Hospitality, in the traditional sense of the term and as we try to practice it here at The Betsy, means a lot more than making sure you have the stay of a lifetime. It means safeguarding your health and wellness, and generally taking care of guests and staff in the same way we would any of our loved ones. That’s why the family concept is so important to us, from the fact that The Betsy is independently owned by a family with day-to-day involvement in its operations to the way we think of our guests as an extended global family. This is a business, but for us, there is no commerce without community. A sense of shared purpose and experience, especially in these divided times, is central to everything we do.
The present health crisis gives us an opportunity to put those principles into action in an unprecedented way. To start, The Betsy remains open and our food outlets are available for take-out and delivery. We have always wanted it to be a sanctuary amid the revelry of our neighborhood, and that can mean even more now. The Betsy was designed, in part, as a collection of enchanted hideaways, quiet spaces – many of them outside – where guests can be by themselves while they continue to enjoy so much of what the hotel has to offer. Even now, as we are being much more careful about how we interact with each other, these experiences can preserve our sense of community.
Sitting quietly alone can bring meaningful comfort. Tranquility, companionship, ritual, and optimism are in short supply right now. We see it as our mission to try to offer small reminders of how much of this remains for us to savor, even with the adjustments we must all make for everyone's safety. As a master’s in public health candidate at Brown University wrote last week in The New York Times in an opinion piece about the harmful effects of isolation, “While physical isolation will be required for many Americans… it’s important that we don’t let such measures cause social and emotional isolation, too.”
The Betsy is widely-known for its extensive cultural programming. The community has gathered for years to listen to opera, poetry readings, book events, and live music. At the moment, we think it’s wise to put a hold on most of this programming, at least until May 15. Our art exhibits remain up and we continue to welcome our guests and neighbors to quietly wander our halls and enjoy. Our Carlton Room coffee bar and work space remain open, with modifications for social distancing as specified by the CDC and the medical community. As you might expect, we are paying special attention to the cleanliness of all of our spaces, with a heightened commitment to sanitizing all of our public venues.
We continue to invite you to enjoy the Betsy, particularly the beach just outside our doors, with all of the safe space for tranquility and reflection that it provides. And we look forward to welcoming you, safe and healthy, back to our cultural programming once we pass through this challenging period.