Hotels will be dramatically different when their doors reopen. Here’s how they plan to keep us safe this summer…
- Most hotels plan table service for breakfast and you may have to book a time slot
- Rooms are likely to get minimalist makeovers and mini-bars may be empty
- The big chains are arming housekeeping with ‘hospital- quality’ disinfectants
Every week our Holiday Hero Neil Simpson takes an in-depth look at an important holiday topic, doing all the legwork so you don’t have to. This week: how hotels are adapting as guests return.
It will be check-in, but not as we know it. Hotels will be dramatically different when their doors reopen. Here’s how they plan to keep us safe this summer…
Smiles from staff may be hidden by face masks, even if they are the colourful, designer ones that match the uniforms at fashion-conscious Kempinski Hotels from Berlin to Bangkok. And at the Grand Hotel Tremezzo on Lake Como, equally stylish face coverings designed by a local artist are given to guests.
Room service is expected to boom as guests shun potentially busy restaurants
Traditional welcome mats may get an anti-viral upgrade. The Madrid-based Room Mate chain is installing germ-busting carpets at the doors of its hotels from Milan to Miami. The idea is that the ‘diluted bleach mats’ help disinfect shoes as guests walk across.
In Croatia, staff at the Hotel Dubrovnik Palace will spray disinfectant over your luggage before you go to your room.
Hotels everywhere will focus on ‘high-touch’ areas such as lift buttons, door handles and hand rails, so expect to see a lot more spraying and polishing. The big chains are arming housekeeping staff with upgraded ‘hospital- quality’ disinfectants for rooms.
The Magnolia Hotel on Portugal’s Algarve goes further. It is offering to launder the clothes you arrive in so you can be sure that you’re bug- and crease-free after your journey.
Check-in itself is likely to become increasingly automated. Forget queuing at reception to get a key card. Hilton, Marriott and others let you choose rooms online or on their app. Or ignore key cards and open your room with your phone at Hilton hotels, Preferred Hotels properties from St Lucia to St Tropez, and Disney World sites.
In the UK, the six Pig hotels, including The Pig-on the Beach on Dorset’s Studland Bay, are employing new, full-time cleaners for public areas. If you want to avoid all staff contact, many hotels plan to offer ‘Do Not Enter My Room’ policies that last the length of a stay.
Designer: A trendy mask at a Kempinski hotel
If you want new towels, for example, simply put old ones in bags provided and replacements will be left outside your door.
Room service is expected to boom as guests shun potentially busy restaurants. Grantley Hall in Yorkshire is setting a trend by removing the tray charge for in-room dining and allowing guests to order from any of its four restaurants rather than a limited room-service menu.
Sadly, breakfast buffets are unlikely to survive anywhere. Most hotels plan table service and you may have to book a time slot to eat. Later in the day, you may also have to book a sunlounger rather than leaving a towel on it. Kilronan Castle in north west Ireland may even use apps to reserve spots in its spa and by its pool.
The risk of having noisy neighbours could fall as hotels in the Balearics can be only 50 per cent full to comply with social-distancing rules.
Rooms across the globe are likely to get minimalist makeovers, with the removal of items previous guests may have touched.
Expect fewer scatter cushions, no hotel pens, magazines or tourist guides. Mini-bars may be empty and anyone hoping for a chocolate on their pillow may find a sachet of antibacterial wipes instead.