Bonkers Hotel Policy Lets Guests Stay Free If They Test Positive For COVID-19

by Erica Gerald Mason
Bahamas, Nassau, Cable Beach with Palms
Jeff Greenberg/Getty

A beachy Bahamian resort hopes to tempt American tourists with a bizarre offer: Catch Covid-19 and stay for free

We’ve had to give up many comforts during the pandemic: trick or treating for Halloween, zoning out during in-person meetings, throwing neighborhood birthday parties for our kiddos, and getting the heck out of town for vacation.

With more people getting the COVID-19 vaccines, the travel industry is opening its doors to travelers eager to get out of the house, and to get a jump on the new wave of travelers, the industry needs to get creative. And so in the Bahamas, visitors to the Baha Mar collection of hotels can take a free on-site rapid COVID-19 screening before arrival, NBC News reports, and if any of those swabs come back positive, they’ll have the option of a free private plane back home or a gratis, 14-day quarantine in a hotel suite — which includes a daily meal credit of $150.

COVID-stricken guests can order lobster hash from Baha Mar’s Palms Cafe and only use $21 of their daily credit, while still allowing for plenty of money left over for the shrimp wonton noodle for $25 at the resort’s Stix, an Asian eatery.

The hotel chain’s COVID-plan isn’t meant to lure sick travelers to the resort, but rather to assure guests that if they arrive and unknowingly have COVID-19, there’s a plan for them in place. However, these extremely luxe accomodations kinda makes it seem like it’s a good thing to get COVID, with one person literally tweeting, “anyone with Covid wanna make out and then ship me to the Bahamas.”

“It is our hope that through this program, our guests will feel confident when booking a stay with us, as well as valued and supported by the Baha Mar family should any issues arise during their trip,” the resort offered as an explanation of its “Travel with Confidence” plan.

The travel plan was rolled out three weeks ago and is currently active, a company representative announced Friday. The company did not announce if any hotel visitors of the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar, SLS Baha Mar, or Rosewood Baha Mar had tested positive and then took up the resorts on their offer of the upscale COVID-19 amenities.

It’s a risky move in a time when many have been putting off non-essential travel and the luxury COVID accommodations didn’t sit well with many on social media.

The current drive to entice Americans to travel marks a difference from last year, when citizens of the United States — with more COVID-19 fatalities than any other country in the world — had few travel options, and were actively discouraged from traveling.

Though the COVID precautions honestly read like perks, the resort only claims the project is a bid to stay open while also remaining relevant to the changing times.

“In this ever-changing travel environment, it is our goal to alleviate travelers’ concerns surrounding Covid-19, in an effort to ensure the health, safety and comfort of our guests,” Baha Mar said in an announcement. “Our ‘Travel with Confidence’ program is the first of its kind in the industry, providing travelers with added peace of mind and the option to safely return home, or quarantine at no added expense — the choice is theirs.”

Over here seriously hoping we don’t hear stories of spring breakers getting COVID so they can vacation in the Bahamas for free.