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Guests complain about Covid isolation policy at hotel

Complaint: St Regis hotel

A US couple who ran afoul of Covid-19 regulations at one of the island’s top resorts said their first trip to Bermuda would be their last.

Their complaint included being sent children’s colouring books after they asked for activities during their quarantine.

The two said they spoke out in the hope their bad experience would not be repeated with other visitors.

The Massachusetts couple, who returned home on May 5, highlighted what they called “confusion” at the luxury St Regis Hotel in St George’s over how long they would have to quarantine after one of them tested positive for the virus but failed to develop symptoms.

The two, who asked not to be named, said they felt mistreated by the staff member in charge of them while they were under quarantine at the hotel.

In particular, they said the employee insisted they would have to stay in their room for 14 days despite the guidance of regulations indicating otherwise.

Both were vaccinated.

St Regis responded this week that the guests had been advised of Bermuda’s Covid-19 regulations.

A spokesman said the resort was “committed to providing all our guests and employees with a safe environment and are actively enforcing all necessary Covid-19 procedures on property in compliance with the Government of Bermuda and Marriott’s Commitment to the Clean Programme”.

But the US couple said they had been “treated like captives” at the luxury resort and given conflicting advice.

The two added that they had shared their negative experience with friends at home who had opted to travel elsewhere.

A person familiar with the situation, who requested anonymity, corroborated their story.

The two said they had a “lovely” first four days on the island after arriving in April until the woman, a healthcare worker at home, tested positive on April 25.

She said while they were “well aware we had to quarantine”, they were “immediately pushed into our room”, with the staff member telling them they would be subject to arrest or a $10,000 fine if they left.

“I will say we were treated with the utmost kindness and hospitality by many people, including other hotel staff,” she said. “It showed the difference in people, and we took that with us.”

But they said the two staff assigned to them treated them badly enough to warrant complaining directly to Marriott International.

The man added: “We enjoyed Bermuda but this is the experience we’re leaving Bermuda with – it’s not on my radar to come back.”

The two said varying information given to them on Covid-19 quarantine meant they twice had to change their flights.

They added that they were sent children’s colouring books and crayons when they requested material to occupy themselves in their room and denied a request for yoga mats from the hotel gym to use for exercise.

They claimed they were not able to move rooms to somewhere with more sun and were told the hotel was 100 per cent occupied when the resort appeared less than half full.

The woman said she tested positive on Day 7 but continued to show no symptoms.

Her boyfriend was not infected.

“Not once did they check to ask how I was doing,” she said. “I was lucky to be asymptomatic.”

On the advice of US Consulate officials during a phone call, she obtained a letter of recovery from her home physician through a video call on Day 10.

According to the US Consulate, they were then free to travel home.

But she said the same staff member repeatedly insisted they would have to stay in their accommodation or risk arrest.

“We followed Bermuda law and stayed until Day 10,” she said. “But that’s not information the hotel was aware of.”

A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Health told The Royal Gazette on Tuesday that the couple’s advice was correct.

“The letter of recovery allows the positive traveller to travel after ten days of isolation without a Day 10 test as per [Centres for Disease Control].”

The couple said their room rate had been discounted for the quarantine time.

But they were now thousands out of pocket and insisted on leaving the island on their tenth day from the first positive test.

The woman called her experience “horrible”. She added: “I know people who have travelled elsewhere, where this didn’t happen to them.”

St Regis Bermuda said on Monday: “We can confirm that an individual at the hotel tested positive for Covid-19 and was quarantined with us.

“The guest was informed by local health authorities of their Covid status and advised to follow public health guidelines accordingly.

The spokesman for the resort added: “Our team is prepared to respond appropriately to Covid-related issues and continues to work hard to make sure all our guests have a pleasant time while staying at our resort.”

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Published May 19, 2022 at 7:52 am (Updated May 19, 2022 at 7:52 am)

Guests complain about Covid isolation policy at hotel

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