The Scoop: For years, Henderson Park Inn has wowed guests with its picturesque ocean views, lavish suites, and five-star service. This upscale bed-and-breakfast is tucked away on the Emerald Coast of Destin, Florida, and it has long been a favorite among honeymooning newlyweds and couples celebrating an anniversary. The 2020 pandemic forced Henderson Park Inn to close for over a month, but now it’s back in business with new social distancing policies aimed at keeping guests safe and helping them truly get away from it all during their stay.

In March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic reached Florida’s sandy shores, and it brought the tourist-driven state to a screeching halt. Theme parks, movie theaters, bars, clubs, hotels, and other nonessential businesses had to put up a come-back-later sign without knowing when or how they could reopen.

Henderson Park Inn, which is situated on beachfront property in Destin, Florida, made the tough decision to cancel its reservations and close its doors from March 21 until May 15.

Photo of Henderson Park Inn

Henderson Park Inn had to adapt during the COVID-19 pandemic to keep guests and staff members safe.

“It was a rough time for all of us. We missed seeing our guests on property,” said Janie Schmidt, Marketing Director for the hotel. “They are what makes our jobs worthwhile here, so not seeing them for more than a month was difficult.”

During the shutdown, the leadership team never stopped thinking about its guests, and it used the downtime to do research, collaborate, and come up with a comprehensive plan for reopening safely once shelter-in-place orders were lifted.

The boutique bed-and-breakfast has since implemented new social distancing and cleaning policies to protect the health and safety of all guests and staff members. Now the property follows strict COVID-19 operating guidelines based on the latest advisories from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as other health experts.

Couples looking for a safe and romantic getaway can book a suite at Henderson Park Inn and socially distance on a beautiful beachfront property.

More Personalized Service Allows Guests to Relax & Enjoy

The pandemic challenged Henderson Park Inn to foster a new kind of guest experience, and the team has adapted to this new normal by finding ways to pamper guests while ensuring their safety. Guests now receive a complimentary mask and gloves upon check-in, and the hotel offers a contactless checkout process as well as a contactless snack delivery system.

“At Henderson Park Inn, we’ll always try to do right by our guests,” Janie said. “This may be the new normal, but we do hope that our guests will still see the great service we’ve been providing for years.”

Photo of a breakfast table

Instead of a breakfast buffet, Henderson Park Inn now serves made-to-order meals in the dining room.

One of the biggest changes at Henderson Park Inn is how the team handles breakfast. It’s no longer a crowded free-for-all buffet. Instead, guests can choose their made-to-order breakfast from a new menu and eat in the socially distanced dining room.

The menu includes many mouthwatering options, including biscuits with gravy and Belgian waffles with all the fixins. Guests can customize their own omelet by choosing from 12 mix-in options, and they can also pick out a la carte sides, which include fruit, scones, muffins, yogurt, toast, bacon, and sausage.

Now couples can enjoy a more private and personalized vacation experience starting with breakfast at the Henderson Park Inn.

Another new feature is the personal beach attendant who directly assists guests with procuring snacks, drinks, and towels. This hands-on service drastically minimizes a guest’s contact with others because they can turn to one person for all their needs.

Henderson Park Inn has made a lot of changes that provide more individualized service and socially distant amenities.

For instance, the new tiki bar on the back patio gives guests the opportunity to get complimentary cocktails and other adult beverages without facing any crowds. The bar is just steps away from the beach where the hotel team has carefully spaced out beach chairs and umbrellas.

Henderson Park Inn’s team has had to change how they do business and come up with innovative solutions to unprecedented challenges, and they told us they’re prepared to continue adapting and tweaking their services as the situation changes.

“We’ve implemented an extensive list of new policies and procedures,” Janie told us. “There have been a few growing pains in adding these, but our staff and guests are adapting well. Also, many of these policies benefit our guests.”

A Popular Retreat for Honeymoons & Romantic Getaways

The COVID-19 pandemic threw many vacation plans into chaos. Flights were canceled. Wedding days were postponed. Birthday parties, graduations, and other celebrations became much smaller affairs. People had to adapt to the new normal, and Henderson Park Inn has been there for them.

In the wake of the pandemic, Henderson Park Inn has welcomed people who had to make last-minute bookings as other plans fell through. This bed-and-breakfast resort has served as a backup plan for couples who were going to vacation abroad and suddenly had to look closer to home for their romantic getaway.

Photo of a couple on the beach

The boutique hotel offers direct access to a private beach on the Gulf Coast.

“After being forced to cancel our honeymoon to Cancun due to COVID-19, we found Henderson Park Inn in Destin,” said Carl on Facebook. “It was the perfect honeymoon getaway. Exceptional service. Great hospitality. So relaxing and quiet.”

Henderson Park Inn is doing everything possible to help guests enjoy a safe and stress-free vacation, and its top-notch services have gotten a lot of positive feedback from guests.

“The customer service at this beautiful place is second to none,” said a TripAdvisor reviewer. “The entire staff goes above and beyond.”

“It is worth every penny,” said a woman who stopped at the hotel on a road trip with her husband. “Breakfast and lunch are included daily, bike rentals also, and the overall property’s atmosphere is just something special that can’t be found just anywhere. Absolutely amazing.”

Whether you’re planning a weekend getaway or a small wedding on the beach, Henderson Park Inn can provide a lovely backdrop for romance and relaxation.

Not even a pandemic can slow the Henderson Park Inn down for long. The boutique hotel is already 90% booked up for June, and the team expects to be back at full occupancy in the coming months.

“It’s easy with so much unknown to want to wait till the last minute to book, but since we’re such a small property, we book up quickly,” Janie said. “And with the pandemic, know that we’ll always do our best to accommodate those who are worried about the situation and work with them if they do need to cancel last minute if more COVID-19 news comes out.”

Henderson Park Inn Promises to Provide a Stress-Free Escape

From a temperature check at the door to personalized beach service during your stay, Henderson Park Inn takes its responsibility for the health and safety of guests very seriously, and the team is taking many necessary precautions to keep the virus from spreading.

Even as Florida’s southern beaches made national headlines for being overcrowded, Henderson Park Inn was hard at work making sure the Emerald Coast did things right and showed guests that they could vacation in style while maintaining proper social distance.

“As a smaller boutique hotel, we hope that we can serve as an example for how smaller properties should be behaving during a pandemic,” Janie said. “And, at the end of the day, we hope to continue to provide a relaxing, romantic experience for our guests.”