HOTEL BLOG 15: Hotel Corona



I started writing hotel blog 15 many different times over the past weeks, but I keep getting bogged down with corona stuff. The last time was when I wanted to make a point to family members and friends who haven’t been vaccinated. The heart of the issue for me became clear when I was at my sister’s, who is pro-vaccination for reasons of solidarity. She is currently fighting an illness that is much worse than corona. Only her daughter is vaccinated, two of her sons have spent months saying they’ll “do it tomorrow”, and her middle son is anti-vaccination and is becoming increasingly convinced that this is the right choice. Her children are adults, but all still live at home. My sister is very principled but loves her children and therefore doesn’t push the issue. It is both crazy and lovely, how principles give way to family and friends. Forcing people is counterproductive and being against people who think differently is destructive. I came to the conclusion that I am against people who are against people.

But anyway, that is not the topic of this blog. And yet the corona developments are a good reason for writing. I’ve been working on a book named “Hotel Corona” for a while now. From the title you might think it’s all about corona or the hotel. Actually, it’s about the period in which we built the hotel, that happened to coincide with the corona pandemic. I expected us to be able to open the doors when it was over. But that wasn’t the case. In fact, as well as the restaurants are closed, the shops are now as well, and our guests can only sleep and eat in their rooms. Of course, we always do our best to make their stay as enjoyable as possible. It is a kind of “hunger is the best sauce” luxury: a relaxing bath, watching a film in a comfortable bed… It gets you out of the house for a while and you can enjoy it with friends! Unfortunately, the Netherlands currently has the strictest measures, so we are not very busy yet. But we keep making optimistic plans and sharing them far and wide.

Photograph: Nick Bookelaar

Before we were even able to open the doors, we had to close again. Included in the construction plans is the renovation of the restaurant. It will retain the same number of seats but become half the size, so that we will be able to add nine new studios. Creating and building is always fun, but right now it seems to be the very best medicine against despondency. I’ll be able to add a whole new chapter to the book.

Hopefully, just like last time, we’ll finish the restaurant renovations just in time so that we can organise a festive opening of both the restaurant and hotel together. With eating, drinking, talking, singing, and dancing!

Grand Café van Piet Hein Eek

So, although I might be critical about the practical side of the current policies and the apparent complete lack of psychological considerations, I am also very happy to live in the Netherlands where so many people don’t do what the government wants, and yet where that same government has an enormous amount of money available for support measures. While this support isn’t enough for some, and others don’t qualify, it is enough for us to stay afloat. Our production department seems to have taken off after a long period of decline, with a low point at the beginning of the crisis. And this is what the book is really about; the enormous change we have been able to achieve together. A change that those around me, myself included, didn’t believe in but that, perhaps even because of corona, seems to have been a success.

In short: times are tough, but my sister is getting better, friends remain friends (vaccinated or not) and the company is emerging from the battle stronger than we dared to hope. When we look back, we will see that it wasn’t that bad, if only because it is now much worse or better. Then you might as well enjoy life now!

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