One of the most amazing (and, believe it or not, challenging) parts of our job is constantly visiting and exploring different destinations for our clients. As we travel throughout the Mediterranean each year, we are perpetually exploring and discovering. Each year, we add new places to our list of preferred accommodations. Yet, we also make sure some of our old favorites are still providing the same impeccable experiences. In this post, we will update you on hotels in Italy, post-COVID lockdown.
What We are Seeing at Hotels in Italy Right Now
The COVID crisis put our travels and research on hold for a few difficult months. Yet as Italy has starts reopening after an incredibly strict (and necessary) national quarantine, we have started to explore our wonderful country again. The hotel industry in Italy is one of the hardest hit by the drop in tourism. Visiting a hotel in Italy now can be an incredibly unique experience.
The past few weeks, we’ve traveled to the Tuscan coast, Florence, and the Italian Riviera. We’ve stayed in some of our favorite hotels in Italy as well. In this post, we want to share with you what practices and rules have been relaxed or changed as we move forward here in Italy.
Italy all to yourself
Perhaps the biggest change we are seeing as we travel through our wonderful country is the few tourists, especially in cities. Most Italians, having spent months indoors, immediately moved to the sea, the countryside or the mountains for a bit of fresh air. This can make a city visit an empty. It is an almost eerie experience. Hotels in cities are, right now, at a fraction of the capacity they’d have during a normal, busy summer. What does this mean? Great personal attention, ease in booking restaurants and museums, and in many cases, wonderful room upgrades!
Check in at Hotels in Italy, post COVID lockdown
When checking in, many hotels in Italy will now ask for documents to be sent ahead of time. This way they do not have to touch or handle your personal documents. You’ll find when entering a hotel or a bed and breakfast signs clearly indicating where to enter and where to stand to wait at reception. Plexiglass dividers are also often used to separate the staff from guests. Masks are required for both guests and staff at all times when you are not in your room.
Many hotels in Italy have started measuring guests temperature with a facial scanner. (It’s pretty neat, look at Christine and Kate playing around in the picture above at the Continentale in Florence!). Others are asking to sign a declaration. This states you are in good health, do not have a fever, and have not been in contact with anyone positive with COVID for the past 14 days. You’ll also find hand gel, masks and gloves readily available as soon as you walk in. You can see the ones pictured below in Hotel L’Orologio in Florence below:
Sanitation, Safety and Cleanliness
Another big difference is the room. Cleaning and sanitization are paramount right now. You might find that your hotel room is a little more spartan than you might be used to. Coffee and tea kits, boilers, minibars and throw cushions have been removed. This has been done to make a total room sanitization easier between guests. It also give us guests a little more tranquility. No worries, though, anything you require is still available and will be brought to your room, in many cases in a sterile bag! (Kudos to the Orologio for this incredible touch!).
Breakfast is quite different too. Buffets are prohibited now under the post-COVID regulations. It can vary slightly from hotel to hotel how they are handling the change. For example, some hotels i Italy have the buffet set up in a separate room. A guest (masked!) can enter one at a time, select what they want by indicating to a staff member, and then have it brought to their table. Others have a small sheet where you select what you want off a breakfast menu. Even others have the menu available with a QR code you can scan on your phone to access the menu on your personal device.
It’s actually really pleasant, more intimate, and much easier this way to have table service. And all the lovely things you need to get your day started! You might be asked as well how much sugar you take, if you want your food salted, and so forth. This is because items like salt shakers and sugar holders aren’t left on tables either to keep cleanliness and sanitization at a maximum.
Social distancing is also enforced in hotels. Elevators have a maximum of people that can enter. In hallways and other closed common spaces you’ll find in many places a sign indicating how many people are allowed to be there at one time. It’s not a problem, though, since most places are still getting back to normal, and these wonderful establishments are all just for us.
Things have certainly changed as Italy moves forward, but as we reopen and start traveling again, it’s also incredibly heartening to see how much they are the same (just a little emptier)!