Equipped with facemasks, sanitisers, overalls and disinfectants, luxury hotels and resorts reopen to welcome their guests with beefed-up health and hygiene protocols to hinder the spread of COVID-19. Even after being one of the most adversely affected sections of the economy, the sector, embracing the new reality, has designed and introduced protocols that ensure maximum safety for guests and employees
By: Nikita Vivek Pawar
Posted on: July 30, 2020
The global luxury hospitality sector was expected to reach up to $190 billion by 2021, but the unfortunate outbreak of novel coronavirus impaired the primary support of the industry – human interaction. Despite experts predicting an extremely slow recovery of the industry, luxury hotels, resorts and restaurants have now geared up to make a strong comeback, and we hope they emerge victorious.
Luxury hotels chose to perceive the quarantine and the lockdown as an opportunity to re-access, re-evaluate and re-organise to adapt to a world post-COVID-19.
The new reality
Is travel going to change? Definitely. The COVID-19 outbreak caught everyine off-guard, resulting in panic and chaos. Travellers, though hesitant, will travel, but with an extra luggage of masks, sanitizers and disinfectants.
As hotels, resorts and restaurants begin to reopen across the globe, major hotel groups like Hyatt Group, Four Seasons, Residence and more have created and introduced health and sanitisation protocols throughout their properties. A PCR negative result will be a pre-requisite for every hotel and resort around the world. Lucky for some luxury hotels, the bio-geographic conditions like that of Maldives, and the One Island One Resort rule make it relatively easy. Postcard Hotels, Goa have introduced everyday temperature checks of guests and employees, while cold flogging the guest luggage and transfer cars. They are also deep cleaning and sanitising the public premises and other items thoroughly and frequently with Diversey Virex II 256, a high-level hospital-grade disinfectant, to ensure maximum precaution and care.
Less Contact, More Care
While the experience may look different in this new environment, it will ultimately feel the same - luxurious. There may not be hotel staff greeting you with garlands, but they will still provide the best service while abiding by renewed standards.
Using technology to its best, Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts have introduced apps and chats that would help to limit face-to-face interactions while maintaining high levels of personal service. The app can run on all devices over 8 global platforms and offers more than 100 languages. It can make and manage reservations, request luggage pickup, airport transfers, room service, restaurant and spa reservations, and much more along with wait-free check-in and check-out. The hotel has further launched a new program called “Lead with Care”, focused on providing care, confidence and comfort to all Four Seasons guests, employees and residents.
Accompanying luxe bathing products will now be facemasks, sanitisation wipes and disinfectants. Every guest would be given a “Lead with Care” kit of all the essentials and more available on order. In-room dining orders would have a contactless service in sustainable, single-use packaging.
Feeding the senses - the changing dining experience
When staying at a luxury hotel, you breakfast, lunch and dine like a king. The scrumptious buffets might seem a farfetched dream for many, but it isn’t the case with Hyatt. Hyatt Place Hyderabad, Banjara Hills, will now offer individual buffet-style meals that are curated and proportioned for each dining table. The restaurants may open with limited seating adhering to follow social distancing. To enhance room-served meals, Hyatt reimagined dining offerings in beautiful, unique spaces like private dining in a premium suite at Park Hyatt Moscow or creating meals in private garden suites at Hyatt Pune. Further, using technology, The Confidante Miami Beach has introduced QR codes display for guests to browse the menu.
“The world as we knew it has been fundamentally changed by COVID-19 and when we are all ready to travel again, we want to make sure that every Hyatt colleague and guest feel confident that each aspect of our commitment is designed with their safety in mind, and that we’re putting their wellbeing first,” said Mark Hoplamazian, president and CEO, Hyatt. “To do this, we must critically examine the hotel experience from every vantage point – from our rooms and our lobbies to our spas and dining – bringing in the latest research, technology and innovation to make that happen. Hyatt’s Global Care & Cleanliness Commitment is an important expression of our purpose to care for people, so they can be their best – now and in the future.”
Soneva Hotels, Maldives have introduced healthier breakfast menu along with Andrographis Paniculata, a known Ayurvedic immune booster. The overall menu encourages the consumption of natural antiviral ingredients like turmeric, garlic, ginger, red onions, cinnamon and cardamom.
Recreation and rejuvenation
Spas, gyms and swimming pools take up most of the time during a stay at a luxury hotel. The spas at Soneva Hotels continue to function. The therapist is tested three times in the first eight days of returning to the islands and the guests would have the choice of asking the therapist to wear gloves and masks. Along with spas, the hotel has also introduced regular yoga and meditation programmes to help the guests achieve inner peace and tranquillity.
If you are an adventurer, Mauritius is synonymous for scuba diving and other underwater activities, and guess what? You can still enjoy the thrill. The Residence Hotels have introduced enhanced cleaning measures. Adventures like snorkelling, scuba diving and others are functioning with a limited number of excursions every day, abiding by social distancing. The equipment would be deeply sanitised after every use. The Hamman and sauna would also be restricted to a limited number of guests.
Sailing the waves might not be the first thing on everyone’s agenda, but cruises have also adapted to the changing scenario with enhanced protocols and measures. With getting accredited certifications from international organisations, cruises lines are ready to welcome guests with equal vigour. “Our ship designs will enable 100% external fresh air to be filtered and supplied to the cabins and onboard public areas – ensuring a constant and healthy flow of fresh air with no re-circulation within the ship – an important feature on our cruise ships. Public areas were previously sanitized once daily, and are now sanitized 2 - 4 times daily with hospital-grade disinfectants. Selected onboard venues will be operating at reduced capacity to provide ample space between guests,” said Mr, Naresh Rawal, Vice President, Sales - India & South Asia, Genting Cruise Lines.
Hygiene and health protocols are applicable universally and the world is in a dire need of individuals taking up equal responsibility for all to recover from this setback. With precautions and safety measures, we hope to change the face of the future, where we no longer need face masks, and can revel in the beauty of human interaction without guilt.