‘There is a sense of imprisonment’ – life inside quarantine hotel as couple pay £ 3,500 for 10 day stay


Couple claim conditions are inadequate at a quarantine hotel, costing them a total of £ 3,500 for a 10-day stay.

Richard and Emma, ​​from Swansea, stayed in a quarantine hotel in London after returning home from a trip to South Africa.

Two days after the start of their journey, which they began on November 22, the country entered the UK’s red list, meaning they had to check in at a designated quarantine hotel. Unable to choose accommodation, the couple were placed at Holiday Inn, south of Luton, on Wednesday, December 8.

Richard said they thought £ 3,500 was a lot to pay for the standard of accommodation and the lack of privacy as the guards are sitting outside their rooms 24 hours a day. were not properly accounted for, leaving people hungry or having to order food from the hotel.

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He said: “We ended up traveling [to South Africa] two days before his return to the red list. The government canceled the flights so we couldn’t come back, so we continued the trip as normal.

“We were supposed to go to a Radisson Blu in London, which is a reasonable hotel, but it was on the wrong date because the airline changed the flight. After five or six hours of phone calls with CTM, we finally got been booked in the hotel where we are now.

“There is a feeling of imprisonment. There are people sitting outside our door, it is very difficult to have any privacy. These hotels are not designed for long stays, they are airport hotels. . A lot of people go through the same issues. Our biggest gripe is about the level of accommodation you get for the price you pay and the lack of privacy. “

Richard said the couple found mold on the wall of their small room, which only contains a single portable heater.

The portable heater

Richard said he found mold on the walls

He said: “You can’t choose where to go, but there is a Radisson Blu and a Montcalm, which are comfortable hotels. I think normally the rate at this hotel is around £ 70 a night.

“I think this room is about 200 square feet including the bathrooms, probably the size of a small bedroom. We can only leave if we are escorted by security, who escorts us into the parking lot, but at least we can get out There is mold on the walls and the furniture is run down The heating in the hotel is not working and all we have is a portable heater in our room.

“If you’ve gone through a detailed price of what we’re getting here for the £ 3,500 (the standard package for Emma and Richard) and compare it to other accommodation used for quarantine, I don’t think either as for a similar comparison. “

Richard said he and his wife found it difficult to do their jobs in the room as there was only a small desk between them. He also said that when they asked for a replacement toilet roll, they were given a large industrial style roll which was wet and dirty.

The roll of toilet paper that Richard said was given to him

He said that while he is happy that they can leave the room to get some fresh air, they are escorted by a security guard and pass many other security personnel on the exit, which reminds them of the lack of privacy in the establishment.

“When we go for a walk, we probably pass 10 to 15 security guards between our room outside,” he said.

“We’re in a room down the hall and there’s a group of five to six rooms and there’s a security guard sitting in a chair there 24 hours a day. I can hear him on his phone, I can hear him if he’s coughing, then he can hear everything in our room. “

The breakfast of milk and a croissant, according to Richard, was given to him after asking that it be dairy-free and gluten-free.

Richard said the food was functional

Richard said food waste had been left outside the rooms for a long time

Richard said staff are “doing their best” to provide “functional” food for guests, but dietary requirements are not being properly addressed. On one occasion, he said the food waste had been left outside the rooms for about 24 hours.

He said, “My wife and I are gluten and dairy intolerant. It causes me migraines and stomach issues. They do their best, if it’s a fixed meal and you want it. either gluten free, you just remove anything from the meal that contains gluten. This morning I laughed because my gluten free and dairy free meal was a carton of cow’s milk and a croissant. We are allowed to order, so we did that too.

“When we have finished eating, everyone puts the wasted food outside the room. This photo was taken on the afternoon of the first day and you can see how the bags of food hadn’t been. collected in the last 24 hours. “

In addition, Richard and Emma must take Covid tests on the second and eighth days of their hotel stay. If they are positive on the same day, it means that they will have to stay at the hotel over Christmas.

Richard said they believed they were at greater risk of catching Covid while escorted to the hotel than they would have been if they could have been quarantined at the House.

Inside the shuttle

He said: “The ride to the hotel was in a coach with about 30 people on board. There was no social distancing and the windows were closed. We had to ask the driver to open the windows as we were stuck waiting two hours to leave, the journey took half an hour plus an additional 30 minutes of waiting to be checked into the hotel in a chaotic state with no communication. [now in London] and isolate ourselves there, we would have taken a black taxi, with an armored window between the driver and us. “

A government spokesperson said: ‘We have taken precautionary and temporary measures at the border to help slow the seeding of the Omicron variant into the UK from overseas, giving our scientists time to knowing more about it and allowing us to strengthen our defenses. by getting more booster jabs in the arms.

“The majority of people who used the managed quarantine service were satisfied with the service provided. All complaints are taken seriously and are fully investigated.

CTM, Holiday Inn and Heathrow Airport have also been approached for comment.

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