11:46 GMT27 November 2020
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    Earlier there were reports of a Maldives luxury resort re-purposing the idyllic island getaway into a coronavirus quarantine centre, as the tourism industry reels from the impact of the global coronavirus pandemic.

    A luxury Swiss hospitality company is offering wealthy clients a customisable “COVID-19 Service” complete with optional add-ons such as doctor visits, 24/7 nurse care and in-room coronavirus testing, reported Bloomberg.

    The package offer provides quarantine apartments in Zurich, Zug and Lucerne at between 200 and 800 Swiss francs ($822) per day, according to Alexander Hübner, the co-founder and chief executive officer of Le Bijou Hotel & Resort Management AG.

    Interviewed by the outlet, Hübner said Le Bijou has joined forces with a private Swiss health-care service to offer guests the options of nurse visits for an additional 800 francs a day, and in-room virus testing for 500 francs, although none have yet been provided.

    Touted by Hübner as "luxury Airbnbs", the chain has properties in cities across Switzerland and units are provided with full-service kitchens, saunas, jacuzzis, fireplaces, and even gyms.

    Luxury travel
    © Photo : Pixabay
    Luxury travel

    In the words of the co-founder of the hotel chain, it was relatively easy to repurpose the units for “COVID-19 Service”, as the accommodation was initially designed to offer the ultimate private retreat. Currently, units on offer are able to function without staff, with the exception of cleaners, in fully automated mode, even for check in.

    Guests have a private app and remote 24-hour concierge to use for ordering meal deliveries, personal chefs, groceries, massages, cabs, etc.
    Thus, clients may totally self-isolate at will in line with the new reality spawned by the spreading coronavirus pandemic.

    Piazza Venezia in Rome is seen deserted as Italians stay home as part of a lockdown against the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Rome, Italy March 22, 202
    Piazza Venezia in Rome is seen deserted as Italians stay home as part of a lockdown against the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Rome, Italy March 22, 202

    Hübner says the hotels are taking precautions because of the coronavirus, with rooms cleaned before and after a stay by staff wearing masks and gloves, garbage pick-up is coordinated with guests, and deliveries are dropped outside the door.

    Social distancing is easy for guests to implement here, said the chief executive officer of Le Bijou Hotel & Resort Management AG, adding:

    “They don’t need to shake hands with anyone,” Hübner said.

    The hotelier co-founder added that developing the COVID-19 Service was a logical step in the current circumstances, as amid coronavirus concerns guests were beginning to prolong overnight stays, booking for anywhere between two weeks and two months, and placing more inquiries for doctors to make room calls.

    It made sense, according to him, to combine the services into a special package to generate a steady income during the crisis.
    The new service was launched last week, and has already recorded five bookings for the new package. Half of the 42 units that Le Bijou has on offer are already occupied by guests.

    "The inquiries are growing exponentially," said Hubner.

    In Switzerland, hotels are classified as essential businesses and may remain open during the pandemic.

    Like most service industries, hotels have taken a hit over the shutdown of tourist activities.

    Earlier, the South China Morning Post reported that the Maldives government said it had built the world’s first coronavirus resort to quarantine patients on the Island of Villivary, on Kaafu Atoll, some 24 km north of the capital, Male.

     	  Male, the capital of Maldives
    Male, the capital of Maldives

    Doctors would be offering guests free care at the luxury resort, with each of the 30 rooms provided with air-conditioning, meals, a flat-screen television and a stocked mini-bar. No guests would be admitted.


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