Cornwall’s St Moritz Hotel in Trebetherick, proves yet again that out of adversity comes Cornish creativity with its Gold win today at the Cornwall Tourism Awards 2021. This prestigious recognition is for its unique tourism innovation during the year that was 2020, namely, the hotel’s ‘Anti-Social Club’; the UK’s first purpose-built, entirely socially-distanced dining concept as a creative and innovative response to the challenges brought to the sector by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Back in March 2020, the team at North Cornwall’s leading style destination, St Moritz Hotel watched in horror as all hotel room bookings disappeared in understandable cancellations. Whilst many in the hotel and hospitality industry grappled with the challenge of converting their current facilities to accommodate complex social distancing requirements, owners the Ridgway brothers rose to this unpredictable challenge, pioneering a blueprint for the UK’s first purpose-designed and built ‘socially distanced’, private dining restaurant. And just like that, the Anti-Social Club was born.
‘The Anti-Social Club’ consisted of 16 private dining rooms all laid out in a grand marquee that had been destined for Glastonbury, with a maximum of 96 covers. It was completely and utterly set up and created for socially-distanced, safe dining. Mixing the elements of private members clubs, private dining rooms, cool beach clubs and summer pop-up restaurants, it featured multiple dining times, clear guidance and exacting operating procedures that ensured the 2-metre rule and environmental health requirements were met at all times, ushering in a new ‘bubble’ dining ethos as an exclusive dining opportunity.
The summer pop-up restaurant was specifically designed to ensure that the individual dining rooms were all easily accessed from outside, with the service function being provided from a central atrium, and all food and drink being delivered to the private dining rooms via a set of hatches.
Although the sun naturally had to set on the 2020 Anti-Social Club later on in 2020, as it was only ever a temporary ‘pop up’, the team’s creative juices are still flowing and they will soon announce an exciting 2021 innovation. With the spotlight firmly on Cornwall at the moment, in a similar fashion to the Anti-Social Club, this will no doubt be greatly received.
Co-owner Hugh Ridgway said of the win, “We’re delighted to have won Gold at this year’s Cornwall Tourism Awards for our tourism innovation. We are firm believers that safe doesn’t have to mean boring and we were keen to find every way possible to keep our St Moritz guests stylishly safe right across our hotel, with an appropriate sense of humour. This year will be no different, when we can safely reopen of course. The Anti-Social Club generated a huge amount of interest, we had such great feedback and we were so pleased to be able to give people this level of experience in the middle of a global pandemic. If you missed the Anti-Social Club last year, watch this space as we’ll soon be making yet another exciting, and innovative announcement…”