Hotel of horrors slammed by travellers

Hundreds of returned travellers have been rescued from hotel quarantine after they reported horrific and filthy conditions.

Travelodge Sydney, on Wentworth Ave, found itself in hot water yesterday and was deemed unfit to host returned travellers after it was revealed dozens of them had made complaints about the CBD hotel.

NSW Police spent the past 12 hours relocating all 366 people staying in the Travelodge to other hotels around Sydney including the Novotel at Darling Harbour.

Lauren Farmer, who landed in Sydney last Friday from Scotland, said she had low expectations for her two weeks in hotel quarantine but "wasn't prepared" for what she found in her Travelodge room.

"I had no idea I'd be walking into a room that hadn't been properly cleaned," she told Today.

"I saw clumps of hair on the sofa. White powder all over the floor. Sticky tables and handles. The bathroom was so full of grime and dirt, I didn't feel comfortable going to the toilet or having a shower."

Lauren Farmer’s dirty hotel room. Picture: Supplied
Lauren Farmer’s dirty hotel room. Picture: Supplied

 

A soiled mattress at Travelodge where quarantined returned travellers were staying.
A soiled mattress at Travelodge where quarantined returned travellers were staying.

 

Ms Farmer said it was "quite a traumatic experience" and her mental health quickly spiralled in her few days in the hotel.

"I had done everything I could do to be healthy when I arrived, so to feel like that same effort wasn't put forward for me was really shocking," she told ABC.

"It was hurtful, I was surprised. So I immediately was demanding that it had a proper cleaning which I did get about 18 hours later. I was amazed how quickly I down spiralled in those three days. I was in extreme mental distress.

"Even once the room was cleaned and I felt better about moving around, it didn't make it any better because the room was small and dark. I had no natural light, no fresh air, I looked across to a wall, I couldn't even see the sky."

Ms Farmer said she "cried constantly" and had struggled to sleep, however a doctor said she would only be moved if she was "suicidal".

"I'm shocked that it would need to be so extreme for me to be moved to a place where I could feel safe."

 

Lauren Farmer in her hotel room with a little bit of sun. Picture: Supplied
Lauren Farmer in her hotel room with a little bit of sun. Picture: Supplied

 

Another returned traveller, who had been granted an exemption to get cancer treatment in Mexico, said the room was tiny and he and his wife were given small amounts of food.

"You are locked into what felt like a dirty prison cell for two weeks," the returned traveller Rob told Sunrise.

"For me and my wife to be locked in the space of 3m by 5m, you can imagine it would be pretty tough, let alone there were no catering options. We were given one small bottle of water to share between us with no option to request anything else."

Rob said he was left sitting on a bus for hours, only to arrive to his filthy hotel room.

"We arrived back in Sydney yesterday morning and were given basically no information whatsoever, we were told to get on buses with people who had come in from all over the world," he said.

"You have to imagine I am already immunocompromised from the treatment. The plane was empty, we had face shields and masks but then to sit at Sydney Airport on a bus for five hours waiting for the passengers to arrive.

"We thought that if we did not get COVID on the flight, we would get it on this bus. It was terrible."

Police moving travellers out of the Travelodge in Surry Hills. Picture: Bill Hearne
Police moving travellers out of the Travelodge in Surry Hills. Picture: Bill Hearne

 

A spokesperson from TFE Hotels, who operates Travelodge Hotel, said it had been deemed compliant on its most recent inspection.

"We respect the decisions that authorities need to make in these times and remain committed to supported them," Travelodge said.

"Our most recent site inspection with police and health authorities was conducted on July 28, and we were deemed compliant and retained on the isolation program.

"We are not aware of any subsequent audit, nor are we aware of any COVID-19 related concerns. All hotel rooms are deep cleaned thoroughly before and after guest use."

Returned travellers are now required to pay $3000 each, or $5000 for a couple, for their two week hotel stay.

NSW Police said the hotel quarantine program had been an "incredibly successful operation" to date.

"Since the operation began on March 29 2020, police have been operating up to 20 hotels, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week," police said.

"In total, more than 50,000 people have entered mandatory quarantine in NSW Police-managed hotels, with 4185 people currently in 16 hotels across Sydney.

"It has been an incredibly successful operation, which has dramatically reduced the transmission of COVID-19 throughout the community."

Originally published as Hotel of horrors slammed by travellers

Her bathroom. Picture: Supplied
Her bathroom. Picture: Supplied
Hundreds of travellers who were in isolation at the Travelodge Hotel on Wentworth Avenue, Surry Hills had to be moved. Picture: Bill Hearne
Hundreds of travellers who were in isolation at the Travelodge Hotel on Wentworth Avenue, Surry Hills had to be moved. Picture: Bill Hearne


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