Saudade: Hotels ready to receive travelers

When you see your journey, you will only ever think of the end… enjoy the adventure ahead. Saudade…

Sadly the buffet table will still be closed during the crisis but hoteliers feel that the new experience should prove just as fulfilling.

Now that we are in full swing — Covid-19 equipped — Hotels will be looking to welcome guests back into their establishments, but most say it will not be business as usual.

Here is a list of what they will be doing and what they will not:-

  1. Payment may be taken prior to arrival, often backed with a generous cancellation or re-booking policy. All transactions will be contactless, with an invoice emailed to you at check-out, and guests will be encouraged to use hotel apps and tablets.
  2. Check-in times are likely to be staggered, or set later in the afternoon, to allow for deep cleaning of rooms.
  3. Expect rigorous cleaning with an emphasis on contact points such as door handles, light switches and phones.
  4. Hotels are preparing to welcome back guests with three-quarters saying they are ready to open on July 17.
  5. Check-in times are likely to be staggered, or set later in the afternoon, to allow for deep cleaning of rooms.
  6. Expect rigorous cleaning with an emphasis on contact points such as door handles, light switches and phones.

The New Check-In Routine

  1. After making your reservation, expect a pre-visit health questionnaire to land in your inbox. This will ask you to confirm you don’t have corona-virus symptoms and have not been in contact with those who do.
  2. Don’t expect valet parking, and do be prepared to carry your own luggage. Staff will assist guests though, and all cases will be disinfected on arrival.
  3. Temperature checks will be standard. Starting July 17th lobbies will be monitored by a temperature camera scanner that can test 30 guests at a time.
  4. Can’t find anyone at reception? This could be the hotel policy. Front Desks will remain unmanned and Staff will then direct guests to their rooms ‘where your keys (freshly sanitized) will be waiting’.
  5. You will not be required to wear a face mask, although in some hotels this is recommended, and many are providing complimentary PPE amenity kits of mask, gloves, wipes and hand sanitizer, will be issued.

Areas of Public Collect

  1. Restaurants, lounges and communal areas are being reconfigured to create what some hoteliers like to call ‘physical distancing’.
  2. Protective screens, distance-marking lines and one-way routes may be implemented in larger properties, as at 60-room Bovey Castle in Devon. Where there are lifts, guests will be asked to ride as household groups, and to ascend only.

Housekeeping Rules

  1. Expect rigorous cleaning with an emphasis on contact points such as door handles, light switches, phones and the TV remote. Where practical, rooms will be left vacant before re-use — up to 72 hours in some cases — and sealed prior to entry.
  2. Newspapers, magazines and other reading materials will be removed, along with familiar features like minibars and ironing boards. Services such as laundry, babysitting and rollaway beds will be withdrawn, and even pets are affected — guests checking in with a dog will now need to bring its own bed.
  3. Housekeepers look set to become the key-worker heroes of the hospitality industry, though you may never see them. Unless you’re staying four nights or more, your hotel probably won’t offer ‘mid-stay cleans’. Bags will be provided for your used towels, with fresh supplies left outside the door.

Eating and Drinking

  1. Sadly, the days of pigging out at the breakfast buffet and feasting on lavish ‘grazing tables’ are over, or at least on hold. Instead, timed reservations for all meals will be the norm, with guests asked to peruse a la carte menus online.
  2. ‘Breakfast will be pre-ordered the night before,’ says Chris Hardwicke, general manager at 31-room The Bird, Bath. ‘Our dinner menu will be shorter and we are considering doing themed nights such as ‘Fish and Chips’, with a hotel app available for ordering and card pre-payment’.
  3. Dining tables will be arranged to satisfy the two-metre rule, and probably be without linen. Guests eating at pricey Chewton Glen in the New Forest will find these lack salt and pepper shakers (available on request), while cocktails will be made with batch ingredients ‘to limit the handling of products’.
  4. Bars will be table service only, with more emphasis on eating and drinking outdoors on terraces and in courtyards. There will be a greater choice of food ‘to go’ and for picnics in the grounds.
  5. Room service is also encouraged with many properties dropping the tray charge. Menu choices are likely to be restricted and delivery will be only to the bedroom door.
  6. Fancy a swim? The pool should be open, but you may have to book a slot for private use and follow a one-way system. Guests may need to get changed in their rooms.
  7. Once Government guidelines are issued for the use of spas and fitness centers, expect to find screens, paired loungers set two metres apart and a 30-minute break for cleaning between treatments.

And the good news . . .

If all this sounds off-putting, don’t underestimate the resolve of hoteliers to create a joyful atmosphere and make this challenging situation work.

Former Screenwriter, Journalist & Film Critic now Travel Writing for Goeureka. Fascinated by Modernity and Impressionistic Art Movements… also, NBA Basketball.