This story was created in partnership with our friends at Visit Indy.
I haven’t had a full night’s sleep in over a year. That’s not an exaggeration. It has been at least 365 days since I have slept uninterrupted. It started with the constant getting up to pee during pregnancy, then the heartburn, insomnia, and more peeing. Add chasing after a toddler, running a business, and trying to keep my family safe during a pandemic—well, let’s just say, MAMA. IS. TIRED.
One day after a very long night in December, my husband and I agreed that it was time for me to have a night away. So, I packed a bag, stopped by the gas station for unhealthy snacks I would never let my family eat, and set off to The Conrad for an evening of bliss.
As I drove around Monument Circle admiring the lights, I had intense feelings of excitement and nervousness. I’d heard that the hotel was taking great precautions to keep guests safe but my household has been pretty locked down since March and the sense of freedom of being away from responsibility and the same walls I’d been staring at for nine months was almost too much to handle.
From check-in to check-out, I felt safe and only came in contact with three other people and saw two guests from a distance in the lobby. In addition to the staff wearing masks, the hotel had stations with hand sanitizer, disposable masks, and wipes in the lobby. My room had been sealed after cleaning, with cleaning wipes provided near the remote controls and tag sleeves confirming that each had been sanitized.
When the COVID-19 crisis hit, hotel occupancy downtown dropped to 7 percent or lower. Some hotels, including the JW Marriott, even temporarily shut down as conventions, sports, major concerts, and other events came to a halt. Visit Indy estimates that out of the 83,000 local workers who depend on tourism for a paycheck, 40 percent are currently unemployed due to the pandemic.
In July, Visit Indy’s “You’ve Earned It” campaign successfully rallied people to take staycations and shop for rates that were up to 50% off at Indianapolis hotels. (Rates at The Conrad are currently around 15% less than what is typical at this time of year.)
Since the announcement of March Madness (as in the whole entire tournament!) coming to Indianapolis in a few months, there’s plenty of optimism that things will be looking up for the local hospitality industry, at least for a while. If you do plan to book a stay, the time to do so is now as things will start looking different come March. Of course, things will feel different too.
During my stay, there were other changes from the typical Conrad experience due to COVID. The indoor pool requires reservations, which should be made as soon as possible, and the spa is closed. Room service hours were limited and meals themselves look and feel different with a takeout-style experience, complete with disposable containers and flatware.
But when your main goal is to sleep alone in the middle of a bed without being awakened by someone crying who likely has poop in their pants, few of those “inconveniences” matter. That wasn’t the only luxury during my stay. After settling in for a glass of wine and the finest chicken fingers in all of Downtown Indianapolis, I slapped on a face mask, lit a travel candle, opened my Calm app, and enjoyed the most delicious soak in the tub of my life. It felt as though all of my stress and worries went down the drain with the bath water. I did a little journaling (WHO AM I?) climbed into bed (Is there anything better than crisp, clean hotel sheets? I think not) and watched Where’d You Go Bernadette? (definitely recommend) on my iPad.
I could cry with happiness just thinking about my night. It was glorious and I can’t wait to do another. If you’re feeling burnt out or perhaps in need of time out of the house with a partner, consider booking a little staycation. If a hotel isn’t in the cards right now, a friend’s guest room might be an option. Hell, your own guest room might be a nice change of scenery. If you do book a stay somewhere, wherever that may be, it’s a good idea to call ahead in advance to get the most up-to-date information about COVID restrictions or amendments. Above all else, just get yourself some sleep.
Leslie Bailey is the co-founder, CEO, and editor-in-chief of Indy Maven. Thanks to having to pump breastmilk at 2 am, she STILL hasn’t had a full night’s sleep.