READY FOR REOPENING: The protocols being adopted by top UK boutique hotels

The pig

Despite the uncertainty, many hotels across the country have set an opening date with just four weeks until hospitality businesses reopen and start to welcome customers once again.

Here we give you a look at some of the UK’s top hotel’s reopening plans and the new guidelines, distancing measures and hygiene practices they will have in place to ensure the safety of both staff and guests.

Watergate Bay, Cornwall

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Reopening date: July 5

The hotel in Cornwall has adopted a new 10-point plan after following government guidelines and scoping out industry best practice in partnership with key tourism bodies and specialists.

Staff and suppliers

Firstly, every team member will be trained in new health and hygiene related procedures and their responsibility to guests and colleagues. New HR policies and processes have already been implemented, so staff are ready to return to work. The hotel will take all reasonable steps to follow the government’s Covid-19 Secure Workplace Guidelines. Communication with key suppliers and partners is crucial, to ensure that their policies and systems relating to health and hygiene meet the hotel’s high standards.

All necessary PPE will be supplied. This will include face coverings and gloves for all guest facing team members.


The health and hygiene booklet will be available and published on the Watergate Bay Hotel website before opening. The team will update all pre-arrival email communications to provide additional information relating to health and hygiene.

Guests will be called days prior to arrival to complete a simple ‘Health Check’ and confirm the details of their booking. New signage and focus points will be added across the hotel to promote hygiene and social distancing.


A new risk-based approach to cleaning will be implemented and all team members will be trained accordingly. Hand sanitiser will be available and visible at several points across the hotel, including all rooms and staff areas. A new hand sanitiser is being developed as part of the hotel’s own bath and body range, land&water.

Social distancing

Watergate Bay will maximise its large communal and outdoor areas to create more space for guests and also promote a ‘one way’ guest flow through the hotel to avoid pinch points in corridors. 


Hotel restaurants (The Living Space and Zacry’s) will only be available to hotel guests. Breakfast service has been reconsidered and the teams will serve breakfast at guests’ tables. There will be no buffet service with sharing plates or bowls and guests will be requested to book a slot for breakfast.

Dinner reservations in Zacry’s and The Beach Hut will be staggered to ensure social distancing and simplified menus will be created and available electronically to avoid the use of paper.

Tables will be positioned the required distance apart in all restaurants, in line with the latest government guidelines with a new takeaway pizza service available at  beach bar, Watchful Mary.


The Kids’ Zone will be available and the team will follow OFSTED guidance relating to capacity and procedures. The Extreme Academy surf school will be open and, in line with Surf England recommendations, will implement new hygiene standards relating to hiring and cleaning of wetsuits and equipment.

The RNLI lifeguard service will be in place as normal.

Swim Club will be open with some capacity restrictions in the pool and a reduced treatment offering.

Technology and process

Watergate Bay has developed a new guest mobile app, which will allow guests to communicate with the team before and during their stay. The app will also be a source for restaurant menus and general information.

The check-in arrival process has been redesigned, reducing paper contact and speed and tablet ordering will be implemented in the restaurants.

Cash will no longer be accepted.

Exclusive Collection

Reopening date: 9 July (Lainston House, 6 August)

A new app will be available for guests to check in at staggered times, with staff behind safety screens. Through the app, guests can also pay their bill, order food and

All teams and guests can be checked with a non-contact infrared thermometer technology to ensure trust. Recyclable and digital download maps will be available of the hotel and estate so guests can find their room with extra signage also around to guide.

Most teams will be wearing an Exclusive Collection mask.


Each room will be treated with a disinfectant fog following a thorough clean after a guest checks out. This will also happen in our public spaces.

Housekeeping teams will be delivering a new 10 step, high touch cleaning programme in every room after check-out.

The hotel will endeavour to allow a minimum of 24 hours between the last guest leaving and the next one arriving. All non-essential items, including some decorative and information items have been removed from rooms. Replenishment of towels, linen are available upon request to ensure no-one enters the room unless requested.


The group has created a new enhanced in-room dining offering, including all-day room service and food and drink can be ordered wherever guests are in the hotel via the app.

Restaurants have been carefully considered and outside dining is offered with blankets and fire pits. Buffet options have been replaced with à la carte and cream teas, hampers and snacks available too.

During the stay

Exercise mats have been added to bedrooms alongside yoga and pilates apps. Physical distancing will be encouraged throughout the hotel with new sanitising stations around the hotels.

