A couple forced into hotel quarantine after returning from a Red List country shared photos of mold on walls and broken central heating, costing them £ 3,500 for a 10-day stay.
Richard and Emma had traveled to South Africa on November 22 when the country was placed on the UK’s Red List on the second day of their trip, which meant they had to check in at a hotel designated quarantine.
The couple were placed in a Holiday Inn, south of Luton, Bedfordshire on December 8, costing them £ 3,500 for a 10-day stay.
Richard, from Swansea in Wales, said he felt ‘imprisoned’ because guards are sitting outside their room 24 hours a day, which gives them no privacy and food waste is not collected, leaving them stacked in the hallways.
The couple claimed their food needs were not being properly taken care of, leaving people hungry or having to order food at the hotel, which is left in the hallways (pictured)
Richard said: “This morning I laughed because my gluten-free and dairy-free meal was a carton of cow’s milk and a croissant (above). We are allowed to order, so we did too ‘
The food appears to be microwave safe meals and “When we’re done with our food, 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 had not been collected in the past 24 hours.
Richard said the couple found mold on the wall in their small room (pictured), which only comes with one portable heater.
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 usual.
“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 were finally booked into the hotel where we are now.
“There is a feeling of imprisonment. There are people sitting outside our door, it’s very difficult to have any privacy. These hotels are not designed for long stays, they are airport hotels.
“A lot of people have the same problems. Our biggest gripe is with 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.
He said, “You can’t choose where to go, but there’s a Radisson Blu and there’s 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, flat bedroom.
Travelers who were on the flight to South Africa are taken to a quarantine hotel for a 10-day stay. Pictured: Passengers traveling to the hotel by coach
The hotel heating didn’t seem to be working and Richard claimed they only had a portable heater in their tiny room
“We can only leave if we are escorted by security, who accompany 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 hotel heating 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 the same 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.
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 walk around, we probably pass between 10 and 15 security guards between our room outside,” he said.
Richard said travelers can leave the room to get some fresh air, but they are escorted by a security guard and pass many other security personnel on the way out.
Richard added “I think this room is about 200 square feet including bathrooms, probably the size of a small bedroom.”
“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, so he can hear everything in our room.
Richard said staff are “doing their best” to provide “functional” food for guests, but dietary requirements and dietary needs 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 problems.
“They do their best, if it’s a fixed meal and you want it to be gluten-free, you just take out anything that has gluten in it.
“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 have done that as well.
“When we’re done 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 had not been collected in the past 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.
He said: “The trip to the hotel was in a coach with about 30 people on board. There was no social distancing and the windows were closed.
Richard claimed that when they asked for a replacement toilet roll, they were given a large industrial-style roll that was wet and dirty (pictured)
The couple struggled to do their jobs in the room, as there was only a small desk between them
“We had to ask the driver to open the windows as we were stuck waiting two hours before leaving then the ride took half an hour plus another 30 minutes while waiting to be checked in at the hotel in chaos and a lack of communication status.
“If we had been allowed to go home [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 in UK from overseas which allows our scientists to learn more about it and allows us to strengthen our defenses by getting more recall shots in the weapons.
“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. ‘
MailOnline has contacted the InterContinental Hotels group for comment.