Couple claim they were served mouldy food during quarantine hotel stay

Couple claim they were served mouldy food during quarantine hotel stay

Couple who paid £2,400 to stay in Crowne Plaza quarantine hotel claim they were served mouldy food and ‘had to call police when staff failed to deliver their meals’

  • EXCLUSIVE: Britons Mark Duffy, 30, and partner Sophie flew back to the UK last week from red-listed Abu Dhabi for family funeral having not been home in years
  • Couple quarantined at Crowne Plaza hotel in King’s Cross, London, for 10 days 
  • Mark, who teaches abroad, said the food they were given was not acceptable
  • Couple given ‘mouldy orange’ and ‘cold lasagne’ in portions he says were small
  • Have you experienced a quarantine hotel? Email [email protected] 

Have you experienced hotel quarantine? 

Share your experience by emailing [email protected] 

A couple who stayed in a quarantine hotel have claimed they were served mouldy food and had to resort to calling the police when staff failed to deliver their meals.

Teacher Mark Duffy and his partner Sophie also say staff at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Kings Cross told them to order takeaway and on one occasion only gave them one meal to share between them despite the couple paying £2,400 to quarantine there.

In accordance with Government rules, everyone arriving in the UK from a red list country must stay at a managed quarantine hotel for 10 days.

Anyone caught breaching the rules faces a fine of up to £10,000. 

Since the introduction of this scheme, which is operated by Corporate Travel Management on the Government’s behalf, travellers have frequently complained about poor food quality and being neglected by staff in hotels across the country. 

Mr Duffy, 30, teaches in the United Arab Emirates but returned to the UK with his Sophie for a family funeral, having not been home in a number of years. 

In the latest story of quarantine nightmares, Mr Duffy told MailOnline: ‘It just got worse by the day.

‘We arrived last Friday and it then took us seven hours for them to get us to our quarantine hotel as the coach dropped off passengers at five different hotels on the way.

‘During this time, we were only offered water once.’ 

Pictured: Mark Duffy and girlfriend Sophie claim they were served stale food during their stay at the Crowne Plaza Hotel at Kings Cross, London, where they were quarantined for 10 days

Mould: An orange Mark says was delivered to his room as part of a meal was covered in mould

During the course of their quarantine, Mr Duffy says they were given small portions of poor quality food.

The 30-year-old, who left quarantine today, said: ‘The lasagne was cold and had very little meat with no cheese. Essentially it was just moist pasta sheets and the portion size was nowhere near suitable for an adult meaning we had to order in.

‘The second day we received the wrong food with a mouldy orange and again the portion sizes were inadequate.’

Mr Duffy says on the third day the couple were given a meal to share between the two of them but when they questioned the staff, they were told that was what they had ordered.

He said: ‘The order form was attached to the bag so we could show them that we had clearly ordered two meals and the staff member eventually said he would go and get another from the kitchen.

‘He then called us from the kitchen and said that our room is only allocated one meal so we would need to call reception if we wanted a second meal.’

Mark said meals that were delivered to his room (pictured) were of poor quality and often cold

Mr Duffy said after ten minutes of unanswered calls to reception, he resorted to asking security to bring the manager to the room, at which point the staff brought a second meal he claims was cold.

‘I told the manager that it is unacceptable that people are going without food and he told me that if we didn’t like it, we could just order takeaway.

‘I said people using the quarantine service had already paid £2,400 for the room and some may not be able to afford to order food in. He just told me if we didn’t like it we should leave.’

On another occasion, Mr Duffy and his girlfriend had to wait more than eight hours for their lunch after being served breakfast at 8am.

‘At 4.30pm, I was told they didn’t have any lunch for us as we hadn’t filled in the lunch section of the sheet.

‘We were informed we wouldn’t be given lunch so I called 101 to ask the police if I could leave quarantine as I wasn’t being fed.

Pictured: Mark and Sophie had to stay at the Crowne Plaza in King’s Cross for 10 days

‘The officer told me they would call the hotel and shortly after I received my meal.’ 

He added: ‘My serious concern is that if people can’t order additional food they will be going without sufficient amounts of food. When you have already paid £2,400, I think this is just unacceptable.’

A spokesman for IHG, the company to which the Crowne Plaza belongs, declined to comment and referred MailOnline to the DHSC while a spokesman for Corporate Travel Management, who operate the quarantine service on behalf of the Government, have not yet responded to a request for comment.

The Department of Health and Social Care has been contacted for comment.

The couple are amongst hundreds of people who have vented anger at their quarantine hotel stays.

Muhammad Imran and his wife Tahira Sultana (pictured) have said they were treated like prisoners during their quarantine stay at Holiday Inn Express in Luton after returning from red listed Pakistan due to the high temperatures in the summer

Many have taken to social media, with a special Facebook page set up to allow people to share their experiences.

One man posted a picture of a mouldy orange, which he claimed had been given to his nine-year-old nephew, who ended up getting food poisoning.

Others have complained about lengthy waiting times for test results and the cleanliness of rooms.

One irate traveller, who posted pictures of his quarantine hotel near Gatwick Airport moaned: ‘My room is so dirty that I can’t imagine letting my 8 month old crawl on this dirty carpet or touch anything, food isn’t great with small portions…we have paid so much yet did not get the service we deserve.’

Last week, a couple who stayed in a quarantine hotel claimed they were served stale food they could barely eat and sometimes made to wait more than nine hours for it to be delivered to their room.

Muhammad Imran, 62, and his wife Tahira Sultana, 57, fumed that during their stay they were ‘treated like prisoners’ and when they complained to hotel staff about the dire meals they were told: ‘You can always order a takeaway.’

Mr Imran claims they were served substandard meals (pictured) which included sandwiches made from hard bread, oily fish fingers and cold bland vegetable curry throughout their stay

Corporate Travel Management, which organises quarantine hotels, has previously said it is not responsible for standard of food served to customers during their stays at quarantine hotels

Mr Imran and his wife spent 12 days at the Holiday Inn Express in Luton after arriving from Pakistan in June.

They were forced to extend their mandatory quarantine period of 10 days for arrivals from a red list country by an extra two days after Ms Sultana tested positive for COVID-19 while at the hotel.

They paid a total of £3,050 for three people, with Mr Imran’s sister Zaeema sharing a room with them to save costs.

The hotel quarantine scheme costs £1,750 for one person for ten days with £650 for each additional person sharing the same room.

It said in a statement: ‘Service level experiences at each hotel within the Managed Hotel Quarantine Programme are the responsibility of the hotel operators.’

In response to this complaint, CTM said that it was not responsible for the quality of food and the treatment of guests but when any complaints are raised, it does its utmost to address them.

It added: ‘Where comments and complaints relate to elements of the programme outside of CTM’s involvement, CTM has a robust complaint management process in place to share feedback with the relevant providers to enable continuous improvement to the hotel quarantine programme.’

The Holiday Inn Express in Luton said: ‘All matters relating to quarantine hotels are the responsibility of the Department of Health.’

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