The group is in the process of gaining the “AA Sign of Confidence” accreditation to private an ‘added layer of comfort’.

The Pig Group

Reopening date: July 6

The hotel group, run by Robin Hutson, has announced what specific measures will be in place to adapt to the ‘new normal’.

Check in has moved from 3pm to 4pm to allow for more time to clean guest bedrooms and full-time public area cleaners will also be employed for stringent cleanliness standards.

Restaurants will only be available to hotel guests for lunch and dinner, with dining times staggered to control the flow, while the government distancing measures remain in place. Table layouts and chair layouts will be adjusted accordingly and hand sanitiser will be available on every table.

Guests will be asked to pre-book a breakfast slot on arrival and the Pig grazing breakfast table will be removed.

Every team member will be trained in new health and hygiene-related procedures, with new HR policies and processes already implemented so teams can return to work.

Necessary PPE will be provided for all guest facing employees and housekeeping and teams will be health screened on arrival to each site before they start work.

Transparency with guests will also be a top priority, with information on measures and procedures shared with guests prior to their arrival.

The group’s Potting Shed treatment rooms will remain closed until further government advice is shared.

Lucknam Park

Reopening date: July 5

Lucknam Park is following guidelines set by the World Health Organisation and protocols advised by local and international authorities.

Upon arrival guests will be informed of hygiene facilities that will be on hand throughout the stay, with the 2 metre distance rule being observed by both guests and colleagues.

Each team member has committed to washing their hands every two hours and touched surfaces will be cleaned and sanitised regularly.

In the restaurants, the hotel is said to be addressing the distance between tables with immediate effect, to provide greater space between guests.

Increased cleaning and hygiene protocols which include; meticulous cleaning of public areas and guest rooms using the strongest cleaning and high-grade disinfectant products proven to be effective against Coronavirus.

Belmond Cadogan Hotel

Reopening date: July (Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons – July 14)

Across the Belmond portfolio, which includes Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, a number of new protocols and measures are being implemented.


All staff will receive continuous and comprehensive training on hygiene and cleanliness standards and will undergo further POSI (prevention of spread of infectious disease) training prior to reopening, as well as advanced training specific to their functional area.

Belmond has established procedures to ensure the regular deep cleaning of its hotels and other properties, following a period of seasonal closure. Each property will undergo a deep clean prior to reopening and further specific measures to protect against Covid-19 will be carried out. Once reopened, enhanced cleaning standards will continue to be overseen and regularly reviewed by each property’s dedicated safety management team.

Additional antibacterial disinfectant products are being supplied across all properties and will be regularly used throughout the day to ensure surfaces are clean to prevent the spread of Covid-19.


All employees will be trained to identify symptoms of Covid-19 and will be temperature-screened before starting work. Guests will also be asked to undergo screening and to complete a thorough registration form.


The brand is said to be ‘exploring’ the use of digital technology to provide a ‘seamless service’ whilst maintain distancing levels.

The check-in process will be carried out prior to arrival, restaurant and bar menus will be written on chalkboards or printed on single-use and recyclable material, and housekeeping staff will not enter rooms whilst guests are present.

Grantley Hall

Reopening date: August 1

The hotel is introducing a number of new protocol to ensure maximum safety on reopening.


Grantley Hall will be improving and extending its set of cleaning procedures across both guest facing areas and staff back of house areas. All visitors to the hotel will find increased hand sanitisation facilities, an increase in public area cleaning protocols and a robust audit process to ensure that all new regimes are being implemented.

All staff will have their temperatures checked on arrival for their shift and the results will be recorded in a confidential document held by our HR team.

PPE will be provided to team members where appropriate including face masks, disposable gloves and additional uniform supplies, which will be washed at the hotel to ensure each item is clean at the start of every shift.

Leaflets, magazines and publications will no longer be available in public areas for all guests to use. Instead, these items will be kept behind reception and can be provided on request for guests to keep as their personal copy.


Where possible leave rooms ‘fallow’ for 72 hours in between cleaning and the arrival of the next set of guests and implement the use of a new fogging machine to steam clean guest bedrooms on an ongoing basis.

New amenities kits will include: facemasks and gloves, antibacterial handwash, while relevant guest amenities will be replaced with single use items to minimise cross contamination – eg, tissue boxes will be replaced with an individual packet of tissues.

