A couple forced into hotel quarantine after returning from a red list country have shared pictures of mould on the walls and broken central heating, which is costing them £3,500 for a 10 day stay.   

Richard and Emma had travelled to South Africa on November 22 when the country was placed on the UK’s red list during the second day of their trip, which meant they were required to check into a designated quarantine hotel. 

The couple were placed into a Holiday Inn, south Luton in Bedfordshire on 8 December, costing them £3,500 for a 10 day stay, and were surprised to find their dietary needs were not properly catered for – forcing them to order takeaways.

Richard is from Swansea (Wales) and said he feels “imprisoned” because guards are outside their rooms 24 hours per day, giving them no privacy. Food waste is also not collected. It’s left stacked in corridors.  

They claimed that their special dietary requirements were not being met. This left them feeling hungry and forced to order food in the hotel. The restaurant is located on the hallways.

Richard said 'This morning I laughed because my gluten and dairy free meal was a carton of cow's milk and a croissant (above). We are allowed to order in, so we've been doing that as well'

Richard laughed when Richard mentioned that his gluten- and dairy-free meal consisted of a carton milk from cows and a croissant. So we have been ordering in.

The food appears to be microwavable meals and 'When we're done with our food, everyone puts the wasted food outside the room. That photo was taken on the afternoon of day one and you can see how the food bags hadn't been collected for the past 24 hours

Microwavable food was used. Everyone then takes any leftover food and puts it outside. This photo shows how food bags weren’t collected in the last 24 hours.

Richard said the couple found mould on the wall of their small room (pictured), which only comes with one portable heater

Richard stated that the couple discovered mould in their tiny room. (pictured) The heater only came with one portable heater.

He stated, “We ended up traveling.” [to South Africa]It was re-added to the red list two days later. 

‘The government cancelled the flights so we couldn’t get back, so we carried on the trip as normal.

We were meant to travel to Radisson Blu London. It is an affordable hotel. But the airline had changed the date.

‘After five or six hours of phone calls with CTM, we eventually got booked into the hotel we’re in now.

“There’s a feeling of being imprisoned.” It’s difficult to feel secure when there are people outside your door. These hotels were not built for lengthy stays. 

‘A lot of people are going through the same problems. The price of accommodations and lack of privacy are our biggest complaints.

Richard stated that the couple discovered mould in their tiny room. It only has one heater.

His words were: “You cannot pick and choose which hotel you want to stay at, but Radisson Blu is available and Montcalm is also available, both of which are very comfortable hotels. I think normally the rate in this hotel is around £70 a night.

“I believe this space is approximately 200 sq.ft. including bathrooms. It’s probably about the same size as a small bedroom in a flat. 

Travellers who were on the flight to South Africa are taken to a quarantine hotel for a 10-day stay. Pictured: Passengers travelling to the hotel by coach

The quarantine hotel is for 10 days. Pictured are passengers travelling by coach to the hotel 

The heating in the hotel did not appear to be functioning and Richard claimed they only had a portable heater in their small room

Richard said that they did not have heating at the hotel and claimed to only have a portable heater. 

‘We can only leave if we are escorted by security, who walk with us around the car park, but at least we can get out. Mold is growing on the walls, and furniture is in disrepair. We have no heating and only a portable heater for our bedroom.

‘If you went through an itemised pricing of what we are getting here for the the £3,500 (the standard flat fee for both Emma and Richard) and you compare that to other accommodation in use for quarantine, I don’t think it’s a like for like comparison.’

Richard stated that Richard and his wife struggled to complete their tasks in the small room because they had only one table between them. Richard also stated that when they requested a replacement for their toilet roll, they received a huge industrial-style roll which was dirty and wet.

They are taken out of the space by a security officer, who informs them that privacy is not an issue.

He said, “When we take a walk we pass probably 10-15 security guards, depending on whether we are going from our rooms to the outside.”

Richard claimed travellers can leave the room for fresh air, but they are escorted by a security guard and pass numerous other security staff on the way out

Richard said that travelers can go outside for fresh air. But they have to be taken out of the building by a security officer and then escorted back.

Richard added 'I think this room is about 200 square foot including the bathrooms, probably the size of a small flat bedroom'

Richard said, “I believe this room measures about 200 sq. ft. including the bathrooms. It is probably as big as a small bedroom in a flat.”

“We are located in a small room near the end of the corridor. It contains five to six rooms, and a 24-hour security guard is sitting on a stool there. He can be heard on his cell phone and I can even hear his coughs. So he’ll be able hear everything that is happening in the room.

Richard stated that staff tried their hardest to provide a ‘functional’ meal for guests. However, he said it was not possible for them to cater for special dietary needs. 

On one occasion, he said food waste stayed outside the rooms for around 24 hours.

He stated that he and his wife were gluten- and dairy-intolerant. This causes migraines, stomach issues and other problems. 

‘They’re trying their best, if it’s a set meal and you want it to be gluten free, you just take anything off the meal that has gluten in it. 

‘This morning I laughed because my gluten and dairy free meal was a carton of cow’s milk and a croissant. So we have been ordering in.

“When everyone is done eating, they take the food out and dispose of it outside. The photo of Day One was taken in the afternoon. You can clearly see that the bags were not collected over the previous 24 hours.

Further, Richard and Emma will have to pass Covid testing on day two and eight during their stay in the hotel. 

If they test positive on day it, it means they will have to stay at the hotel over Christmas.

Richard stated that they believed they were more likely to catch Covid because they were being escorted into the hotel than if they could be quarantined home.

According to him, the coach carried about thirty people. The windows were shut and there was no social diversion. 

Richard claimed when they asked for replacement toilet roll, they were handed a large industrial style roll which was wet and dirty (pictured)

Richard said that they were given a big industrial toilet roll when they needed a new roll.

The couple were struggling to do their jobs in the room, as there was only one small desk between them

Due to the fact that there was just one desk between them, they were having trouble doing their job. 

‘We had to ask the driver to open the windows, as we were stuck waiting for two hours before we set off, then the journey took half hour, plus further 30 minutes waiting to be checked into the hotel in a chaotic and lack of communicative status. 

“Had they allowed us to go home?” [now in London]We would have self-isolated there if we had taken a taxi black cab with shielded glass in between the driver and us.

The government spokeswoman said that they had taken temporary, precautionary action at the frontier to stop the seeding of the frogs.

Omicron variants are available from overseas to the UK, saving time and money for scientists. This also allows them to improve their defenses through more booster jabs.

“The Managed Quarantine Service has been used by a majority of customers who are satisfied. Every complaint is taken seriously, and fully investigated.

MailOnline reached out to InterContinental Hotels Group in order for them to comment.