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Quarantine hotel food is ‘inedible’ so I’m spending £30 a day on UberEats

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The food at a £160 a night quarantine hotel is so bad that one Bristol engineer said he’s racking up a £30 a day UberEats bill instead.

Jody Hennion is currently being kept in quarantine in a hotel near Heathrow Airport, and has criticised the conditions and organisation of his stay.

Jody, from Portishead, said he cannot understand why he’s still being kept at the Ramada Hotel in Hounslow, after returning from Pakistan last week.

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The manager of the hotel defended the quality of the food being served to quarantining passengers, but said it had to be seen within the context of the challenges of the Government quarantine scheme regulations.

Mr Hennion works as an engineer and was sent to Pakistan last month to work on a project there. After enduring a long flight home, he landed at Heathrow on Friday, July 2, but said his ordeal began then.

“I knew there would be isolation and a hotel, and that quarantine was going to be a factor, but the company I work for were fine with that, and I’m lucky – they are the ones paying for this,” he sad.

“I cannot imagine how angry or annoyed I would be if I was paying for it, and there were lots of people on my flight and other flights who are paying, they might have travelled abroad for a funeral or a wedding or something that they absolutely had to go to, and now they have to pay for this.



Jody Hennion, an engineer from Portishead, has been documenting the conditions at his quarantine hotel, the Ramada in Heathrow, London

“I really don’t understand why they can’t just put me in a taxi and send me home and I will stay in my house for ten days in Portishead,” he said.

Mr Hennion said the organisation at the airport and at the hotel was chaotic. He added: “Everyone at the airport were crammed together, queued together and then we were put on this bus together. If there was any risk of getting covid, it was massively increased from that.

“It took hours and everyone had to fill in this form and that form. They kept asking me to fill in the same form. I told them I’d filled it in already, but it didn’t matter, I had to do it again. There were all these people in yellow jackets and nobody seemed to know what was going on or who was in charge.

“They asked for my passport three times

“We were put on this bus and it went round in a big loop around Heathrow airport dropping people off, and the last stop was this hotel, where I was put.

“We were all crammed in the hotel lobby and it was carnage so I started filming what was going on. They asked for my passport three times, I filled out another form four times.

“I finally got into my room and went to bed and the next morning, bright and early, there was a knock at the door, with someone else in a yellow jacket asking me to fill in that same form again. They said it must have been lost,” he added.

But after the initial chaos of his arrival, Jody settled in for ten days and 11 nights, and he said the food has been the worst aspect.

“The food is inedible. It is just rank. They bring it up and leave it at the door and I’ve tried eating it, but now I just don’t take the disgusting slop in,” he added.

“I get UberEats and they drop it off at the door. I’m probably going to be racking up a £300 bill in ten days, but if you’d paid £1,750 and were given these inedible meals, you’d be savage.



Jody Hennion, an engineer from Portishead, has been documenting the conditions at his quarantine hotel, the Ramada in Heathrow, London
Jody Hennion, an engineer from Portishead, has been documenting the conditions at his quarantine hotel, the Ramada in Heathrow, London

“It’s just nasty. The scrambled eggs come in an inch of water, this fish thing I tried was just a mass of gloop and ever meal comes in little plastic tubs – it’s worse than airline food, worse than prison.

“They are probably taking in £1,750 for the ten days and trying to feed everyone on a quid a day, it’s that bad,” he added.

Conditions in the room, which isn’t cleaned and Jody and all the other people staying in have to remain in almost 24 hours a day, aren’t much better, the engineer said.

“I haven’t got a fridge, so everything is warm. There’s flies everywhere, the carpet is sticky and there’s this fluid stuff on the curtain. The TV doesn’t work. The bed is two single beds pushed together. It’s like a bail hostel.

“People can go out of the room, and there is a guard in the corridor who will escort you back. If I want to go out for a cigarette, I have to phone the reception and they arrange for someone to come and escort me to this little car park for a few minutes. At least in prison I would be able to talk to other prisoners,” he added.



