning service, to provide twice-daily mist disinfection with an eco-friendly and food-safe solution, as well as regular cleanings with an electrostatic device.
Surf Lodge will rely on technology to facilitate social distancing. After making a reservation, guests will receive an email containing their room number and the code to unlock the door, and, upon arrival, a virtual concierge will walk them through check-in. Housekeeping will be offered on demand only, and can be summoned via text message.
Even in-room dining will come with a high-tech twist. "We've created an app that allows guests to schedule and order room service," said Ms. Cardoso.
In the restaurant, the tables will be eight feet apart, staff will be wearing gloves and masks, and guests will be able to choose dishes by scanning a QR code, which is similar to a bar code, using a smartphone. "Silverware will be protected by covers to ensure that once it has been cleaned no one else has touched it or breathed on it," she said.
For those seeking an alcoholic drink, cocktails will come "pre-batched or pre-bottled." Abstainers can drink water from reusable bottles; bamboo straws will be provided.
Exercise enthusiasts will be able to click on an app to join virtual classes from the comfort of their hotel rooms or decks. "All of our amenities have shifted to in-room service," Ms. Cardoso said.
Unfortunately, she said, there is no technological solution or safety protocol that will allow the Surf Lodge, which from its inception has been one of the most popular East End hang-out spots, to allow the public to gather there this summer.
The economic lockdown, she said, has taken a toll on her. "Initially, I was really depressed. I didn't realize how much I missed interaction with the Surf Lodge team, guests, friends and family. Then I realized I needed to start doing something and put my focus on giving back to the community." The hotel has been selling branded merchandise and giving all of the proceeds to the Montauk Food Pantry. It also held an online concert series, encouraging viewers to donate to the No Kid Hungry and World Central Kitchen charities, which help provide food for those in need.
The guests-only policy will mean "we are losing money by opening," Ms. Cardoso said, but she thinks of the reopening as another community service. "Closing would be the easiest decision to make, but the important thing for us is to be able to provide a living to our employees. We also understand that our guests help small businesses in Montauk."