STA, 1 June 2020 - Large hotels and spas in Slovenia have been given the green light to reopen on Monday after being closed for almost three months due to the coronavirus epidemic, however the majority remain closed. Some will start welcoming guests at the end of the week, others later on. Border reopening will be a key factor, say hotels.
After allowing accommodation facilities with up to 30 rooms to reopen on 18 May, the government has now given the go-ahead to all hotels regardless of their size, as well as spas, health and fitness centres, and swimming pools.
A number of hotel managers have pointed out though that lifting border restrictions will be a key factor for resuming services since hotels could not be filled to sufficient capacity to guarantee profit without foreign guests.
The border situation is currently uncertain and many believe that reopening in the current circumstances could only aggravate their financial situation.
Hotels in the northern Gorenjska region have not yet reopened. The Bled Sava hotels network, comprised of six hotels, will reopen only one of them this year. The renovated Hotel Park will again welcome guests on 25 June.
Meanwhile, the Triglav Hotel in Bled reopened today. The facility with 22 rooms could have done that sooner but it had opted to wait a bit. There have been some bookings for the end of this week made by Slovenian guests, said the hotel.
Hotels in Kranjska Gora, another popular destination in the north, also remain closed for now. The HIT Alpinea group, the main hotel operator there, plans to start reopening its accommodation facilities gradually, one at a time and depending on occupancy rates.
The Bohinj Eco Hotel will start welcoming guests again in late June or when the restrictions on the border with Austria are lifted.
The casino business in the western Goriška region has not yet resumed - Slovenia's leading gaming company HIT could have already reopened its casinos and hotels, but has instead decided to wait for the reopening of the Slovenian-Italian border since a vast majority of its guests (95%) come from Italy.
Hotels in the coastal town of Piran are gradually going back to normal as well - Hotel Piran will reopen in two phases, starting between 5 and 7 June and wrapping up the transition period between 11 and 14 June.
Phones were ringing off the hook this week with people showing great interest in holidaying at Piran, said the hotel, pointing out that callers were mostly asking about the current situation and border crossing options.
When it comes to spas, Terme Olimia is resuming business as usual on Friday. The Aqualuna waterpark will meanwhile reopen on 12 June.
The spa in eastern Slovenia expects quite a lot of guests mostly due to a promotional offer launched in early May.
Sava Hotels, the country's largest hotel operator, will reopen its hotels across the country gradually from the end of this week, while the campsite Kamp Lucija in Portorož opened on Saturday.
The Zdravilišče Laško spa hotel will also reopen on Friday, mostly welcoming guests seeking rehabilitation treatments, followed by reopening the swimming pool complex on 15 June and the Thermana Park on 19 June.
The latter capitalised on business and sports events in the pre-corona times, but will now have to deal with a lot of those events being cancelled. The hotel is hosting smaller, one-day events this week though, the first after the epidemic.
The Terme Ptuj in north-east also plans to reopen most of its facilities on 15 June, except for indoor swimming pools and saunas, which are to stay closed until further notice.
Hotels in Rogaška Slatina, another famous spa resort in the country, will go back to normal a bit later, starting with Grand Hotel Rogaška on 24 June.
The Terme Zreče spa, near Maribor, will see the reopening of accommodation facilities as early as Wednesday. Cafes and restaurants will be reopened gradually, while saunas will remain closed until health authorities release relevant guidelines, presumably in mid-June.
The Maribor Terme spa plans to reopen only one of its hotels for now - Mercure City Center will welcome guests again on 15 June. Visitors to Slovenia's second largest city could also spend the night at Hotel City, which reopens today.
Accommodation facilities across the country may rely on additional revenue in a form of holiday vouchers which are to be given to all Slovenian citizens. The measure, intended to boost tourism, is part of the third stimulus package, adopted on Friday, however it has not yet entered into effect.
Slovenians will be able to start spending the vouchers (worth EUR 200 for adults and EUR 50 for minors) at the facilities of their choice by 15 June at the latest, said government spokesman Jelko Kacin at today's briefing.
The vouchers could be used until the end of the year. The government is finalising relevant details.
In the wake of the Covid-19 epidemic being effectively over today, most fitness centres across Slovenia reopened as well. Individual and group workouts are allowed, with users required to heed preventive measures.
The Ljubljana GYM24 fitness centre, the only gym in the capital that is open 24/7, reopened when the clock struck midnight.
Among the first gyms to resume services were also Bodifit (BeFit) centres in Ljubljana, Maribor, Celje, Kamnik and Domžale. The centres call on their visitors to enter the facilities one by one, use hand sanitisers as well as face masks whenever they are surrounded by a greater number of people.
Showers are still off-limits so gym users are urged to bring extra clothes with them. They will also be required to sign a statement on their medical status.
Gyms have adapted to the new post-corona reality, including by setting workout equipment at least 2 metres apart from others. The Celje Top Fit gym has meanwhile amended its opening hours, introducing a break between the morning and afternoon shifts to disinfect all the equipment and air the rooms.