Update – Tuesday 29 September
Collett’s, Covid & Winter 20/21
We look forward to welcoming skiers and snowshoers to the Dolomites this winter. In the circumstances, bookings are quite good and we are pleased that so many of you are keen to visit us.
Naturally, things will be a little bit different from the norm. We have updated our website accordingly, but below we have summarised things so you can manage expectation. Both the pandemic and Brexit have presented Europe-based UK tour operators with certain challenges, but we are confident we can still deliver you a fabulous winter holiday.
At Your Accommodation
Wherever you stay, there will be high standards of hygiene and sanitising. Italian holidaymakers flocked into the South Tyrol in August 2020 and our accommodation providers are well practised in the cleaning procedures demanded by the pandemic. New protocols are rife, so stand by for hand sanitising stations, disinfecting of touch points, tables, chairs etc. Wash your hands well and regularly. On arrival, we will update you with any Covid-related house rules.
There will be fewer Collett’s hosts, as we will no longer be responsible for domestic or kitchen work, a move which is actually Brexit-related.
Currently, in our hosted chalet hotels, Bracun & Haus Valentin, you and your party (even for couples & individuals) should expect to be allocated a socially-distanced table in the bar or dining area. This will be your ‘social base’ during your stay, somewhere to enjoy breakfast, dinner and drinks. Self-service at the bar will not be an option, but you won’t go thirsty. We don’t expect people to sit at their table all evening without socialising with others, but at least if you have your own ‘safe’ zone, you can distance socially if you want to. If you do choose to ‘mingle,’ please respect social distance procedure until invited not to.
Self-service tea and coffee is available, but you must sanitise hands before and after using the kettle or urn.
Organised Ski Days & Snowshoeing
Our organised ski days and snowshoe walks will only be available to guests staying in Bracun and Valentin. Joining these days involves attending Office Hour and we have to limit (and manage) all gatherings, especially indoor ones. We must also respect local efforts to limit the amount of people funnelling into (1) lift stations, operating at 60% – 70% capacity and (2) rifugios, subject to social distancing restrictions.
This winter is about spreading out and creating space, so we feel duty-bound to facilitate small groups of self-guided skiing as much as possible. Hence, a reduction in our organised ski programme, as follows: for guests staying in Bracun & Haus Valentin only, we will offer one hosted ski itinerary of a leisurely intermediate grade on a Monday, Wednesday & Friday from 9am to 2pm. By skiing through the normal lunch period when the rifugios are busier, we will finish somewhere within easy skiing distance of ‘home’ so that the party can disperse (or not) to have a later lunch in the place of their choice.
If we are concerned about the size of a group, it should be possible to divide it into two if a an extra Collett’s host is available to ski; otherwise, we will help the better skiers form their own groups. This should provide enjoyment for all, as skiing in large hosted groups at the best of times can be a stop/start affair, causing frustration amongst the better skiers. As for the experienced skiers amongst you, Dolomiti Superski is your ‘oyster’ and we can recommend some magical self-guided routes, which are excellently waymarked.
For snowshoers, we will offer a snowshoe excursion every day except Thursday & Sunday. Walkers are less numerous than skiers and this one walk is for guests staying in both Bracun and Valentin. The routes are likely to be more local than usual, minimising the need to board busy buses. But you might have to catch a bus on occasions by means of accessing the start of the walk or meeting up with the group. As a rule, where buses are concerned, Bracun guests will be asked to bus down the valley in the direction of La Villa or Badia, as these buses will be quieter than the ones going the other way.
With social distancing in mind, we envisage this being more static than usual. We will visit each guest table one by one and, from a social distance, we will help you plan the following day, so you can enjoy your evening with everything sorted. We can help you team up with other guests and form small groups of 5 or 6 people (especially if you are travelling alone or as a couple) but ultimately this is up to you. Bear with us if it takes us a little longer to get around to speaking to everyone.
