Miami hotels offer new amenity: COVID-19 tests

Proof of a negative coronavirus test is now requested by several states to bypass self-quarantine travel requirements, so some hotels have started offering the tests themselves.

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – A year ago, many in the hospitality industry would have never imagined that the hottest new hotel amenity in 2021 would be the nasal swab.

The global hotel testing trend of making COVID-19 tests available to guests and staff is now right here in South Florida.

“We are in different times, so reality is different,” said Simon Sopresi, area vice president for sbe, the hotel management company that operates the SLS South Beach, SLS Brickell, SLS LUX Brickell and Hyde Midtown. “What is the saying, the only consistency in life is change? And so is business, and so we felt there is a need there.”

Recently, sbe began the coronavirus testing service for employees and guests at their Miami hotel properties in partnership with Blue Med Consultants to help address an emerging pandemic-era travel need.

Proof of a negative test is now requested by several states to bypass self-quarantine travel requirements.

“So they can be actually right here at the beach and go right to the front desk and we can schedule the test,” Sopresi said. “And we have rapid test or antibody test within in 15 minutes. PCR test will take 24 hours.

An sbe spokesperson says that if a hotel guest tests positive, “we will allow them to quarantine in specially dedicated rooms or allow them to check out early while waving fees.”

“If a staff member has positive results, we will request he/she quarantines and will then do contact tracing and inform everyone that works closely with them. We’ll also be requesting they get tested and self-quarantine as well.”

W South Beach is also offering hotel guests PCR tests with a 24-hour results turnaround time in partnership with Sollis Health. Appointments can be booked through the concierge desk or by scanning a QR code in their rooms.

The hotel testing trend comes as the pandemic continues to impact a hospitality industry hoping for a brighter 2021.

According to the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, the new year kicked-off with the highest demand for Miami Beach hotel bookings since the pandemic started.

“It is nice to see that Miami has nice little demand growing,” Sopresi said. “So we are excited to go back in a very safe and responsible manner.

The tests are free with insurance. There is a fee for international guests or the uninsured — sbe says the tests cost between $70 and $175.

For guidance on travel requirements in specific areas of the United States, click here.

About the Author:

Christina returned to Local 10 in 2019 as a reporter after covering Hurricane Dorian for the station. She is an Edward R. Murrow Award-winning journalist and previously earned an Emmy Award while at WPLG for her investigative consumer protection segment "Call Christina."