(CBS News) – These days you may be getting a test along with your key when you check into a hotel room. Some brands around the world are offering or requiring guests to get coronavirus tests during their stays to ensure they’re not infected.
Ramona and Rockey Reed recently celebrated their first international trip since the pandemic started. They traveled from Los Angeles to the Soneva Jani resort in the Maldives, an island nation in the Indian Ocean. “I just thought where’s the most isolated place I could go and still feel like I’m on vacation,” Ramona said.
The Maldives requires a PCR coronavirus test for all tourists no more than 4 days before arriving in the country. As an added layer of precaution, Soneva mandates all guests and staff at both its island resorts get tested again upon arrival.
Soneva CEO Sonu Shivdasani says, “I sincerely believe that testing is the way forward, is one of the solutions to COVID. Almost as important as the vaccine.”
Nose and throat swabs are taken. After getting tested, guests quarantine for a night in their villas until negative results are returned.
“Then you have the run of the place,” says Ramona . “You don’t have to wear masks, you don’t have to do anything. It’s actually normalcy. Back to normal how you remember it. It’s amazing.”
You also get a test five days after arriving at the resort, just to make sure you’re still negative. Correspondent Wendy Gillette got special rates to view the process. The swabs are sent from the resort to a lab built for the testing at a nearby airport.
Other companies, including the resort Velaa Private Island, are sending tests there for guests who have symptoms.
Velaa General Manager Michal Smejc says, “We keep the island safe and so far we didn’t have any case of the COVID and we are proud of that.”
There are a handful of other brands around the world providing testing for guests. Room Mate Hotels started offering free rapid antigen tests last month in Spain and plans to eventually add locations, including New York and Miami.
Wynn Resorts in Las Vegas is building its own on-site lab to test guests, with a launch tentatively set before Thanksgiving.
Shivdasani is surprised more hotels haven’t instituted testing. “It delivers, for everyone, a peace of mind,” he says. Both Soneva properties have returned positive tests. The guests quarantined for 14 days and the villas were free during their stays. They also received a credit to return at a later date.