The saga of the travelers quarantined the the Wan Chai Metro-Park hotel has been pretty amusing, unless you're one of the folks trapped there.
I can't really blame the Hong Kong government for the quarantine. It is actually the appropriate thing to do. I can blame them for the way they handled the events since they initiated the quarantine. I find it really funny that after trying to feed 300 people twinkies for breakfast and rice boxes for lunch and dinner everyday for a week they have now given them about $4000.00 HKD worth of coupons to HK Disneyland, Ocean Park, the Ng-Ping 360 and other tourist attractions. They aren't even free coupons but discounts. Do they really think that any of the tourist trapped in that hotel will EVER want to come back to Hong Kong? Holy Cow! If they believe that I've got a good deal on a bridge that is for sale in New York City!
They could have handled this much better. But, being bureaucrats trained by the British to simply follow rules and not think they didn't.
More than the government I blame the owners of the hotel (China Travel) and the manager. The manager, with the support of the owners should have gone door to door and talked to every guest (prisoner?) in the hotel. He should have simply said;
"I am sorry for this. It is beyond my control. But, while you are quarantined here please feel free to use the facilities, including the fitness room, the bar, room service, the pool, and restaurants. Free of charge. In fact, we are also going to provide a free buffet in the bar 24 hours a day for the duration of this quarantine. Please help yourself the food and drinks are all free. We will have the NBA playoffs or European Football matches on the big screen TV there as well. So come on down and relax."
You also have 60 minute of free telephone usage if you need to contact your family or friends overseas.
We want to make the best of a bad situation and we want you to come back. We want you to know that we appreciate your patronage of our hotel.
Oh, I almost forgot, we've organized a ballroom dance party in the banquet hall this evening. Come and waltz away the evening with us, there will be free champaign and appetizers until 2:00 AM "
That action would have bought the hotel chain more good will and created more customer loyalty than any amount of advertising. The manager should have then gone down stairs to the government and simply said:
"No rice boxes! No twinkies! My chief is here. I want you deliver what he asks for. We will feed our guest from our restaurant and you will pay for it. Your HES staff members that are assigned here are welcome to eat. The people in this hotel are my guest, not criminals. You will respect their need and desire and my judgment in this matter or I will have your head on a platter for supper"
Instead the hotel wanted to charge the guest for a weeks worth of rooms.
I am reminded of the last verse of the old Eagles song "Hotel California"
The last thing I remember, I was
running for the door.
I had to find the passage back
To the place I was before.
"Relax," said the night man,
We are programmed to receive.
You can checkout any time you like,
But you can never leave!
That could have been written about the Metro-Park Hong Kong
Until Next Time
The Blogger who was Front Desk Manager, Night Auditor and Comptroller in a hotel