The family owners of the Griffin Hotel Group which includes the four-star Hotel Kilkenny plan to re-open each of their properties in planned stages this summer.
The first properties in the group to re-open are the four-star Hotel Kilkenny and the Ferrycarrig Hotel in Wexford which will both re-open to guests on July 3. The five-star Monart Destination Spa will re-open one month later on August 3. Each hotel is planning to operate with reduced occupancy to facilitate current social distancing guidelines.
Owners and operators Liam Anthony and Michael Griffin have been working with their senior teams to implement safe COVID operational protocols, adopt new technology and work practices to assist wherever possible in contactless service delivery with appropriate social distancing. The company has also added enhanced disinfection technology to provide an entirely new level of long-term anti-microbial protection, which complements its already robust hygiene systems and practices.
Michael Griffin CEO says “From late March we began starting from a simple first-principles approach, a blank slate with just a single question; how can we prevent the unintentional transmission of COVID within our workplace for the health of our team members and customers? Since then we have researched international best practice for our industry and have been building a model of appropriate and valid measures to meet this challenge. We welcome the recent IHF guidelines for the Irish hospitality sector, which will help, all within our industry to deliver safe services to guests during the new COVID normal. We now look forward to welcoming guests back to our properties this summer and can assure them that very robust COVID safety protocols will be in place for everyone’s safety.”
Liam Anthony said: “We are very fortunate that our hotel properties have ample space both inside and outside. Our restaurants can offer indoor and outdoor dining weather permitting. We will be making use of all the great space to ensure appropriate distancing.”
For guests arriving to check-in, they will, of course, receive the traditional warm Griffin Group welcome, but at a distance. The properties will feature clear guidelines on services available to guests with appropriate social distancing measures, ample public hand sanitisation, and staff utilising appropriate PPE. The company has invested in new technologies to assist with service delivery and sanitisation.
Projects currently in development include the use of mobile phone check-in / check out and the ability to use your own smart device to order and pay for your meal from your own table. Michael Griffin CEO says, “technology development can often run longer than expected; we are working with third-party suppliers on these technical solutions; however in the meantime, we have provided safe solutions for everyone to use, but we are keen to see these morph through technology to be more environmentally sustainable”.
Speaking of finding a balance between COVID protocols and relaxation Liam Anthony said: “We want our guests to feel safe in order to relax and enjoy themselves, as they always have when they arrive at our hotels, so we have focused as a brand on our team training, understanding and guest safety. Safety is something we are not willing to compromise on and we strongly believe it is in the best interest of all of our stakeholders; valued guests and team members alike”.
The company is ensuring that all employees are appropriately trained on COVID protocols, are provided with appropriate PPE, complete PPE training and have access to mental health support. All back of house equipment such as laundry and washing machines have received appropriate COVID programs to assist with international thermal disinfection guidelines. Common touch items will be replaced with disposable options in bedrooms. Finally, the company has added an entirely new layer of disinfection to its hygiene systems; on common touch, bedrooms and public areas. While maintaining the use of normal COVID certified disinfectant products the company has added the New Zealand manufactured long-lasting anti-microbial disinfectant Zoono to its arsenal of anti-COVID measures. This product is applied as a 20-micron mist to any surface and after drying for 10 minutes provides 30 days protection on any hard surface against 99.9% of all bacteria and viruses.
Michael Griffin CEO said: “The addition of Zoono disinfection to our standard was considered by the company to provide an extra layer of sanitisation; beyond the expected and as a complementary treatment to our standard best practices. We decided to deploy this extra layer of security to all our public areas, kitchens, bedrooms and bathrooms. It is possible that with the benefit of hindsight we might have erred on the side of caution by adding this additional protection; but we feel at this point in time it sets the right standard for our group, to go above the norm and help provide the safest environment possible for our team members and guests alike”.
Liam Anthony said: “Overall, we are very much looking forward to welcoming back our teams and our guests at the Griffin Group, we are satisfied that we have taken every measure possible to do this in a safe manner. We know lots of families are disappointed not to be travelling overseas this summer but holidaying in Ireland isn’t a sacrifice, we are fortunate to live in one of the most beautiful places in the world and we hope that everyone sees this summer as an opportunity to see more of Ireland.”
For further details see Hotelkilkenny.ie,