Throughout the pandemic we have kept our London properties – Citadines Barbican; Citadines Holborn-Covent Garden; Citadines South Kensington and Citadines Trafalgar Square open to house and support both long-stay guests and the city’s key workers.
Of course, we have a duty of care for all of our staff and guests and with keeping properties open comes great responsibility. We have been busy establishing a number of extra measures and services across our properties to ensure the safety of staff and guests. For instance, when a guest checks out, the room remains empty for up to 72 hours before cleaning commences, we have ensured that all of our housekeeping staff are equipped with extra PPE and we have increased our cleaning procedures throughout the property. A task force is currently working on new guidelines to follow once occupancy increases to see what additional measures can be implemented to help keep guests safe.
Some of the safety measures we have put in place include:
- Social distancing
- Additional sanitising stations and additional cleaning of the property
- Breakfast buffets (where available) are closed but ‘grab and go’ is available at most properties
- Gym facilities have been temporarily closed
- Laundry facilities are still open, but this has been limited to one person at a time
- No shared newspapers and all shared water fountains and coffee machines have been closed
- Access to all properties has been restricted – doors closed at all times
- Reception areas are being fitted with plexiglass protection and staff members have been given masks
- Enhanced technology solutions to further increase current high cleanliness standards
From June we will also begin to progressively roll out our new ‘Ascott Cares’ commitment across our global portfolio. Ascott care is there to reassure guests and staff that we will deliver stringent hygiene and cleanliness standards as well as safe distancing and continue to provide safe homes for our guests and a safe working environment for our staff. We have ensured that all of our protocols are in compliance with the World Health Organization standards and local regulations
‘Ascott Cares’ covers nine commitments to enhance our existing cleanliness protocols:
- Our Staff’s Work Environment
- Guest Safety
- Physical Distancing
- Apartments & Rooms
- Food and Beverage
- Shared Facilities
- Contactless and Paperless
- Our Vendors
We are also looking at ways to further improve our guest experience. We already have some fantastic spaces within our apartments.
Each of our apartments have separate living, working, and dining areas and offer ample space for guests to unwind, exercise, work and have their meals within the apartment. Guests can also make use of the fully equipped kitchen and refrigerator within the apartment if they do not want to order meal delivery.
With high-speed Wi-Fi, guests can stay in touch with their loved ones or attend and host online meetings with their colleagues. We are busy redefining our guest experience as there is likely to be a long-term shift towards more working from home, deeper health and safety concerns and a rapidly digitising world.
As we move forward, we will review our current infrastructure and what we can upgrade to further improve our properties, whether that is through design or the adoption of new technologies for increased safety or guest experience.
By Billy Hughes, area general manager UK of The Ascott Limited