Hotel in Spain requires Covid-19 tests before check-in

Travelers the world over are asking: Where can I travel that’s safe?

Sha Wellness Clinic, a medical clinic and hotel in southeastern Spain, has an answer. It’s requiring guests to provide a negative Covid-19 test result before they ever step foot in the door.

“When we began to put together our preventative measures, there was no doubt that this would be a requirement,” said Alejandro Bataller, vice president of the clinic. “Our main priority is ensuring our guests’ safety while at Sha, so they can have peace of mind during their stay.”

Covid-19 and antibody tests are free of charge to guests at Sha Wellness Clinic.

Courtesy of Sha Wellness Clinic

The medical clinic, which is located in Alicante, Spain, is banking on the fact that requiring guests to get a coronavirus test before they arrive is the very thing that will make guests want to come.

“During these times, people are more concerned than ever about their safety when it comes to traveling,” Bataller said. “Guests can have some peace of mind knowing that everyone visiting has been tested, and the spaces are constantly being sanitized, so they can truly relax and feel confident and safe.”

Two negative test results needed to check in

All guests must undergo Covid-19 testing 24 to 48 hours before arriving at Sha Wellness Clinic. Guests are encouraged to send the results, though Sha will allow them to bring the results when they arrive too. 

Guests are not the only ones being tested. The clinic staff is required to get tested for Covid-19 before returning to work and regularly thereafter.

Upon arrival, all guests will undergo a second Covid-19 test as well as an antibody test and a medical examination. All testing is included with a stay free of charge.

What to expect during a stay

“It is important to us that our guests not only feel safe when returning to Sha, but also feel healthier during their stay,” said Bataller.

In line with post-pandemic changes happening across the hotel industry, the clinic is intensifying its cleaning protocol, installing thermographic cameras to detect body temperatures and eliminating all paper touch points, such as food and spa menus.

Sha Wellness Clinic is located in Alicante, Spain.

Courtesy of Sha Wellness Clinic

UV disinfection towers will be installed in the clinic suites, and ozone treatments will be used to disinfect vehicles and luggage. The check-in process is being moved into guest suites. 

As part of all stays, guests embark on health programs that focus on topics like fitness, detoxing and weight loss. The clinic has 11 residences where guests can undergo treatments and medical consultations without having to leave their suites.

The clinic is reducing occupancy levels in common areas to encourage social distancing.

Courtesy of Sha Wellness Clinic

Sha is adding to its immune system treatments in response to the pandemic and adding new “immune system strengthening” services. Guests can undergo stem cell therapy, infrared heat, vitamin C megadoses, thermal shock reinforcement and stress management sessions, to name a few. Immunotherapy and lymphocyte profile consultations are now included in all bookings as well.

A seven-day booking for the “rebalance” program in late July in the entry-level deluxe suite is approximately 5,310 euros (US$5,745). To upgrade to a bi-level garden residence, the rate jumps to 17,000 euros (US$18,390) — and nearly twice that figure for a stay in the penthouse residence.

Another hotel with Covid-19 testing

The Waldhotel, a medical wellness resort in Obbürgen, Switzerland, is testing guests for Covid-19, though it does not require a negative test result before guests can check in.

Tests cost 150 Swiss francs (US$154) and are administered in the Waldhotel Health & Medical Excellence, a medical center that operates in the hotel.

“Although the Waldhotel Health & Medical Excellence remained open throughout the pandemic, no Covid-19 case has been registered in the Waldhotel and the Bürgenstock Resort,” said Dr. Verena Briner, the medical director of the center, referencing the larger resort in which the Waldhotel resides.

The Waldhotel is part of the Bürgenstock Hotels & Resort, near Switzerland’s Lake Lucerne.

Courtesy of Waldhotel

The Waldhotel has Covid-19 antibody testing for guests for 100 Swiss francs (US$102) with results returned in one day.

As the Waldhotel is a five-star hotel and medical center in one, the hotel says it had strict hygiene measures in place — such as hand disinfection stations and housekeeping protocols — before the pandemic started. Still, it instituted new measures in response to the virus under the guidance of Dr. Briner.

The Waldhotel Health & Medical Excellence center operates inside the Waldhotel.

Courtesy of Waldhotel

The medical center employs a team of experts in dermatology, gastroenterology, sports medicine and dentistry. Hotel guests can join guided programs that focus on exercise, aesthetics, mindfulness, immunity and weight loss. Programs range from three days to two weeks, though some guests stay for months.

The hotel has access to an airfield where private jets can land for guests who can afford to avoid commercial airlines.

Can you travel to Spain and Switzerland?

International travel to Spain and Switzerland isn’t possible right now, but it may soon be, depending on where you live.

After two of months of strict lockdown, Spain began to lift nationwide stay-at-home guidelines in May. Currently, Spain has a 14-day quarantine requirement for most people arriving from abroad, though Spain’s Transport Minister Jose Luis Abalos said he hopes tourism activity will start again in late June.

The lobby of the Waldhotel.

Courtesy of Waldhotel

Sha Wellness Clinic closed at the end of March and is aiming to reopen in July, pursuant to guidelines set forth by the Spanish government.

< p>Right now, only Swiss citizens, residents and select workers can enter Switzerland. However, Switzerland announced intentions to broadly reopen its borders with Germany, Austria and France on June 15. There are no plans to reopen borders with Italy yet.

On May 14, Swiss International Air Lines announced it would restart flying up to 190 flights from Zurich and Geneva in June. Flights will resume in stages and will go to 41 European destinations including Paris, Rome, Barcelona and Copenhagen. Additionally, the airline is providing new intercontinental direct connections in June, linking Zurich to New York, Singapore, Tokyo and Johannesburg, among other cities. 

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