Conceived with the idea of using technology to minimize physical contact with hosts or their surrogates, D. Alexander units are ideal for those seeking isolation, said Alex Allison, a founder and the chief executive of the company. Guests are given unique mobile entry codes and high-speed internet access and don’t have to interact with a soul.
In forecasting the future of travel, Mr. Allison said he saw an increasing demand for destinations where people could work comfortably for long periods, and that was before Covid-19. “We are now focused on solving the needs of people impacted by the virus,” he said.
Internationally, the idea of a rented sanctuary is taken to the pinnacle of luxury with Le Bijou, a group of 42 apartments in nine locations in Switzerland. Started in 2013 to provide “hotel service without the hotel guests,” according to the website, the company is offering “quarantine apartments” in Zurich that average $500 a night — half the usual cost — and may include a kitchenette, fireplace, exercise room or office. Private chefs deliver food to the door for an extra fee; you can also get in-room coronavirus testing from a private health clinic. The most hard-core health service, involving a team providing round-the-clock care, is $5,000 a day, said Alexander Hübner, who founded Le Bijou with his wife, Madeleine Hübner.
“In the end, we’re just a medium-size business” that was severely hobbled by the virus, Mr. Hübner said, adding that while the Swiss government is offering low-interest loans to help businesses, they do not apply to the cleaning company he employs. “From my point of view, it is the duty for every entrepreneur to have a plan B.”
He is also donating rooms to health care workers who need a break, which he pays for out of his own pocket, he said. Those who take him up on the offer usually stay for two days.