As more and more of us start to get booking holidays and trips, there’s still a big portion of us wanting to know what’s happening elsewhere. I know from our experience of wanting to book a trip now EU travel is permitted, but reluctant to do so because we just don’t know what happens elsewhere. I’ve been sharing daily videos on Facebook and YouTube showing the situation here and giving regular updates to hopefully remove some uncertainty for people, either to confirm you want to travel or not travel, but I thought writing an article might be useful to save and come back to.
It’s handy to have the information readily available, and I’m sure there’s people all over the world desperate to know what the situation is like in Benidorm at the moment, but even more so, I’m sure there’s people desperate to know what their hotel stay will be like. After all, who wants to pay out hundreds, even thousands, to not get the same experience they’re used to?
We recently stayed at Asia Gardens Hotel and Thai Spa which is a 5 star hotel in the Finestrat mountains. This experience will be written about our experience and what procedures have been put in place post-COVID. Hotels can vary with what changes they’ve put in place, so I’d urge you to email or call your hotel beforehand and ask for a summary of their changes. Many of them have press releases readily available sharing details of their alterations.
At Asia gardens, after providing the security on the gate with our booking reservation, he gave us a little information about check in. We were told we would need to wear our masks for the duration of the check in. This is the law here in Spain at the moment.
Although wearing a mask, check in wasn’t much different to checking in to a hotel before COVID. We handed over our residencia and a debit card to hold the room to check in and a member of staff did all of the sorting out, whilst another one explained to us the information about our stay. He also provided us with a map which had information about our stay.
The staff were all wearing masks and did so for the entire duration of our stay.
At check in, we were instructed to go directly to a table with a member of staff at to book in our meal times. Due to the current situation, the hotel has created sittings. We were provided with options of time slots to go down to breakfast on both days and chose the time slot most convenient for us. For dinner, we had to choose the restaurant we’d be eating at and the time for our table reservation.
Although lots of hotels don’t have the variety of onsite restaurants, I do think lots will adapt to having sittings and booking them in as it worked really well. It meant no time slot was overly busy or people queuing out of the door waiting to go in.
At breakfast, we had socially distanced markers to stand at to wait to be ushered in and seated by a member of staff. There was also hand sanitizer at the door which you are encouraged to use. The breakfast was still buffet style, the only difference is only one person (and a child) are allowed to go up from one table at any one time. So, all of the tables can be queuing but only one person from each table can be there at any one time. You can swap over but you can’t queue together. There was also glass coverings over the buffet. You must wear a mask when at the buffet and walking to, from and around the area but can take them off when you’re at your table.
Dinner was similar, however, at asia gardens it was a waiter service dinner. Eating dinner at the hotel at night was exactly the same as eating at any restaurant in Spain. You are required to wear a mask when walking to, from and around the restaurant but can take it off when you’re seated. There are no menus available, instead there is a QR code on the table which takes you to the restaurant menu. There are lots of places adapting to using QR codes as a means of showing the menu, others are having their menus made into huge signs on the walls. Not all of the restaurants were open yet.
Top tip: to use a QR code, you open your camera app as normal and intend to take a photo but don’t click the button. At the top, an Internet link will come up as a suggestion. Click the Internet link suggestion and that’s how you use a QR code! Don’t download QR readers from the App Store, they say they are free and then after a week start charging around £5-£10 per week. Just use your normal camera, which is free!
Let’s face it, we all want to know what’s happening with the pools. Can we, can’t we? Well, good news is, you absolutely can!
There wasn’t any booking for the pool or anything like that. The only difference was we needed to wear shoes when walking around (to the toilets or the pool bar, for example) and we had to wear a mask when walking down to find a sunbed. We were also encouraged to socially distance in the pool (not get too close to other parties).
The sun beds were sanitised after each person had finished with them and were deep cleaned every morning too. Regular cleaning was taking place around the pool area and especially the toilets.
Asía garden operate a towel reservation process. Upon check in, you are provided with a pool key card for each guest. You pass a card which will get you a towel to use around the pool. When you’ve finished with the towel, you take it back and are given a towel card in return. The towels are washed on a very high wash each day and come packaged in bags down to the pool.
As usual, you can still have your drinks and snacks around the pool. Staff are wearing masks at all times.
The room itself
There weren’t any major changes to the room, and certainly none that affected us. The only thing that might make a difference to some is the removal of the welcome packs. There wasn’t a pack with all the hotel information in, instead we had the information map and the information was readily available online or by calling down to reception.
We were informed that after check out, nobody would be in our room for a 24 hour slot as they would be deeply sanitising the entire room. From the TV remote, to the phone to the door handles to the furniture. The cleaner came in each day to clean the room too, as normal.
Although we opted to charge everything to our room and then pay it on our card on check out, you could use your card, Apple Pay or cash to pay for food, drinks etc. Using cash is becoming more common here again now.
Common areas are all open and have places for you to sit and relax.
The kids club was operational as normal. The children weren’t wearing masks at the kids club.
The biggest change was the wearing of masks which is required by law in Spain. You will receive hefty fines from the authorities if you fail to wear a mask when socially distancing is not possible. I would advise you to invest in a comfortable mask as the mask wearing has become much more comfortable for us since doing so. You will only be required to wear it at check in (a short time), around the hotel when you can’t social distance (very rarely), at the buffet, and when entering/exiting the restaurants/bars.
Hope this helps! If you’d like to receive email notifications of blog posts you can type your email in the address box to the right of your screen if viewing on a desktop or at the bottom of this screen if viewing on a mobile or Tablet. I post daily spain content over on my Instagram, Spain with Lauren
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