Despite seemingly insurmountable obstacles such as border restrictions and stay-home orders, the travel industry is adapting. For the millions of people who work in travel or indulge in it, this ability to pivot bodes well for the future and promises brighter days ahead.
However, a recent order from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) further complicates matters (all in the name of safety, of course): a negative COVID-19 test will be required from everyone entering the United States by air, whether they're a visitor or an American returning home from an international trip, as of Jan. 26.
Now, regardless of vaccination status, travelers have to figure out where to acquire a COVID-19 test abroad — and consider what they'll do if their results are positive, essentially stranding them and barring re-entry to their own country.
Fortunately, some hotels are offering a hassle-free solution that provides both logistical ease and peace of mind: on-site COVID testing. Several types of tests are available and at varying prices, from completely free to several hundred dollars. Note that some countries, like Canada, require proof of a negative PCR test, while travelers to the U.S. have the option of a PCR or antigen test.
Below, we rounded up hotels offering on-site COVID testing; some even offer complimentary accommodations for quarantine should the result come back positive.
All Palace Resorts and Le Blanc Spa Resorts throughout Mexico and Jamaica now offer departure antigen testing on-site at no cost to guests traveling to the United States, for up to two guests per room. Testing is administered by in-house lab teams and results are delivered within 30 minutes. For guests traveling to countries requiring PCR testing, the resort's concierge can facilitate on-site testing through a third party, but additional fees will apply.
If a guest tests positive and cannot depart, the resort will cover the cost of quarantine for up to 14 days, for up to two guests per room, should both guests test positive. Additional rapid tests will be available for $19 per guest.
At this luxury all-inclusive resort in the Playa del Carmen area of Mexico's Riviera Maya, on-site antigen tests are free and promise same-day results, and PCR tests are available through a partnership with a local medical center for $150. PCR results are received within 48 to 72 hours.
Should a guest test positive and need to stay, a 14-night quarantine will be offered complimentary, including three meals a day and non-alcoholic beverages, delivered to the suite. Of course, any guest who tests positive will be confined to their suite during this entire period and will not be permitted to use hotel facilities.
At Eden Roc Cap Cana, PCR and antibody tests were already offered to overnight guests, but now the service is free of charge. Tests are conducted privately inside guestrooms and results can be expected within 48 hours (or as few as six, depending on the test taken). In addition, all resort guests receive free travel health insurance issued by the government — which covers expenses and accommodations on property should the result come back positive.
The Ocean Club, A Four Seasons Resort has offered on-site testing since fall 2020. Price varies from $25 for a rapid antigen test (results in as little as 15 minutes) to $400 for an expedited RT-PCR test, with results within six hours.
The house doctor at Curtain Bluff can administer both rapid and PCR testing in the privacy of your room, with rapid results available within 30 minutes and PCR results within 48-72 hours. The cost is $250 per person for either test.
Sensira Resort & Spa is a brand-new all-inclusive luxury resort opened January 2021. NAAAT and PCR tests are available on-site from $150 and must be requested 24 hours ahead of time. If the test is conducted early in the morning, results are delivered within 24 hours.
Hilton Los Cabos Beach & Golf Resort offers guests on-site access to COVID-19 testing. An antigen test is available for $30, with results expected the same day. PCR tests are also available for $220, with results in 24 hours.
Guests of Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal can work with the hotel's Personal Concierge team to arrange an on-site COVID-19 test through a third-party medical professional. Antigen tests are $30, with same-day results expected. PCR tests are $220, with results in 24 hours.
Casa Chameleon Hotels, a collection of luxury boutique villa resorts in Costa Rica, now offers daily on-property COVID-19 testing for all guests at two locations: Mal Pais and Las Catalinas. Guests who stay five nights or more will receive one complimentary test per person; otherwise the tests cost $145 per person. Results are available in 24 to 48 hours.
There are currently 18 hotels in St. Lucia offering free antigen tests to guests who need to show a negative result in order to return home. According to the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority, additional properties are expected to roll out complimentary testing in the coming weeks.
As of Jan. 14, the hotels offering complimentary antigen testing to qualified guests include: Anse Chastanet; all five Bay Gardens properties; Calabash Cove Resort & Spa; Caille Blanc Villa & Hotel; Cap Maison Resort & Spa; Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Spa; Jade Mountain; Ladera Resort; Marigot Bay Resort and Marina; Sandals Resorts in Saint Lucia; Serenity at Coconut Bay; Sugar Beach – A Viceroy Resort; Stonefield Villa Resort; Ti Kaye Resort & Spa.
For guests traveling through March 31, 2021, all Karisma Hotels & Resorts in the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and the Riviera Maya region of Mexico will offer complimentary on-site antigen testing for guests traveling to the U.S. PCR tests are also available on-site for a discounted rate.
If a guest tests positive, Karisma will provide quarantine accommodations for free up to 14 nights or until a doctor certifies clearance for travel with a negative test result.
Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino will provide on-site testing for all guests, the first resort in Aruba to do so, through a new on-property COVID-19 testing facility.
The resort's We've Got You Covered package, available for stays of four nights or more, includes complimentary antigen testing with a 24-hour turnaround for up to two people per room in advance of departure. Rates for the package start at $332 per night and can be booked through March 31, for travel between Jan. 26 and April 4, 2021.
Guests who do not purchase the package can still utilize the on-site testing facility, with antigen tests priced at $50 per person.
Tierra Magnifica, a 14-room adults-only boutique luxury resort, recently expanded with the debut of new suites and a small spa. Now, Tierra Magnifica is offering a Peace of Mind package that includes a credit of $425 to cover the cost of two on-site COVID tests and the average cost of the travel insurance required to visit the country, mandated by the Costa Rican government.
The package is available for stays of seven days or longer in Vista category rooms. Rates for Vista rooms, including the newly built Vista Suites, are currently 20% off, starting at $319 per night after discount. All rooms include complimentary made-to-order breakfast, afternoon appetizers, personal laundry service, and unlimited access to the Beach Club at The Gilded Iguana.
At all 10 hotels owned and operated in Mexico and the Dominican Republic, Meliá Hotels International will offer free, on-site antigen tests to all guests with reservations of at least three nights who are required to present documentation of a negative result prior to re-entering their home country.
Meliá also introduced Travel Safe with Meliá, a travel insurance policy that covers a wide range of medical and travel expenses, including a complimentary extension of the guest's hotel stay for up to 15 days and assistance for travel companions. The insurance is now included with all reservations.
At the Four Seasons Resort Anguilla, private on-site testing with a registered nurse is available. The nurse has a temporary testing facility with all the necessary supplies set up in one of the guest rooms, but is also available to go directly to guest rooms to administer the tests.
In Anguilla, strict protocols are in place to protect the island's extremely low COVID rates — there has been no community transmission since March 2020, according to its tourism board. An entrance fee of around $300 per traveler, now required by Anguilla's government, covers the cost of two tests (one when you first arrive at the airport and the other before returning to the U.S.). The fee can vary depending on group size and length of stay.
An on-property PCR test is administered to guests of Belmond Cap Juluca prior to departure. Advance notice of 72 hours is required, and results are provided by the Anguilla Health Department. The cost is included in Anguilla's entry fee.
Royal Mansour — owned by the King of Morocco — partnered with a local laboratory to make PCR tests available to its guests ever since reopening in October 2020. The test, which costs 700 MAD (about $78) per person, is conducted by a nurse in the privacy of the guest's riad the day before their scheduled departure.