Hotels close to IU’s campus started offering student housing contracts this spring for the fall 2020 semester. Some of them, including Hyatt Place Bloomington and SpringHill Suites, have offered accommodations for students looking to leave their communal housing either temporarily or long-term.
Hyatt Place originally had 10 students choose to live at the hotel for the fall semester. They now offer additional short-term options for students who would like to live separately from a quarantined roommate or are feeling sick. A single room is around $68 per night and a double is around $84 per night, but a student staying one or two weeks receives a discount. They currently have over a dozen students staying at the hotel, including eight who will stay until the end of the semester.
“It’s a safe alternative for the students,” Dan Burton, director of sales at Hyatt Place, said. “They’re not around the masses like they are right now in the dorms.”
SpringHill Suites offers discounts for extended stays at the hotel. General manager Kirby Brown said prices differ on a case-by-case basis, but the hotel is willing to make special accommodations. Some students and professors at the hotel only stay certain days a week in order to be in Bloomington for classes.
Freshman Ruchika Khowal, who lives on-campus, said the option seems convenient compared to a limited number of choices.
“They have their freedom, they’re close by and they can attend classes,” Khowal said.
Both on and off-campus housing students have relocated to Hyatt Place. Burton said IU did not partner with them for this system, but approved of the plan.
“The university reached out and thought it was a great idea,” Burton said.
Hotels will not accept students who have tested positive for COVID-19. If a student tests positive while staying at Hyatt Place, they will not be asked to leave Burton said. The student would remain in their hotel room to quarantine according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In order to keep guests and employees safe, all downtown hotels require employees to wear face masks at all times. Hyatt Place’s hotel lobby is not open to the public. All deliveries including linens are distributed in a contact-free manner. SpringHill Suites said they also are confident in their additional cleaning standards.
“We’re very confident with the protocol that is in place,” Brown said. “We haven’t had a single issue to this point.”
Burton said he has also received many calls from parents of students in greek housing over the past several weeks. This follows IU’s recommendation last month for all greek houses to close.
Burton said while no official plans have been made at Hyatt Place, greek students could relocate to the hotel if the size accommodates them. He said ideally, all students from the house would live on the same floor, taking up the entirety of the floor’s rooms.
Hyatt Place’s agreement also allows students to end their stay if classes are moved entirely online and they wish to return to their hometown.
Hyatt Place and SpringHill Suites are continuing to take reservations from students. They expect to keep this model until after the school year has ended, if not longer. Hotels, like off-campus housing, are remaining open throughout the winter semester.
“We have every intention of offering this again during the spring semester,” Burton said.