In view of the ongoing health crisis in Greater China, where the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) originated in the Hubei province at the end of 2019, many major hotel operators have put provisions in place for guests who had already booked travel into or out of the affected region but are now deterred by fears of contracting the infection.
Citing the health and safety of both their guests and employees as their top priority, major hospitality brands have offered to waive cancellation or booking modification fees as the epidemic continues to evolve unpredictably.
While eligible time periods and certain conditions may vary by company, with bookings through at least the end of February may wish to contact their hoteliers to inquire about making changes to their reservations at no charge. The following are some major brands with properties in operation throughout the region and the exemptions they’re currently offering to clients.
Accor’s cancellation fee waiver for booking modifications and cancellations remains in effect through March 31, 2020, for:
—Guests traveling to OR from Mainland China, Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, or Taiwan, China
Further guidance for those seeking to modify or cancel their reservations can be found here.
Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts
A spokesperson confirmed that, at this point in time, Four Seasons is waiving cancellation fees through March 31, 2020, for:
—Guests traveling to any Four Seasons hotel and resort in the Asia Pacific region
—Guests traveling from Greater China to any Four Seasons hotel or resort globally
Hyatt is waiving cancellation fees through February 29, 2020, for the following stays:
—Greater China guests with reservations at Hyatt hotels globally
—All guests with reservations at Hyatt hotels in Greater China
A Hyatt spokesperson conveyed, “We are considering extending the cancellation waiver period, given situation continues to rapidly evolve and will provide an update to affected guests as soon as possible.”
Guests who booked directly through Hyatt’s official channels can call the nearest Hyatt Global Contact Center, with region-specific contact details available here. Those who booked through their travel agents or other third-party services should contact their booking provider.
Having twice extended the eligible dates, Hilton is currently providing modification and cancellation fee waivers on stays and arrivals through March 31, 2020, for:
—Guests with travel planned to any Hilton-branded property in Greater China
—Guests who plan to travel from Greater China to a Hilton-branded property globally
Regional guest assistance contact information can be found here.
Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG)
Business Traveller reported that now through February 29, 2020, IGH is allowing changes or cancellations to booking, free of charge, for:
—Guests traveling to OR from Mainland China, Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, or the Taiwan region
* This is applicable to bookings made directly through the hotel, at ihg.com, on the IHG app or through the IHG Central Reservations Centre
In an updated statement, Marriott has just announced an extension of the date through which it will waive cancellation fees to March 15, 2020. This applies to:
—Guests with reservations at hotels in Mainland China, Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, and Taiwan
—Guests from Mainland China, Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, and Taiwan traveling outbound to other Marriott destinations globally
Radisson Hotel Group
A spokesperson for Radisson confirmed that the group has extended its cancellation policy for the following reservations with a check-in date through February 29, 2020:
—Guests who have made room reservations in any of Radisson Hotel Group’s hotels in China
—Guests originating from China to any of Radisson Hotel Group’s hotel globally
Cancellation is free of charge regardless of booking channel. Guests may contact individual hotels directly or go online to complete a contact form.
Wyndham Hotels and Resorts
Wyndham issued an online statement confirming that it will waive all cancellation and reservation change penalties through February 29, 2020, for:
—Guests traveling to or from China with direct bookings or stays at any Wyndham hotels
—Guests traveling from China to any global Wyndham-branded hotels
Comments & Discussion
W Mexico City: Youthful, Earthy Energy
Upon arrival into my gorgeous room at the W Mexico City, I found a note from Diego, my W Insider, with a Lady Gaga lyric.
“Hot like Mexico, rejoice,” it read, appropriately. Inside was the ticket for the National Museum of Anthropology we’d been e-mailing about.
That’s one of the brand touchpoints of W hotels. The W Inside is like a “super concierge,” a neighborhood expert who cultivates neighborhood relationships so the hotel’s guests have a—well, an insider—in their corner.
