Before COVID-19 times, diverse health care services and breathtaking views were major attractions for remote, exclusive resorts for many looking for some R& R. As we begin in the fall of 2020, many of these luxury accommodations began offering a new service more suited to the era. : virtual learning options for school-age children. Resorts with remote schools are currently cropping up to simulate a socially distant classroom environment that allows parents to schedule a normal (part-time) workday — or half-time break — during this epidemic.
For Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants — which are already ideal ways to make remote work possible for their guests — distance learning services seem a natural fit by mid-2020 to streamline guests with children.
Kathleen Reidenbach, the commercial director, said: “We successfully deployed the ‘Work From Hotel’ package at some of our hotels earlier this year, providing a quiet and equipped space for professionals to focus on and stay away from distractions at home.” This back-to-school season has given us the opportunity to develop that service and introduce our first virtual learning director (CVLO) at several Kimptons across the United States and Canada.”
“Our goal is to provide some support to parents traveling with their children and to help them reduce the set-up of online learning.” —Kathleen Reidenbach Hotel and Restaurant, Kimpton
At Kimpton Hotels, CVLO acts as a free on-site learning instructor who can help solve the inevitable problems of Zoom; equipped with items such as pens, markers, adhesives, and snacks; and are calling to fix any technical issues that may make it impossible for parents to make their own scheduled meetings at 9 a.m. “When listening to the opinions of parents, one of the most difficult points of virtual learning is to get their children logged in and online, especially for those with young children, while managing their own workload and meetings,” Reidenbach said. Our goal is to provide some support to parents traveling with their children and to help them reduce the set-up of online learning.”
Kimpton isn’t the only hotel company that aims to help parents who work in similar ways. In Orange County, California, Monarch Beach Resort offers an “Edu-cation” package complete with dedicated classrooms, high-speed internet, online homework assistance, and extracurricular activities such as SUP skateboarding and family fitness classes through the Ocean Education Enrichment Center. Auberge Resorts has just announced Remote with Auberge: a children’s program and adult learning opportunities, and there are even “cultural enrichment classes” specific to the family’s chosen vacation destination. And Four Seasons has just launched the “Knowledge for All Seasons” initiative at the Punta Mita resort, Mexico, and “school” at the Orlando property.
There is no denying that those who can afford these accommodations have the privilege of being able to do their own jobs while perhaps a little less worried about managing virtual learning for their children. However, this option is definitely not accessible to everyone. Auberge’s “best offers” include hotels that cost as little as $500 per night, and Monarch Beach’s “rooms and suites suitable for disabled people” starting at around $400 per night. Meanwhile, Kimpton’s rooms have slightly higher incomes, starting at about $160 a night.
Undoubtedly, the monopoly and dollar value of these resorts prevent them from becoming an option for many. However, as the epidemic continues, we will likely see hotels at all different rates making similar efforts to offer parents a holiday due to the management of virtual learning instead of other priorities that came with life during the epidemic. Maybe this is just the beginning of bringing education on vacation.