2020, when every country was grappling with the deadly pandemic, I was in the middle of a holiday in India with my family. Our holiday soon turned into an experience of a lifetime, with our return flights being cancelled due to a complete lockdown in India. After a lot of difficulties, we were finally able to fly to Australia with the help of a charter flight. Being one of the travellers who arrived in Australia after 28th March, I had to undergo a 14-day hotel quarantine stay, in a government chosen (and paid) accommodation. Find out more about my hotel quarantine stay in Australia.
Find out about the 14-day quarantine rule that was enforced by the Government in March here.
The start of our Hotel quarantine journey
As soon as we landed in Adelaide, we were taken to our quarantine hotel ” The Playford“. There was a beeline to enter the hotel where we were welcomed by police and hotel staff (and news reporters as well- read more about that here). After a temperature check, we were advised to keep our luggage separately in a designated spot and go pick the envelope that contained a welcome letter and our room keys. Next, we were asked to confirm the number of pax in our room to the police and once all the formalities were adhered to, we headed towards our room.
Our first impression of the quarantine hotel
Our initial interaction with the hotel staff, police and health nurses went smoothly, now it was time to see if the rooms were comfortable as well. We were pleasantly surprised, to say the least. The South Australian government and Playford hotel staff made sure every little detail was well taken care of. Since we were travelling with an infant baby, it was even more important for us to know that the place we will be staying for the next 2 weeks is safe and comfortable in all ways in that context. The Playford hotel was kind enough to allot rooms based on family sizes and had special considerations for all those traveling with little infants such as us. We got a balcony facing the street as a part of our suite as well as a porta cot for the comfort and safety of our bub. Not just that, we found ourselves blessed to receive relevant and healthy meals catered to us as well as our baby 3 times a day.
Every day, a big brown packet of freshly cooked and healthy meals/ milk/juice or tea would be placed at our door-front after a quick knock. We would look forward to those tiny moments of joy that the Playford Hotel staff and the South Australian Government showered upon us.
How they took care of our physical and mental health
The SA Nurses did our COVID19 swab tests as soon as we reached the hotel room and repeated the tests every couple of days. Not just that, the nurses appointed by the SA health made sure that they checked in on us every day with a phone call on how we are feeling and if any symptoms have surfaced. They also took good care of our mental health, which was bound to be affected as we were going to be locked in a room for 14 days without any access to the outside world- something no one would have fathomed to be possible. For this very reason, and to liven up the mood of all the quarantined travellers, Playford hotel staff arranged a system of communication and interactive games which could be accessed through our TV.
What food we were served for our 14 day quarantine stay
Food (in quarantine) was one thing I was so anxious about before we took the decision to fly to Australia. Owing to this, I joined numerous Facebook groups made by people who are presently in quarantined to find out what their experiences around food were (especially those with infants). The response I got was mainly given by people who had quarantined in Sydney and Melbourne. Most of the people I talked to were unhappy with the quality and quantity of food served with no regards given to people with small kids. But our experience was the complete opposite, so grateful for that.
We were given healthy vegetarian and non-vegetarian meals, fruits, juices, desserts that not only filled our tummies but had us craving for more! Our 7month old baby loved the freshly pureed vegetable and fruit purees too. They made sure to go above and beyond to cater to our dietary needs and in fact even send across a treat to celebrate our baby’s 8month quarantine birthday.
Room cleanliness, laundry and waste
The main reason for quarantining us was to make sure that if any of us had COVID19, we wouldn’t go out and spread it to the others. Owing to this, the Playford Hotel staff took extra care to ensure that anything related to our laundry, room cleaning and waste was catered to- with a no-contact policy. We were asked to remove any used laundry like towels/ bed sheets etc. in a big laundry bag they placed outside our doors, weekly. Apart from that- anyone worried about how to keep the apartment clean (especially those with toddlers and crawling babies) were given access to a vacuum cleaner outside our door so we could help ourselves without staying in a mess. Needless to say, regular room waste was well taken care of as well- all we had to do was put anything we wanted to discard in a big black bag and place it outside our room at a designated hour. All in all, we were very satisfied with this aspect.
The highlights of our quarantine stay
Never in my life had I ever imagined myself locked up in a hotel room for 14 days, that too with my infant. But with 5 star services and gourmet food at my doorstep and a spa in my room, who am I to complain 😉 The biggest highlight of my stay was my room- which had a balcony facing the street and a spa. So grateful to be able to get that extra space ( & breathe some fresh air) so our little crawling baby can feel free and we as parents dont kill each other by getting on each others space :).
Apart from that, I loved the amazing effort by team Playford to organise a way for all of us travelers to connect with them through their in-house channel on TV. They went above and beyond and planned games, yoga sessions, infant play sessions, workout sessions and DJ music sessions for us- all through their in-house TV channel. Talk about advantages of technology!
Last but not the least, we made some amazing friends during those 14 days. We somehow managed to get each other’s phone numbers and made a WhatsApp group. Not just that, we even played online housie games to entertain ourselves and celebrate that extra free time (let’s be honest- when would we be able to get 14 days of no cooking-no laundry-no chores time as parents? :)).
Talking of free time- it took me 5 months to get around to complete this write up. Ah! I so miss the time I would open my blog, write and publish something- all within a span of 24 hrs. Ha-ha On that note I am going to pen off. Let me know if any of you also had some incredible experiences thanks to COVID19 and the compulsory quarantine rules.