MORE Hotel & Resort
I myself am not after the hottest nightclub or most exclusive new coffee bar, but in Mexico City’s tony Polanco neighborhood, that’s all to be had for certain. The hotel is across the street from a Bentley dealership a stone’s throw from Chapultepec Park and Avenido Paseo de la Reforma.
Just north of the hotel is the leafy Lincoln Park, where a statue of Abraham Lincoln stands sentry, locked eyes with another statue of Martin Luther King Jr. across the avenue. The surrounding neighborhood is bursting with pasty shops, restaurants with global cuisines and high-end fashion retailers—all with a global sensibility, although I could still get a pack of four hot, fresh churros in cinnamon sugar with hot chocolate from a storefront called El Moro that’s been serving them up since 1935.
Mexico City, for all its notoriety, is one of my favorite places in the world to visit. The vibe here is of a Mexico that’s worldly, cosmopolitan, and eager to enjoy days filled with savoir-faire. I watched families excitedly poring over the exhibits and played in the fountain at the anthropology museum on a warm, sunny Sunday afternoon, and on my walk back to the hotel through the park, I happened upon a single young man who had staked out a place in a dusty clearing, standing stiffly upright, practicing long, sweeping circles with a capote, the magenta and gold cape used in a bullfight.
Any hotel in such an enchanting place would be charming by necessity, but the staff here easily pass the high bar Mexico sets for hospitality, whether they’re pouring sophisticated mescal cocktails in beveled highball glasses at the lobby bar or serving Mexican cuisine with pre-Columbian styles sand flavors upstairs at 25DOS, the hotel’s signature restaurant.
It’s there that I try dogfish empanadas and a lovely chicken broth poured atop piping hot chicken taquitos, and finish the evening with a black sesame cake with dulce de leche, dining alfresco, cooled by the alpine evening.
AWAY Spa worth checking out, if for no other reason than the temazcal, a Mesoamerican sweat lodge heated by volcanic stones and smokey embers over which is poured mint-and-chamomile infused water for an earthy aromatic steam. Well, perhaps the expansive hot tub with city views or the top-notch massage is also reason enough to check out the spa.
25DOS does a lovely breakfast spread in the mornings with fresh fruit and country favorites like eggs with tomatoes, fried cheese and cactus, but I’m told there’s a lovely brunch next door at the JW Marriott Mexico City. A mimosa, an embarrassing number of glasses of fresh-squeezed orange juice and countless tacos of salmon and rib eye grilled to order outside next to my table, plus selections from the raw bar rang affirmative that the recommendation wasn’t to be overlooked.
The hotel’s rooms and suites have lovely views of the city and the surrounding mountains. Rooms are brand standard and well maintained, but it’s the suites that are truly jaw-dropping, from the Cool Corner suites to the Marvelous One-Bedrooms which are loft style with a staircase and an upper-level bedroom.
I’m lucky enough to snag the Extreme Wow Suite, which has sweeping views of the city from three directions and a separate butler’s pantry and dining room, a wet bar, two balconies and a cheeky round bed. But the real winner for this suite is the soaring two-story marble bathroom with jetted tub in the center. The glass-walled shower upon first glance appears to be lit by a chandelier, but upon closer inspection that also turns out to be the four separate showerheads, in addition to the four coming from the wall.
It’s the perfect place to cap off a perfect day in this exciting city—a hotel that feels like the pinnacle of luxury in a city that feels like the center of the world.
W Mexico City’s location, heartfelt hospitality, and art ethos will attract sophisticated, energetic travelers seeking to explore vibrant neighborhoods with youthful vigor.
I’ve seen rooms as low as $158 USD per night, which varies according to occupancy, season, and exchange rate.
Lobby art, craft cocktails, views from rooms and suites, and the collection of sugar skulls at 25DOS all rate an Insta-mention.
Good to Know
Allow extra time for walking due to the elevation – Mexico City is over 7,000 feet.
When arranging transport, inquire with the hotel staff about travel times—the journey to the airport can be as little as 30 minutes or as long as an hour and a half.
Accommodations and meals were furnished by W Mexico City in preparation for the story.
Comments & Discussion
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