July 23, 2021

Staycationing during a pandemic | Ma. Stella F. Arnaldo

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The pool area with a private pool house at the right for your limited social gatherings.

I LOVE staycations.

Even if it’s just in Metro Manila…even it it’s less than 10 kilometers from my home. An overnight stay or two in an attractive hotel—with a pleasant staff, comfortable rooms, and delicious cuisine—is a welcome respite from the drudgery of one’s own home surroundings (i.e., I don’t have to cook, I don’t have to clean my room, and the air-conditioning is free). The staycation experience can expectedly be jacked up by a swim in the hotel pool or a 60-hour deep tissue massage with facial.

Until Covid-19 swooped down on us, that is, and took away every bit of fun in our lives. Now staycations can feel quite stiff and a bit distressing, even if one knows hotel managements have gone through a lot of effort to make their properties feel safe and secure, while protecting their guests from the dreaded virus.

At the Grand Hyatt Manila in Bonifacio Global City, I got a taste of what staycations would be like under Covid. My hired car arrived at the entrance, and after the usual preliminary inspections at the entrance, I went through the hotel’s glass doors and came upon the property’s massive, luxurious lobby. There was something missing though: walking toward the reception area, the place seemed empty and devoid of personality.

It was quiet, and despite having an overnight luggage, no one bothered to help me wheel it. In fact, I noticed that as soon as the car pulled up in the hotel driveway, not one attendant opened the car door, as one would usually expect in a four- or five-star hotel.

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