Social distancing

Valet parking will not be available and lifts will only be used for ascending journeys. Seating areas will be rearranged to create the recommended spacing between guests and work stations.

The maximum table size allowed in the restaurant will be six guests and menus will be available on the new hotel app, as well as iPads provided which will be cleaned between uses.

Grantley Hall is also removing the tray charge on room service, while butler service comes with an additional charge.

Bars and restaurants

Social distancing measures will be implemented when allocating tables across the restaurants to ensure a minimum of 2 metres between each party.

All table reservations will be pre-booked and additional spaces will be opened at breakfast to allow for social distancing.


Access to the hotel’s indoor pool, vitality pool and thermal areas will be limited to a maximum of 16 people at any one time to ensure social distancing with the steam room unavailable until further notice.

Access to the facilities will be limited to a maximum of two hours at any one time with time slots being every two hours from 08.00am to 20.00pm, with guests asked to booked preferred pool visits on arrival at the hotel.

Guests will also be able to book specific time slots in the hot tub or sauna and will have a limited time to use these facilities.

Spa treatments will still be available but from a reduced treatment list offered during the initial reopening period. Both staff and guests will be required to wear face masks during treatments.

The hotel is hoping to host outdoor fitness classes.

Beaverbrook, Surrey

Reopening date: July


All Estate visitors and staff will be required to agree to a thermal temperature check on arrival, with staff required to carry personal hand sanitisers.

Housekeeping teams will be required to wear PPE, including a face mask, blue gloves and a disposable apron. All guests will have luggage sprayed with disinfectant on arrival. A hospital grade disinfectant electrostatic sprayer will be used on bedrooms, furniture surfaces and objects prior to guest arrival and throughout the day in communal areas. Staff have been trained in new cleaning techniques, equipment and chemicals and bedroom sanitising seals have also been introduced.

The same team member will service the same guest room from arrival to departure.


The Estate and Coach House and all facilities will only be accessible to guests with confirmed bookings, with social distancing guidelines implemented.

Spa, treatments and gym

The pools will be divided into lanes with 2.5 metre width and the gym will remain accessible via booking, with classes taking place in reduced numbers or digitally in-rooms.

The Thermal Spa Area will be available to book for private groups of maximum of four guests.

Regarding treatments, therapists will take a temperature reading and guests will be required to wear a mask. For hands-on treatments, therapists will use full PPE.

Food handling and dining

Appropriate PPE will be worn by all food handlers and chefs will be assigned to a single workstation. A food safety inspector will be appointed internally to regulate measures and a ‘no touch’ delivery standard has been introduced for all suppliers.

Restaurant floor plans have been revised to allow 2 metres between tables. Al fresco dining will be available on the terraces, in the outdoor ‘Green’ Dining Room and in the wildflower meadow.

Tables and chairs will be disinfected between each service. Single-use menus will be printed on recycled paper. Tables to be set immediately prior to guests seating time, using single-use disposable gloves. Candle holders, salt and pepper grinders and other tableware will be sanitised.


Reopening date: July

Cliveden has enhanced its exacting standards to a new level across all aspects of hotel operations with a new ‘Covid-19 Secure’ plan and to be present on property, you either need to be a guest, a staff member or a pre-authorised (and health-screened) partner.

Team members

Temperature checks will be taken daily before the team enter the building and each staff member will be required wash their hands (or use hand sanitiser) every 20 minutes.

All team members will be required to wear PPE as appropriate and most on-property team meetings have moved to virtual meetings. Team shifts and days of service have been staggered and the total staff count has been reduced to promote working from home where possible.

Ongoing training on cleanliness and ‘no contact’ protocols for all staff members.


Guests will be asked to complete a pre-arrival health questionnaire and return it prior to arrival. Temperature will be taken at the hotel entrance and guests will receive an amenity kit which includes sanitiser, wipes and face covering.

Bedrooms will be cleaned with an electrostatic sprayer and non-essential items will be removed to minimise contamination risk.

Amenity bottles are available for guests to take away when they depart and the use of the interactive Crave tablet will be encouraged to communicate with the hotel team.


Room service will be provided for no extra cost and a one way system implemented throughout the hotel. Signage will be displayed in all common areas to reinforce social distancing and hand sanitising stations will be provided at each doorway and key public area as well as additional disinfection in place of high touch room and bathroom areas.

