Holidays: Simon Calder advises to use ‘human’ travel agents
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to give the go-ahead for quarantine hotels “imminently”, with arrivals entering the UK being forced to spend their ten days of mandatory self-isolation in a designated hotel at their own expense. Though the exact details of the new policy are not yet clear, it is thought only arrivals from “high risk” countries will be subject to the rule initially.
However, this “sterile” experience will not come cheap and certainly won’t afford guests the typical luxury of a hotel stay.
According to travel expert Simon Calder, travellers could be forced to shell out as much as £1,500 for the entirety of their stay.
What’s more, they would be detained within their room for the entire time, with no opportunity to enjoy hotel facilities or even a breath of fresh air.
Speaking on BBC News this morning, Mr Calder explained: “If it is going to be like the Australian system which is the one that is often touted then it is really quite interesting.
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“You will land at Heathrow, you will be identified by UK border forced being required to go and quarantine.
“You will then be taken to a facility off the airport. It would be lovely to think you are going to be in the Sofitel next to Heathrow Terminal 5, but I fear you may be in the Premier Inn in the middle of Slough Trading Estate.
“You will then be told: ‘You are checking into this room.’ You will not have any visitors.
“You will not have any cleaners. You will not be allowed to smoke, and there will be guards outside to ensure you comply.
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“And by the way that is going to cost you perhaps £1,500 for the 10 days of self-isolation which will include three delicious meals a day.”
Though no hotels have confirmed they are partnering with the Government, Best Western has hinted it is all ready to put the new policy in force.
Rob Paterson, chief executive of Best Western Hotels, said: “Through our project with the NHS in supporting discharge patients we have got the protocols and the whole infection control management side of things taken care of and some of the more technical details that need to happen to be prepared for this like insurance, training and safety which is paramount in all of this.
“So we are ready to go. We could turn this around in 24 to 48 hours in an open hotel and a bit longer for an unopened hotel because there are a few things that need to happen before the hotel can start trading or open and start operating.”
He outlined a “contactless customer experience”, where arrivals will have little to no contact with staff.
“The arrivals and departure points in the hotel would most likely be different entrances and different exit points,” Mr Paterson told BBC News.
“It would be an escorted process into the hotel. It would not be a normal process where you check-in and are welcomed by a receptionist.
“It would be a contactless arrival process, you are escorted to the room, you are in the room and the detail would explain once you’re in the room you can’t leave.
“There will be CCTV or security to ensure that is the case.
“Three times a day nutritious meals will be delivered outside of the room, and linen, for example, a whole process needs to exist around that for the safe handling of linen.
“There will be a bag in the room that customers would need to put their used linen in and sell that bag for infection control reasons and clean linen would be placed outside of the room for the customer to take and clean their own room during that stay.
“It is highly contactless and quite a sterile experience.”
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