As seen in Kiteworld issue #106 we’ll shed some light on how popular kiting destinations around the world are adapting and bouncing back to welcome guests again. This time we hear from Sofia Pereira from the FeelViana hotel which, as you can see, is surely one of the most perfect socially distanced holiday environments for families / individuals that like to stay active.
FeelViana hotel is located in Viana do Castelo, a small coastal town in the north of Portugal, home to less than 40,000 inhabitants. The hotel is an extension of the town’s best bits and is now open once again.
Nestled next to the Cabedelo pinewood and beach, the conditions for all kiting disciplines are phenomenal, plus the hotel has a huge array of other sports equipment available. If you’re looking for seclusion and escape from the madness, an autumn trip here could be the ticket.
EU citizens will currently only have their temperature checked at the airport, while non-EU citizens must prove a negative Covid-19 test result 72 hours prior to embarking their flight.
Tourists from the EU and the Schengen area will only have their temperature checked on arrival at the airport. The islands have different rules, but a Covid-19 test is still required. During their stay in Portugal, tourists must comply with the Portuguese Health Department.
Has anything changed in the town of Viana itself? For example, can you tell us about any new rules for restaurant customers?
Yes, some things have changed. Restaurants, bars and cafes are open but they have new rules. You’ll find hand sanitizing dispensers outside museums, restaurants, cafés, shops and hotels and it’s mandatory to wear a mask when entering public buildings. Masks can only be removed when sitting down. Bars and nightclubs are operating reduced hours, mostly using their outdoor terraces, or are still closed. Large events and indoor activities have been limited or postponed.
How did you have to adapt Hotel FeelViana to be able to welcome guests again?
Besides complying with the Portuguese Health Department and the Portuguese Tourism Board guidelines, we have implemented a number of measures to reinforce these good practices – find them here. We’re also approaching each week with an open mind and listening to our guests’ feedback, always trying to learn and improve from this challenge.
What has been the most challenging part of adapting the hotel environment?
To anticipate the reaction of guests and how they’ll behave as a group. Observing and adapting to the different ways that each nation addresses the Covid-19 response and having to liaise with people if they seem unwilling to comply is another challenge.
Where did the first guests return from?
They were Portuguese or immigrants.
What can people expect when they come for a holiday at FeelViana now?
Portuguese and foreign guests have praised how we’ve adapted the hotel operation to the Covid-19 situation. They feel safe and welcome, telling us that what they needed after spending so much time at home was somewhere they could feel safe to celebrate life and enjoy the outdoors. Thanks to the sports we offer, the spa, the amenities and the restaurant, they don’t feel the need to venture much beyond the hotel.
Last year you had a packed schedule of special courses / clinics and events, including Progression foiling camps. What do you have coming up over the coming months?
Due to the current situation and restrictions we have put all large events on hold, however we do feel the need to organize smaller, demo day kinds of events to allow our guests to try gear first hand, so I’m sure we will.
Need to get away? Vist the FeelViana site here feelviana.com
Atol bonded travel agent Planet Kitesurfing Holidays also organise holiday packaged to Feel Viana: www.planetkitesurfholidays.com