Hotels in England and Wales are finally being permitted to reopen indoor facilities from today after almost five months of closure due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In a momentous day for hospitality, venues will be able to serve customers indoors for dining and hotels are able to welcome overnight guests once again as part of step 3 of the government’s reopening roadmap.
Even Boris Johnson’s cautious tone over the Indian variant on Friday didn’t dampen the spirits of operators that can finally start trading again today after prolonged closure.
Hotels up and down the country are today kicking off what is anticipated to be one of the busiest trading seasons ever, with pent-up demand fueling a huge rise in bookings as people embrace the UK summer staycation.
Hambleton Hall in Rutland, part of Relais and Chateaux and Pride of Britain Hotels, is set to run at 100% occupancy for four months from today during May, June, July and August, with September and October already looking like they will follow suit. Tables in its Michelin-starred restaurant are booked up until late summer.
General manager Christopher Hurst told BH: “We are delighted and amazed at the demand both to stay and dine with us when we are allowed to re-open in mid-May.
“To stay for two consecutive nights we are looking into October. At Hambleton, if our bedrooms are full then the dining room is full for dinner but, lunch has followed a similar pattern and tables are now being reserved until late summer. Long may this pattern continue for make up for the most difficult past months.”
It’s a similar story at The Idle Rocks in Cornwall, with demand sky-rocketing for the hotel during summer months.
“We’re 95% full for the entire summer across both hotel bedrooms and restaurant reservations,” says general manager Malcolm Wyse.
Andrew Batchelor, general manager at The Landmark London adds: “Our reopening has been a huge success so far. We are receiving reservations for both our guestrooms and restaurants and bars, with numbers increasing over the next few weeks, particularly across weekends, as people look for a change from Lockdown life. We believe this is a clear indication that there will be a huge rebound in the hospitality industry this year as life returns to normal.”
Whilst cities may be slower to bounce back from the pandemic, new hotels The Guardsman and Middle Eight have seen a rise in interest as they reopen their doors.
“I am absolutely delighted to be back in business from today,” Eva Mount, GM at The Guardsman tells BH. “We have seen a sharp increase in bookings for the summer months and we can’t wait to host guests in our wonderful new boutique hotel.
Christian Graf, general manager of Middle Eight adds: “Covent Garden has seen a steady increase in footfall over the past few weeks, and this has been reflected in our advance bookings. London staycations look certain to exceed all expectations over the coming months and we are thrilled that Middle Eight will be at the heart of this.”
Many venues have spent the last four months investing in standards, from furniture, fittings and design to staff training methods and operational procedures to ensure the business is in fine fettle upon reopening.
Andrew McPherson, GM, Grantley Hall commented: “We have built back better in many ways, particularly in terms of flexibility. From ensuring the team is trained and able to work across different areas, through to guest facing areas that can now be used for a variety of purposes and exclusive use, plus terraces have been installed to accommodate demand.”
Andrew Stembridge, executive director at Iconic Luxury Hotels, which includes Chewton Glen, says the hotel is coming back ‘stronger than ever’.
He says: “We’ve used this time that we’ve been closed really wisely, to make sure that when we do reopen, we are absolutely ready. As we look ahead to reopening, it’s about bringing the life back into our buildings again.”
Rockliffe Hall in Darlington reopened in style, with a new video of the team doing their own special version of the Jerusalema Dance Challenge. See the video here:
The announce the reopening of Middlethorpe Hall in York, Ben Fry, the city of York’s Town Cryer took to the Grade-II listed building’s highest point to officially unveil the hotel’s relaunch.
The video was created by Alan Milner and his team at Milner Creative.
Lionel Chatard, Middlethorpe Hall’s Managing Director comments: “We are grateful to the City of York’s Town Crier for supporting the reopening of the hotel and restaurant, by making a proclamation from the hall’s rooftop, with stunning views across the City and its gothic cathedral and the Yorkshire countryside.”