The Extreme Hotel Hygiene Awaiting Tourists In Spain

Posted: Jun 19, 2020

It's breakfast time, which means I need to get my temperature checked, put on my face mask, smother my hands in alcohol disinfectant and wear a pair of plastic gloves.

That's all before I have coffee.

Welcome to the Riu Concordia -- part of a hotel chain headquartered in the Spanish holiday island of Mallorca.

It's been specially chosen to greet some of the nearly 11,000 German visitors heading here as part of a pilot program to test coronavirus precautions and reopen Spain's tourism economy.

Mallorca's Riu Concordia is testing new coronavirus measures as part of a pilot program to help restart tourism.

RIU Hotels has invested in a slew of new protocols.

In our lobby, a thermal camera scans guests when they walk in through the sliding doors: Keep it cool and you get the green light to enter.

But if your temperature gets too high, reception gets a discreet red alert.

"The world is going to see us as an example. A positive example," hotel director Sergio Navarro told CNN.

"We feel very brave to show the world our product. And people are doing a fantastic effort so far, guests are responding so well."

Still, when an alarm goes off in the middle of my coffee, I wonder briefly if the thermal camera has caught someone sneaking in with a fever. Just a fire alarm test, as it turns out.

Hyper hygiene

The staff are relentlessly cheerful. When I tell my waiter I'm breakfasting alone, he congratulates me for choosing "the safest option."

My cutlery is safety sealed and there are signs all around reminding me to stay two meters apart from other guests.

Navigating the breakfast buffet is tricky though. I need to follow the red arrows on the floor to avoid colliding into others.

Predictably, I go the wrong way in an attempt to get to the fresh fruit.

A smiling attendant kindly guides me back towards the tempting croissants and pastries I had only narrowly escaped on the first round, but only after giving me another squirt of gel disinfectant.

"The world is going to see us as an example. A positive example," hotel director Sergio Navarro told CNN.

All the guests around me are German. The hotel has been booked by tour operator TUI, the world's number one tour business.

"Destination Experience Representatives" with turquoise shirts and the smiling TUI logo mill around the lobby and pool as more reassurance for guests.

The precautions and extra care are understandable -- tourism has plummeted during the pandemic and there's a lot to prove for tour operators and hotels.

"Our first flights from Germany to Mallorca have been sold out within 36 hours and our guests enjoyed the warm welcome," TUI said in a statement to CNN

By Atika Shubert
June 19, 2020
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