‘We are over the moon,’ Eastbourne hotel bosses excited ahead of reopening
Eastbourne hotel bosses are thrilled to be welcoming back guests with covid measures next week.
On Monday, May 17, hotels will be allowed to host customers in line with the Government’s roadmap to ease coronavirus restrictions.
Langham Hotel owner Neil Kirby said, “We are over the moon.
“I know they [customers] can’t wait. I keep getting emails all the time and Facebook messages, ‘Neil, we can’t wait to come and see your team. We really are looking forward to it.’
“They are all going to get a nice, free box of chocolates in their room.”
Mr Kirby also said customers will be treated throughout their stay.
He said, “We are really looking forward to it. We can’t wait to be meeting and greeting and looking after them and spoiling them and we may give them glasses of prosecco with compliments from us with dinner.”
Hydro Hotel general manager Jonathan Owen also talked about his excitement to see guests return.
Mr Owen said, “I think people can’t wait. There has definitely been that pent up demand.
“On February 23 when Boris made his announcement about the three stages of undoing lockdown our bookings went up significantly for May onwards.”
During a difficult year for the hospitality industry the hotel on Mount Road tried to make the most of it by refurbishing.
Mr Owen said, “We have been fortunate that we have painted every single bedroom, put walk-in showers in, the hotel has been redecorated.
“We do that every year but we took the extra opportunity whilst we have got no guests in to really focus on enhancing all our facilities so when guests do go away they get their best possible stay.
“That is probably the only silver lining from being closed is that we could do a lot of work that generally would have been more restrictive if we would have had guests in.”
Fortunately for the Langham Hotel on Royal Parade they were able to welcome customers back last month as they served food and drinks on their terrace.
This allowed the hotel to get to grips with the current covid rules but Mr Kirby says a lot of precautions are the same as before.
He said, “It is pretty much the same. All the track and trace we know about. Some of the elderly people don’t have phones so we make sure they sign in.
“Masks everywhere, using the lift only if you are a partnership or otherwise you have to wait, and keeping the social distance. It is important.”
Mr Kirby also said ‘vertical drinking’ in banned as guests must be sitting either inside or outside to enjoy their beverage.
The owner said, “We are just saying to the customers, ‘These are the rules. Please find attached the coronavirus rules about wearing masks in the building, do not stand up for vertical drinking, if you are a husband and wife you can use the lift, do not get in the lift with anybody else.’ We have got signs saying that as well.
“They have to walk around everywhere with a mask on. If they don’t want service in their room they can tell us and we won’t go in. They can put the do not disturb card on the door or can ask us to bring up anything.”
The safety of customers is also held in high regard when it comes to staff training.
Mr Kirby said, “All the staff are coming in tomorrow at different times for different departments for a training programme for the coronavirus.
“We have to train them to understand any changes.”
Staff will also be tested before reopening next week and will have their temperature checked each day.
The owner said if their temperature is too high they will be sent home.
In regards to covid precautions Mr Owen said, “We have got social distancing in place, we have temperature checks for our staff, not for guests but certainly for our staff.
“We have hand sanitising units throughout and we obviously follow the covid track and trace requirements.
“Hydro is blessed because we have so much space. So we are able to make sure people feel safe via that way whether it is in the restaurant, the conservatory restaurant, the lounges.
“Bedroom-wise we are not servicing what we class as ‘stay-over bookings’. So if you are staying for three nights you can request a service but it is not an automatic daily service which is probably the only change pre-covid and our guests have accepted that.
“We have very clear guidelines on our website for both staff and for guests.”
Eastbourne Borough Council lead cabinet member for tourism and enterprise Councillor Margaret Bannister said, “We are delighted to be reopening our hospitality industry fully on May 17 and have been working closely with business organisations across the town to support our businesses in reopening safely, during what we expect will be a busy staycation year.
“This collaborative work includes the COVID-Ready scheme, which provides suggested safety measures and risk assessment templates for each sector to aid reopening safely, and both residents and visitors can look out for the COVID-Ready symbol at all registered businesses for peace of mind.
“More recently, our environmental health, licensing and VisitEastbourne teams also worked with the Eastbourne Hospitality Association, Trading Standards, East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service and the Office for Product Safety and Standards on a pilot scheme to support both reopening and diversifying businesses.
“The innovative new scheme provides handy webinar videos, Q&A sessions and online toolkits on all aspects of licensing, environmental health, fire safety and trading standards, to make access to information easier and to help support hospitality businesses as they adapt to a new way of working.”