New hotels spare no effort to ensure peace of mind for guests

Above: At Parkroyal Collection Marina Bay, which was launched on Dec 1, general manager Melvin Lim acknowledged there are added costs due to more frequent cleaning and increased staffing, including the recruitment of its own safety ambassadors. ST PH
Above: At Parkroyal Collection Marina Bay, which was launched on Dec 1, general manager Melvin Lim acknowledged there are added costs due to more frequent cleaning and increased staffing, including the recruitment of its own safety ambassadors. ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH
Above: At Parkroyal Collection Marina Bay, which was launched on Dec 1, general manager Melvin Lim acknowledged there are added costs due to more frequent cleaning and increased staffing, including the recruitment of its own safety ambassadors. ST PH
A worker at One Farrer Hotel sterilising a room using UVC, or ultraviolet-C, technology.PHOTO: ONE FARRER HOTEL

Opening a hotel during a pandemic signals the level of optimism in the sector but it also brings huge new challenges for hoteliers.

The most pressing is the huge outlay of money and time that has to be spent on frequent cleaning and sanitising to ensure peace of mind for guests.

Around $2 million has been spent at the One Farrer Hotel at Farrer Park on redesigning guestrooms, facilities and processes, with input from medical experts.

It also led to the opening of Mint Hotel this month, a category of rooms within the One Farrer Hotel.

The 176 Mint rooms have anti-viral wall coverings, moveable furniture and anti-microbial blind fabrics so guest rooms can be sanitised more thoroughly.

Carpets have also been removed from guestrooms and common areas and replaced with gapless vinyl flooring, which does not trap dirt and can be more easily cleaned and disinfected.

One Farrer Hotel general manager Gilbert Madhavan said: "We conceptualised the refurbishment of One Farrer Hotel upon the onset of Covid-19, taking into consideration all the different concerns guests may have. We've implemented the highest possible standard of hygiene and cleanliness in all aspects of our service, from the traditional contactless entry points and sanitiser stations to launching the Mint Hotel."

At the Parkroyal Collection Marina Bay, which launched on Dec 1, general manager Melvin Lim acknowledged there are added costs due to more frequent cleaning and increased staffing, including the recruitment of its own safety ambassadors.

It also worked with American company Diversey to get hospital-grade cleaning equipment. Lifts and common surfaces have also been coated with an anti-microbial substance.

Eateries use e-menus to avoid contact and patrons may eventually be able to check in on their phones and even have room key cards on their phones.

Some areas will also have capacity limits, such as allowing only 23 people in the pool and seven in the gym at any time. Patrons will have to use a digital concierge service to e-book their slots.

The Dusit Thani Laguna Singapore hotel, which opened on Dec 4, is also taking extra steps to ensure the safety of guests. It installed a system to screen visitors' temperatures and record their entry and exit from the premises for contact tracing.

General manager Eric Piatti said: "These new services will allow guests to check in at any time they wish... and make payment through their mobile devices. Virtual contactless check-in is also offered as an option."

The hotel will also help to host hybrid meetings and other events, where virtual elements like live-streaming technology can be combined with physical meetings. This technology includes an e-network platform, where guests can register to interact with one another while event organisers can conduct real-time polling with delegates.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 14, 2020, with the headline 'New hotels spare no effort to ensure peace of mind for guests'. Subscribe