Health workers make Alimara Barcelona Hotel their home
The transformation of Alimara Barcelona Hotel into a Hotel-Hospital for health workers
Alimara Barcelona Hotel has become a home for many health workers during lockdown. This is the first time, after 25 years hosting holidaymakers, business travelers, conferences, weddings and other events, that it has exclusively hosted health workers. The hotel has hosted health workers mostly from Vall d’Hebron Hospital and other nearby hospitals, who have had to stay away from their homes because their loved ones belonged to vulnerable groups or because they had to change their usual work shifts during the estate of emergency caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The hotel transformation took place very rapidly; the hotel facilities were ready in one week thanks to the effort and dedication from our staff and the cooperation with other accommodation establishments that had also adapted to host patients and kindly shared their experience with us. The hotel did not host COVID-19 patients but the health and safety measures to protect both health workers and hotel staff had to be exactly the same.
Staff, gastronomic offer, facilities and services have been adapted to the new
Health measures must, therefore, be strict for both patients and health workers; since health workers come in and out on a daily basis that implies more interaction with hotel staff, and this is the main reason why Alimara Barcelona Hotel made several changes in different areas.
Hotel staff received extensive information about COVID-19 to learn about its transmission, the correct way to wash hands and how to put on and take off PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) in the safest way possible. The facilities also experienced changes, for instance, creating a safe entrance corridor at reception that helps maintain a safe distance. With the same purpose, both the hotel restaurant and bar were closed but were turned into a canteen for our staff.
Serving meals to our hosts, a real challenge
The food and beverage service is key for any hotel, but in the current circumstances many more challenges arise since the regulations to provide health workers with their meals with maximum safety are strict and at the same time, a balanced diet with locally sourced produce or different dietary needs must be catered for.
Guests must eat their meals in their room to guarantee their safety and that means having to tailor individually packed menus that can be warmed up and served at very different times to adapt to the very many work shifts health workers have. This is why we fitted each floor with an office-kitchen equipped with a microwave oven, a capsules coffee machine and seasoning ingredients. All meals, except for quarantined people, must be served cold to prevent fermentation from happening.
We also provide all rooms with bottled water every day and meals are served door to door inside a bag with single use cutlery. Although it may seem a simple process, we had to purposely create a space to be able to prepare these meals with the required time and thoroughness.
On the other hand, rooms were adapted for individual occupancy and measures were taken to facilitate their cleaning and disinfection. In the words of Eva Viciano, Chief Operating Officer of the hotel “We have intensified the cleaning service and placed hydroalcoholic solutions in many spaces of the hotel”.
The use of the five elevators had to change too: two were for guests use only, one for moving food and two for exclusive use of cleaning staff. Since Alimara Barcelona Hotel has five elevators, this adaptation could be done swiftly. Other ordinary procedures had to be changed too, for instance check-in procedures for health workers, waste management and others.
Alimara Barcelona Hotel is fully aware of the tough circumstances our health workers are going through and we have been posting daily messages of encouragement on the elevator walls to cheer both health workers and our staff up. We also hung a whiteboard with markers, on each floor for our guests to write and share their thoughts, feelings and wishes. This idea was warmly welcomed and as Viciano points, “most messages were thankful messages”.
Alimara Hotel Barcelona, committed with the community
The current circumstances are undoubtedly exceptional, but this has not been the first time our hotel reaches to our community. A few years ago, the nearby neighborhood of El Carmel suffered an important accident, and we hosted many families who had been left homeless.
Sustainability and commitment with the community and the environment are CETT’s core and they still are nowadays when it is the time to find solutions in times of global emergency.
If you want to know how this transformation has been lived at Alimara Hotel Barcelona, click here to watch it on TV3 program’s Primera Línia, and see the hotel Manager Eva Viciano talk about it.
Vall d’Hebron Hospital has also used social media to talk about the support given by Alimara Barcelona Hotel, through the testimony of Eva Viciano and many health workers who share their experiences of living in the hotel. You can read about it here and here.