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First day of FDH quarantine bookings at Rambler hotel a dud

25 October 2021

By Daisy CL Mandap 

Rambler's booking page today showed no slots for a full 21-day stay

Some Filipino domestic helpers desperate to enter Hong Kong have complained about being unable to book rooms for their quarantine at Rambler Garden Hotel in Tsing Yi, which has been designated as the third quarantine facility for them starting Nov. 1.

Rambler was supposed to start accepting reservations from today, Oct. 25, but FDHs who swarmed the hotel website as soon as it opened were left disappointed because no 21-day stay could be booked.

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For FDHs coming in for the first time from high-risk places like the Philippines, Indonesia, India, Nepal and Thailand, the required number of days for quarantine is 21 days.

Rambler’s booking page indicates Nov 1 to 16 as open to guests, but subsequent dates were blocked off, preventing anyone from booking a full 21-day cycle. The same was true for the month of December.


Subsequent attempts to book rooms at the hotel showed a clear November page, but once the chosen 21-day period is clicked, the website shows an error notification.

One frustrated worker said, “Nag open ang Rambler, only 14 days lang pala ang allowed na reservation. Nag-iisip ba ang Hong Kong government, e 21 days ang requirement nila sa quarantine?” (Rambler has opened, but only 14 days are allowed to be reserved. Is the Hong Kong government thinking properly, as it has required a 21-day quarantine?)

An irate FDH showed Rambler's booking page with no 21-day availability

As in previous weeks, trying to get one of the highly coveted 50 or more slots per day at Penny’s Bay Quarantine Centre remains an arduous task. Within minutes after the slots are opened for a week-long cycle every Monday, the booking page on the website becomes unavailable.


This is despite the government’s announcement on Saturday that the rooms allotted for FDHs at the quarantine centre were increased to 1,000 from the previous 800 starting on Friday.

Mina, who has been trying to secure rooms since September, said she and her employer have been unlucky with any of the designated quarantine facilities.

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Every Monday, when Penny’s Bay supposedly opens 350 or more rooms for the entire week, all the slots are gone within minutes.

She said they tried getting a room at Rambler today, were again unsuccessful. 

Tagal ko na pong stranded dito sa Pilipinas, hanggang ngayon wala pa ding nakukuha na booking sa hotel. Pati sa bagong bukas na Rambler, failed ulit ang amo ko. Sobrang pahirap po sa amin ang pag book.” (I’ve been stranded in the Philippines for so long. Until now we can’t book with the hotels. Even with the newly opened Rambler hotel, my employer again failed to get a slot. This booking system has given us so much hardship).

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Rooms at Penny’s Bay are the cheapest, at $480 a night, making it the more desirable among the three facilities, but also the most difficult to book.

But even the 400-room Silka Tsuen Wan Hotel, the most expensive at $800 a night, was fully booked until next month as soon as it opened for reservations in September.

The government's announcement over the weekend said 500 rooms had been set aside at Rambler Garden Hotel for incoming FDHs at a cost of $650 a night, starting on Nov. 1. The hotel was supposed to start accepting bookings from 9:30am today.

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