BRITS are desperate to know when they can go on holiday again, with family trips left in tatters by the coronavirus pandemic.
Yet even after lockdown, holidays will be very different – especially hotels. Masks will most likely be mandatory, while they will open at limited capacity between 30 and 50 per cent at first.
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Resorts around the world are looking at ways to ensure guests feel safe as well as restrict the spread of the virus.
Changes are being introduced while many iconic parts of a hotel stay – the mini bar, busy pool parties and hands-on service – may all be gone.
Hotels are expecting a very limited start to whenever tourists return, both out of fear of travellers as well as travel bans being put in place.
While experts around the world are looking into how to allow access to tourist resorts, such as “air bridges” between certain countries and additional health checks, this could also mean seeing very empty resorts with little atmosphere.
We’ve explained everything you can expect to see when you stay in your next hotel.
Disinfectant mats may be implemented at hotels to ensure shoes are clean from the outside, according to Hosbec – the hotel association for the Costa Blanca and Valencia.
Floor signs will also be likely to show where to stand and ensure you social distance at all times.
Guests will have to be much more reliant on self-check ins and online check in to avoid contact at hotel desks.
This means using apps and mobile phones, with hotels needing to upgrade their online presence quickly to keep up.
Checking in times are also likely to be later, as cleaning staff will need longer to disinfect the rooms between guests.
The humble key card may be removed altogether – many hotels are now using keyless room keys by using apps and technology.
Hotels which continue to use key cards will make you hand it in every time you leave the resort, according to Hosbec, so it can be disinfected.
Some hotels may even start using hotel robots, most often seen in Japan.
Dr Tracey Xu, lecturer in Hospitality at the University of Surrey’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, recently said in a study: “Application of service robots in the hotel industry is on the rise.
“With the added factor of a need to reassure potential guests that their stays will be compatible with minimised social contact and human interaction, this process could be accelerated.”
Waiting for the porter to take your luggage? That service may go, and you will be expected to wipe your luggage down before taking it to your room.
It might also take longer to get to your room, with single groups allowed into the lift at any one time.
All of the added extras guests love about a luxury stay may be gone.
The minibar will be the first to be removed, due to the high risk of cross-contamination between guests.
Some hotels have removed additional bedding and even room service to reduce infection.
Rudy Tauscher, general manager of the Four Seasons in New York told NBC: “We removed minibars, excess hangers, excess linens, we took extra pillows out, so there are four per room, instead of six.”
Non-essential furnishings will be removed, such as rugs and pictures because of the danger of spreading germs as well, claims Hosbec.
The little touches offered as smaller boutique hotels are likely to go too.
Cornwall tourism boss Malcom Bell told Sun Online Travel: “This might mean taking out all the toy boxes, the DVDs, the games and the books, as consumers will want to see cleanliness.”
How you relax in your room will change as well.
You won’t be able to stay in your room while the cleaning staff are in, and throwing your dirty clothes and towels on the floor will be a no-no.
Instead, they will have to be put into sealed bags for cleaning staff to collect.
Bars and restaurants
Hotel buffet fans shouldn’t expect to see them any time soon, with it being one of the first things to go at resorts.
Mr Tauscher explained: “I think it’s safe to say that breakfast buffets and communal tables and the kinds of things that had been traditions at many hotels are going away, for who knows how long.”
Restaurants are likely to remove tables and chairs to allow additional space, as well as offer reduced services but longer operating hours to allow all guests to make the most of it.
Mr Bell added: “Guests might have to have breakfast slots if the resort only has three tables due to social distancing.”
Shared condiments such as salt, pepper and ketchup will most likely be gone, and you won’t be able to share tables with anyone outside of your group.
Activities and amenities
One aspect which will change the most is the shared common spaces – such as the swimming pool.
Some resorts are keeping them closed altogether, such as Haven, while others have suggested booked time slots to reduce numbers.
Mr Bell explained that “guests may have to even pre-book time at swimming pools […] to stop people standing outside and queueing for hours”.
Fluffy towels left for guests by the sun loungers are likely to also disappear – with disposable paper ones instead.
Saunas, close contact sport and gyms will all most likely be closed, something TUI has warned they will implement at resorts, while spas and kids clubs are likely to see reduced services and smaller capacity.
Sports such as tennis and golf can remain, as they are able to social distance between players, but strict cleaning will apply to all aspects of the games.
A flight attendant has shared her cleaning regime of a hotel room.
The unnamed cabin crew member, who goes by the online handle SkyQueen, explained everything she does to disinfect her room while still working in the sky.
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