With Thailand’s lockdown restrictions loosening, Bangkok’s top hotels are ready to reopen and make their comeback.
It seems our homebound days may be over faster than we thought. As lockdown comes to an end across the globe, Thailand’s emergency decree restrictions are also loosening, and even the city’s top hotels are preparing to welcome guests once more. Though we’re joyous over the return of our favourite restaurants and staycation staples, concern over a second wave of Covid-19 means many may still feel dubious about entering crowded hotels. Knowing this, the city’s top hotels have taken the initiative to implement health and safety measures, to ensure visitors can fully experience their services while staying infection-free. We take a look at a couple of key measures being carried out in our favourite hotels throughout the city.
As we settle into the new normal, desk-free check ins are becoming a thing. Hotels and hospitality groups are beginning to implement touchless services into their daily routines. Avani Hotels & Resorts, for instance, has rolled out their new AvaniSHIELD programme for safe travel, which implements contactless greetings. Offering their own take on physical distancing measures, the Avani team will rely on country-specific hand gestures to replace the classic handshake — from the traditional Thai wai greeting, to Korean jeol bowing, the hand-over-heart gesture, and even the iconic Vulcan salute from Star Trek.
On top of that, they’ve also digitised their check-in and check-out procedures. Guests can easily fill out their registration cards via mobile while en route to the hotel, where they’ll find their room key waiting at the reception. Upon check-out, guests can settle their bill through a secure online payment system, and have the receipt sent via email, allowing the hotel group to ensure optimum safety, while also being eco-conscious. There are even plans to launch a Digital Concierge App, where guests will be able to chat directly with staff members, as well as browse menus, order room service, and book off-property experiences.
Banyan Tree Hotels and Resorts is also taking a similar route, digitising the check-in and check-out process, as well as providing digital options for in-room directories and restaurant menus for easy mobile access. Not only that, but their wealth of hotel experiences — from health to fitness classes, cooking sessions, and even wellbeing consultations — can now be conducted in-room, so guests can fully enjoy these exclusive services while prioritising privacy.
Shangri-La Hotel, Bangkok has implemented the ‘Shangri-La Cares’ commitment — an initiative that is currently being carried out across the entire group for all properties worldwide. Following this commitment, the in-house restaurants are implementing QR coded menus and digital payment methods to aid in contactless interactions. The operating hours have also been shortened for recreational facilities, in order for the team to properly carry out deep cleaning of the equipment and premises.
On a similar front of minimising contact, Rosewood Bangkok has recently launched a luxury drive-through concept, where quality produce, butchery, artisanal sauces and more can be easily ordered and securely picked up. This also marks a way through which Rosewood Hotels & Resorts can strengthen their relationships with local suppliers, as well as showcase their culinary team’s passion towards sourcing and showcasing fresh, sustainable local ingredients.
Cutting Edge Hygiene Technology
While sanitising reigns supreme in all post-lockdown safety measures, our top hotels are taking things to the next level, by collaborating with hygiene experts and introducing the use of high-tech sanitisation options. Accor, for instance, has recently announced a strategic partnership with global insurance leader AXA — on top of that, the hotel group has put in place enhanced health and prevention protocols through its ALLSAFE Cleanliness label.
Under these improved cleanliness protocols, new standards have been set across all Accor hotels, including a reinforced cleaning program which involves frequent disinfection of high-touch areas — think the likes of elevators and public restrooms. Hospital-grade cleaning materials will be used on all rooms across the hotel chain, while all upholstery, carpets, and bedding will be washed and treated at high temperatures.
Shangri-La Hotel, Bangkok will be using a 12-point cleaning regime, along with UV light technology and specialised electrostatic spray devices that are set to be fully implemented by mid-July, to clean and inspect all high-touch surfaces.
Avani Hotels is bringing on board a whole range of hygiene-related tech, from covering their door handles and elevator buttons with antimicrobial copper protection film — scientifically proven to decrease the survival time of the SARS-CoV2 virus — to using UVC sterilisation boxes to disinfect key cards, stationary, and other high-touch objects. Guests can even request their own complimentary mobile device disinfecting service, while the housekeeping team has recently been testing out a new cleaning method that uses UVC light as an extra layer of protection after cleaning. Select properties under the hotel group will also be adding HEPA-grade air purifiers in standard guest rooms, and during the gym cleaning process to remove airborne viruses, bacteria, and allergens. Any incoming luggages, boxes, and supplies will also be sanitised.
Temperature Checks, Face Masks, and Social Distancing
Of course, all the customary “new normal” services are to be expected — cue temperature checks upon entry, and hand sanitiser readily available. At The Athenee Hotel Bangkok, measures are being taken to control access to the hotel, with all visitors required to go through thermal scanners at the hotel’s entrance. All staff are provided with masks and personal hand sanitiser, and the hotel has implemented a strict mandate on social distancing.
The function room and restaurants have also been re-arranged with fewer capacity to follow social distancing practices. All these implemented preventions carefully follow recommendations from the WHO, CDC, and the Thai government, and the The Athenee was recently announced as the first hotel so far to receive the Safe and Health Administration certificate from the TAT.
Banyan Tree Hotels and Resorts will also undergo rigorous cleaning and distancing protocols across all their properties, encouraging appropriate distancing through signage. Social distancing ambassadors will also be stationed in public areas such as pools, lobbies, restaurants and other high-traffic facilities, while group activities are to be carried out with limited capacity quotas.
At Accor, all guests are given their own sanitiser, wipes, and masks, while disinfectant mats are being implemented at hotel entrances, along with temperature checks.
Shangri-La Hotel, Bangkok has also put significant consideration on the safety of their public spaces. Gentle reminders can be found throughout the hotel, asking for guests and staff members alike to co-operate in maintaining the safe 1 to 1.5 social distancing measures — these reminders come in the form of clear signs and floor markers. Door handles, lift buttons, and other frequently touched surfaces are cleaned hourly, while restaurants, bars, and lifts now have a reduced capacity.
Of course, a key part in staying safe and healthy during these times, is ensuring that everyone is well informed of social distancing policies and how to protect themselves from the Covid-19 pandemic. Understanding this, many hotels are investing time in carrying out training sessions for all staff members, to ensure their teams are on the same page, and able to properly serve guests amidst these drastically different times.
The team at Shangri-La Hotel, Bangkok has undergone vigorous training with Diversey — the hotel’s partnering infection prevention expert — to ensure they are properly informed on the enhanced safety and hygiene measures that are being implemented throughout the hotel.
Avani Hotels & Resorts has been working closely with Ecolab to ensure that all measures adhere to Ecolab, WHO and EPA standards. Staff members are carefully informed of measures taken by the group, and a dedicated AvaniSHIELD Agent has been appointed to implement these new cleaning protocols.
A comprehensive safety and hygiene training program has also been launched by Accor to ensure all employees worldwide are able to protect themselves and the guests, while both online and classroom training sessions at each property has been mandated prior to hotel openings.
Banyan Tree Hotels and Resorts will also increase its subject-specific training standards worldwide through the Banyan Tree Management Academy, while Hygiene Managers on each property and key personnel will apply audit technology, allowing for the implementation of these new protocols.
Our thoughts? We are definitely excited to see business in the hospitality sector picking right up, and that effort is being made so that people can continue staying safe and healthy, while also allowing for the economy to regain its momentum. While it is definitely great news to see the city back again, we do hope everyone continues to be vigilant in exercising caution — wash your hands, and don’t forget those face masks!