When it comes to travelling in style to location shoots or even a getaway after a shoot, the current demand is for private everything. Many are not yet completely comfortable with sharing space with their fellow travelers who may or may not be vaccinated.
Distanced outdoor dining, upscale private hotel gyms and sequestered hotel stays are a few of the ways hospitality businesses are adapting to the pandemic’s ongoing challenges and guest preferences. Restaurants, hotels, wineries and other venues reworked their confines over the past year, with the intent of keeping guests separated, satisfied and ultimately healthy. Those in production bubbles have extra in-
centive for cloistered socializing.
Variety runs down possibilities for getting out and keeping apart.
Restaurant-Style In-Room Dining
Malibu Beach Inn, Malibu
There’s no question guests will have the best view and table in the house for dinner on their own private oceanfront terrace at the Malibu Beach Inn. The 47-room Carbon Beach property offers an ultra-custom, private dining experience, starting with mixologist-made cocktails and a four-course tasting menu tailored to guests’ preferences and paired thoughtfully with select wines. The meal is served restaurant-style, en-suite with no other guests nearby or in sight. Reservations requested 72 hours in advance.
Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills, Los Angeles
The Private Fitness Suite at the Fou r Season Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills features health-minded extras — a specialized air filtration system, shower head with water purifier and hyper-allergenic hardwood floors — that attract hotel guests who appreciate the option of working out behind closed doors. One to three people in the same party can make use of the fitness suite’s sanitized gear plus state-of-the-art Peloton bike and spiffy Hydrow rowing machine. The room is available in two-hour intervals exclusively to hotel guests. The fitness suite complements the hotel’s fourth floor wellness rooms and suites launched in June.
Palihouse Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara
Downtown Santa Barbara’s mellow vibe is exemplified at this 24-room recently opened boutique hotel, which blends seamlessly into the seaside city’s low-rise Spanish revival architecture. Book the large El Apartmento for all the comforts of an apartment-sized, in-town sophisticated retreat (terrace, sunken tub and fireplace included plus a fully stocked bar). There’s no need to venture out although the hotel’s Linus bikes are at the ready. The secluded Club Room, tucked away in a leafy corner of the property, opens to the outdoors and Santa Barbara’s ideal weather. Its hidden location allows for separated socializing and meetings.
Escape to an Offshore Wine Tasting
Folded Hills, Gaviota
Most know the Folded Hills Winery Ranch Farmstead for its oak tree-dotted outdoor wine-tasting patio overlooking the Santa Ynez Valley. But for those who want to go farther out, the winery has a private onboard tasting on a 50-foot Catalina sailboat. A group of four can set sail from Santa Barbara’s harbor along with a wine steward for an offshore reserve tasting and relaxing journey along the coast. Folded Hills Winery’s organic vineyards occupy15 acres of the 600-acre estate; visitors can book a back-country ranch tour where they can meet exotic animals including Zazu the zebra, a spirited camel and regal Clydesdales. The winery’s farm stand in a historic barn vends organic vegetables and local goods.
Boutique Hotel Just for Groups
The Marley, Palm Springs
The Marley (pictured above) in Palm Springs’ Warm Sands neighborhood is a privatized, gated and colorful alternative for groups of 10 to 22 people. Owners Jessica and Tim Spry completely transformed the former roadside motel into a fashion-forward stay with playful decor, large pool and catering kitchen. The Marley is open to only one group at a time: guests can upgrade their visit via a menu of add-on services from cabana attendants to a bartender or private chef. “No one can see you or get in,” says Jessica Spry. Nearby sister property Hotel El Cid is geared to groups only too.
Epicurean Boxed Lunches
The Pontchartrain Hotel, New Orleans
Chef Brian Landry of the 1927-built Pontchartrain Hotel says, “You have to seize the opportunities in front of you.” To meet requests for sequestered experiences, Landry has cooked off site, executing a full-on restaurant experience in private homes. Production crews applaud his customized NOLA-themed box lunches delivered to sets: individually prepared, each box features NOLA brands such as Zapps potato chips, Barq’s classic root beer, beignets and po’boys, Louisiana’s signature French bread sandwiches. Crews and talent are known to kick back at the hotel’s Hot Tin Rooftop
Bar named as homage to playwright Tennessee Williams, once a frequent guest.
Kimpton Angler’s Hotel, Miami Beach, Fla.
Need a poolside meeting space that suits socially distant and hybrid events? South Beach’s Kimpton Angler’s Hotel has private entrances for its poolside bungalow and villa and ample space for private bubble indoor/outdoor events next the hotel’s Mermaid pool where Miami Swim Week events are upcoming in July. The property is blocks from the beach and set apart from the wild party crowd. Fresh Florida seafood is the specialty at the hotel’s Art Deco-styled Seawell Fish N’ Oyster.
R&R in Lakeside Luxury
The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee, Greensboro, Ga.
At the Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee, up to eight guests can check into their own four-bedroom lakefront home at the recently renovated Lake House complete with chef’s kitchen, wrap-around deck and private pool. On property are five golf courses providing 99 holes of physically distanced play. The Ritz’s Lake House and nearby private cottages come with a dedicated cottage concierge to arrange in-house activities from movie nights (on a 72-inch flat screen TV) to a chef-prepared Southern-style breakfast or a select bourbon tasting. The drive from Atlanta is 90 minutes to the sporty and upmarket lakeside resort, located approximately 90 miles east of southwest Atlanta (home to Tyler Perry Studios).
Private Wine Tastings in Designer-Outfitted Tent
Macari Vineyards, Mattituck, N.Y.
The intrepid winemakers of Macari Vineyards out on the North Fork of Long Island added a unique tasting room last fall. Groups of up to six can book one of the cool climate winery’s recently installed all-season Bergen Road Bungalows for a private catered lunch and wine tasting. The cozily decorated and fully heated platform tents are outfitted with vintage and contemporary furniture plus accessories (all for sale) including records and board games. A selection of Macari’s wines (such as the estate grown Chardonnay and crowdpleasing Dos Aguas Red) is paired with artful cheese and charcuterie boards. Tastings are by appointment only.
Retreat in Royal Style
The Milestone Hotel & Residences, London
Stay adjacent to royalty at central London’s Milestone Hotel & Residences across from Kensington Palace, the official residence of William and Kate. The hotel’s six stand-alone, two- and three- bedroom residences are fittingly sophisticated and decorated in muted tones and plush finishes. There are views toward the historic palace and grounds. Each residence has 24/7 butler service and a private entrance, making it possible to never mingle with other hotel guests while still enjoying the hotel’s room service and plentiful amenities. A residence’s full kitchen can be stocked per request before arrival.