Welcoming diners, spa guests as COVID-19 rules lift

Back in late March, Hong Kong’s secretary for food and health issued directions regarding catering businesses. According to some of the requirements, “The number of customers at any premises on which food or drink is sold or supplied for consumption on the premises (catering premises) at any one time must not exceed 50% of the normal seating capacity of the premises.” As well, no more than four people could be seated together at one table within any catering premises.

In May, hotels and bars breathed a sigh of relief when the Hong Kong government announced that the social distancing rules were to be partially eased. Under our “We Love to Care” philosophy, our dining outlets and facilities resumed normal operating hours while ensuring the safety and wellbeing of both our team members and guests.

Our Cantonese restaurant, Above and Beyond, has resumed its regular daily operating hours. In order to provide a safe yet relaxing dining experience, talents from various departments ranging from IT, hospitality, guest relations to concierge were mobilized to support several operations during a time that calls for extraordinary measures. Meanwhile at The Market, we decided to take advantage of the spacious Silverbox ballroom as an alternative venue for our brunch buffet to accommodate the increased number of bookings.

Mother's Day in the Hotel Icon ballroom
Mother’s Day in the Hotel Icon ballroom

We are delighted to share that revenue from seasonal holidays is better than we had initially forecasted. Take Mother’s Day as an example: This year’s revenue forecast was half of last year’s due to the social distancing measures. It is fortunate these measures were eased three days prior to Mother’s Day, allowing our team to overcome challenges and welcome guests.

With the relaxed social distancing measures in May, all dining outlets at Hotel Icon continued to adhere to the 1.5-meter distancing rule between tables, with the maximum number of customers per table raised from four to eight. We have put in place a multi-pronged approach designed to protect our guests and employees. While all staff is required to wear surgical masks during their duties, chefs are required to wear surgical masks with goggles at all times and wear gloves when handling food items.

To ensure our guests are well protected, temperature checks are conducted when they enter the hotel as well as at all dining outlets. In addition, hand sanitizing stations and UV light air purifiers have been set up at multiple locations in the hotel to provide our guests with the best level of cleanliness. 

We are thrilled to receive an overwhelming response since Angsana Spa, our spa outlet, reopened on May 8. The numbers of bookings are much higher than we were expecting, and our full team of professional therapists is back in service on weekends, providing a much-needed relaxing experience to those who are looking for rejuvenation.  

With help from the Banyan Tree Academy, our spa therapists received special pandemic management protocol action plans in preparation for their return to service. Similar to our dining outlets, extra precaution measures are implemented. Before the start of each treatment, proper cleaning, sanitizing and sterilizing of equipment and rooms are mandatory. All therapists are required to clean their hands with alcohol disinfectant before and after treatments, as well as wear a mask and goggles when they are in close contact with guests.

Without our team’s flexibility, this would not have been possible. It takes a team of talented individuals to learn new sets of operational skills to ensure every aspect of the hotel environment runs seamlessly. The success of managing talent and maintaining team morale amid the fast-evolving COVID-19 depends on one element: the attitude of compassionate employees who love to care.

As the pandemic situation in Hong Kong continues to fluctuate, we remain committed to the well-being of all guests and employees, taking stringent measures to maintain the highest standards of health and hygiene at all times while complying to social distancing measures. When it is time for travel to resume, we will be ready to welcome guests to our safe and clean environment.