Unless your next hotel stay plan is 2 year from now, chances are that some things are going to be different when you actually C/I. Let’s get into it right away and meet the ‘enhanced new precautionary and cleanliness measures’ in place.
The sanitizer greeting will come in before the welcome drink comes. The front office or the reception staff is not going to expect for sure that every next guest is going to show up with their own pen to sign or fill up any arrival cards at the hotel. But they will be prepared as they also should be having a health declaration form for you in accordance with whatever norms they have to comply with. You may find a holder for pens which have been sanitized and another holder where you can drop in your pen after using which will then again be re sanitized by the reception staff and brought back to cycle. Procedure may be different at different places but the objective remains same.
Marriott Bell Desk
Baggage is getting a sanitizer spray before it gets on the luggage rack
Technology/Automation:– Unless you are already in one of the ultra luxury ones, you may still be able to find ‘automation’ with upscale hotels that has taken command of gadget connections inside the rooms such as controlling your AC thermostat or movement of curtains or your TV remote or even lighting inside the rooms. Already, there are hotels using various apps including Amazon Alexa to name a few. Don’t be surprised if you hear of hotels having robots clean certain areas. This is not new but now just makes that much more sense to the hotel showcasing their efforts in taking care of their guests for minimizing any chances of human touch contamination.
Contactless Mobile C/I & C/O: Marriott has come up for example with some refined app modifications which you can use to C/I, open your room door and even C/O avoiding any need for any physical touch and your Contactless Room Key is your mobile itself,
Baggage: You baggage will most likely be sanitized before being loaded into the luggage container. Allow it to get a nice shower too!
Inside your room: Don’t expect anything drastic to be taken off or modified inside the room. Thankfully as of now, nothing similar is happening either. Hotel chains around the world have of course made amendments in what stays inside the room and what’s not (other than you), what gets disinfected every now and then, what gets cleaned deep, how often ‘that article’ gets disinfected or cleaned and so on. None of these measures should be able to spoil your hotel room experience in my opinion. At least, I am not getting one of my mattresses taken away, neither I would be reprimanded for not wearing the face mask inside my own room. I am a free man inside my room. What may have been changed actually could be something that you may not even notice. Like for example.. some hotel chains have taken off those extra hangers from your wardrobe. Well, I didn’t know how many there were before I came in so I am not ripped. If you have been not been to this hotel before, then you may not even realize that the complimentary stationary kit that was there last time is missing now, not a big deal- is it? What I would expect and also be able to tell very quickly will be the normal.. ‘that is the cleanliness and expect it to be higher if not excellent.
“Hilton defines a new standard of cleanliness with their ‘Hilton Clean Stay’ program” (Image Credit- Hilton Hotels)”
Minibars: may be a bit of a disappointment if you are one of those who like to keep it replenished at all times or those who check into those lavish rooms and love the look of that filled up mini bar and suddenly find out that you have been thirsty for a while. But you should be able to get your orders happily served in your room.
Bathroom: The new toiletry addition if any should be that mini sanitizer again. No Surprise. May be a pretty designer leaflet hanging on the inside of the door to reinforce your confidence in the cleanliness program and work ethics of the hotel as to how good the hotel is doing to make your stay healthier and free from chances of contamination. Let’s not expect that the shower mixer has been removed amid covid 19 or the bathroom mirror has been taken off so there is not that 2nd guy in the bathroom at the same time who gets really close when you look upfront.
Elevators: Rest assured, you will NOT be climbing the stairs because someone said Covid loves the elevators. But make sure to read the revised maximum capacity rules clearly written and the distancing basic reminders so yes, there may be wait involved for your turn.
The Housekeeping: department in your hotel is what could be feeling the maximum brunt of this new protocol. There job should be well cut out as you should find them sanitizing common touch surfaces such as elevator touch panels, door handles, corridors, hand rails, electrical switches, remote controls and many public areas frequently which comes in as an addition to their already existing duties. And these are not all by the way and I am not trying to say here that other departments do not have their work cut out.
At the restaurants: Well, the table layout you are seeing may not be the regular one. There is a good chance that layouts have been altered already to create space and avoid congestion at any place. Doesn’t matter as long as I get a table! Restaurant team should be easily noticed sanitizing every table and upholstery after each seating including ‘before your seating’. Service staff could and should be wearing hand gloves at all times. You may not find those flower pots at the centre of your table or those cruet sets, the ones with salt and pepper. Instead, you may be offered fixed small portions or sachets as use and throw. There is a good chance depending upon what sort of a menu card a food or beverage outlet was having in the first place, you may find paper printed menu cards presented to each table as they sit and then discarded off after every seating. Something new on the menu… yes there are some immunity boosting dishes that have made their way to the ‘Oberoi Hotels’ menus!
Buffets if at all any you may find could have a wait or kitchen staff to serve the dishes instead of you doing it yourself. Well I would be happy to have anything served as long as I can see the buffet specially the breakfast one. Besides, it should come with enhanced table service by the wait staff so should in fact be an added good service experience although I would try to remain patient. Signing your check after your meal may not be mandatory either as before or you may be provided with those sanitized pens that we discussed before which go into circulation from used, then sanitized, then reused.
“At least, I am not getting one of my mattresses taken away, neither I would be reprimanded for NOT wearing the face mask inside my own room.”
Spa, Fitness Centers & Business Lounges: You could well be expected here to wipe off any bench or equipment or a keyboard with sanitizer wipes yourself after you use them as you move from bench to bench if not the extra staff is already taking care of that. And this is indeed a courtesy thing to say the least now. How many guests are allowed in to use the services at a particular time is not an issue at present as I write because we know that the occupancy in hotels is low at present. If the spa is functional, simply expect disposable napkins, towels and aprons being used. They were not letting me take them home earlier too so I don’t mind the new disposable ones!
At the Pool: A distance between the sun chairs or deck loungers would not disappoint me as long as the pool is up and running and this is one of the basic changes that you shall see unless it’s that curvy lady at the pool who would have been better off at a nearer visual to you- Yes You!. The water inside the pool is anyways taken care of by chlorination and other disinfecting procedures in place which we can expect good hotels to be taking care of anyways. At most, the frequency of cleaning the pool should be at least double so you may realize that the pool is open for limited hours or may see the board ‘now closed for cleaning’ a little more than often. Be prepared first up by getting to know the opening hours so you could plan your time at the pool accordingly.
Summing it up
So, if you were planning and restricted by thoughts that the experience is going to be hampered because of covid related measures only, than I would have to say that getting your hands sanitized every now and then, standing in the same queues that you would have anyways but just that you have to stand slightly further apart or not having a flower pot at the centre of you restaurant table is going to ruin your experience, give it a second thought. All you may need is a little more patience at times. You are good to go !