While many Portland area hotels are closing due to the drop-off in demand related to COVID-19, those that remain in operation have to take serious steps to mitigate risks to both employees and guests. The Benson Hotel, Portland’s historic landmark hotel, has never closed its doors in 107 years, and its commitment to impeccable service and customer experiences remains intrinsic to its tradition. With the world-wide focus on the 2019 Novel Coronavirus – COVID-19, and the need for social distancing to reduce potential exposure for all of us, The Benson Hotel has taken safety and cleanliness to a new level.
In keeping with its elegant and historic lobby, The Benson engineering team fabricated 72” high standing plexiglass dividers, designed to help guests feel safe and comfortable, with minimal risk of exposure at the Front Desk, while checking in next to others. To match the aesthetics in the beautiful grand lobby, the plexiglass dividers are secured in heavy iron stands that were made using repurposed table bases from The Lobby Court, which served as a secondary outlet to The London Grill, the hotel’s original fine dining restaurant of The Benson for more than half a century from 1955 until 2011.
“This crisis presented an opportunity to get creative and reinvent the feel of check in at our Front Desk, so our guests and employees feel safe,” said Jeremy DeJong, Chief Engineer. “Brian Davis, our Maintenance Manager, and I looked at it as an opportunity to re-use antique table stands we already had on hand for that purpose.”
The Benson recently earned the 2020 AAA Inspector’s Best of Housekeeping Award for surpassing the highest cleanliness and condition scores as measured during a comprehensive, on-site inspection of the property. Desktop protective shields have also been installed at the Front Desk to provide staff and customers peace of mind in safeguarding the risk of exposure.
“We have taken steps to enhance our already rigorous standards of housekeeping and cleanliness, to include increased frequency in cleaning and sanitization of high touch areas, in both public areas and our guest rooms,” said George Schweitzer, Managing Director of The Benson Hotel. “As recommended by the CDC, all associates currently wear non-medical, cloth-based face coverings when in public guest facing areas. Hand sanitizing stations are present in all high contact areas. An EPA registered peroxide all-purpose disinfectant cleaner, which has demonstrated effectiveness in killing viruses, is also used to clean and sanitize surfaces throughout the hotel.”Read Full Press Release