Hoteliers in Salisbury are ‘excited and ready’ as the hospitality sector is allowed to fully re-open from Monday.

Although some hotels have been operating through lockdown, supporting NHS staff and many other key workers, they are now eagerly anticipating the arrival of leisure guests once again.

The latest lockdown lift comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed earlier this week that Stage 3 of the Government's roadmap will go ahead as planned.

This means most remaining businesses, including hospitality venues, can reopen indoors.

'We're all very upbeat'

Group Sales Director at the Red Lion, Tracey Cook, told the Journal: “The team is very excited to get back open fully. We are all very upbeat.”

Salisbury Journal: The Red Lion Hotel on Milford StreetThe Red Lion Hotel on Milford Street

She said the lockdown had given the opportunity to think about what guests will want after the experience of the last year. So there is a real emphasis on relaxed and informal dining, including afternoon teas, lunches or even just coffee and cake in a friendly and comfortable atmosphere.

“I think this approach really speaks to people’s desire to reconnect with each and do all those lovely things we have missed. We will still be offering the more formal dining too of course.”

The staycation market will be important for the four star, 63-bed Red Lion and for historic Salisbury more generally, said Tracey.

The Red Lion has its own place in history – it is as old as the Cathedral. Stonemasons working on the iconic structure 800 years ago lodged at the Red Lion.

'Lots of enquiries'

Owner of the White Hart Hotel, Alim Hirji said he was looking forward to a bumper summer for the 68-bed establishment. 

“We have had lots of enquiries ahead of next Monday and I am confident that by the beginning of next year we will be back to where we were before the pandemic.

Salisbury Journal: The White Hart on St John's StreetThe White Hart on St John's Street

“Obviously it has been a challenging time for all of us but I am very optimistic. Salisbury is a wonderful place, there is so much to see and just a great place to relax and spend time. It will be wonderful to welcome our leisure guests back.”

A large number of rooms have been refurbished in lockdown, said Alim.

Covid measures in place

Peartree Serviced Apartments has been open throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, dedicated purely to key and critical workers, but owner Arron Howle is “excited” for the return of leisure guests.

The site on Mill Road has been under a £500,000 transformation across the last year, and is ready and waiting to show off its new extension to guests new and old.

“We haven’t been open for leisure but we stayed open for key workers as so few hotels had remained open,” Arron explained.

“We’re quite excited as we have actually been doing an extension, which should have been completed last summer, but because of Covid-19 doing it was just a nightmare. It was completed two weeks ago.

Salisbury Journal: Peartree Serviced Apartments on Mill RoadPeartree Serviced Apartments on Mill Road

“We are excited but nervous, which is always what happens before something big, but we’re really looking forward to opening to more guests, it’s been a long time.”

Talking about Covid-19 safety measures, Arron said: “Because we have been open we have adapted to the situation, especially in terms of being Covid-secure.”

Extra training, a check-in kiosk, electronic locks and frequent cleaning of touch points are some of the ways in which Peartree has maintained its safety throughout the pandemic.

Arron said that some features will remain even in a post-Covid world.

He said: “Some people loved the new check-in but our regular guests preferred an actual check-in service, but now everyone is up for using these features, so things like that will stay in use.

“It’s great news that people have started to discover hidden places like us – we saw guests for the first time [during Covid-19] who are coming back again, so it will be quite exciting to see leisure guests as well as our regulars.”

Arron added that works currently underway outside the front of the apartments are “nearly complete” and will create “a more attractive, inviting entrance to the city”.

'Almost full'

Salisbury Journal: Milford Hall Hotel & Spa on Castle StreetMilford Hall Hotel & Spa on Castle Street

Stuart Earp, manager of the Milford Hall Hotel, said the venue is almost fully booked for the next six weeks, which he is “really pleased” about.
Sixteen out of 45 bedrooms have been refurbished during lockdown.

The hotel’s reception and corridors have also been repainted to ensure the venue looks spick and span in time for Monday.

The Salisbury hotels have been working with the Salisbury BID and the Journal to promote the Experience Salisbury Again campaign.

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