thousands of hotel reservations in Hong Kong disrupted by government decision to designate quarantine-only facilities

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Thousands of hotel bookings for arrivals from Hong Kong facing mandatory Covid-19 quarantine are set to be canceled or rearranged after the government banned several popular properties from its list of designated facilities, according to insiders. industry.

Around 100 hotels had applied to act as designated service providers, with the government unveiling an agreement on Friday to use 36 as quarantine facilities only from December 22 to February 19 in a bid to stem the worsening of the fourth wave of Covid-19 infections.

To avoid potential cross-infection, hotels on the list will not be allowed to accommodate repeat customers, while those not on the list will have to stop accepting quarantine reservations.

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The Ovolo Group’s boutique hotel in Central was among those that missed a quarantine designation. Photo: Handout

The list of government approved hotels represents a total of 12,132 regular rooms and suites available for quarantine, including at five-star properties such as the Kerry Hotel in Hung Hom, which previously did not allow guests to be placed. in quarantine, and the Landmark Mandarin Oriental in the center. , which had only allowed some quarantined guests from low-risk countries.

The 1,001-room Four Points by Sheraton in Tung Chung, due to open early next year, is also on the list. In an email response to To post, the hotel said its premises had successfully passed an infection control inspection by the Ministry of Health and that its staff would adhere to relevant hygiene guidelines.

“We look forward to reopening this property to clients and travelers in the future,” he said. “In the meantime, we will continue to work closely with the authorities. “

The main entrance to the Ramada Hong Kong Grand, which has made the government's list of quarantined-only hotels.  Photo: Dickson Lee

The main entrance to the Ramada Hong Kong Grand, which was on the government’s list of hotels for quarantine. Photo: Dickson Lee

Meanwhile, some hotel groups experienced in dealing with quarantined guests have not been selected.

Ovolo Group – which has processed more than 1,500 quarantined travelers from the United States, Britain, India and Singapore so far this year – told the To post he was “disappointed” that most of his properties were not on the official list.

The group said it had booked more than 8,000 room nights for quarantine stays between December and March 2021 which had to be canceled due to the government’s new arrangement.

Girish Jhunjhnuwala, founder and CEO of the Ovolo Group, told To post the cancellations would result in a “substantial loss of revenue” for the hotel group, which had previously managed to capture demand for accommodation in quarantine.

“We will have to consider a new form of business because it has been difficult for us. We are stunned by this… government decision, because we have had so many bookings [for] guests in quarantine, ”Jhunjhnuwala said.

With more than 330 rooms in four hotels in Hong Kong, Ovolo Group’s occupancy rate was 78% in November, well above the industry average of around 50% during the pandemic.

Offering guests in quarantine perks such as in-room fitness equipment, laundry discounts, and special concierge service for groceries, Ovolo’s package has been dubbed ‘The Queen of Quarantine’ by the group. Tatler lifestyle media.

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Matthew McKenzie, an Australian who has lived between Hong Kong and Shanghai for the past seven years, was among those scrambling to find alternative accommodation for his family.

His wife and three-year-old son were due to return to Hong Kong from Britain in late January and had pre-booked their stay at Ovolo after reading positive reviews online.

“I’m still in shock about the cancellation, to be brutally honest,” he said. “I still can’t believe the reservation I made two months ago won’t be accepted.”

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McKenzie had tried to book his family’s quarantine stay at the Mojo Nomad in Aberdeen, the only Ovolo-owned property on the designated government list, but the 79-room facility had already been fully booked.

He was concerned that he would not be able to find suitable accommodation for their toddler’s needs.

But Ovolo wasn’t the only group to be snubbed. The three Silka hotel properties of the Dorsett International Hospitality Group were also not on the designated list.

None of the city's three Silka sites were on the government's list.  Photo: Winson Wong

None of the city’s three Silka sites were on the government’s list. Photo: Winson Wong

Silka’s sites in Tsuen Wan, Kwai Chung and Yau Ma Tei, with a total of 917 rooms between them, have been offering budget quarantine accommodation since March, with rates as low as HK $ 5,180 (US $ 668) for the 14 day period. The post office contacted Dorsett for comment.

Michael Li Hon-shing, executive director of the Hong Kong Hotel Owners Federation, told a radio show that the industry did not know what the government’s selection criteria were, but understood that they had taken take into account factors such as “whether the hotel has experience used for quarantine in the past, and the property’s air ventilation system”.

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So far, he said, the budget options on the list – which account for around 80% of the total number of rooms – have seen more bookings.

Civil Service Secretary Patrick Nip Tak-kuen, who is responsible for coordinating the arrangement of the designated hotels, told a radio show on Monday that the 36 chosen hotels have until the end of the day to confirm they are. they could start welcoming guests in quarantine only. by Friday.

Tourism industry lawmaker Yiu Si-wing has estimated that about 60 percent of bookings at designated quarantine hotels will go to operators in the HK $ 500 to HK $ 1,000 price range.

“The most upscale could only accommodate less than 10% of those who intend to return to Hong Kong during the Christmas holidays,” Yiu said.

Yiu allayed concerns that hotels that did not previously handle quarantined guests would not be prepared to serve as designated facilities, noting that the big chains “could easily move staff from other properties to help.”

“Health authorities are also in regular communication with hotels to ensure that standards are in place,” he added.

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