Following seven long months of lockdown, Sun International's five-star Table Bay Hotel will once again throw open its doors to guests as of today, 30 October, making it the final hotel in the group to reopen.
Located in Cape Town’s Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, the hotel boasts breath-taking views of Table Mountain, the Waterfront, Table Bay and Robben Island.
Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, The Table Bay has been hard at work to put health and safety protocols in place to ensure the safety of guests visiting the hotel; this includes advice from local and international health experts as well as the World Health Organisation (WHO).
I recently got to experience first hand what guests can look forward to during an overnight stay at the hotel.
Health and safety
On arrival, guests are required to complete the hotels screening process, which includes temperature testing and a medical screening questionnaire. Masks are, of course, mandatory. Hand sanitisers are readily available outside and inside the hotel, with visible floor markers to show social distancing from a check-in perspective.
The concierge service (including staff who welcomed me on entry into the hotel) was sure to sanitise the pen before handing it over to me. Being fairly vigilant myself, I found this reassuring to know that my safety was a priority to that of the staff.
Guests can expect lifts that visibly show capacity allowed (which is four people at a time) and includes hand sanitisers inside with visible Covid-19 protocols.
With regards to the hotel's room clean up and maintenance systems, things have indeed changed. The hotel has had to come up with a measurement of how to prevent people from just coming into the room after it has been sanitised.
Dirty for clean
When it comes to laundry change services, the hotel has instituted a system where only one person will seal all of the clean linen and await for its pick-up. It is then housekeeping’s duty to collect all of the used linen and exchange it for the clean set.
The room is then made and disinfected. No one is allowed back into the room once this is done. This has brought its own set of challenges for the hotel in terms of sanitising, as all areas are disinfected from beds, couches and curtains – everywhere where people might be touching.
To also give guests peace of mind, the hotel also offers a self-cleaning kit if they don’t want anyone in the room.
In terms of directory of services and menus, this has been scrapped and instead, guests can view all hotel collateral on the television which will take you on a remote system where you can view the hotels in-room and dinner menus. This prevents guests from touching surfaces, and staff, for example, passing files to customers.
To further reduce touch areas, the hotel has removed throws and scatter cushions; extra blankets and pillows have also been removed but is available on request – this is to also control what is being touched and what is being sanitised.
So, although the hotel has removed this aspect of its five-star luxury offering, the safety of guests is definitely top priority.
Covid-19 kitchen style
From a food and beverage perspective, the hotel has had to revisit its delivery system and kitchen services. Boxed and packaged good are now sanitsied at the loading bay before entering the property. Kitchen staff occupancy has been minimised; previously, there had been lines of chefs working closely with one another, now a visible social distancing spread can seen with one chef, for example, working on more than one element.
Guests can expect hot foods to be covered with a cloche, so as to minimise any contamination and to make sure that the customer will be the first one to receive it. Cutlery is also sanitised by one staff member who wears a mask and viser shield, who then places them in a sealed envelope.
The breakfast experience has now been totally rearranged. In order to minimise having food open and/ or exposed, guests can expect to see sealed jars of yoghurt and/ or muesli, and cloches covering plates and/ or bowels.
Seal of approval
Hotel executives and staff have really worked tirelessly to make sure that the hotel is Covid-friendly and/ or Covid-ready in order to help prevent the spread of the virus as much as possible. For me, personally, I appreciate this – I felt safe and taken care of and for that, I give The Table Bay Hotel my seal of approval.
This has been a trying time the world over and with tourism so hard hit and domestic markets steadily opening, it is no wonder that hotels, tour operators and tourism offerings are putting their best foot forward to restart an industry which contributes significantly to South Africa’s GDP.
And although The Table Hotel has gone far and beyond, it is also the responsibility of each and every guest to do their part and make the best of a bad situation, to not only take care of themselves but also to be mindful of those that they come into contact with. All Sun International properties, which includes The Table Bay, have been certified by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) with the international ‘Safe Travels’ destination stamp. The stamp gives guests the reassurance that the WTTC has examined and approved the health and hygiene protocols in place, and has found that they match or exceed internationally benchmarked protocols.View the Sun International properties Covid-19 protocol
. Robin Fredericks was a guest of The Table Bay Hotel