Covid-19 Blog New place hotel has a rich history and has seen many things of the course of it’s life. Built in 1906 by renowned architect Sir Edwin Lutyens it was designed as a family home for the Franklyn family. Fast forward nearly 114 years, for now we will bypass it’s time as a boarding school & a conference centre we arrive at early March 2020 and the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. March itself was looking to be a busy period for the hotel, weddings had awoken from their winter slumber & were starting to get up and running. Mother’s Day was a few weeks away & plans for celebratory afternoon teas were taking shape. Of course, the distant pandemic was affecting some countries in the world but seemed a long way away from South Hampshire. We had no idea then how this virus would affect New Place. Like all businesses we started the period with trepidation, watching the daily government briefings and learning what changes would impact us. The announcement that hotels would be closing before the end of March is something we never expected. The hospitality industry where I have spent my entire adult career is relentless. It never closes – EVER! we are the industry working Christmas day & New Year’s Eve. But no more. Covid-19 forced the hand of the government and New Place had to temporarily close its gates. Behind those closed gates a skeleton crew of staff were looking after everything. New Place is a sizable property more than 5 buildings set over 32 acres; it takes a lot of looking after, even without guests. There was grass to be cut & leaks to be fixed! The skeleton crew learned more about New Place in 3-months without guests than 3 years with them. But it wasn’t right. Hotels & venues by their very nature need guests to feel truly alive. It was clear New Place was still a sleeping giant. Fourth of July 2020 a date all hospitality people will remember.Opening has never meant so much! The opportunity to do what we love, look after our guests. Yes, it is different, but it is what hospitality people love to do, so it felt so good to be able to do it again. Now a week or so on we can reflect on the first week back & plan for more weeks ahead. It is going to be tough, it may never return to the normal of old. But one thing is for sure New Place has endured & will continue to endure.