Four-year-old Bishop's Gate Hotel within Derry's Walls is something of a badge of pride for the city. When hotelier Ciaran O'Neill opened the establishment back in 2016, he did not just add to the city's room capacity for inbound visitors, he put another culinary hotspot on the North West's foodie map, which has been gratefully received by visitors and locals alike.
Its setup is boutique; 34 bedrooms tastefully decorated in muted greys and jewel tones, and its intimate service has beckoned a string of awards.
It is hard to imagine how this rich-in-character venue could retain its charm amid a sea of safety measures and glaring warning signs and all else that is required to operate a public venue in a pandemic, but somehow it has.
On its first night of opening on Friday, changes appeared subtle. Staff have held onto the friendly Derry welcome, but at a distance.
The valet wears PPE to move guests' vehicles to the car park, with antiseptic wipes to clean down keys.
Contactless hand sanitisers are scattered throughout.
The newly fitted perspex screen at reception is no shocker, it is a by-product of this pandemic that has already been bedded in by retailers and subsequently normalised as too have the highlighter yellow social distancing signs and signposted one way systems, both of which have been quietly added to the oak flooring in the lobby here.
Signing for keys has been swapped for a verbal approval but the smiles are still present and there is an empathy between hospitality provider and punter. It is a solidarity that will hopefully get us through the rebuild of an industry that has been hit hardest by Covid-19.
Beyond reception the new normal of this hotel is still very much like the old one, with the exception of a sealed key slot on the door which signifies that the room has been sanitised to a new level. Never enter the room if the seal has been broken, we were warned.
The remote control is now wrapped in plastic and hand soap is replaced by a more effective alcohol hand sanitiser while the usual documents like hotel information folders are gone.
There is little else at the hotel that differentiates an overnight stay today and before coronavirus disrupted life as we knew it.
At the Wig and Gown Restaurant, the differences are also minimal. Table numbers have been reduced by 12, with guests now able to overflow in the hotel's bar.
Staff serve at a respectful distance and the one-way system is dutifully adhered to.
The menu (which is sanitised after every use) offers the usual variety of a la carte dishes that stood the venue in high esteem pre lockdown.
"We want people to come back and experience what they did before," Ciaran O'Neill tells me. "The new normal can be more normal than people expect," he continues.
He says offering the same or similar experience has not meant compromising on safety measures.
Around £4,000 alone has been invested in thermal imaging to determine guests with high temperatures.
"Our staff have their temperature taken at the beginning of a shift and twice during it," he adds.
"There has been a lot of sterilisation throughout the hotel, staff training and many other things going on in the background that guests won't see."
And should a guest check in with a temperature, the hotel's "Covid action plan will kick in".
"We have a room set aside for that and should another guest present with a temperature at the same time we will set aside another room for isolation," he explains.
"We have a responsibility and we will deal with it. As a hotelier you do everything you can in terms of hospitality. It's common sense."
Ciaran says the cost of cleaning at the property has doubled since business reopened, with "Ionisers and UV light machines" used to ensure rooms are sanitised thoroughly.
Two extra housekeeping staff will clean throughout the night too.
"We were nervous going into it," he says of the opening.
"But the pace of bookings is encouraging."
On its first night the Wig and Gown restaurant had 100 covers, just 20 less than its usual intake but it has lost its casual walk-in client base and is reliant on booking-only dining guests. Those who want to come in for a drink only will have to wait.
Room occupancy on Friday night sat at 70% with guests mainly travelling from around Northern Ireland.
"We had many regulars too and you have to remember there are people who didn't celebrate birthdays or anniversaries throughout lockdown and they're coming out to mark those events," adds Ciaran.
"I think from July 20 onwards will be the real indication of how we will perform. That is the initial opening date announced by the Executive. That is the point when our industry will restart."
Meanwhile, on the streets of Derry retail is very slowly drawing back custom. There is a very modest hustle of shoppers keen to avail of sales or food offerings that have been sorely missed throughout lockdown.
The famous Walls on a Saturday afternoon were void of touring groups, with a handful of visitors taking a self-guided stroll.
A pop-up ice cream and coffee business that sits beside the imposing Derry Girls mural had a flutter of customers that signalled the appetite is there for a resumption of normality, albeit a new normality.
"Last summer we had 90% capacity," Ciaran continues. "If we get to 50% this year, we would be delighted."