Collett’s Transfers & Daily Ski Lift Shuttles
Brexit means we can no longer employ UK staff to operate transfers and shuttles in Collett’s vehicles. At the same time Covid means you might not want to travel with 8 other people in a minibus. Either way, all airport transfers will now be outsourced, unless you opt for a private transfer for your party – see the travel page at colletts.co.uk
As for getting to and from the piste: in Corvara the large walk-on skibus stops outside Bracun every 10 or 15 minutes and it costs €6 for a weekly pass – masks must be worn. Alternatively, it is 750m to the lifts on foot. In Badia, we have arranged for you to leave skis and boots overnight at our local ski hire shop, so it’s a pleasant 750m walk in comfortable shoes, before crossing the road to the Santa Croce lift and setting off. There is also a locally-operated minibus which stops 60m down the road every 15 or 20 minutes for the 2 minute ride to the ski lifts.
We hope this makes sense, but please contact us if you have any questions. If we have any news from the Dolomites, we will update the website accordingly. We remain confident that a truly memorable skiing holiday is possible, especially as fewer people are likely to travel and the pistes could be relatively deserted. Things might be different in the human world, but nothing has changed for the Dolomites themselves, spellbinding mountains that host one of the most extensive, modern and well-managed ski networks in the world.
Update – Friday 11 September – Book for Winter with peace of mind
We have been talking in earnest with our providers of accommodation and airport transfers in the Dolomites about our holidays in Winter 2020/21, which start on 13 December. Ski tourism is everything to the people of the South Tyrol and all organisations are united in providing a safe and healthy holiday environment. Collett’s is playing its part too – as should you, the holidaymakers. Inevitably, there will be changes to the norm, but you should still be able to look forward to a fabulous winter holiday with financial peace of mind and confidence in health and safety procedures. Please bear with us, as we update our winter website with the relevant information; it will take us a few days.
Update – Tuesday 18 August
At Collett’s we have been striving to make safe, sensible and commercially viable decisions concerning our holidays. Recent easing of travel restrictions in Europe and the UKs ‘traffic light’ system are good news and hopefully we have entered a new phase.
However, uncertainty still remains on many levels, as well as procedural restrictions in each of our holiday destinations. Furthermore, some flights are only being confirmed with two weeks’ notice, which presents a risky ‘Catch 22’ for all. We have therefore taken the very difficult decision to cancel all remaining Collett’s holidays for Summer 2020 in Italian Dolomites, the High Tyrol (Matrei, Austria), the Zugspitze Arena (Ehrwald, Austria), Picos de Europa, Pyrenees and Switzerland’s Engadine, as well as our Autumn walking breaks in Andalucia and Tuscany.
We are eager to get you back on the trails of alpine Europe’s majestic mountains and we cannot wait to have good news for you. For now, though, if you crave your Collett’s holiday too much and you simply need to make a booking for medicinal purposes, then why not take a look at Winter in the Dolomites – or you can book anything in Spring or Summer 2021 without paying a deposit until the New Year.
Update – Monday 8 June
Following on from previous announcements by the UK Prime Minister we took the decision last week to cancel all summer waking holidays up to 9 July. Anyone with a holiday booked during this time should now have been contacted by email. If you haven’t had an email, please check your junk email and then call us on 01799 513331.
Thank you to everyone that has already deferred their holidays to a later date or to next season – we look forward to supplying your holidays and seeing you in the mountains in the not too distant future.
Following recent announcements by the UK Prime Minister, along with the ongoing situation and its unprecedented impact upon worldwide travel, we will continue to address the situation regarding travel, our destinations and will keep you updated with any decisions made.
For guests who were due to travel in March and April 2020: We’ve now contacted all of our customers that booked with us for our Spring Walking Breaks, along with those who were due to enjoy the last few weeks of the Winter season. Once again, we’re really sorry that you didn’t get to enjoy your much-anticipated time in the Tuscany or Andalucia. Thank you for your understanding and to those that have booked later in the season or deferred your dates.
All Summer Holidays starting after 10 July
Rest assured we are constantly reviewing how best to manage our summer walking season in this extraordinary year. Our discussions and endeavours to predict the future are constant, but ultimately it is simply too early to react to the situation now. Some contingency plans are likely – and if you have booked a holiday with us and have already decided you will not be travelling this year, it would help us enormously to know this.
Delaying Balance Payments – For anyone who has a booking this summer after July 9, your final balances will be due quite soon and you will be contemplating whether to pay or cancel. In sympathy with this predicament, we are offering some breathing space by delaying all final balance payments, so that they will now only be due 4 weeks before you travel, instead of 8. We hope this provides a little peace of mind.
