We have just returned from a several-day trip to Szklarska Poreba. We waited longingly for the hotels to open so as soon as there was word from the Government about opening them, we booked the first possible date in the mountains. Today we share our findings with you, and unfortunately we fear that the hotels will soon be closed again. Why? We invite you to read more.
[At the outset, a small disclaimer: this post is not political, we are not evaluating the authorities’ decisions to close or open hotels, although we absolutely cannot agree that the trend you see today is the result of the Krupówki event, or just the opening of accommodation facilities, slopes and lifts. In this post we focus solely on how hotels operate in times of pandemonium and how guests respect certain rules].
As soon as the decision to open the accommodations was announced, we threw ourselves into the search for a hotel that would receive us from 12. February. At first the hotels were surprised by the decision (they were preparing for the opening only on February 15), but just a few hours after the decision we were getting offers about weekend packages at many properties in Poland. Although the lack of an ordinance made it impossible to guarantee the operation of the hotel at full capacity, the facilities doubled and tripled their efforts to provide the best and most reliable information about the restrictions.
On our “short list” were only facilities with swimming pools, although it was also not clear until the end if and how the pools in the hotels would be open. As much as we understood that no one could guarantee us anything…. such times.
So we went full of flexibility. We chose a facility where we had already been – Blue Mountain Resort in Szklarska Poreba. We were very satisfied with our stay before, and now we knew what to expect. Accommodation is not among the cheapest (we paid about PLN 700 per night), but in the hotel’s definite favor is the on-site aquapark, a slope with a ski school, a playroom and super animation for toddlers.
So how did it work out? Is it worth visiting a hotel in times of blight?
Table of contents
Hotel restrictions at the time of Covid-19
The current restrictions on hotels are greater than those on vacations. When we traveled that year, there were restrictions, you had to wear masks, but restaurants, pools, beaches and other attractions functioned more or less normally. We wrote a lot about the operation of such facilities when we traveled in Mazury. So what does it look like now?
First of all, hotel restaurants cannot operate. And that was our biggest concern. For us, a decent breakfast is the basis of a good day ;-) We almost always take an overnight stay with breakfast, because it’s a waste of time in the morning to prepare, cook, clean up. We also pay a lot of attention to what and how breakfast is served, and we are demanding guests in this regard ;) So how was the breakfast served?
We received breakfast in the room at a certain time slot. Around 8 a.m., someone from the staff would come and bring food packed in bags and disposable containers to keep it warm longer. And this is where a sizable p… The quantities of disposable containers are overwhelming! There are a lot of them on the scale of a single room, let alone an entire facility! For our family of four, it was about 4-5 styrofoam containers that cannot be reused. We understand that these are activities organized on short notice, at odd times, but we also strongly hope that facilities will stock reusable containers, or at least greener ones.
As for the choice of food, here the hotel rose to the occasion. There were always warm scrambled eggs, warm sausages, sausages, a large selection of cheeses, cold cuts, vegetables, plus something sweet “for the kids” (pancakes, waffles, doughnuts). The quantities were sufficient and even too much. Here again the environmental aspect – a lot of food probably goes to waste. We would leave the rest in the refrigerator to eat later, so nothing was wasted. However, we doubt that this is what most guests do ;)
It’s apparent that the property was adapting to customer comments on an ongoing basis, because after the first day when we were given instant coffee to make in the room, they started serving coffee and hot chocolate downstairs. Action very in plus!
Of course, all other meals were also served to the room.
To our delight, the pool was functioning almost normally. Almost, because there were two restrictions: there were sign-ups for specific times and the pool locker room was not in operation.
The facility required guests to come to the pool for 1.5-hour rounds. Each round was followed by a cleanup so that the next round could enter. We did not once have a problem with running out of seats for us, although we must admit that at times the pool, especially the part with paddling pools, was quite crowded.
The hotel’s locker room was taken out of service, so you had to go to the pool already changed, in bathrobes. Robes for adults are waiting in the closet in the room, but those for children are already paid extra.
Playroom and animation
The playroom and children’s animation were functioning almost normally. Of course, it is mandatory to cover the mouth and nose everywhere, and the number of seats at the animations was limited.
In such places, it is essential to ensure that children disinfect or wash their hands before entering and after leaving.
It is mandatory to cover your mouth and nose throughout the facility (indeed, all open facilities in Poland). An order that is completely disrespected by guests!
And that was our biggest gripe with the hotel. About 80-85% of guests completely ignore this order! Unfortunately, we know that this is not only in this hotel, but in many other facilities as well. The lack of masks can also be seen on the streets or in stores.
And it works in waves: even if someone covers his mouth and nose at first, when he sees other guests doing absolutely nothing about these orders, he also loosens and removes his mask. Half poor still if he does it on the trail, in the park, but not in a closed room (such as a playroom).
Yes, we know it’s inconvenient, we’re not fond of wearing masks all the time either, but even more so, we don’t want to get sick ourselves, or worse, bring something home and sell it to the family. Unfortunately, some people think they won’t catch anything on vacation, and the fact that they might infect someone else who may be immunocompromised is no big deal.
Does it really need to be repeated that wearing masks reduces the risk of virus transmission? In Asian countries (we especially observed this in Japan), people even before the pandemic wore masks even when they had a small cold, because they didn’t want to infect others. It’s not about yourself, but about others. Many studies show how masks protect, and the latter even recommend wearing double protection in areas where rooms are poorly ventilated, whether we are extremely vulnerable to infection
Add to this the studies showing that it is these airborne particles that we are able to get infected sooner than by touching common surfaces, and one conclusion immediately comes to mind: no matter how much the hotel staff disinfects the surfaces, the greatest danger is still in the air by someone not wearing a mask well. Think about it!
Here we must also praise the hotel’s actions – we met several times that the staff pointed out to guests to put on masks. And the staff itself always had masks.
Outside the hotel
We chose Szklarska Poreba because we hoped it would be quieter than Zakopane or Karpacz. We have seen in reports the crowds at Krupówki, or the queues to the ski lifts in the capital of the Polish Tatra Mountains, and were glad we went somewhere else.
While the hotel where we stayed was away from the center, it was quiet and peaceful, it was tragic in the center and around the slopes, especially on Saturday and Sunday. Lack of parking spaces, people crowding in lines and crowds outside restaurants effectively discouraged us from spending time here.
We chose quieter areas, departed in the direction of Death Bend, Jakuszyce and Swieradow, where it was looser (although even here the parking lots were full).
Unfortunately, people on the streets are fearless, they are not afraid of anything and walking without masks or squeezing into crowds is no problem for them. Again, about 80% of people do not cover their mouths and noses….
Was it worth it? Will it be worth it?
We are happy, and very happy, that we were able to jump out for these few days. We took advantage of the snow, beautiful weather, there were plenty of winter activities, and Olive jumped on skis for the first time and you can see that she enjoyed it very much.
We took a break from the city, swam in the pool and enjoyed the hotels opening.
However, we are even more glad that we were able to get away somewhere at all, because unfortunately, looking at how those who left now behave, the travel opportunities for those who plan to come here in 2-3 weeks stand in our opinion under a huge question mark.
Irresponsible behavior, the lack of any regime will result in an increase in disease, and this will be a very good reason to close everything down again.