Many travellers have to fork out thousands when they quarantine in the UK due to the destination's travel restrictions. Picture: Global Panorama/Flickr.com
Many travellers have to fork out thousands when they quarantine in the UK due to the destination's travel restrictions. Picture: Global Panorama/Flickr.com

The harsh reality of UK quarantine hotels: South Africans, beware

By Clinton Moodley Time of article published Dec 8, 2021

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When actor Richard E. Grant checked into a quarantined hotel in Gatwick in the UK, the Loki star didn't expect to be served "grim food."

Grant, who quarantined on his return to the UK after visiting his 90-year-old mother in Southern Africa, claimed in a now-deleted social media post that the £228 (R4 787) per-night quarantine hotel wasn't justified.

Grant, who stayed at a four-star graded Gatwick Holiday Inn, posted: “In quarantine at 4*Holiday Inn at airport (under reconstruction) at daily cost of £228. These 3 meals amount to £20 if that. Non quarantine Holiday Inn charges £89 incl breakfast. How can Gov justify this cost for ‘hospitality’ for a traveller? You do the maths, as confounds me!,” (sic)

A picture he shared, now deleted, showed a plate of tuna and cucumber sandwiches, a sausage casserole, and a portion of fish and chips with juice.

Grant isn't alone. Many travellers have to fork out thousands when they quarantine in the UK due to the destination's travel restrictions.

A couple who returned from their honeymoon in South Africa shared the same sentiments as Grant.

Kate and Alex Freed, who spoke to The Telegraph, said the food was "inedible."

"We’d been planning the South Africa trip for ages. We didn’t book it until the green list changed, and the foreign travel advice was that it was safe to go to.

"To be charged for coming back to your country when the government told you it’s safe to go, I think is just wrong," they told the publication.

The couple explained that the meals were not "substantial" and that sometimes it was "cold" or " just inedible".

As a result, they asked family members to deliver some essentials to their hotel.

In August this year, a Mediterranean woman started a daily blog to highlight her UK quarantine experience.

She described it as "prison" and detailed every single moment.

By Day 10, a day before she and her partner checked out, she wrote: "I hope no one will ever need to stay in a managed quarantine hotel, and this practice will end soon. At least, hopefully, we will get a proper explanation for this inhumanity." (sic).

What South Africans should know

South African travellers need to do their research. You can find many reviews online to help you choose the best quarantine hotel.

While there is a list of government-approved hotels, ensure that the one you select does meet your standards and travel insurance requirements.

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