The tempting thought of eating and drinking out after more than three months of lockdown has led to guests flooding The Chester Hotel booking system.
A staggering 996 bookings were taken in the first hour of bookings opening for The Gallery Al Fresco Experience, which will open on 8 July, Wednesday to Sunday from noon to 10pm. Within two hours the total has risen to almost 1400 bookings.
The Chester Hotel has invested in 25 metre long transparent, canopied marquee which has open sides to allow guests to eat and drink outdoors. It is expected that up to 70 guests can visit at one time while remaining at two metre physical distancing. The Alfresco Gallery Bar has outdoor planting, rooftop lighting and heating. However, due to the demand for tables, a second marquee has been ordered today to extend the covered area further and to give greater capacity for bookings.
The hotel has introduced a new summer menu with a restricted offering, to allow its chefs to operate safely in the hotel kitchens. The menu features Gallery favourites such as tandoori chicken, fish and skinny fries, the Chester hand cut rump burger and full face rump steak and frites.
“We’ve been working hard throughout lockdown to prepare for the day when we can reopen, says Stephen Gow, general manager at The Chester Hotel. “But I don’t think anything has prepared us for the reaction that we’ve had today. We had been considering erecting a second marquee, and it looks as if we will put a second one in place to service demand. There will be a partnership between our team and our guests to make the new way of working a success.”
Guests will be asked to observe the hotel’s new procedures which include one way systems for clients and staff members alike, staffed toilets, two hour reservation periods and cashless payment. All areas will be sanitised with electrostatic fogging technology after every use.