With doors closed for months, hotels around the world are opening up in different ways.
It’s been arguably the toughest time in the modern world for all. Both personally and professionally, challenges we never saw coming, let alone anticipated, have become a reality. The two industries hit the hardest from the global COVID-19 pandemic are hospitality and aviation. With literally little to no business at all, these industries have put on a brave face in what they can do for themselves and the world. Hotels and resorts are emphasising graciousness in hospitality and community with various efforts to support frontliners while offering a safe, virtual space for all. So as we stay safe in our own space at home, these are what some of the key players in hospitality have been up to:
Giving back to frontliners
The brave frontliners risking their lives for our safety deserve all the aid and thanks we can give them. The public — that’s us — can do our part by donating funds and items like food to organisations helping the cause, and so are a number of hotels around the globe.
The Ormond Group which owns The Chow Kit and MoMo’s Kuala Lumpur, together with AirAsia are showing their support in a number of ways. The group housed staff of Hospital Kuala Lumpur at Tune Hotels PWTC for over a month in a total of 4,531 rooms. These stays were sponsored by the ECM Libra Foundation, a charity funded by the two major shareholders of the Ormond Group. The ECM Libra Foundation has also funded purchases of PPEs and ventilators, as well as food packages for marginalised Orang Asli communities.
On top of these efforts, The Ormond Group is extending complimentary one-night stays to these same health care workers at The Chow Kit, and a 30% discount to all healthcare workers, PDRM, and the army involved in the COVID-19 fight for a stay at any of its hotels.
Committing to higher standards of cleanliness
Health and safety are two things we can never take for granted again. Hotels have always upheld high standards for cleanliness following the protocols of even the Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC), but now that the world is reminded how fragile our health can be under the circumstances, hotels are conducting new trainings while working with medical experts to enhance its operations. In house, Hyatt has also launched The Hyatt Care Fund designed to support colleagues facing financial struggles due to the impact of COVID-19.
“The world as we knew it has been fundamentally changed by COVID-19 and when we are all ready to travel again, we want to make sure that every Hyatt colleague and guest feels confident that each aspect of our commitment is designed with their safety in mind, and that we’re putting their wellbeing first,” said Mark Hoplamazian, president and CEO, Hyatt. “To do this, we must critically examine the hotel experience from every vantage point – from our rooms and our lobbies to our spas and dining – bringing in the latest research, technology and innovation to make that happen. Hyatt’s Global Care & Cleanliness Commitment is an important expression of our purpose to care for people so they can be their best – now and in the future.”
Sharing local experiences virtually
Hotels are extensions of the communities they represent, presenting forth its culture and hospitality. It’s what we look forward to when we travel: the local experience. Gaining knowledge about countries outside our own, the walks of other lives and what makes us communities special in our own way — they’re all experiences we don’t have the privilege of right now, not even as we take virtual travels from our couch.
Lest we can do is — or lest hotels are doing — are sharing their culture through social media. Take for example the #HomeWithCapella by Capella Hotels. Camp guru / resident Healer of Capella Ubud, Budi, has been sharing the wonders of Ubud, which includes the beautiful story behind the name ‘Ubud’ and their homemade Jamu recipe that has been passed down from generation to generation.
The silver lining is that not all those who’ve had or would have the fortune at staying at a resort as upscale as Capella Ubud, now have a welcome into its world along with a chance to learn from a Balinese healer.
Wellness, without the travel
And finally, wellness is a topic that’s been highlighted across social media and in our own list of priorities — rightfully. Keeping our minds calm has been as important as keeping our bodies healthy. Many fitness instructors and experts have taken their classes online, creating a community based on support and motivation.
Wellness retreats have been a travel trends for years . What began as a social detox for the rich and famous slowly began to become more accessible to other travellers. Staying true to its wellness philosophy — mental and physical health aren’t something to pick up only every now and then when you’ve got the blues — hotel wellness experts are also uploading tips on cooking, yoga, exercise, nutrition and meditation into social media.
“As our guests can’t come to us right now, we want to do what we can to bring Samujana to everyone’s home” says Karen Slocombe, Director of Sales and Marketing of Samujana in Koh Samui, Thailand. The resort has been busy working on its free series of wellness videos, tutorials, and articles for everyone at home.
One of the most well-known wellness resorts in Asia, Chiva-Som in Hua Hin, Thailand has launched Chiva-Som Online Wellness Services. Through the program, Chiva-Som’s most popular services including health consultations, activities and physical training will be conducted one-on-one for bespoke professional support.
Honouring traditions and celebrations
Things are changing but tradition stands, and we’re reminded of the role hotels play in celebrating big occasions. Far more than a plethora of choices for homes away from home (and room service), hotel restaurants have been key in occasions like birthdays, Sunday buffets, high tea, and religious celebrations. All throughout the Holy Month, hotel kitchens were the only part of hotels opened up to offer Ramadan specials for delivery and pickup. Until then, it has seemed like Raya celebrations this year would be missing all of its usual traditions, including the Iftar buffet spreads shared with family, friends, and colleagues.
The Dragon Boat Festival is coming up on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month every year — that’s the 25th of June 2020. Celebrated by Chinese families worldwide, rice dumplings have been an indispensable part of the tradition. WorldHotels has curated a list of gourmet rice dumplings at hotels like Carlton Hotel Singapore, The Kunlun Jing An in Shanghai, China, and Worldhotel Grand Jiaxing Hunan, also in China.
Who knows when this will pass, but we can be sure that hotels will continue to uphold traditions anywhere in the world.