Singapore ‘bubble’ business hotel welcomes first guests

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Singapore has launched a travel “bubble” business hotel that allows executives to do face-to-face meetings without a risk of exposure to the coronavirus, in one of the world’s first such facilities.

FILE PHOTO: A view of a meeting room outfitted with airtight glass panels at short-stay facility Connect@Changi, a complex of hotel rooms and meeting halls near the airport which will welcome business “bubble” travellers from March, as part of the city-state’s effort to resume international meetings and conferences amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Singapore February 22, 2021. REUTERS/Edgar Su/File Photo

The hotel has meeting rooms outfitted with airtight glass panels to reduce the risk of transmission and even has a special compartment with an ultraviolet light to sanitise documents so they can be shared between participants.

Some of its first guests have come from France, Germany, Indonesia and the United Arab Emirates.

“Given that we have operations in Singapore, I need to be able to travel to conduct face-to-face meetings with the team based in Singapore, as well as process some paperwork,” said Olivier Leroux, who was among the first guests when he checked in on Monday after his flight from France.

The hotel differs from quarantine hotels in the city-state, where guests are isolated for two weeks and must pass COVID-19 tests before being cleared to leave and join the local community.

Visitors to the bubble hotel are not permitted to enter Singapore and must leave via the airport.

Singapore is expected to host the World Economic Forum in August this year, and the bubble hotel has been floated as way to facilitate business meetings during the event.

Room rate starts at S$384 ($284.70) per night, which is includes meals, two-way airport transfer and COVID-19 tests required during the course of the stay.

Due to strictly enforced curbs and quarantine measures, regional business hub Singapore has kept a tight lid on its coronavirus infections, despite clusters emerging last year in migrant workers’ dormitories.

($1 = 1.3488 Singapore dollars)

Reporting by Chen Lin; Editing by Martin Petty