Oh, to be on vacation: the freedom, the fun, the memories, the break. Now, especially, we are reminded of how sweet that luxury is.
Part of what makes those days so special is your home-away-from-home. There is just nothing like the feeling of stepping into a place and embracing its newness, convenience and little extravagances (hello, tiny shampoo bottles).
While COVID-19 has certainly changed the vacation landscape, you can still get that much-needed break. We’re pleased to report that lodging in the Lake Cumberland Tourism area is open for business and safety and cleanliness are at the top of the priority list.
First, a quick look at our lodging numbers. The Lake Cumberland region features 13 hotels, ranging from your classic Super 8 to our newest addition into the fold, the Courtyard by Marriott adjacent to the Center for Rural Development. That means endless hot showers, crisp, clean linens, guilt-free TV, and Jacuzzi tubs, all without having to leave your room.
The area also boasts 10 campgrounds, whose clear, calm quiet is especially restful this time of year. Here, social distancing and masking up aren’t much of a consideration, as solitude is the name of the game. Think: roasting marshmallows by the campfire, gazing at the lake with a hot cup of coffee, and going for gorgeous hikes across the rolling, creek-lined terrain.
All told, there are also about 190 cabins, cottages and condos available to guests in our area, which includes spots in resorts like Villager, Lake Cumberland Resort, Woodson Bend and Lost Lodge. Once again, adventure, comfort and beauty safely await you at these special havens.
In terms of what’s being done to ensure your safety, we spoke to a few property owners to see what measures they’ve put in place.
Everyone we spoke with said front desk clerks, housekeepers and all hotel employees wear masks and practice social distancing. Housekeepers additionally wear gloves and use various sanitizers and disinfectants to clean all surfaces in the rooms, as well as in reception and high-traffic areas.
Breakfast has also changed. Instead of a buffet-style option at Quality Inn, for example, manager Joseph Isaacs said breakfast now includes sausage biscuits, country ham biscuits, pre-wrapped muffins, honeybuns, Pop Tarts and yogurt.
At Comfort Inn and Best Western Inn & Suites, which abide by cleaning programs Commitment to Clean and Because We Care respectively, only factory-sealed options like oatmeal, danishes, donuts and fruit without edible peels are offered. They’ve also started offering ready-to-heat options, like breakfast biscuits, that guests can warm up in their room microwaves.
Hampton Inn partnered with Lysol and launched Hilton CleanStay at the end of April to ensure thorough disinfection everywhere, especially high-touch point areas like TV remotes and elevator buttons. Rooms are also “sealed” with a sticker, so that when guests arrive at their room, they know no one has entered it since it was disinfected.
In addition, guests can use a “digital key,” meaning they book their room on an app and then can go directly to it upon arrival at the hotel, without having to check in at the front desk.
JaKaye Garth is the director of sales at Thoroughbred Hospitality Group, which manages Hampton Inn, Best Western Inn & Suites, Comfort Inn and Sleep Inn & Suites in our area. She said, though they had a rough start to the year with “record low occupancy levels in March and April,” leisure travel has started to return thanks to the many adventure options around Lake Cumberland.
This surge in occupancy and demand allowed us to fully implement the programs we introduced and get great feedback from our guests that our increased efforts made them feel safe and comfortable to travel. We are excited to see what the rest of this year and next year bring for us as we recover and, as always, invite you to come visit us on beautiful Lake Cumberland.”JaKaye Garth
Reci Shook, director of sales at Courtyard by Marriott, said they’ve likewise seen an uptick since May and have been sold out every weekend since.
I think people have felt really safe here,” she said. “We’ve had a lot of people who have traveled here. We’ve had no employees or guests who have tested positive.”Reci Shook