With the highest regard for public health, local hotels, places to eat and attractions in Bellingham and the Whatcom County region of Washington State maintain strict cleaning standards. To combat the Covid-19 pandemic, they have implemented increased protocols for sanitizing their properties daily and hourly to protect guests and employees.
Face coverings are now mandatory in Washington State. Our hotels, restaurants and tourism businesses are taking the mandate seriously, but still smiling behind the masks as they welcome you and work to make you comfortable.
To learn more about current restrictions and openings in Bellingham and Whatcom County, see our Travel Advisory page.
We have also developed a handy list of Visitor Safety Guidelines to help travelers and residents plan ahead, pack appropriately and find additional information. For a full list of Bellingham and Whatcom County hotels and contact info click here. Be sure to call in advance for reservations.
“Now more than ever, travelers need to have the peace of mind of knowing that we’re doing all we can to make their stays comfortable and to help reduce the spread of any virus, including COVID-19,” said Connie Shannon, owner of Fairhaven Village Inn. The hotel underwent renovations during the first three months of the pandemic, then re-opened on July 1 with strict priorities on cleanliness.
Surfaces in public areas, such as countertops, railings and doorknobs, are sanitized daily throughout the hotel. Hand sanitizer and masks are readily available for guest use. Hand-washing and physical distancing are stringently practiced and masks are required for all staff and guests.
In guest rooms, additional attention is given to cleaning high-touch items, such as remote controls, bathroom fixtures, handles, nightstands, telephones and light switches. Nonessential items, such as ironing supplies, are now available by request instead of being stored in each guest room. Room cleaning frequency can be adjusted based on guest preferences, and rooms are air freshened between guest stays.
The Fairhaven Village Inn and many of its fellow hotel operators in Whatcom County already had detailed cleaning routines in place, Shannon said. Compliance was more of an adjustment to current best practices and increasing their existing cleaning protocols.
These actions are echoed by the local hotel community.
“We have raised the bar to include deeper general cleaning, changing of gloves more often, a new focus on doorknobs, keys, pens, telephones, lamp knobs and paperwork,” said Teri Treat, co-owner of Inn at Lynden. “All staff members are more aware of their own health and the health of other family members at home and have been asked to read all the information from the CDC.”
Best Western Hotels President and CEO David Kong sent a message to all members of its guest loyalty program saying the company’s hotels, including Best Western Plus Bellingham, “have enhanced techniques used to clean guest rooms after each stay, paying particular attention to high touch point areas including key cards, public area computers, elevator doors and buttons, door handles, locks and latches, light switches, desk surfaces, telephones, remote controls, and bathroom fixture handles.” They have also “heightened sanitizing attention to their common areas, such as front desk, breakfast room furniture and service items and fitness center equipment.”
Marriott SpringHill Suites and TownePlace Suites in Bellingham regularly use High Contact Touchpoint cleaning guidelines from 360Hotel Group which includes similar measures for guest rooms as well as cleaning the front desk as frequently as possible with approved chemicals and sanitizing pens at the front desk between guest uses. All public spaces are cleaned at least every 2 – 3 hours, including lobby chairs, business center equipment, luggage carts and courtesy vans. They are also providing individually wrapped antiseptic wipes as part of guest room amenities.
Hotel Bellwether issued an email to its guests saying, “We have always taken health and sanitation guidelines seriously. With the current concerns around public safety, we are increasing our cleaning protocols and safety precautions across the board. We have also increased the depth and frequency of our scheduled cleanings to further surpass Health Department standards.”
Semiahmoo Resort‘s 80-acre seaside location in Blaine offers ample social distancing and nature experiences that feel remote, although it is only a two-hour drive from Seattle.
The resort is managed by Columbia Hospitality, which implemented its own Columbia Clean protocols. These include utilizing Ecolab cleaning products, and increasing the frequency and intensity of cleaning on all surfaces. It also includes innovative clean technologies, such as modern electrostatic sprayers and ultraviolet light to sanitize surfaces and objects. Staff is committed to maintaining a clean and beautiful environment for every guest.
