On July 10th, 2020, Ryan Adelson, our Content Marketing Manager for Flight Centre Travel Group, visited the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto, Ontario -- which is part of the Accor hotel group. The Fairmont Royal York is a 5-star hotel in Downtown Toronto, which during COVID-19 played host to 10,000 + front line hospital workers for a total of 600,000 room nights as part of their RestSafe program. As COVID-19 cases continue to decline in Toronto, the program ended on July 4th and the hotel is excited to welcome guests back. We sent Ryan to stay the night and find out what has changed as the hotel adapts to our new normal.
Should you visit a Fairmont hotel, you'll find that the check-in process has changed substantially post COVID-19. These changes include:
- Masks are provided complimentary and mandatory inside the hotel
- A wellness check is performed upon entry with a temperature check, and a series of questions
- There is now a Plexi-glass shield at the guest reception.
- All staff are wearing masks and gloves
- Guests now swipe their own credit card for payment
- Hand sanitizer provided at all counters
- Social distancing stickers on the floor where lines form
We spoke with Warren Downs, the Rooms Operations Manager at Fairmont Royal York who went over some of the new protocols.
General protocols include:
- At the beginning of each shift, staff are required to sign in and take a wellness check that includes a temperature check and fill out a health questionnaire
- All staff are required to wear a mask and (if permitted) gloves inside the hotel
- Enhanced training for housekeeping staff
- People assigned to specifically sanitize and disinfect all public areas constantly
- Porters are available to help with luggage, however they will leave the luggage outside your room unless otherwise requested
Room specific protocols:
- After housekeeping cleans a room, a manager will inspect it to ensure it meets the hotels cleanliness standards
- Hard to clean items have been removed from rooms such as stationary, throw pillows, pens, magazines etc..
- Connecting rooms are held out of service while a guest is next door to ensure social distancing
- Housekeeping will only come during your stay if requested
- All rooms are required to “rest”/ stay empty and held for 48 hours before they are disinfected for the next guest
Find out more about the standard Accor has set through ALL Stay Well.
The room at the Fairmont Royal York was noticeably different, however some things remained the same. Some observations made by Ryan were:
- Thoroughly cleaned surfaces
- Lack of items on surfaces such as magazines, pens, stationary
- The TV remote was wrapped in plastic and placed in a decorative box
- There were no throw pillows on the couch or bed
- In the bathroom, single use containers were available and seemed larger
- There was a Nespresso Machine and Kettle
- The mini bar is present, however it is locked unless items are requested to eliminate the need to clean it every time
Food & Beverage
Dining at the hotel is an ever-changing situation as it is dictated by the province. At the time of this visit there were two dining options available: in-room dining and CLOCKWORK Terrace, their outdoor restaurant. In-room dining currently has a smaller selection and reduced hours. Breakfast is served from 6 am-10 am and dinner from 5pm -10pm.
CLOCKWORK terrace is open from 12pm - 8 pm during the week and 10 am- 8pm on weekends. In order to provide contactless menus, you can scan a QR code that is on each table (as demonstrated in the video) and features a full menu that can accommodate any dietary restrictions. Additionally, a temperature check is taken at the host stand and all staff of the restaurant wear a mask, while patrons are not required to. There is a maximum of 6 people per table and all are spaced out appropriately.
Ryan dined at the restaurant and said that " Not only were the food and cocktails delicious ( be sure to order the 'Meet Me at The Clock' cocktail) but I also felt completely safe and comfortable throughout the meal."
Current amenities at the hotel include meeting rooms and ballrooms, with events being capped at 10 people. Catering is not available, however, it is possible to order in-room dining. Specific meetings and events procedures are outlined in Accor's ALL Meet Well protocol. The health center and pool are not currently open, however Fairmont Royal York expects both to open shortly.
" This was my first time back at a hotel and I have to say it was a very comfortable and seamless stay! Knowing that the Fairmont is taking everything so seriously put me at ease, it felt like they thought of everything! I really enjoyed the friendly service I received, which translated even through a mask." Said Ryan of her stay at the hotel.