Cornwall’s St Moritz hotel has opened the “UK’s first socially distanced dining concept”, by converting beach huts into private restaurants for groups of family and friends. Jenny Southan reports
In a bid to preserve social distancing, the St Moritz hotel has created a set of 16 private dining rooms in converted beach huts. Dubbed the “Anti-Social Club”, they collectively have a maximum capacity of 96 people and come complete with 1930s-style serving hatches for staff to pass food through.
The summer pop-up concept uses staggered dining times so arriving guests don’t come into contact with one another. The innovative set-up also means that each dining space can be cleared and cleaned, then re-set-up, to meet all requirements, between each dining party.With interior design by Cornish agency Absolute, which also worked on the hotel itself, the Anti-Social Club takes its inspiration from the clean, white art deco architecture of the hotel, while “mixing a subtle Miami summer colour-pop palette with classic coastal stripes, textures and flourishes”.
Ushering in a new “bubble” dining ethos as a “fun and different way of eating ‘out-out’ again”, the St Moritz hotel is undertaking “exacting operating procedures” to ensure the metre rule and new environmental health requirements are met at all times.The traditional English beach huts overlook the Camel estuary towards Steppa Point and the Atlantic Ocean. Individual dining rooms are all accessed from the outside, with waiting staff serving sharing platters of food from a central atrium, and all food and drink being delivered to the private dining rooms via a set of hatches.Within the 16 private dining rooms, each featuring eight different stripy colourways, the Anti-Social Club was created by hotel co-owners Hugh and Steve Ridgway as a creative way to overcome the economic challenges of social distancing, meaning they can host all of their guests for breakfast and dinner throughout the summer period, with several sittings every day.Hugh Ridgway says: “Safe doesn’t have to mean boring and we’re finding every way possible to keep our St Moritz guests stylishly safe right across our hotel, with an appropriate sense of humour.
“The Anti-Social Club has generated a huge amount of interest and we’re delighted to be delivering a unique new dining opportunity here in Rock in Cornwall, and are really looking forward to opening all 16 individual doors and welcoming our first guests into this ‘new normal.’”Hugh’s brother, Steve Ridgway, who is also the former chief executive of Virgin Atlantic, says: “We are forever talking about the pioneering British spirit and we were keen to discover, and unlock, this experimental opportunity that provides a silver lining amongst the current challenges.
“We’re all exceedingly pleased to have landed on a new concept and dining solution that elevates the summer experience here by the sea. Everyone’s very excited about the fact that they can return to summer holidays and we’re very much looking forward to seeing them enjoy the different surroundings, fun service systems and, of course, the fine food and wine, here at the Anti-Social Club.”