What would normally be a 3 and 1/2 hour flight turns into a four-week “adventure” for a 28-day quarantine survivor relocating from Macau to Bangkok. Check out how this senior PR executive maintains her sanity in this fascinating Tale of Two Cities!
The Back Story
Following 7 years in Macau, PR Executive Donna Campbell decided to move to Bangkok, Thailand, where she owns a property.
Under normal circumstances, Donna could simply have booked a non-stop flight from Macau International Airport to Bangkok.
However, owing to COVID-19 travel restrictions, flights between Macau and Thailand had been put on hold. So that meant having to travel by way of Hong Kong.
And that resulted in a double quarantine! First, she had to spend 14 days at a hotel in Hong Kong. After flying from Hong Kong to Bangkok, she had to spend another 15 days at a hotel in Bangkok.
The experience was “not for the faint of heart and also [a] very expensive process,” Donna confides.
So how did she prepare for her 28 days in the confines of a hotel room?
Quarantining in Hong Kong
At the time, the Ovolo Hotels in Hong Kong were offering a special “quarantine package”, which was proving quite popular with the people that experienced it.
One of the highlights of the quarantine package was a daily “concierge service’, which allowed hotel quests to have a member of staff run errands or make purchases off-site.
“I booked a quarantine package at the Ovolo Hotel Sheung Wan, which was great,” Donna says.
“The team and management were very good and regularly checked in on me to see if I was OK.”
To start with, breakfast was included in the quarantine package. And hotel guests also received a cocktail and hors-deuvres in the afternoon. On the final night of their stay, they received a bottle of champagne.
However, lunch and dinner had to be ordered from either room service or one of Hong Kong’s many efficient food delivery apps such as Deliveroo or Food Panda.
“I used Deliveroo, which was great [with] lots of variety, and food was delivered within 15 and 30 minutes,” Donna says.
“A highlight of the Ovolo Hotel was their ‘concierge’ package – afternoon cocktail, snacks, and puzzles to while away the hours. Plus Netflix was also available to binge-watch the latest shows.”
Hong Kong vs. Thailand
Following her 2 weeks in Hong Kong, Donna checked out of her hotel and headed for Hong Kong International Airport, which was a virtual ghost town.
She arrived at Bangkok’s Suvarnablumi International Airport approximately 3 hours and 30 minutes later. And that’s when it became apparent that Thailand was taking a far more thorough approach to managing the COVID-19 challenge than Hong Kong was.
“I was met upon arrival at the airport by the hotel representative, my shoes and luggage were taken away to be sanitized, and I was escorted to the hotel limousine (airport transfer included in the package),” Donna says.
And her quarantine experience at the hotel in Bangkok was also totally different from the quarantine Donna experienced at the hotel in Hong Kong.
“Hong Kong is much more relaxed and not as strict as Bangkok is,” Donna says.
“All you have for Hong Kong is the quarantine bracelet that you have to [put on] once you arrive at your room.”
However, in Thailand, the government has a health app, and you have to personally log on and input your temperature 3 times a day.
“In addition, as part of the package, guests undergo 3 COVID tests in total throughout their stay,” Donna adds.
At the time of Donna’s stay in Hong Kong, it was up to hotels to decide whether meals should be included in their quarantine packages. And if so, how many. (That has since changed.)
However, her package in Bangkok included 3 meals per day.
“All meals are included in the Le Meridien package, and to date, I have been very impressed with the quality and variety of food,” Donna says.
But quarantining at a hotel in Thailand does have its downsides. While the food might have been yummy, there were no cocktails on the menu.
“By local law, no alcohol is allowed throughout the stay,” Donna reveals.
So how was the room?
“The room is very spacious and does not feel cramped by any means and has a large window that allows sunlight to shine through,” Donna says.
Generally speaking, guests undergoing hotel quarantines must remain in their hotel rooms 24/7. Therefore, hotel facilities such as swimming pools or fitness rooms are not usually an issue when considering which hotel to stay at.
But Thailand does allow guests to leave their rooms for one hour once a day during their second week. But there is one condition.
“The good thing about Bangkok hotel quarantine is that after 7 days and 2 negative COVID tests, guests are allowed on to the pool deck (no swimming) to get fresh air and sunshine,” Donna reveals.
“However, you are escorted by hotel security in full hazmat suit.”
Therefore, in addition to not being able to enjoy a tipple, you can forget about taking a dip in the pool!
Donna’s Top 10 Quarantine Tips
When asked if she had any advice for someone about how to stay sane during hotel quarantine, Donna offered the following advice:
- Pack snacks both healthy and “treats” to keep you sane
- Bring some music speakers to your favourite songs
- Bring lots of books and magazines to read
- Download or stream podcasts, movies, TV shows
- Pack some extra coffee, sugar, and long-life milk
- Pack a cutting board, plate and bowl, extra set of cutlery, and a sharp cutting knife
- Girls – pack all your pamper treats – face masks, mani and pedi equipment, lotion, and potions
- Get up and walk around the room as much as possible – get those steps up!
- Pack a small tube of dish-washing liquid and clothes washing liquid and a tea towel
- Pack some salt and pepper/condiments
This tale of a 28-day quarantine survivor is part two in a series on How to Survive Hotel Quarantine (in a Pandemic). Click HERE for part one.
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