UK holidays: This Cornwall hotel is opening the perfect socially-distanced restaurant

Social-distancing has become the norm for most people in the UK. The government introduced the ‘two-metre rule’ back in March when the country was plunged into stringent lockdown conditions to help halt the spread of coronavirus. Two sectors have struggled the most in the midst of this crisis; travel and tourism and the hospitality industries.


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Bars, hotels, travel companies, airlines and cruise lines are just some of the businesses that have been heavily impacted by the pandemic.

But a few months later and it seems that the UK may be about to creak back to life with bars set to open in the next few weeks.

The St Moritz Hotel & Spa located in north Cornwall near the picturesque surfer town of Polzeath has decided to “put their money where their mouth is” and create a socially distanced dining experience.

The stunning hotel has announced that it will be opening the UK’s first purpose-designed “socially distanced” hotel restaurant.

The idea was sparked by brothers Hugh and Steve Ridgway and the St Moritz Director of Restaurants, Jonathan Domé.

Named ‘The Anti-Social Club’, the restaurant will consist of 14 separate dining rooms with 96 covers.

The restaurant will make sure two-metre social distancing rules are maintained at all times and will have specific dining times for guests.

The restaurant will be a summer pop-up with dining rooms which will be accessible from outside.

The rooms will allow food and drink to be delivered to the private dining rooms via hatches so that human contact remains minimal.

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Sanitation and safety measures remain a priority with each room being completely cleared, cleaned and then re-set-up for each party of guests.

Co-Founder and Co-Owner of St Moritz Hotel & Spa, and the outgoing Chair of Visit Britain and former CEO of Virgin Atlantic Steve Ridgway spoke exclusively to about ‘The Anti-Social Club’.

Mr Ridgway explained that St Moritz allows guests to move in a way in which they will be able to stay safe while dining.

He added: “We thought that people have a need for safety and like to be fed, so this was the perfect opportunity.

“We’re very lucky because St Moritz doesn’t have any hallways so we don’t have to worry about people bumping into one another.

“The bar has a one-way system, we’re offering breakfast in beach huts and there’s a booking system for the swimming pool so families can book it out for an hour.”

Mr Ridgway said him and his brother Hugh decided to just “get on with it” after the coronavirus.

He said: “We’ve very much taken the attitude that the industry must get on with it. You know the government can’t do everything.

“It’s important that we open to help save the economy, if we don’t I’m afraid it won’t recover.

“But it’s also a nice experience for people who have been in lockdown and haven’t been away for months.

He added: “You know, it’s a way in which we can help reassure people too.”

Not only is St Moritz Hotel & Spa offering Britons the opportunity to experience a “VIP guest experience” but it’s helping local businesses too.

“We’re providing the local area with 60 or 70 permanent jobs which often goes up to 100 jobs in the summer months”, Mr Ridgway added.

Fisherman, local fruit and vegetable producers, farmers and alcohol suppliers will all benefit from St Moritz Hotel & Spa. 

The former CEO of Virgin Atlantic added that he thinks it will take “creativity and ingenuity” for the industry to recover but that “our fortunes for winter look bleak” if it doesn’t restart soon.

St Moritz Hotel & Spa intends to reopen all hotel rooms, self-catering apartments and villas, as well as launch ‘The Anti-Social Club’ summer pop-up restaurant on July 4.

All planned dates depend on the government’s advice at the time.

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