AS lockdown restrictions begin to ease, lots of us may be looking forward to a relaxing break in a hotel.
But social distancing measures remain in place, meaning guesthouses, B&Bs and hotels will be changing the way they operate.
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Research from the Good Hotel Guide found that 75 per cent of hospitality businesses are raring to go on July 5.
They will look very different from before though, with one-way pools, remote check-ins, extra cleaning and no mini-bars.
The same research found that 100 per cent of opening hotels are planning to still offer breakfast, but only 67 per cent will serve dinner.
Half of the restaurants were considering staggering supper times and the same number are planning to scrap buffets.
Here’s everything to expect from the new, revamped hotels.
Hotels are likely to have reduced occupancy to help promote social distancing.
For instance, RIU says it will limit its hotels to 50 or 60 per cent, or lower if needed to comply with local regulations.
There may be temperature checks on arrival, and guests may be expected to wear masks.
Specific policies will vary between different hotels, so you should check carefully what the rules are when you book anything.
Once you have made a reservation, you might be asked for health information to confirm that you haven’t been in contact with anyone who has had coronavirus.
Lots of hotels are also introducing web check-ins to reduce contact, and your arrival time may be pushed to the afternoon to allow for deep cleans between guests.
Checkout times are also likely to be earlier – to allow more time for room changeovers.
For instance, at RIU hotels checkout has been brought forward to 11am, while check-in has been delayed until 4pm.
Hotel staff may be provided with PPE and we’re likely to see screens at reception desks similar to those that are being used at many supermarkets.
InterContinental Hotels Group says that it is introducing reduced contact at check-in, touchless transactions, front-desk screens, sanitiser stations, sanitised key cards and paperless checkout.
How Best Western hotels are changing to become Covid-safe
BEST Western hotels have made substantial changes to make sure they are safe when coronavirus is lifted.
A spokesperson said: “We have partnered with Quality in Tourism (QIT) to be independently audited as the safest hotels in Great Britain when we open on 4th July.
“Our hotels are not marking their own anti-Covid processes, an outside body (QIT) is coming in and checking them. We felt that was important.”
Changes being made include:
- Check-in and check out will be encouraged online to remove high traffic contact around reception
- Plexi-glass screens will be installed to provide extra reassurance for staff and guests
- Socially distanced signage will be visible in all public areas
- Infrared operated hand sanitisers will be provided throughout every hotel
- Public areas will be reconfigured to adhere to two metre rule
- Breakfast will be grab and go option delivered to rooms or from reception
- In house dining will be done via WhatsApp to the hotel team
- High touch items will be removed from rooms
- Rooms will be isolated and deep cleaned before and after use to the highest anti-Covid standards using electro-static sprays, fogging devices and blue light technology.
Rooms and cleaning
Non-essential items are likely to be stripped from rooms including laundry bags, magazines and even coffee machines.
Mini bars may be removed too, so you might want to take your own drinks with you.
There will be more cleaning, particularly of high risk touchpoints such as remotes, light switches and door handles.
For instance, IHG says it will have visible verification of sanitised items, such as glassware and remote controls, a reduction of in-room furnishings/high-touch items and new laundry protocols.
Getting to your room might be more hassle than usual, as use of lifts might be restricted.
Some hotels are saying they will only be available for travelling up not down, and can only be used by one household at a time.
You’re likely to have to transport your own bags, so you may want to pack light.
Eating and entertainment
Buffets are likely to be a thing of the past in most hotels, and you may have to schedule your restaurant reservation.
Breakfast may have to be ordered the night before, and hotels will outside space may encourage eating al fresco.
If you love a buffet, RIU has said that it will be keeping them in its hotels but that guests must wear gloves and mask to go to the buffet, which will contain more individual portions, more packaged products and more live cooking.
Some chains may remove elements such as salt and pepper shakers or sauce bottles – though you may still be able to request them.
Menus are likely to be amended or reduced to allow for fewer staff in kitchens.
Other amenities may be shut or greatly reduced.
You’ll probably have to book a pool slot to reduce the number of people swimming, and one-way systems may be introduced.
Games rooms may be closed for the forseeable future.
Common areas are likely to be open, but with distanced seating areas.
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