Uncertainty is the new reality for productions on location: what was once a no-brainer (shoot in film-friendly locations with incentives) is now a complex puzzle to be solved. Some go-to production states and countries require a 14-day quarantine period for out-of-towners; others including Louisiana and Georgia do not. If COVID-19 cases decline or surge, then current quarantine regulations for out-of-state or international above- and below-the-line personnel will change. In the meantime, during this state of watch-and-wait limbo, consider these well-appointed hotels and resorts as places where an extended stay would be as pleasant, physically distanced and enriched as possible.
There’s no government mandate for quarantine prior to production in Louisiana. To meet increasing demand, the city’s hotels (Hotel Monteleone is a production favorite) and B&Bs (Audubon Cottages and Melrose Mansion reopen Sept. 17) are returning to service. The 30-room, antique-filled Soniat House Hotel (pictured above) specializes in privacy: sheltered balconies, entrance to rooms via courtyard (for the most part) and spacious suites allow for social distancing. Proprietor Frances Smith is mindful of guest requests whether it’s a call for an in-room espresso maker or hiring of a private chef; there’s also d’Livery Nola (New Orleans restaurant delivery service) for a citywide range of dining options. A hearty breakfast (with house-made buttermilk biscuits) is included in the rate.
Georgia has no statewide travel restrictions. The state’s seven barrier islands are natural spots for a longer stay. On Jekyll Island (one hour south of Savannah), the historic Jekyll Island Club Resort promotes its waterside location and easy ways to enjoy the outdoors from extensive bike paths, three golf courses, pool deck with socially distanced lounge chairs and wide, white-sand beach. The resort has received guests for more than 100 years; sister property, the adjacent, boutique Jekyll Ocean Club, opened in 2017 (Chris Pratt was a recent guest). Deep-sea fishing is a challenging pastime; mellower water sports include kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding.
New Mexico requires a 14-day self-quarantine for those crossing state lines. At the 57-acre, 65-room Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado Santa Fe, the outside is ever present: each casita has a private patio, indoor and outdoor traditional kiva fireplaces and generous views. Al fresco dining options include the recently added courtyard lounge. The hotel can arrange outdoor diversions, from mountain biking to guided hikes. Tour operator Heritage Inspirations in Santa Fe organizes memorable outdoor experiences in Taos, Santa Fe and Albuquerque, predominantly, from e-bike tours to glamping in New Mexico’s backcountry.
New York’s Dept. of Health advises a 14-day safety quarantine for most out-of-state travelers. Out past East Hampton, the Roundtree, Amagansett (two hours from JFK airport) opened in June with a chicly updated, classic New England look and private cottages, each with their own entrance. The three-bedroom cottage has its own full kitchen, although staff will pick up from local restaurants. Set on two acres, the back lawn is the place to relax on lounge chairs and day beds. The boutique property is open year-round and close to beaches and Amagansett’s charming Main Street.
The U.K. mandates 14 days of self-isolation in place upon arrival (except from exempt countries). There’s a choice of country or town for a refined quarantine: Heckfield Place (on 438 acres) provides for a rural getaway, while the Ritz London offers luxurious interiors. Walk the grounds and explore the on-site farm at the 45-room, Georgian-style Heckfield Place in Hampshire (45 minutes from Heathrow). The estate’s top suite, called the Long Room, has its own dining room, kitchen and private terrace. At the Ritz London, check into one of the sumptuously detailed suites with access to 24-hour room service.
Pros going to Vancouver need to follow strict federal and provincial guidelines for a verified 14 days of self-isolation. (Canada’s Border Services requires complete information online prior to arrival via the ArriveCAN app.) The renovated 1939-built Fairmont Hotel Vancouver has corner residential suites with full kitchens on designated floors for quarantining purposes (reservations must be made directly through hotel’s sales team). In-room dining is an option and the hotel has a curated grocery and snack menu.