Life in the Pacific Bubble of Happiness. Our resorts are getting ready for the new ‘normal’.
As the chatter surrounding the potential opening of selected travel routes around the Pacific Islands gains momentum, we have dared to start dreaming about returning to some of our favourite resorts. For all intents and purpose, they will look the same as they did when we last enjoyed their beautiful warmth and gorgeous hospitality. But like everything in our ‘new world’, they will operate just a little bit differently when they throw open their doors to welcome back ‘lockdown’ weary guests.
So what will resort life will look like in the ‘Pacific Bubble of Happiness?‘
The death of the serve yourself breakfast buffet
Actually, the death of all resort buffets we suspect, including Lovo’s and theme nights. Moving forward, Castaway Island will offer an a la carte breakfast menu served directly to you on your socially distanced dining table, and whilst Vomo Island’s fabulous cold room of deliciousness containing fruits, healthy juices, yogurts, homemade granola, pastries and yummy cold cuts will remain, guests will select from a safe distance and waiters will distribute directly, thereby avoiding guest contact.
Personal space is the new black
Happily, the game of ‘let’s see how many pool chairs we can fit into two linear metres’ is over. Dining areas and restaurants will be reconfigured to allow more space between tables and pool/beach chairs will be spread out to ensure guest relaxation and peace of mind. Malolo Island Resort is looking to restrict room inventory thereby guaranteeing inhouse guests have the space to socially distance to their hearts content and staff can deep clean rooms at the completion of each stay. The Havannah in Vanuatu has purchased a new boat for its Sunset Cruise – a significantly bigger vessel but restricting it to only 3 couples at any time so that all can enjoy the cocktails, canapes and gorgeous view from their own ‘space’.
Introducing Sanitisation and Hygiene – 2020’s fashionable “it” girls
As our medical experts guide us carefully to the other side of these unprecedented times, NASA-strength cleaning products and sanitisation processes will be used throughout resorts, ensuring that WHO, Safework Australia and local Ministries of Health standards are met. Vomo Island, for example, have introduced a double sterilization procedure of snorkels and masks, and are offering guests the opportunity to purchase their own snorkels and masks if they feel more comfortable. Our temperatures will be taken on arrival, departure and potentially in between and bottles of hand sanitiser will be more abundant than bottles of Champagne.
The $20 million dollar question on everyone’s lips…. will the Resort’s cancellation and change policies be more relaxed ?
Covid taught the world many things. For some it was the joy of baking sour dough bread, and for others the incredible value of human connection. Travellers however, learnt how few of us had ever read the Booking Terms and Conditions we had deposited our holidays against. The Travel Industry for the most part, recognises that as we start to dip our toes back into foreign waters that people are going to be concerned about putting down big dollars against holidays when the world is in such a state of disarray.
Many resorts are consequently relaxing their terms and conditions for people who confirm reservations departing in the coming months. Dates and conditions of the cancellation moratorium differ from resort to resort for arrivals to 31 December 20 or even as late as 30 Jun 21. Many are forfeiting or reducing the amount of deposit required. Some are relaxing their cancellation periods to anywhere between 15 days and 24 hours, allowing guests the opportunity to cancel or change dates without penalty, if a second wave takes hold.
Cheaper, non refundable rates will however, be just that – non refundable. No changes. No refunds. No date amendments. If you elect to book and pay for these rates, remember you are agreeing to these very strict conditions. If you are more risk averse, then discuss with your travel agent the most flexible options available to you.
The most important thing is…that the important things will never change.
As we lament the Covid demise of the General Manager’s weekly Cocktail Party and embrace the changes to our normal holiday routine necessary to ensure ongoing guest and staff safety, we happily celebrate the important things that won’t change.
- The pristine environment – clean air, clean beaches and space for the whole family to roam.
- The relaxed pace of resort life –lazy hours, watersports, delicious meals and cocktail hours.
- And most importantly,the amazing warmth of the Pacific Islanders. The laughter as you joke with staff, the tears as you are serenaded from the resort and the generous BULA shared with everyone from your waiter to the gardener.
The beautiful Islanders are the reason we travel to the Pacific and are the essence of Bubble of Happiness, and we can’t wait to be part of it.
Bring on the Pacific Bubble.