The Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin reopens on Monday but not with all its usual bells and whistles due to social distancing and other guidelines designed to keep people safe while coronavirus remains a threat to public health.
There will be no bar stools or standing with a pint in your hand, the breakfast buffet is gone, lots of furniture has been removed to allow for physical distancing, and the Horseshoe Bar, a popular watering hole for generations of Dubliners, will remain closed until social distancing rules are relaxed.
On a positive note, the five-star hotel is set to host 75 weddings before the end of the year – many of them rescheduled from the lockdown period.
In other good news, Christmas hasn’t been cancelled although there might not be the same “madness” as before. A big tree will be still be put up in the lobby and there will be a turning on of the lights ceremony, although probably not with as many excited onlookers.
It’s not yet clear how many corporates will want to host their Christmas staff parties at the hotel but they remain on the books and general manager JP Kavanagh and his team will help them figure that out.
And the hotel is still planning to host guests on Christmas Day, with Santa lined up to make an appearance.
“We already have people booking,” Kavanagh told Cantillon, adding that he expects it to be full “whatever full means” in a social distancing context come December 25th.
“We would normally have 280 people who would be here for the full Christmas experience and we would have another 50 to 100 residents who come to Dublin to visit their family while staying in the Shelbourne. It’s a magical experience.”
Hopefully Santa wont’ be subject to quarantine restrictions come the big day.