Physical distancing layouts, markers and signage have also been installed in restaurants, common areas, and amenities throughout Semiahmoo Resort, to help all guests feel safe.
From luxury to economy properties, hotel staff throughout Bellingham and Whatcom County have embraced mask wearing at their front desks, as well as by their cleaning staff, and within special amenities such as spas and restaurants.
John Burns, General Manager at Four Points by Sheraton Bellingham Hotel and Conference Center said, “We take standards for hygiene and cleanliness very seriously. Our guests well-being is our main priority.” His staff is following all guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control including:
- Ensuring Associate’s areas – restrooms, break rooms and work locations are stocked with hand sanitizers, liquid hand soap and paper towels. Food handlers, including dishwashers, are all using gloves. Housekeepers are wearing gloves and carrying sanitizer on their carts. Disinfectant wipes are used on phones and TV remotes and all other hard surfaces of hotel room and guest areas.
- The hotel has placed sanitizers in all high traffic guest locations in the hotel – front desk, restaurant podiums, fitness rooms, public restrooms and pool area, etc. Kitchen staff is taking additional steps when cleaning surfaces to wipe with the quarternary ammonia disinfectants.
- Housekeeping has been doubled in common areas of the hotel for sanitation.
Oxford Suites Bellingham has been recognized with the 2020 AAA Inspector’s Best of Housekeeping award—an award granted to hotels throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean, that receive the highest possible cleanliness and condition scores.
Housekeeping and maintenance attributes are among the most important components analyzed during the on-site evaluations conducted by AAA’s professionally trained inspectors. While every hotel must meet rigorous standards of cleanliness and condition to qualify for the AAA Diamond Program, hotels awarded with the Best of Housekeeping designation significantly surpass expectations, as measured during a comprehensive, on-site inspection. All areas of the hotel must reflect this high standard as AAA inspectors review for evidence of dirt, dust, pests, equipment performance, and more.
“The health, safety, and comfort of our guests have always been our highest priorities, and we’re honored to have earned this distinction for eight of our locations this year,” said Troy Dressen, Regional Vice President of Operations for the Oxford Collection of hotels. “We are committed to exceeding guest expectations and providing a superior travel experience. This award acknowledges the hard work and dedication of our entire team and we couldn’t be prouder.”
B-Town Kitchen & Raw Bar Restaurant inside Four Points by Sheraton Bellingham Hotel and Conference Center has also re-opened in full compliance with the CDC and Washington State Guidelines for restaurants, including masks for all staff and guests, tables spaces 6 feet apart, increased frequency of cleanings throughout the restaurant, and screening all employees at the beginning of their shifts.
“We have worked hard to follow all the guidelines and be open for dine-in, as service to our community,” said Mari Kemper, owner of Chuckanut Brewery & Kitchen in Bellingham. “Our brewery restaurant gives our customers a place to meet, and to just go out and see other people. That is psychologically a help for everyone during the difficulty of this pandemic.”
Chuckanut Brewery & Kitchen requires temperature checks all staff at the beginning of every shift, requires masks for staff and guests to enter, offers sign ups for contact tracing, provides hand sanitizer, wipes everything down between guests, and allows only one server per table.
“We don’t want to skip any of the steps,” said Kemper.
Lombardi’s Italian Restaurant & Wine Bar sanitizes all touch points daily throughout the restaurant including counters, cabinets, door knobs, menu covers, guest check presenters, point of sale screens, sink faucets and handles, bathroom stall handles, toilet seats, etc. The restaurant is also diligent about sanitizing the surfaces of every table in the dining room and bar after each guest to prevent viruses and pathogens.
“We value the trust you’ve placed in us. This is a very difficult time for small businesses,” said Lombardi’s management.
Throughout Bellingham and Whatcom County small businesses such as hotels, restaurants and attractions employ thousands of local residents who care deeply about the health and welfare of their guests.
Hotels are open for business and more than 48 restaurants are open for dine-in service in Whatcom County. To plan your visit, see the full list of hotels and resorts, as well as restaurants in Bellingham and Whatcom County.