When my husband and I went to New York City in 2017, we opted to book a vacation rental instead of a hotel room. And it was our first less-than-great check-in experience. The problem: The locks on the old brownstone were finicky, and we couldn’t get in -- or get ahold of anyone to come help us. There we were, stranded on the sidewalk with two weeks’ worth of luggage and nowhere to go. Not an idyllic start to our Big Apple vacation.
Nearly an hour later, a rep from the property management company showed up to help us wrestle the key out of the lock without snapping it off. We made it in, but they had to come back multiple times throughout our stay to help us get in and lock up. I can only imagine how much more stressful this would have been for everyone involved if physical distancing needed to be observed.
Experiences (and stories) like these make us consider our options, and that’s exactly how Sonder, a tech-enabled hospitality company that promises clean, comfortable, and consistent better-than-hotel accommodations got started. Plus, they’re taking things to the next level in light of coronavirus with their “Travel Well” initiative. Here’s why a Sonder stay is the travel experience you’ve been looking for.
1. Its Founders Know You Want To Stay Somewhere Clean And Beautiful
Francis Davidson and Lucas Pellan founded Sonder after a San Francisco vacation rental check-in gone wrong back in 2014. They found half-eaten food in the fridge and dog hair blanketing the furniture. They had trouble getting in touch with the host and moved to a hotel to save Lucas from his allergies.
Of course, the hotel wasn’t the experience they were looking for, either. Yes, it was clean, but it was boring, and their dining options were whittled down to chain restaurants instead of the authentic San Francisco experience they’d been looking forward to.
They put their real estate and business experience together to launch what they describe as “a tech-enabled hospitality company that aims to redefine the travel experience through inspiring design and modern service.” It only takes seeing a few photos of Sonder’s gorgeous properties -- and knowing they manage and lease more than $4 billion worth of real estate in 28 cities around the world -- to imagine enjoying a beautiful Sonder stay.
2. Tech-Enabled Hospitality Can Deliver The Experience You’re After
When Sonder says it’s a tech-enabled hospitality company, it means it’s leveraging smartphone apps, keyless entry, and 24/7 support via text to give you access to inspiring design and modern service, offering the best of home rentals and hotel check-in -- and it’s all contactless. A Sonder stay means being situated in a vibrant neighborhood in an apartment-like suite, often with a fully equipped kitchen and private laundry. There are no crowded lobbies or front desk lines. Or keys to get stuck in old locks.
Sonder’s 24/7 concierge is text-based and operates through the company’s guest app. And you can expect the same service whether you’re staying in a brand-new high-rise or a historic building, like Sonder’s property in Atlanta’s Fairlie-Poplar neighborhood.
3. Cleanliness And Consistency Are Guaranteed
Whether you’re ready to travel right now or just starting to think about a 2021 getaway, there’s peace of mind in knowing the place you’ll stay is taking cleanliness seriously. As part of its “Travel Well” initiative, Sonder has implemented additional COVID-19-specific procedures along with its already-streamlined cleaning regimen. Every Sonder housekeeper has undergone extensive training, and units are cleaned and sterilized with WHO, CDC, and Canadian Public Health Agency guidelines in mind.
In addition to housekeepers wearing masks and using disposable paper products whenever possible, they also use cleaning products such as Clorox, Lysol, and isopropyl alcohol. Cleaning shared touch-points and high-touch surfaces (think doorknobs, handles, light switches, remote controls, et cetera) is a priority, and all linens are replaced before every stay.
Sonder skips the intra-stay housekeeping, which means you’ll be responsible for tidying up after yourself while you’re checked in (and won’t have to worry about who’s touched what while you were out).
Guests are asked to wear facemasks in indoor common areas and to maintain social distancing -- keeping at least six feet from anyone they’re not checked in with. Sonder’s placing distance-promoting signage in entryways, lobbies, elevators, and common areas and provides details in its welcome emails.
If you’re considering booking with Sonder, know that they have a flexible cancellation policy. Guests can cancel or modify their bookings at any time and receive credit for the full amount of any canceled nights. Their credit can be used for future Sonder reservations and is valid for one year from the time of cancellation.
- New York City
- San Francisco
- Washington D.C.
To learn more about Sonder or to book your stay, click here.