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Home holidays

27 Sep 2020 By ANIRBAN RAY

The travel restrictions due to COVID-19 has resulted in a growing trend of staycations. People turned inwards and options within cities to relax and unwind came up. The recent Eid holidays witnessed an increase in staycations in several hotels around the country. Unlike earlier years when most people travelled aboard during holidays, this season holidayers turned inwards.

Speaking about the trend, Gerald Chevasson, general manager of W Muscat, said, “The travel restrictions had a good impact on staycations. Some of the best holidays are the ones close to home and with travel restrictions in place, people have had more reason to explore locally.” 

W Muscat rolled out ‘a host of amplified events to deepen the staycation vibe’, he noted. 

“We have been thrilled with the response. Our day room offer has also been popular, perfect for kicking back by the pool and giving locals the opportunity to make the most of the sunshine before the days cool down.”

The hotel is all set to welcome guests after the travel restrictions have been eased. The property has taken ample precautionary measures including enhanced cleaning protocols, especially for food handling, surface areas, public spaces and guest rooms, social distancing, and increased frequency of cleaning with hospital-grade disinfectants. 

“W Muscat has been partially open all year but it has been particularly refreshing to reopen the restaurants and pool and dive back into our W way of life. We have implemented all safety precautions in line with government regulations and have elevated our exacting standards and rigorous protocols to create a ‘new normal’ in hospitality to address the unique challenges presented by the current pandemic environment,” Chevasson informed. 

W Muscat also offers mobile check-in and takes room service requests through the Marriott Bonvoy app for added safety. Mobile applications have become significant aspects for consideration allowing guests to check in independently. The Marriott Bonvoy app allows guests to check in, enter their rooms and order room service for a completely contactless experience.

Wellness and health experiences along with relaxation and me-time have also been other motivating factors for guests to opt for staycations. 

Giuseppe Ressa, general manager of JW Marriott Muscat, said, “Since travelling abroad has not been possible, guests have been able to discover that life’s most meaningful moments can be made closer to home. In addition, with wellness more than ever top of mind, people are seeking experiences that promote health and well-being, and this, luckily, is JW Marriott’s whole philosophy. We have certainly enjoyed increased interest from local residents and our stay packages have been thoughtfully tailored to offer a range of wellness-inspired experiences.”

Ressa believes people need to find ways to replenish their body and mind now more than ever. 

“And that is why we have put every measure in place to promote the health and safety of our guests and associates. In the long term, we are incorporating our global Commitment to Clean by Marriott International. In the short term, we are finding ways of combining social distancing with the human connection for which hospitality is known. We want our guests to know that when they walk through our doors, they are in good hands, and that we will take care of everything so that all they have left to worry about is enjoying their stay,” Ressa added.

Katrin Herz, general manager of Al Bustan Palace, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel, said, “With travel being limited, Oman residents have been rediscovering the amazing things that their local areas have to offer. There has been plenty of interest in our staycations from the first day of opening and we have been delighted with the response so far. While we are only opening a limited number of rooms and suites to guarantee social distancing and support our hygiene standards, these rooms are filling up, especially on weekends. Our lagoon rooms in particular, which offer direct access to the resort’s lagoon pools, are in very high demand.” 

The property has implemented a variety of practices to ensure cleanliness and luxury service. Besides enhanced sanitisation, particularly in high traffic areas, there are signages throughout the hotel to remind guests to maintain social distancing, and limited occupancy and seating capacities in restaurants in compliance with local regulations. 

“Our ladies and gentlemen are all mandated to wear protective equipment, and we have installed partitions at the front desk and at food and beverage service lines, all measures that accommodate the ‘new normal’. We were delighted to welcome guests back to the hotel once it was safe to do so and have done our utmost to ensure that they can enjoy their stay, worry-free. We have made several changes to the way our guests arrive, check-in and dine, and so far these have been very well received,” said Katrin.

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