You know that friend of yours who always wraps his or her hand in something before touching the public bathroom door knob? And plans their entire existence around potential pathogen encounters? Of course, it is perfectly fine to still roll your eyes at that person—only now they’ll be looking back at you with a condescending, “At least I’m not the one who’s going to contract coronavirus” sneer.
But a hotel in Costa Rica has just brought luxury amenities into the current global pandemic zeitgeist, introducing a timely—and frankly extremely thoughtful—”Germ Butler.” Indeed, the chic, and very trendy with American visitors Hotel Santarena, in beautiful Las Catalinas in the Guanacaste Province, now has someone on hand full time to carry out the worry-relieving task of wiping down luggage, passports, phones, wallets and such on arrival, while also disinfecting surfaces all over the property throughout the day.
Guests will also be given a distinctly motherly greeting: being ushered immediately to the hotel’s sparkling clean lobby bathroom for an arrival scrub up, creating a sense of communal responsibility and purpose.
The Preferred Hotels property itself was already well worth a weekend away, with its Old Havana meets Cartagena historic style architecture, plush but breezily comfortable rooms (just 45 of them, to be exact), stylish rooftop terrace with ocean views, Ponciana Restaurant & Bar, Calle la Ronda Bakery, and 35 square meter pool. It is also surrounded by about 40 kilometers of what we can only imagine are completely virus free hiking trails.
Whether or not this sets off a temporary trend remains to be seen—but considering the unease that will accompany most travel over the next several weeks, it’s commendable to see hotels finding ways to ease guests’ worries. Of course, the sheer scope of the psychological effects of this outbreak, could mean that “germ butlers” and disinfectant programs may become permanent amenities, the new reality for a decisively shellshocked populace.
But hey, it’s certainly far more useful than whatever in god’s name a “bath butler” does—and the Santarena can take pride in knowing that it helped to lead the way to making “safe travels” more than just a tired old vernacularism.