A resort in Hawaii says bookings surged to pre-pandemic levels after it became a 'bubble resort'

  • Kauai, Hawaii’s Lodge and Club at Kukuiula has become an Enhanced Movement Quarantine “resort bubble.”
  • Kauai has “resort bubbles” for travel during COVID-19, but guests have to wear a tracking bracelet.
  • Bookings at the Lodge at Kukuiula shot up to pre-COVID-19 numbers after it became a “resort bubble.”
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Everyone dreams of a post-pandemic vacation in Hawaii. But for those who really can’t wait, several Kauai hotels — such as the Lodge and Club at Kukuiula — have opened up as resort bubbles for restless travelers.

Kauai County, Hawaii has stricter COVID-19 safety precautions for travel than the rest of the state. If you’re planning to fly straight to Kauai from out of state, the island requires a COVID-19 test three days before traveling, and another round of testing three days after arrival while quarantining at one of the Enhanced Movement Quarantine (EMQ) “resort bubbles.” If the second test comes back negative, the traveler will no longer have to quarantine. 

The word “quarantine” may bring back some bad memories, but doing it at one of these “resort bubbles” isn’t as bad as it sounds, especially for those staying at Hyatt’s Lodging at Kukuiula. Here, EMQ guests will still have access to amenities at the Club at Kukuiula, which includes a golf course and pool.

Keep scrolling to see what it’s like to quarantine at the property:

At the Lodge at Kukuiula, out of state travelers looking for a reprieve from the mainland can quarantine on the property while still accessing the paradises of Hawaii.

To keep non-quarantine guests safe from recently arrived EMQ guests and club members, the 1,010-acre property has set hours throughout the day for EMQ travelers to access several of the club's amenities.

These amenities include the infinity pool, which is being reserved specifically for EMQ guests ….

… the gym, which can be reserved for use between 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. …

… the 13-acre farm where guests can pick its crops, including flowers, fruits, and vegetables …

… the golf course …

… and some trails for fresh air.

EMQ guests can also rent different types of bikes or a scooter to get some physical activity in while quarantining.

For food, guests can either order delivery or takeout from one of the club's restaurants, dine-in at two of its eateries, or book a private dinner with a view for $500.

You may be vacationing, but you'll still have to take the virus seriously at the resort.

Guests will still have to wear face masks and social distance.

They'll also have to wear a tracking device — the Aqua quarantine bracelet — and have the Aqua app downloaded on their phones.

And don't bother trying to outsmart the tracking device or app.

If a visitor is caught leaving the club's approved EMQ areas during the initial three-day quarantine, they could be arrested by local police.

Unfortunately, this means beaches are off-limits for the quarantine period.

In order to keep the workers safe, the property has scattered hand sanitizer throughout the area, set up social distancing protocols where possible, and frequently cleans different parts of the public spaces.

The check-in process has also been sped up to decrease face time.

To ensure safety in between guests, the rooms are left empty for at least two days before the next set of guests arrive.

According to Erin Gushman, the director of marketing Kukuiula Development, the 1,010-acre property decided to take the "resort bubble" route because its expansive space allows guests and the club's members to stay safe on the property.

"Thanks to the EMQ program, we've been able to welcome many of our members and guests to Kukuiula, many of whom have stayed for several months at a time," Gushman told Insider in an email interview.

According to Gushman, most of its club members and guests are there for "extended stays."

The property has also since been able to reap the benefits of becoming an EMQ resort bubble.

According to Gushman, bookings increased "dramatically" after the Lodge at Kukuiula became a resort bubble.

"We've seen a surge of momentum similar to 2020 pre-COVID-19 numbers," Gushman wrote.

Room rates at the Lodge at Kukuiula have not changed during the coronavirus pandemic.

Here, accommodations fall into three categories: villas, cottages, and bungalows that range from one to four bedrooms.

According to Gushman, the villa — which has three interior bedrooms and an additional detached guest house bedroom — is the most popular residence type.

The club villas — which are also the lodge's the most expensive accommodations — start at $2,039 a night. The space can sleep up to eight guests.

The rest of the accommodations range from $756 a night for the one-bedroom bungalow for two people, to $1,439 a night for the three-bedroom cottage for six people.

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