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HFP reader story: My life in a lockdown hotel

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One of our readers in currently based in a UK Crowne Plaza hotel whilst undertaking essential work.  Here is his story of how he is finding life in these strange times.

I am a key worker and had spent eight weeks in a Crowne Plaza prior to lockdown for work.  I have just returned to the same hotel for another two weeks but these two weeks will be very different.

I believe there are less than 10 guests occupying a hotel that has 140 rooms, four of whom are myself and my colleagues.  The rest are NHS staff and other essential workers. No other people are allowed at the hotel.

When we arrived, a sign on the locked door asked us to use our foot to push a doorbell to be let in.  Non residents are asked not to come in and instead call reception by telephone.

Life in a lockdown hotel

When I checked in, the various protocols were explained to me as I stood behind a rope to ensure the receptionist was given sufficient distance.  He explained he was living on site at the hotel to try and support those like me who need a place to stay whilst we work in the area.

Life in a lockdown hotel

Our rooms had been vacant for 10 days prior to our arrival to prevent any risk of lingering Covid-19.  Housekeeping are not able to enter our rooms during our stay.

The restaurant and bar area is all closed off.  To arrange for breakfast and dinner (room service) we send our orders via email.

Life in a lockdown hotel

Breakfast is “grab bag” style:

Life in a lockdown hotel

….. and dinner is limited to five main courses and two dessert choices.

The receptionist kindly brings our order, leaves it on the floor outside our door and asks that we wait for them to leave before opening the door.

A fully stocked trolly has been set up near reception with the essentials such as towels, toiletries, tea and coffee top ups, bars of soap etc.  There is a polite sign asking guests to use the alcohol gel provided before collecting anything.  They have also provided gloves for those who want them.

Life in a lockdown hotel

Over the eight weeks I stayed here prior to lockdown I became friendly with many of the staff.  All bar three are now furloughed with the three remaining doing rotating shifts.  There are also a couple of other support staff on site for cleaning and maintenance but I don’t believe they are here every day.

Life in a lockdown hotel

The staff and the hotel are doing as best they can in such difficult times to put everyone’s safety at the top of the list whilst also trying to provide some level of hospitality.  I take my hat off to them for staying open for us.

Comments (53)

  • JohnG says:

    @Rob “I was talking to my 77 year old Mum yesterday and she is very disturbed by the idea that a young nurse may die from contracting CV from her, if she caught it and went into hospital.”

    Obviously I hope your mums well, keeping herself safe, and comes through this fine. To ask a theoretical question: If your mum hadn’t said that and she had gotten ill and you’d been asked do you want us to take her into hospital where might pass it along and it would cost hundreds of thousands to treat her would you have said no?

    I raise the question because I don’t see someone’s personal decision about their care as remotely comparable to society making decisions about the care of others; and not to be specific to your case but plenty of people will say one thing about their care while healthy and have a considerably different view when they are actually in a position where they have to actually make that decision.

    • Rob says:

      In this case, on a purely practical level, as she has no family within 100 miles she would need to be hospitalised and on purely selfish grounds I would encourage it. She hasn’t said that, under no circumstances, should we let her go to hospital, she just feels it is unfair. I am hoping that she doesn’t make a definitive statement on the matter.

    • Lady London says:

      Yes a DNR if a relative has one or might want one evokes similar issues.

  • Lady London says:

    Thank you to the reader who shared this story. It’s nice to hear about something being done so right for a change.

  • Larryflyer says:

    Great article – thanks to the reader who contributed it, and thanks Rob for publishing it here.

    Interesting to read what might become ‘the new norm’ over the coming months, affecting more people as we (very slowly) begin to get moving/working again.

  • Missing Bas Vegas :-/ says:

    Nice to see this – not least because I’ve practically lived in CP Basingstoke for the 12 months prior to lockdown!

    The hotel is well looked after and has an excellent team… and so it’s great to see them keeping their lights on while also helping out our amazing key workers.

  • kirtje says:

    I’m currently staying in the Hilton London Metropole with some of my NHS colleagues, plus a lot a Kuwaiti nationals who are awaiting repatriation flights – there is even a pop-up embassy!

    • Crafty says:

      Out of curiosity, who’s paying the rate – your employer, the hotel, or are you having to individually pay your way?

  • AJA says:

    Well done Crowne Plaza for letting people stay. A sobering read. I am so sorry for the staff who are furloughed but at least they are and haven’t lost their jobs. I do hope they get back to work and full pay ASAP.

    • Alex Sm says:

      Many hotels do this these days. Our Ibis (Shepherd’s Bush) also serves as a base for essential workers

      • Lady London says:

        Are they moderating their rates? I’ve never seen a rate I would consider reasonable at that Ibis.

  • Princess says:

    thank you to share this story, a different reality I don’t see

  • Ted says:

    Thank you for the write up. It’s really interesting to try and get an idea of how different places are operating under these strange and testing conditions.

    Stay safe

    Ted