Hopefully after the current period of lockdown we will know more about the situation going forward. However, rest assured we will endeavour to find the best possible solutions, backed up by the necessary support from our fabulous managers here in the UK and our resort-based teams.
It goes without saying we greatly appreciate your patience, goodwill and understanding. Indeed, may we thank all of you who have already contacted us offering kind messages of support. We hope very much that we can welcome you to the mountains soon.
We will surely all need a good mountain walk as soon as feasibly possible.
For guests who are due to travel to Andalucia or Tuscany this Autumn: We continue to have all of our autumn walking plans in place and look forward to providing your walking break. At the moment we’re focusing our efforts and attention on customers who were due to travel in the period up to July 9, 2020, so please bear with us – we will reply as quickly as possible to your enquiry.
For guests who are due to travel or interested in booking from December 2020 onwards: We currently have all of our winter plans in place for a return to skiing and snowshoeing holidays in the Dolomites. At the moment we’re focusing our efforts and attention on customers who were due to travel in the period up to July 9, 2020, so please bear with us – we will reply as quickly as possible to your enquiry.
Best wishes from all at Collett’s Mountain Holidays.
An update on the current situation in our Summer destinations
Austria. Ehrwald and Matrei
Following from an official press release on the 4th May the Tyrol region have confirmed that their official curfew was lifted on the 1st May.
A minimum social distancing of 1-metre remains in place along with a restriction on groups of no more than 10 people. This Is likely to remain in place until the end of August
With this lifting of the official curfew, restaurants are permitted to begin re-opening on the 15th May so long as they adhere to the following restrictions:
- A maximum of four adults (in additional to any children) per table
- All tables must be at least 1 metre apart
- Face masks must be worn by all staff at all times
- Face masks must be worn by customers when entering and leaving the property.
In addition to restaurants opening. Hotels and other accommodation providers are permitted to open their doors on the 29th May. Once again restrictions for this will in place and are due to be announced officially within the next couple of weeks.
The Zugspitz tourist board announced in the past few days that they will official open the summer season on the 3rd July. This includes all public buses, trains and lift infrastructure. This has also been confirmed our friend Daniel at the wonderful Hotel Sonnenspitze.
Whilst all of this is positive news that Austria is seeing a decrease in the daily infection rates and is looking to the future, all of the nations borders do remain closed at this time with no word on when this will change.
Italy. South Tyrol
During an official press release on the 9th May the South Tyrol region have announced that their official curfew was lifted on the 4th May. A minimum social distancing of 2-metre remains whilst group exercise is permitted so long as this distance is kept.
With this lifting of the official curfew, retail shops, museums and libraries are now already beginning to re-open. Restaurants and Accommodation providers are permitted to re-opening on the 25th May so long as they adhere to the following restrictions:
- Ensure that all guests have at least 10 square metres to themselves in communal areas, this does not apply to dining areas.
- All dining tables must be at least 1 metre apart
- Face masks must be worn by all staff at all times
- Face masks must be worn by customers when entering and leaving the property.
A skeleton bus network is currently running within the South Tyrol allowing travel for those key workers however services into the area remain closed at the current time..
Whilst all of this is positive news that Italy is seeing a decrease in the daily infection rates and is looking to the future, all of the nation’s borders do remain closed at this time with no word on when this will change.
This also falls in line with the official travel advice from the FCO and WHO, both of which are advising against all but essential travel at this current time.
Switzerland. The Engandine
Following from an official press release on the 29th April the Engadine region have announced that restaurants and hotels are permitted to re-open on the 11th May. A minimum social distancing of 2-metres remains in place. Use of face masks is not mandatory. A ban on large social gatherings (1000 people or more) remains in place but smaller gatherings are to be re-evaluated on the 27th May
Most local bus networks and train networks are already running with the mountain railways expected to re-start on the 8th June.
Whilst all of this is positive news that Switzerland is seeing a decrease in the daily infection rates and is looking to welcome guests once again, all of the nation’s borders do remain closed at this time with no word on when this will change.
This also falls in line with the official travel advice from the FCO and WHO, both of which are advising against all but essential travel at this time.