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At least 5 hotels added as quarantine and stay-home notice facilities, disrupting plans of staycationers

SINGAPORE — At least five hotels in Singapore have been activated as quarantine and stay-home notice (SHN) facilities at short notice, TODAY has learnt, leaving some prospective guests scrambling to make alternative arrangements for long-planned staycations.

At least 5 hotels added as quarantine and stay-home notice facilities, disrupting plans of staycationers

Grand Park Orchard is one of at least five hotels TODAY has confirmed have been recently activated as stay-home notice and quarantine facilities.

  • The MND and STB confirmed that some hotels had been activated to house persons under quarantine and stay-home notices
  • Hotels said they are assisting customers in postponing their stays and getting refunds
  • Makeshift honeymoons, birthday celebrations and staycations have been disrupted but most customers are able to get new bookings
  • The authorities did not disclose the number of hotels added but TODAY identified at least five

 

SINGAPORE — At least five hotels in Singapore have been activated as quarantine and stay-home notice (SHN) facilities at short notice, TODAY has learnt, leaving some prospective guests scrambling to make alternative arrangements for long-planned staycations.

The Ministry of National Development and the Singapore Tourism Board jointly confirmed on Friday (May 7) in response to queries from TODAY that some hotels had been activated to house persons under quarantine and SHNs, but did not state which or how many hotels are involved.

“For safety and security reasons, (activated) hotels may need to turn away guests staying for leisure purposes, such as staycations,” the authorities said.

“The number of facilities in use depends on demand, with facilities activated as and when needed,” they added.

“The Government will continue to monitor the evolving situation, and work closely with these organisations to adjust the capacity of such facilities accordingly.”

The addition of the new facilities comes on the back of heightened Covid-19 restrictions announced on Tuesday, which has led to most travellers entering Singapore having their SHN periods lengthened from 14 to 21 days.

Travellers with recent travel history to higher-risk countries or regions arriving after May 7 will be required to serve 21-day SHN, while those currently serving 14-day SHN who had yet to complete it by the end of May 7 will be required to serve out an additional seven days.

Of the 57 hotels that TODAY contacted, at least five hotels were found to be among those newly activated for SHN or quarantine purposes.

Four of them — Grand Park Orchard, Grand Park City Hall, Park Hotel Alexandra and Park Hotel Clarke Quay — are under the Park Hotel Group.

Responding to queries from TODAY, a Park Hotel Group spokesman said that some of its hotels are “assisting the Government in our fight against Covid-19 and will be closed to the public until further notice”.

“Due to the evolving situation, we have tentatively made bookings unavailable in the next few months.”

While the group did not state which of its six hotels in Singapore have been newly activated, TODAY has spoken to guests from all the above hotels who have had their bookings cancelled at the eleventh hour.

TODAY had also confirmed with the hotels by calling their booking hotlines as a prospective guest, and was told by Grand Park Orchard, Grand Park City Hall and Park Hotel Clarke Quay that no bookings could be made as the hotels were told at the end of last month that they would be activated as quarantine and SHN facilities.

Park Hotel Alexandra’s booking hotline appeared to be unreachable.

The remaining hotel that TODAY identified is Mandarin Orchard, under Meritus Hotels and Resorts.

When TODAY called its booking hotline as a potential customer, a staff member said that the hotel was informed earlier in the week about its conversion into a stay-home notice and quarantine facility.

TODAY has sought further comment from Meritus Hotels and Resorts.

THWARTED HONEYMOON, SCRAMBLE FOR LAST-MINUTE RESERVATIONS

Newly weds Darren Leong, 31, and his wife, 27, had booked to stay at Grand Park Orchard from their wedding day, on Tuesday, to Thursday as a makeshift honeymoon due to overseas travel being curtailed.

But the couple ended up spending their first days as a married couple at home.

Mr Leong, who works in the finance industry, said he had booked the hotel in early March, but was informed of the cancellation only on April 29.

Frustrated at the inconvenience, Mr Leong said the entire episode could have been avoided.

“Shouldn't the authorities let the hotel know one month in advance or have a schedule for which hotel is in the rotation for (SHN or quarantine) purposes?

“The Covid-19 outbreak has been going on for more than one year now.”

Ms Carmen Chee, 27, who works in the media industry, said that she had booked Park Hotel Alexandra for her family of four from Friday to Sunday to celebrate her father’s birthday. But now, the celebrations will have to take place at home.

She was told only on Monday that the booking would be cancelled. She was given the option to book a separate hotel, but managed to get a booking only at the end of June.

“This was really too last minute,” said Ms Chee. “They should have informed us earlier, and the alternative accommodation options were very limited.”

The Park Hotel Group spokesman said that the hotels are contacting affected guests with upcoming bookings to provide them with assistance and offer alternative, flexible options to change their stays.

“These include postponing their stays to a later date and offering refunds, where applicable.

“We are also working closely with our online travel partners to ensure that guests who have booked on their platforms will have similar options.”

Ms Ang Shuang, who had booked a staycation at Mandarin Orchard for the middle of May with her boyfriend, was told on Friday morning by the booking agency she used that her initial booking had to be cancelled.

However, the 26-year-old said that the process of rebooking a staycation at a different hotel was quick and convenient. Within a few hours, she had a new booking for the same dates.

“I think the hotels are trying their best,” said the digital marketer. “The whole refunding balance issue is slightly troublesome, but I guess hotels don’t really have any other options.”

Related topics

Covid-19 stay-home notice quarantine MND STB

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