The coronavirus pandemic has upended our travel patterns, behaviour and expectations. With health and safety top of mind for everyone, potential travellers are less concerned with thread counts and more interested in concrete commitments to their health and well-being.
As British Columbia moves into Phase 3 of its reopening plan permitting greater in-province travel, the Vancouver hotel sector is ready to address the public’s health concerns. These hotels have been working hard to ensure that they not only meet but exceed government health and safety guidelines to reopen and welcome guests with exceptional comfort, and peace of mind.
Fairmont Pacific Rim
In accordance with new operational standards, the Fairmont Pacific Rim in Coal Harbour has reopened its rooms for guests along with many of its award-winning food and beverage venues and signature hotel amenities, including the rooftop pool.
The new AllStayWell standards being implemented at Fairmont Pacific Rim and at Fairmont properties across North and Central America (including the city’s Waterfront, Hotel Vancouver and Fairmont Airport) were developed and vetted by a team of expert scientific advisors to ensure maximum efficacy in preventing the spread of all viruses and pathogens.
“The hotel’s top priority remains the safety, care and wellbeing of our Fairmont Pacific Rim family,” says Jens Moesker, regional vice-president and general manager, Fairmont Pacific Rim. “As we welcome our friends, family and community back, we are looking ahead to ensure that our valued guests and employees will always be looked after with the highest degree of safety, care and comfort.”
The Fairmont’s protection measures for guests and employees include: physical distancing; mandatory screening for all guests and employees, which may include a temperature check; masks provided to guests and worn by all employees; a 48-hour “settling period” for occupied rooms post-departure; increased frequency of cleaning and disinfecting, with a focus on common areas; and continued use of EPA-registered disinfecting chemicals, proven effective in preventing the transmission of COVID-19.
The hotel reopened its Lobby Lounge and Raw Bar for daily service in early June, including a new cocktail hour daily from 3-6 pm, as well as weekend brunch. Giovane café + eatery has reopened its in-house and patio seating (with physical distancing), and the rooftop pool is open Friday to Sunday from 10:30 am to 6 pm.
In celebration of the hotel’s 10th anniversary, the Pacific Rim has extended its Stay Close, Every Second Night on Us special offer until June 26 for bookings into 2021.
Through the pandemic-induced closure period, the staff at the OPUS Vancouver in Yaletown has been finalizing its health and safety protocols in anticipation of welcoming guests in early September.
“Our team has been working to ensure that our safety protocols are clear, concise, and transparent to guests,” notes Nicholas Gandossi, the hotel’s general manager. “As an independent luxury boutique hotel, we need to stay true to providing the exclusive, intimate, and personalized experience that guests expect while exceeding health and safety standards to maximize their comfort and peace of mind.”
The 96-room hotel will incorporate physical-distancing practices and protocols that Vancouverites and BC residents have become familiar with over the past few months. These include masks, plexiglass at check-in desks, extra cleaning of high-touch points like elevator buttons, directional stickers and signage, hand-sanitizer stations, HEPA vacuum filters, and a 24-hour vacancy period between guest stays.
The OPUS will also employ an electro-static sprayer to completely sanitize rooms after housekeeping has completed its work and before new guests arrive.
In a move sure to be embraced by late sleepers everywhere, the OPUS will extend check-out times to 2 pm, a change that may well become a new standard.
The OPUS Bar and La Pentola Restaurant are scheduled to also reopen in early August.
The Westin Bayshore
As part of the Marriott International hotel family, the historic Westin Bayshore is committed to the overall corporate “commitment to clean”.
The Westin Bayshore has remained open throughout the pandemic, maintaining a clean and sanitized environment for hotel associates, guests, and customers. Safety protocols have included deeper, more frequent cleaning of guest rooms and common areas, using mobile technology to minimize contact and enable social and physical-distancing practices; and providing packaged selections for contactless food and beverage service where appropriate.
Marriott International launched the Marriott Global Cleanliness Council, which includes both in-house and outside experts in hospitality, epidemiology, sanitation, and protective health and hygiene technology. In consultation with these experts, Marriott International established a set of global standards as well as hundreds of specific cleaning protocols for the physical spaces in their hotels.
At Marriott hotels, including at the Westin Bayshore and the JW Marriott Parq Vancouver, the scientifically supported practices and innovations are overseen by a Cleanliness Champion — the on-property cleaning and hygiene expert accountable for the execution of the hotel cleanliness program.
Other Westin Bayshore series and amenities will reopen on a gradual schedule. H Tasting Lounge is aiming to reopen by early July. The hotel coffee shop (T & Co) is open from 7 am to 1 pm daily. Vida Spa is open, and the outdoor pool reopened on June 20. The Just Add Water yoga studio is open on an appointment-only basis.