The Ravel Hotel in Long Island City opened a trio of outdoor spaces—including its swimming pool—last week, but before any guests can step inside, there’s one requirement: you must be tested on site for COVID-19. Here's a video of how it works:
Everyone is given a temperature check and nasal swab before entering the boutique hotel overlooking the East River and Roosevelt Island. Ravel has teamed up with Vestibular Diagnostics PA, which is based in New Jersey, to administer the tests, which includes an optional anti-body test. The entire process can take 20 minutes (including test results), but less if you fill out papers beforehand; there's a co-pay whether or not you have insurance.
It’s not an urgent care clinic (though your results and data remain private). Frank Alessio, managing partner of Ravel Management Group, says the testing is meant to ensure the safety of guests and staffers.
“I think New Yorkers are resilient,” says Alessio. “They want to be out. People who live here enjoy being out. A large percentile of people are already out; you’ve seen them on the streets.”
Once patrons pass the exam, they’ll have to don a wristband at Profundo, a pool area known for its nightclub-like parties with floating mirror globes and flowing cocktails. There’s also a new rooftop restaurant called Perivóli serving Greek-inspired fare like grilled octopus and saganaki (a dish of cheese that’s often torched with a large flame tableside). A penthouse area offers a more private experience for guests.
Ravel’s opening comes at a time when restaurants and bars have turned to outdoor seating more than ever before. Just today, the city and state announced that indoor dining in Phase 3 of reopening will be delayed as the pandemic continues to surge in other states across the country.
The pool and restaurant at Ravel are only open Thursday-Monday by reservations only. Tables are placed six-feet apart and everything is santized throughout the day, according to Alessio. He says the hotel first got the idea to perform testing when they heard about underground parties taking place in Miami back in July. They looked into the tests, which he says have gone down in costs and have a high accuracy rate.
“We're not sure how the public will receive this, but I think many people will see a ton of value in it,” says Alessio. “It’s very hard to please everybody.”
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