Quarantine hotel hell: Families starving, abandoned, distressed
A Brisbane quarantine hotel has come under fire again with multiple families sharing shocking accounts of their treatment during their mandatory quarantine stay.
It comes after The Courier-Mail revealed a pregnant mum was forced to wait hours for dinner last week at Next Hotel Brisbane, with no appliances to prepare their own food.
Further details of the conditions inside the hotel have come to light, including several families telling The Courier-Mail they were not fed dinner on Sunday night, with some offered bread rolls and rocket after 9pm.
One woman claimed she was told to order Uber Eats by staff.
Kelly - who wishes to keep her surname private - said her family were forced to wait nearly 21 hours for food after not being fed dinner.
"The reception/ staff have been almost impossible to reach, majority of the time," she said.
"Meals are meant to come inside a two hour window, which they never ever arrive within and that's if they arrive at all.
"We didn't receive dinner at all last night (Sunday)- and this morning breakfast came at 0940 rather than the 7-9am window. Meaning we went just short of 21 hours without a meal from the hotel. On Friday the 14th, they forgot our lunch. After contacting multiple members of staff, and also them not answering multiple calls we decided to order some snacks from Woolworths to keep us going."
"We had absolutely nothing to eat all day, which is especially not great when you are breastfeeding".
She also claimed when they ran out of toilet paper, they couldn't reach hotel staff and a family member was forced to drop off a care package and toilet paper.
Another mother, Kate, spoke with The Courier-Mail and said her family also weren't given dinner on Sunday night.
"Last night half of us didn't get dinner … We were told to order Uber eats at 10pm," she said.
Kate is paying $4165 in total for mandatory quarantine at the Next Hotel Brisbane and said the wait on food is extensive with often no communication from staff.
She has a 16-month-old baby and is forced to keep his cot in the bathroom as it is the only area sectioned off from the rest of the unit with appropriate lighting for him to sleep during the day.
"My son is used to sleeping in his own room in the dark, I requested an adjoining room but was told I would have to pay double the costs," she said.
Queensland mum Bec Schwarze was taken to the hotel for mandatory quarantining with her four children in a room with a double bed and a sofa bed, she claims she was told by staff the kids should sleep "top and tail" on the sofa bed during their 14-day stay.
She and her husband Daniel wrote an email to the Chief Medical Officer of Queensland, saying the hotel was "inadequate for families at the least and lacked any empathy to the occupants".
"We were offered accommodation that did not meet minimum requirements for a family. The hotel staff were reluctant to accommodate any reasonable requests including having restrictions on deliveries to occupants with no deliveries between 6pm - 9pm. Noting that this is the normal dinner time of most families, it was clear that if dinner did not meet our children's needs, we were going to be left with limited alternatives," the email read.
Schwarze told The Courier-Mail her children were distressed while staying at the hotel.
"They were clearly upset," she said. "Particularly because they were hearing us on the phone having to fight for our rights.
"People don't understand that we aren't asking for a 5 star holiday, we are simply asking to be fed."
Schwarze and her family have since been moved to Rydges South Bank.
Many other families and loved ones of visitors are leaving reviews on the Next Hotel Brisbane Facebook page sharing their own experiences.
A spokesperson for Next Hotel Brisbane said the hotel acknowledges they have encountered some challenges since becoming a quarantine hotel, and are making positive changes.
"We at Next Hotel Brisbane are wholeheartedly committed to supporting the fight in the spread of the coronavirus by offering accommodation to guests who have travelled to Brisbane from other states," a spokesperson said in a statement to The Courier-Mail.
"Since we started hosting quarantine guests last week, we acknowledge that we have encountered some challenges in meeting some of these quarantine guests' expectations. We apologise to those who have encountered difficulties or any inconvenience.
"We are doing our utmost to serve our quarantine guests in the best possible way we can and we will continue to do so.
"We are reaching out to each of our guests on a daily basis to discuss their needs. We have a 24/7 hotline so that we can provide assistance round the clock.
"We have also taken into consideration all special dietary requirements in the preparation of our food and beverage offerings. We will continue to work with the authorities including Queensland Health to address the needs of our quarantine guests.
"We would like to thank all guests for their feedback to date and this has helped us tailor our offering to certain guests' specific needs.
"We take their feedback seriously and in the past few days, we have taken immediate action to address the concerns raised by some guests. We are pleased to say that we have been receiving an increasing number of positive comments from our guests, including in the area of food and beverage."