Jody Hennion, an engineer from Portishead, has been documenting the conditions at his quarantine hotel, the Ramada in Heathrow, London
Jody Hennion, an engineer from Portishead, has been documenting the conditions at his quarantine hotel, the Ramada in Heathrow, London

Mr Hennion said he understood the reason for the quarantine, although covid rates in Bristol are probably higher than in Pakistan, where he came from, right now.

But he said the measures were over the top. “I was tested before the flight. I was tested when I landed. I’ve been tested a couple of times since then and I haven’t got Covid, so why not just let me go home?

“I travel a lot, and deal with a lot of stuff with my work, and like to think I’m quite resilient in terms of spending time on my own and occupying myself, but this is the worst situation I’ve been in. It’s ten days and eleven nights of hell. This could ruin some people. If you were a bit fragile or upset already, or having some kind of trauma and had to go through this, it would finish some people off I reckon,” he added.

“Ultimately, they are charging all this money and where’s it going? If you are going to imprison me, at least let me stay in a proper hotel,” he added.

In normal times, guests would pay £67 a night for a room at the Ramada in Hounslow – anyone staying for 11 nights would pay £737 – more than £1,000 less than people quarantining are paying the Government appointed quarantine scheme private firm, CTM.

There are extra costs in running the quarantine scheme – security is needed to prevent people leaving, and to accompany guests for short periods each day when they are escorted to the car park for fresh air.



Jody Hennion, an engineer from Portishead, has been documenting the conditions at his quarantine hotel, the Ramada in Heathrow, London
Jody Hennion, an engineer from Portishead, has been documenting the conditions at his quarantine hotel, the Ramada in Heathrow, London

Sudarshi Hardoyal, the manager of the Ramada Hotel in Hounslow, said quarantining was difficult for guests, and they tried to make things as comfortable as possible, but she defended the quality of the food.

“We are a three-star budget hotel, and it is what it is,” she said. “We can’t go into the rooms to clean them, we can’t provide our normal levels of service.

“We at the Ramada in the kitchens, we start everything fresh, all the meals are prepared here, and all are fresh ingredients. We have to follow the correct procedures and Government quarantine regulations, so that means we cannot give you plated food, everything has to be in plastic containers, as you see in the pictures,” she added.

“Our responsibility is to give accommodation, and we provide breakfast, lunch and an evening meal, and lunch and the evening meal are three courses – a starter, main and dessert. We have a set menu, and it is limited, but there is a choice.

“A lot of the guests have come from the red list countries of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, so there is always a curry, which is very nice, and we have an option which is salmon.



Jody Hennion, an engineer from Portishead, has been documenting the conditions at his quarantine hotel, the Ramada in Heathrow, London

“The lunch is sandwiches, paninis, wraps and salads, we’ve been told to try to keep everything healthy, because these people are not getting much exercise. We provide fruit for breakfast, hash browns, scrambled egg, white and brown bread, beans on toast – it’s nice.

“If anyone has any dietary requirements, or any comments or complaints, we urge them to contact us and talk to us about this.

“It’s not easy, we run a hotel for normal guests who might be here one night, and quarantine isn’t easy for people – it’s not a holiday. They are tested on day two and day eight.

“We have taken on board recently what people say and we are trying to help the community with this. I don’t see anything wrong with the food but the only thing is that it’s not ideal because it’s not plated up nicely, it is what it is,” she added.

The Government’s quarantine hotel system is run by a company called CTM. They did not respond to Bristol Live on Thursday, but Mr Hennion is not the only person to complain about poor food and conditions in quarantine hotels in and around London.



Jody Hennion, an engineer from Portishead, has been documenting the conditions at his quarantine hotel, the Ramada in Heathrow, London
Jody Hennion, an engineer from Portishead, has been documenting the conditions at his quarantine hotel, the Ramada in Heathrow, London

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

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

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.”

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