Checking-in: Here is what you can expect with hotels reopening in Chennai
Hotels reopen their doors this week. And as one might expect — the view is a little different from your restaurant table.
QR-code enabled menus mean you touch your phone to place an order, not the actual menu itself. Forks and spoons won’t be laid bare beside your plate anymore. Instead, expect pre-packaged cutlery to arrive at the same time you do. And as per the government mandate of restaurants operating at 50 percent capacity — social distancing between tables ranging from five to seven feet, as spokespersons from hotels have told us. As for buffets — no one seems to be waiting in line for this set up to come back.
The buzzword around most operational and functional décor changes is contactless.
Servers will be armed with gloves, mask, and visors — like something of out a SciFi movie. And if you want to make a complaint about any of the above, you can summon the ‘hygiene manager’. Tarun Seth, GM of Hyatt Regency Chennai says, “We have a full-time hygiene manager to monitor all aspects of the hotel’s safety and hygiene practices. Our kitchen and service team has been trained on safety protocols and physical distancing while at work. They will be rostered in a manner that is safe and suitable for the experience of our guests.”
The experience for all our guests will be enhanced with more contactless options; be it ordering food or making the payment.
—Deva Kumar, Executive Chef, Hyatt Regency Chennai
This is apart from what is now ‘normal’ and no longer new after months of engrained habit: temperature checks, sanitization points aplenty and luggage handles wiped down with disinfectant, well before you step into the lobby. Meanwhile, rooms will be allotted after 24 hours between guests, after a stringent deep cleaning and sanitization protocols, according to a spokesperson at ITC Grand Chola.
In good spirits
With anticipation around bars reopening soon, there is a focused effort to be ready to go, the moment the announcement drops. That means menus being prepped with immunity-boosting cocktails and even mock social distancing parties complete with allocated ‘circles’ for a guest to safely enjoy a drink — while her plus one waves over from across the room!
I am very excited that hotels are opening up again. I’ve been missing eating Gilli Biryani at the Taj and midnight food at 601. I think it’s high time, businesses need to survive. Of course, social distancing and being careful especially when you are drinking and tend to lose control is just as important.
— Karun Raman, fashion choreographer
Even if you don’t intend to step out of home except for a special occasion — there are revised norms to adhere to. “The number of covers per table has been reduced ie a table which previously could take six guests will now accommodate only four and a four-member table will be reduced to two,” says Pranav Khanolkar, Food and Beverage Manager of The Westin Chennai Velachery. Smaller tables also mean smaller menus on hand to make for viable economic sense, Ashutosh Nerlekar, executive chef of The Park Chennai, points out.
As the hospitality segment gears up to go back into business, there is a veil of anxiety in the air. But that’s when “an unexpected WhatsApp message from a regular guest pops up that reads: Are you opening?” chef Ashutosh shares. And for a moment, it’s almost like things are back to normal.
Pics courtesy: ITC Grand Chola