Post lockdown, top hotels are reopening
The global pandemic saw hotels around the world closing their doors temporarily. But extensive planning has meant that the hotel industry is ready and eager to return. ‘We’re no longer able to greet you warmly with a handshake,’ said one British hotelier. ‘But rest assured we’ll be raising our imaginary hat and delighted to welcome you.’
New safety measures will include staggered check-ins – the Pig Hotels chain in south-west England has switched their check-in to 4pm to allow for a deeper room clean beforehand. Guests are likely to be asked to complete pre-visit health questionnaires, luggage may be disinfected on arrival, and temperature checks will be standard. At Hampton Manor in Warwickshire, the lobby will be monitored by a temperature camera scanner that can test 30 guests at a time.
Many hotels have seized the opportunity to offer something new. The St Moritz Hotel and Spa in Cornwall has designed and built a special ‘socially distanced restaurant’. Dubbed ‘The Anti-Social Club’, the pop-up summer restaurant will comprise 16 private dining rooms or ‘bubbles’ which are accessed from outside and have food delivered by waiters via hatches.
The Fauchon l’hotel Paris has also given its restaurant a revamp. At the Grand Café Fauchon, which overlooks the Place de la Madeleine, there will be a one-way circulation system, plenty of alcoholic hand gel and the removal of almost half the tables to enable a greater distance between diners. Staff will all wear masks and gloves. The Fauchon has also replaced traditional menus; instead diners will be given a QI code which, when scanned by your phone or tablet, delivers menus direct to your device.
In Greece, the luxuryIkos Resorts brand has announced that its award-winning Ikos Olivia resort in Halkidiki, Greece will be the first of its resorts to open on 1 July.
At Ikos, all staff will receive regular Covid-19 tests, while hotel guests are offered a complimentary rapid antibody test upon arrival. The resort will also provide contactless check-in and service from the moment a guest steps through the door. Guests will be able to make digital restaurant bookings where they can view the resort’s array of à la carte menus curated by Michelin-starred chefs or choose from 300 local and international wines selected by the Ikos sommelier. Guests will be able to contact Ikos Olivia’s staff at all times via WhatsApp.
The reopening of hotels is part of a return to the new normality. As the St Moritz co-owner Hugh Ridgway said: ‘Covid-19 has stopped the industry in its tracks. Like all hotels, bars and restaurants across the globe, the virus has hit our business like an unbelievable sledgehammer. However, as ever, we have dusted ourselves off, and risen to this unpredictable challenge.’