Indoor dining is currently suspended in Pennsylvania, but if you insist on going out to eat right now, the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel in Reading has a solution.
You may even want to take advantage of these packages long after the imminent threat of the coronavirus has passed.
DoubleTree is now offering to rent its hotel suites as part of an "in-room dining experience" that includes a four-course meal and two hours of open bar service for dinner, or a three-course meal for lunch.
"You can't have any dining rooms in any restaurants, except room service," said Craig Poole, DoubleTree general manager and chief operating officer. "I thought, 'Well, what is room service?' They have to rent a room, and they'll get food and beverages."
Advertised for up to six guests, in-room dining circumvents the ban by serving diners in a private quarters while still also observing health guidelines such as occupancy limits.
But while the goal initially was to keep hotel staff working through the latest COVID restrictions, Poole may have stumbled onto an idea with broad, long-lasting appeal.
"We're not trying to sell a crowd," Poole said. "We're trying to sell an experience."
Lunch or dinner — with a view
Poole envisioned an upscale meal where guests are pampered in a similar fashion to the ritzy Union League of Philadelphia or Duquesne Club in Pittsburgh.
In addition to top-notch food and butler service, though, DoubleTree also boasts a skyline backdrop few Reading-area restaurants can rival.
Each of the eight suites converted for dining has a view overlooking the city and Berks County.
"You can see 30 miles out," Poole said. "It's stunning."
As for the meal itself, dinner consists of four courses — an appetizer tray, salad, high-end entrée and coffee and dessert — from a menu designed by DoubleTree executive chef Carlos Gomez, plus an open bar stocked with guests' favorite beverages.
The suites are available for business lunches as well.
It's a great way to celebrate a special occasion, said Poole, whether a holiday (New Year's Eve may be all booked up by the time you're reading this), birthday or anniversary, or to hold a meeting to close out an important deal.
How in-room dining at DoubleTree works
The catch — if you can call it that — is the in-room dining experience does require you to rent the room, though staying the night in one of DoubleTree's suites is hardly a tough sell.
Overnight room rates are $100 unless otherwise noted, while the four-course dinner with open bar is $100 per person.
Additional wings of the suite are also available for rent to members of the guests' party.
For lunch, the room rental drops to a flat $60 without the overnight, and meals are $60 per head.
Though a clever workaround for the current COVID restrictions, the point is not to skirt the rules, Poole stressed, which means there are still limitations on occupancy and other safety protocols in place.
"A large part of it is the ambiance, and a lot of the people booking so far know our food, so they trust it," Poole said. "They trust the experience. They trust the service."
A helping hand
Because the number of suites in the DoubleTree is limited, the indoor dining experience is not something Poole expects will make the hotel rich.
Rather, it started as a means to keep hotel staff employed while the restaurant is closed to diners and travel continues to be impacted by the pandemic.
"Our first goal was how do we keep people working," Poole said. "This is how we did it."
Not only can Poole foresee continuing in-room dining whenever life finally gets back to normal or something close to it, but he doesn't mind if other businesses borrow the idea.
"We also wanted to do it so people in our business or other businesses see we can be creative in a bad time," Poole said. "It's a form of encouragement. They may not do what I'm doing, but they can see there are some different opportunities."
Whatever obstacles the virus throws in the way, Poole is just doing his part to try to help everybody keep moving forward.
"We create memorable moments for people," Poole said. "That's our business."