Housekeeping will be available on request only.

Food and beverage

The number of tables in the dining rooms has been reduced and the outdoor spaces and food offerings have been expanded, as well as dining hours.

There will be limited table linens and strict table / chair sanitisation procedures carried out between guests. Buffets have been suspended and breakfast will be available from an a la carte menu with more ‘to go’ options on offer.

Salt and pepper shakers will be removed on request and the team behind the scenes will use batched cocktails / ingredients to limit the handling of products where possible.   

Single use menus will be in place across all outlets excluding outdoor outlets, which will have wipeable menus which will be wiped and sanitised after each use.

Other services

Valet parking will be suspended as well as guest laundry services and babysitting. Games, puzzles and bikes will be arranged in advance and luggage handling will be modified. Guests using the hotel transport will be required to wear a face covering.  

Alexander Hotels Collection

Reopening date: July 4


The reservations team will focus on personalising the guest experience over the phone with visitors before they arrive.

Perspec screens will be in place at reception and hand sanistiser in public areas and bedrooms. Guests will be able to arrive at midday prior to check in, with bedrooms vacant for as long as possible before arrival. Bedrooms will be spread around the hotel to minimise contact.

One-way routes will be in place and upon check-in guests will be given an information sheet on the new ‘hotel etiquette’.

Bowls of fresh fruit and magazines will be removed but available on request and scatter cushions have been done away with.

The Collection is using an app to provide guests with all the information that would usually be displayed in in-room literature.

Dining tables will be spread around the terraces and gardens and the app will be used to order dishes, and make small changes, such as ordering your accompaniments at the same time as ordering your dish, to reduce the number of interactions that are needed.

Rockliffe Hall

Reopening date: July 4

The luxury resort in Hurworth, near Darlington, will be introducing new procedures to ensure that everyone adheres to social distancing rules.

These will include an online check-in service, temperature checks, reduced occupancy levels, heightened hygiene practices, unique signage, digital menus and online ordering.

The hotel also plans to introduce virtual services such as video calling Concierge and virtual room tours.

The spa team has also created virtual treatments with ‘Spa in a Box’ skincare kits, where guided videos show guests how to carry out a prescriptive facial or treatment experience from their room, with all the products they need.

A new Champagne and Cocktail Trolley Service will bring the bar to the guest. Cocktails will be made fresh to order, outside the guest’s room.

Al Fresco Dining will also be more widely available across the resort. There are also plans for an outdoor pop-up bar. Guests will also be able to order from a new Picnic Hamper Menu and then find themselves somewhere private to dine on the Rockliffe estate.

The Scarlet

Reopening date: July 4

The Scarlet will reopen on 4th July, they are hoping the Cornish sea air and wide open spaces will encourage guests to visit.

As well as new cleaning protocols being adopted and staff being trained on new hygiene standards, the restaurant will offer two services at breakfast and dinner to allow for safe distancing.

The hotel also expects its spa to be open as normal and there are plans to increase yoga and meditation classes for guests throughout the day. Pools and other facilities will ‘operate safely’ with a booking service being considered.

The flow around the hotel may be adjusted and room cleans may be paused during a guest stay on request.

Carbis Bay

Reopening date: July 4

Carbis Bay reopens on the 4 July with lots of safety measures in place.

Guests will be contacted prior to arrival to ascertain an ETA and to ensure a swift check-in, which will be available through a new app. Screens will be installed at reception and a map will be available to guide guests to their room with additional signage put up.

Housekeeping staff will conduct a new 20 point program of rigorous deep cleaning in all rooms following guest check-out paying particular attention to all touch points within the room.

All non-essential items such as magazines have been removed to reduce risk and the hotel will endeavour to allow a minimum of 24 hours between room changeover. Housekeeping staff will be wearing appropriate PPE and no staff will enter guest rooms during a guest stay.

Food and dining

New in-room dining experiences have been introduced, with restaurant areas reconfigured and single-use menus printed along with blackboards featuring dishes. The breakfast buffet will be replaced with a continental breakfast offering.

Takeaway and dine-in service will be available for all coastal properties.

Numerous hand sanitising stations will be positioned throughout the hotel and grounds and the hotel is undertaking the AA Sign of Confidence accreditation.

Tags : coronavirushospitalityhotelsreopeningThe Pig
Zoe Monk

The author Zoe Monk

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