On July 23rd, Jennifer Dzialo, Vice President of Corporate Land Products in the Americas for Flight Centre Travel Group, visited the Kimpton Marlowe Hotel in Cambridge, MA to see what protocols they have implemented post-COVID-19. Below, she tells us all about her stay and highlights all the changes at the hotel.
The Marlowe hotel is in a fantastic location for anyone looking to limit public transportation as it is an easy walk to both Cambridge and downtown Boston. I walked across the Charles river from my home in Boston and used the city’s Blue Bike option on the way home. Since the Marlowe is pet friendly, I had hoped to bring my dog, Chaucer, along but the weather was just a bit too hot as he’s an old boy.
Arrival was just as welcoming as I’ve come to expect from Kimpton hotels but with a few new touches to keep me as safe as possible. The first thing I noticed was that the hotel has made use of their outdoor courtyard to create inviting (yet socially distant) seating and dining areas. There was plenty of signage about required mask usage and hand sanitizer available everywhere. Check-in was not drastically different in this hotel but used plexi-glass shields and self-service credit card machines to limit touch to just the room keys.
The desk agent informed me that I was required to wear masks in all common areas and where to find relevant city information regarding travel limitations. She also showed me a front-desk grab and go option that replaced their in-room minibars to limit high touch items in the room. As an IHG Rewards member my “Raid the Bar” credit could still be used at the grab and go option!
Walking into the room, I was extremely impressed to see the hotel had undergone a massive renovation since the last time I had seen the rooms. The new design was extremely open, modern and inviting, not to mention there was tons of natural light. Since this is a Kimpton property, the rooms had a bit more personality than a traditional big box brand but were still perfect for a business traveler. Although the hotel has removed high touch items like throw pillows, magazines and minibars, I was pleasantly surprised to see I could still call down to order a clean robe and other items. Most importantly, the room smelled and looked impeccably clean!
Food and Beverage
Since I work in our supplier strategy division, I have had the great pleasure of working with the sales team at the Hotel Marlowe for a number of years and was able to catch up with them for a quick bite on their patio. Since I’m a horrible cook, I was especially excited to try out their restaurant Bambara! A QR Code menu allowed me to safely peruse their options and the restaurant was set up to allow social distancing inside, however, we chose to enjoy the patio seating. Additional information about their approach can be found here. Currently they are only open in the evenings but there are plenty of all-day dining options available within a 5-minute walk.
During our meal, I learned a bit more about their approach to post COVID-19 travel including Kimpton’s take on the IHG Clean Promise. Not only do they have strict room vacancy standards, but they also have a new linen process that ensures all sterilized materials are kept out of rotation to prevent any possible cross contamination between housekeeping and guests. I also discovered the Marlowe has kayaks and paddleboards that are free for their guests and will be brought down to the canal for you – wish I had brought my swimsuit!
Kimpton's Wine Hour
One of my favorite aspects of Kimpton hotels is the ability to grab a glass of wine in the lobby during their wine down hour from 5:00pm - 6:00pm. Although they aren’t able to encourage the same guest socializing, the Marlowe has maintained the tradition by allowing guests to request a glass from the front desk. A nice glass of white was perfect after a hot day! The next morning, I discovered they have a similar approach to coffee/tea as I could order a complimentary to go beverage as I was checking out.
"Since I’m an IHG member the checkout process was extremely easy. I chose to leave my keys in my room after completing the app-based check-out, but you could easily drop them in the key return in the lobby as well. All in all, it was a fantastic stay and I felt completely comfortable at all times. I will definitely be returning with friends to enjoy the water activities on my next staycation."