”What we want to offer to the guests is an experience, that is based on the location itself, the very fact that they will stay in a historical building, in an actual castle” – interview with Rácz Lilla, the owner of Daniel Castle Hotel
As the next stop for the Visit Covasna Safe Place campaign we visited the castles of Covasna County. We talked with the owner of Daniel Castle Hotel about the last period.
Could you talk briefly about the hotel?
Daniel Castle Hotel has been functioning for six years, we first renovated the Daniel Castle building and started with 8 rooms, and about a year ago we expanded with the renovated small castle building with another 12 rooms. So now the whole tourist location consists of 20 rooms, a restaurant, and the SPA department located in the basement of the small castle. What we want to offer to the guests is an experience, that is based on the location itself, the very fact that they will stay in a historical building, in an actual castle.
Was it difficult to adapt to the regulations introduced because of the coronavirus? What did you do in the last period?
At the beginning of the year, we were preparing for the best year of our operation so far, we made investments, replenished our reserves, and then suddenly in mid-March the bookings were cancelled. Regardless of the regulations, people stopped travelling overnight, so all bookings were cancelled and it became quite clear that we had to close so we were closed from mid-March until now, the team was on technical unemployment. However, we tried to take advantage of this time to renovate, to beautify. We have also been waiting to see what the future holds, fortunately the situation is now beginning to clear up, although the rules are contradictory day after day, but we see that tourism will start soon and we are making every effort to do it safely, at the same time, also trying to provide the guests with the same pleasant experience as before the situation.
You are receiving guests now, how do you prepare for the opening? What regulations did you introduce?
Of course, we have reviewed, audited our cleaning and disinfection procedures, the disinfectants we use, but this is really something that has been done until now as well. What we are trying to do in the current situation is to receive the guests in a way that is complete in comfort and intimacy. We have the luxury that the buildings are located in a spacious yard, the two buildings can be accessed through seven different entrances, so we invented the operation that we can provide guests with spacious private spaces in the building as well. In the first phase, we will definitely sell the capacity to a limited extent, and we have organized the whole operation so that the guests can use all the services and experience elements, without having to be in direct contact with anyone. Specifically, they have to check in online before arrival, for which we have an application, through which they will be able to order food via room service, and through which they will also be able to check out and pay with the credit card on departure, without having to come into personal contact with anyone. We also tried to pack this into a story, so that the guest can have a pleasant experience, so we will send the guests a confirmation letter, when they arrive at the castle and we will provide them with an online butler. In this way we are trying to turn this situation into a game and involve the guests in working with us to respect the regulations.
Can we expect anything special?
Another very important progress of this period is that together with other noble tourist accommodation providers, Kálnoky guesthouses in Micloșoara, Mikes Castle in Zăbala, we have developed a tourism package, a joint tourism service, so we can receive guests arriving in Covasna County with one week long programs and full services in three castles, three noble establishments, and thus try to provide a real alternative to a missed trip abroad.
What do you think about the future?
My positive self says there will be a tourist season this year and a lot of tourists who won’t travel abroad but definitely want to go somewhere, will stay and move within the country, looking for a real alternative to have experiences here in the country, they will be looking not only for safe places but also for experiences and in that respect I think we are well positioned.