Hotels remain open but must heed precautionary measures

By HARIZAH KAMEL / Pic By Hotel.org.my

WHILE Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) is aware that many of its members are caught off guard by the Movement Control Order (MCO), it is paramount for them to look at the bigger picture which the containment of the Covid-19 spread.

Its president Kamaruddin Baharin (picture) said, while hotels and accommodations can now operate as they are now part of the list of essential services, it is important for them to stop people from moving unnecessarily within their premise at times like this.

“We must look at the bigger picture and focus on containing the spread before the situation gets worse.

“We should all do our part to stop people from moving unnecessarily at times like this,” he said in a statement yesterday.

According to the statement, hoteliers are to limit its services to guests who are already checked in before March 18, and food and beverages services are limited to room service only.

All other facilities and services in the hotel are to remain closed to restrict guests’ movements.

“Hotels are also allowed to keep a bare minimum staff on its premise during the period for critical needs such as security and engineering,” the statement said.

The above conditions followed a meeting held between the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry (Motac) and MAH recently.

MAH CEO Yap Lip Seng told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) that hotels must observe Item 5(1) of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Regulations 2020, under Section: Essential Services — to keep the number of personnel and patrons to a minimum.

As per Motac advisory, MAH has stated that all hotel guests are always to remain in their rooms throughout the MCO period.

Several hotels that are opened but not accepting any reservations until March 31 include the Hilton Kuala Lumpur, Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur and the Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur.

These hotels have a dedicated Covid-19 webpage to update guests about its modification and cancellation waivers, cleanliness and hygiene standards, as well as membership expiration policy adjustment.

On its cancellation policy due to Covid-19, Hilton said it will continue to waive the modification fees or offer full refunds in regions affected by government-issued travel restrictions.

All its existing reservations, including those described as non-cancellable, which are scheduled for arrival before April 30 can be changed or cancelled at no extra cost up to 24 hours before the scheduled arrival.

The same goes for guests staying at Sheraton Imperial who have existing reservations for any future arrival date, including reservations with prepaid rates that are typically more restrictive, if change or cancellations are made by April 30.

Meanwhile, Grand Hyatt offers special exemptions for its Advance Purchase Rate non-refundable reservations made directly with the hotel on or before March 8 for arrivals before June 30.

Guests holding these fully prepaid reservations who have decided not to travel may still opt, at least 24 hours before their stay, to receive 10,000 bonus points compensation in lieu of both their stay and the offer if eligible.

On new reservations for future arrival dates, all the hotels mentioned allow customers to change or cancel at no charge up to 24 hours before the scheduled arrival.

However, guests who booked via online travel agents or other third-party travel professionals are advised to contact the booking provider for its policy information.

Nevertheless, several prominent hotels in Kuala Lumpur have chosen to remain closed until the MCO period is over and this includes Four Seasons Hotel Kuala Lumpur who had put up a statement on its website and social media platforms.

“The health and safety of our guests and employees is our top priority. Due to the evolving Covid- 19 situation, Four Seasons Hotel Kuala Lumpur will close on March 18 and will not be taking new reser- vations until April 1,” it said.

Other hotels that are closed are the Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur and the Renaissance Kuala Lumpur.