acc_22Mike Toy Photography.

As would-be travelers returned home amidst the coronavirus pandemic, hotel general managers remained on their properties.
Business Insider spoke to three general managers who continue to live on site with their families.
They’ve found that it’s been a time to bond with family and fellow employees — and one resort in Colorado has even been housing local healthcare workers.
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While travelers returned back home and have been hunkered down inside in the safety of their houses during quarantine, the general managers of hotels and resorts around the world never actually left. 

Oftentimes, the general manager of a hotel or resort will permanently reside on the property they’re responsible for overseeing, since they’re expected to be available for anything at a moment’s notice. General managers across the globe are still living on property with their families during the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring that daily tasks continue to go smoothly and preparing for when full operations can safely resume. 

From a South African wilderness retreat that’s home to a variety of rare and endangered species of animals, to an isolated private island paradise in the heart of the Caribbean, to a chic upscale mountain park at the base of the Colorado Rockies that’s offering healthcare workers a free place to stay, three general managers shared their perspectives on what it’s like to continue to live in and manage a property as coronavirus ravages the outside world.

Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve and Wellness Retreat, Cederberg Mountains, South Africa
Bushmans Kloof

Rory du Plessis, general manager of Bushmans Kloof in the Cederberg Mountains of South Africa, has been residing on property during the COVID-19 pandemic. He’s been working alongside the reserve’s employees while the property is temporarily closed to guests.

Du Plessis oversees the lodge itself, which is situated on about 125 acres of land and spread out over about one mile, as well as the rest of the reserve, which includes 175,000-plus acres of open space. The land is home to many rare and endangered species of animals such as Cape Mountain Zebra and African Wildcats which need to be protected — even during a pandemic. 

There are around 90 total employees and 30 children — ranging in age from just six months to 16 years old — currently living on property with du Plessis. Of the 120 who live at Bushmans Kloof, there are just 18 employees who are still actively working to maintain the grounds. The rest of the employees are technically on a temporary furlough, but still have access to onsite transportation services to reach nearby medical facilities and travel to essential services, since the lodge is located 28 miles from the nearest town. 

“It has been both a wonderful — yet restrictive — time that has tested us physically and mentally, but has in many ways brought us closer together as a team as we go about maintaining this wonderful property in isolation,” du Plessis told Business Insider. “So many things that are taken for granted will never be done in the future. The new normal is certainly going to be interesting.”

Du Plessis has been working directly with the employees to maintain the upkeep of the lodge’s facilities, including harvesting the garden and feeding the reserve’s animals.
Bushmans Kloof.

Without guests, they’ve been harvesting the produce to feed the staff and the surplus is taken into town to be donated to the less fortunate. Any old spa slippers, gowns, sheets, pillows and uniforms from property are also donated. During their free time, the group will play games and enjoy the vast acres of open land.

“We have some lovely open areas, so in a bit of leisure time we are able to throw frisbees and play cricket, so we at least are able to socially distance too,” du Plessis said. “I do believe this has given us a chance to introspect and realize we are being cautioned to change and live closer in harmony with the rest of the planet!”

River Run RV Resort, Granby Colorado USA
River Run RV Resort

Dave Huber is the General Manager of chic upscale mountain retreat River Run RV Resort, located in Granby, Colorado, a small town with a year-round population of 2,000 residents at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Huber has a diverse background in the hospitality industry and over the past 20 years has worked for a variety of outdoor recreation and resort operations companies across the country. 

His family of five (nine year old twins and an 11 year old daughter) recently relocated from Harrisonburg, Virginia to join five other employees living onsite at River Run property. They were enjoying the Colorado scenery and getting to know their new community for just four weeks before lockdown began and the property closed to guests. 

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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SEE ALSO: Hotels, motels, and resorts are never going to be the same. What you can expect the next time you plan a vacation.


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