A Singapore quarantine survivor advises bringing the right amounts of medicines and the right equipment for your work. Also, she suggests adding important documents to dropbox, packing one business outfit for Zoom calls, and bringing your own coffee and coffee maker.
The Back Story
Louise J. Tagliante has been a Permanent Resident (PR) of Singapore on and off for 26 years.
Originally from Australia, she is an entrepreneur focused on providing structured mentoring programmes for professional business people at Protégé.
In fact, Louise had arranged to spend Christmas with her husband. And she hadn’t seen him for nine months.
In fact, it wasn’t necessary for Louise to undergo quarantine in the Maldives because the country only requires a negative PCR test for entry as it is trying to encourage tourism.
However, she did have to spend 14 days in a hotel upon her return to Singapore because the Maldives wasn’t on Singapore’s list of Reciprocal Green Lane countries.
“Passport control staff reinforce this message. And you are directed to an area where they take you by bus to a hotel,” Louise says.
However, unlike Hong Kong and Thailand, Singapore doesn’t have a list of approved hotels for returnees. Instead, the government decides where you are going to stay.
“There is no choice as to the hotel in Singapore,” Louise explains.
“They are all managed by the Singapore Government. You line up with other arriving passengers, [are] loaded onto a bus, and you have no idea where it’s going.
As fate would have it, Louise was booked into a room at Park Avenue Rochester, an independent four-star hotel. Unfortunately, her hotel room left a lot to be desired.
Not only was the room a bit small. In addition, there was no fresh air.
“Although I didn’t have a choice of hotels, after two days, I requested a move to a hotel with a balcony,” Louise says.
“The room I was in was the size of a shoebox. I could just get around the bed. There was a desk chair and nowhere else to sit. The windows didn’t open, and there was no fresh air.”
Following her request to change hotels, Louise was allowed to move to swissotel The Stamford, a five-star property.
Fortunately, the room was much larger. More importantly, it had a balcony and a view.
“My request to move rooms/hotels was handled quickly, and I supported my request with a doctor’s letter indicating I had anxiety and claustrophobia,” Louise says.
“I was moved to another hotel, where the room was three times the size plus [it had] a balcony overlooking the bay.”
Unlike Hong Kong and Thailand, where returnees can choose among dozens of hotels at various price points, there is no choice in Singapore. However, everyone pays the same amount, regardless of how many stars the hotel has.
“Pricing for the hotel is set by the government and is the same for everyone irrespective of the hotel you stay at,” Louise says.
“You are provided with three meals a day, fresh linen once a week, and clean towels every four to five days.”
Food and Beverage
Hotel guests were offered a daily menu, which they could order on-line. In addition, they could avail themselves of the hotel’s room service menu.
Moreover, outside deliveries were allowed. And unlike Thailand, that included alcohol.
“Food was prepared by the hotel, and even though you had a daily choice of Chinese, Indian, Western, and vegetarian, after a while, it all tasted and looked the same,” Louise says.
And it gets worse!
“By the time you received your food, it was usually stone-cold. And dinner was typically delivered at 5 pm.”
Louise’s Words to the Wise
While this Singapore quarantine survivor didn’t have a choice of hotels, she said that anyone who did have a choice should make sure the hotel offered free wi-fi and cable TV.
In addition, she advised a large “well-appointed” room with a balcony.
“Prior to departing for the Maldives, I planned for quarantine upon my return to Singapore and packed the right quantities of medications/supplements I take on a daily basis,” Louise says.
“As I would be working throughout the quarantine period, I made sure I had everything I needed to run the business – adding documents to Dropbox, preparing my team well ahead of time, and bringing the right laptop and electronic equipment.”
In fact, Louise always travels with a small coffee plunger. And this proved useful because most hotels provide either instant coffee or Nespresso, “both of which I dislike,” she confides.
“Good coffee is a must in the morning and being fussy, I always come prepared.”
Because Louise was visiting a resort in the tropics, she had only taken resort clothes.
“It was unusually cold upon my return to Singapore, and I was mostly in air conditioning, [so] a light jacket or trousers would have been useful,” she says.
Fortunately, Louise had brought one business-like outfit, which she could wear when participating in Zoom calls with clients.
For More in This Series …
This post on a Singapore quarantine survivor is part four in a series on how to survive hotel quarantine. Click on the following links for more:
- How to Survive Hotel Quarantine (in a Pandemic)>>
- 28-Day Quarantine Survivor: Donna Campbell>>
- Hong Kong Quarantine Survivor: Karen Lawler>>