Set in the heart of midtown Manhattan, on a stretch of 57th Street known as “Billionaire’s Row,” The Four Seasons New York has long benefited from its prime location close to top sites like Central Park, the Museum of Modern Art and the designer shops of Madison and Fifth Avenues. In the current pandemic, however, its location has proven convenient to other, unexpected New York sites: Hospitals. In light of this, the luxury property recently partnered with select hospitals and medical facilities to offer complimentary housing for healthcare workers who are working around-the-clock to fight Covid-19, offering them both a convenient base as well as a way to protect their own families and loved ones from possible transmission.
The five-star landmark is not alone. Via its newly-launched “Hospitality for Hope” initiative, which serves as a resource to connect hotels with the healthcare community, the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) has identified over 6,500 properties around the country that are located near established healthcare facilities, and that are willing to assist local, state and federal governmental agencies in supporting healthcare workers and first responders who may be in need of temporary housing.
This is separate from the worldwide efforts to turn temporarily closed or near-empty hotels into quarantine sites for those who’ve tested positive for Covid-19, or into hospitals for those with milder symptoms or non-Covid-19 issues. U.S. officials like New York Governor Andrew Cuomo have already signaled interest in renting area hotels for these purposes; as of late-March, contracts are said to be in place for some 1,500 rooms in the New York area.
The role of hospitality in this fight—and as places of comfort and respite—is a natural fit. “Hotels have always been an active member of our local communities, and this time is no different,” said Chip Rogers, AHLA President and CEO, in a prepared statement. “As an industry of people taking care of people, the hotel industry is uniquely positioned to support and help strengthen our communities and first responders who are on the frontlines of dealing with this ongoing public health crisis.”