KUALA LUMPUR, May 3 – As the country grappled with the onset of the COVIDd-19 pandemic in March last year, getting Malaysians returning home from overseas quarantined became a major factor in containing the spread of the virus.
The government reached out to several hotels to be the quarantine stations and temporary homes for those who tested negative for the virus but had to undergo the initial 14-day compulsory isolation period.
The Impiana Hotel in Kuala Lumpur’s Golden Triangle area was one of them.
“After having taken care of 15,000 guests the past one year successfully with all SOPs followed to the last detail, the hotel has no regrets,” said Impiana Hotel’s General Manager, David Xavier.
“If anything, there has been a lot of learning. The hotel staff adapted and became thorough in handling a situation as unique as what COVID-19 brought. They continue to follow all the operating procedures involved in order to ensure the safety of guests as well as staff.
“We are certain that many of the SOPs will continue to be followed even post COVID-19,” he told the Weekly-Echo in a recent interview.
Q: Was there any stigma being called a quarantine hotel?
“Initially yes. Some people might think that we are “COVID hotel” but we have to stress that we are a quarantine station for those who had tested negative and not a hospital and this is what we will be stressing on when the hotel moves back into full operations later on. If anything, the safety and hygiene standards have been raised only further due to the vigilance and round-the-clock sanitation, adherence to all the safety protocols that had been put in place to ensure proper quarantine process.
“The hotel also maintained two separate entrances throughout this time. One was used for those coming in as quarantine guests after having tested negative and the ministry or transportation staff accompanying them. Another entrance served solely for staff and other visitors to the hotel.
Q: How are prospects this year for the hotel?
“We hope to do well this year. Initially the government was paying 150 and we werre doing this more as a national service but later on we moved up to provide premium service, charging between RM300 to RM900 with ala carte menu, bigger rooms and added features and facilities for those who opted for it.
“We intend to continue with the premium service for those who wish to pay that little bit more for that extra features and comfort. Local food is one major comfort factor for Malaysian guests when they return home from overseas. They tend to crave for popular local dishes and the hotel takes the extra effort to ensure that they get the best.”
Q: How about the hospitality industry, which has been badly affected by the pandemic?
“I am confident the industry will pick up once travelling restarts. Even now, we have business travellers, corporate people coming back to our hotel. This trend will certainly help the industry and the economy.”