Hotels News Travel

You can now choose your Singapore SHN quarantine hotel… if you book a suite!

If you're willing to part with more than double the usual rate, you can now serve your 14-day SHN in Singapore at a hotel of your choice, in a suite!

For those based in Singapore still travelling for a variety of reasons, one of the biggest drawbacks is a mandatory Stay-Home Notice period on return home from many countries around the world, with arrival from the vast majority of those meaning 14 days in a quarantine hotel room, called an SHN-Dedicated Facility (SDF).

One of our readers is heading to the USA in June to see family and while asking us for some assistance with flight bookings, he also began researching the SHN process for his return home to the Lion City.

One interesting option he came across, that we were not previously aware of, is the ability to book a suite in a specific property to serve your SHN period, rather than rely on arrival room allocation.

How it usually works

Unlike some other countries, where you can (and in some cases must) pre-book a specific hotel to serve your quarantine period on arrival, in Singapore it’s been a case of ‘pot luck’ for most returnees over the last year or so, with assignment on arrival.

Many hotels in Singapore have been accommodating SHN guests since the COVID-19 pandemic began

Some people have certainly lucked out with a balcony room at the Shangri-La overlooking the beach on Sentosa, while others were cooped up in a smaller 220 sq ft room with windows that don’t open, no couch to sit on and no bath tub to luxuriate in.

In February this year the government hinted at the possibility of allowing arriving travellers to choose their specific SHN hotel, under a potential ‘tiered pricing’ model, and to some extent they have now made the first step towards this.

You can now book an SHN suite in a specific hotel

If you want more space to spend your mandatory SHN period in Singapore, typically for 14 days, you can now pre-book a specific suite type at one of eight hotels, including the Swissotel and The Regent, at a higher cost.

This will guarantee you the hotel and suite category of your choice, so you can be sure to have features like a balcony, separate living room, large working desk and a bathtub, for example, assuming the suite you choose has those features.

For many travellers with business to attend to, a preference for fresh air and the mental well-being of separate personal spaces to break up the day, this will be a very welcome option some will gladly pay for.

Suites are subject to availability for your date range, and you’ll have to contact the hotel of your choice directly to book.

How much does it cost?

Regardless of which hotel you choose, the pricing is streamlined across the properties based on suite category, as shown in the following table.

Singapore 14-day SHN costs

Room Type Size
(sq m)
Cost
(inc. GST)
1 pax Per extra pax*
Standard SDF Room
(normal SHN)
~25 S$2,000 +S$600
Junior Suite <80 S$5,000 +S$600
Standard Suite 80-100 S$7,500 +S$600
Large Suite 100-200 S$13,000 +S$600
Extra Large Suite >200 S$20,000 +S$600

* To cover food
Note: COVID-19 testing costs are in addition to the above

As you can see, this is not a cheap option!

Even the smaller suites on offer, like a Signature Salon Suite at the Fairmont, which falls under the ‘Junior Suite’ category will set you back at least S$5,000 for your two-week stay.

At the top end, 14 nights in the Presidential Suite at The Regent costs S$20,000.

While that might sound ridiculous, the same suite would set you back S$65,000 for a two-week stay in January 2022.

For those with deep pockets, S$1,400 a night for a 220 sq m presidential suite, easily the size of two average condos in Singapore, is a steal!

Which hotels?

At the time of writing there are eight hotels participating in the SDF Suite option, though to complicate matters not all are accepting guests with a travel history to certain countries in the last 14 days.

Here’s how the list works at the time of writing, based on your travel history.

Except travel history to:
India

Hotel(s) Suite Types
Junior Standard Large Extra Large
Swissotel The Stamford
Except travel history to:
India, South Africa, UK
Hotel(s) Suite Types
Junior Standard Large Extra Large
InterContinental Robertson Quay
Royal Plaza on Scotts
The Regent
Except travel history to:
India, Indonesia, Philippines, South Africa, UK
Hotel(s) Suite Types
Junior Standard Large Extra Large
Fairmont Singapore
Grand Hyatt
Only available with travel history to:
India
Hotel(s) Suite Types
Junior Standard Large Extra Large
Holiday Inn Singapore Atrium
Park Avenue Rochester

Our reader who will be returning from the USA in June, who first alerted us to this suite booking possibility, has a choice of all hotels except the Holiday Inn Singapore Atrium and the Park Avenue Rochester, which appear to be reserved only for those arriving from India.

For the other hotels the restrictions are interesting though. The Swissotel is the most relaxed, allowing anyone to serve their SHN in a suite there (except those with travel history to India). Presumably, this restriction also applies to other SHN guests accommodated there, though we can’t be sure.

Other hotels get progressively more restrictive, with those also accommodating staycation guests, like the Fairmont Singapore and the Grand Hyatt, excluding those with travel history to a host of ‘riskier’ countries in terms of COVID-19.

Note: It is not our intention to keep this list up to date. Please check the ICA’s SDF suite upgrade options for the latest pricing, hotel list and country restrictions.

Room types

In order to correlate room categories you see on the hotel website to the ICA’s ‘Junior’, ‘Standard’, ‘Large’ and ‘Extra Large’ categories, you can equate it roughly based on available floorspace, or contact each hotel individually to clarify.

In our discussions with a few hotels, we managed to ascertain the following equivalence:

Fairmont Singapore

An Ambassador Suite at the Fairmont falls under the ICA’s ‘Standard Suite’ category. (Photo: Accor)

Swissotel The Stamford

The Regent

InterContinental Robertson Quay

  • Junior (S$5,000): Quayside Suite King, Quayside Corner Suite King, Executive Suite

The process

Assuming you’re still outside the country, securing a suite for your Singapore SHN stay goes something like this:

Obtain entry approval (if required)

Contact the hotels listed to directly enquire and book your preferred suite. No payment is taken at this stage.

Submit your booking details and confirmation at go.gov.sg/sdfsuite, at least 48 hours before your intended move, for transport to be arranged

Your existing hotel will contact you about the transport arrangements to the new hotel and will collect payment for the additional S$345 at check-out

You can upgrade after arrival

Halfway through your hotel SHN and going stir crazy in your small room? Good news, if you can afford it, is that it’s possible to upgrade to one of these suite options and serve the rest of your ‘sentence’ in more luxurious surrounds.

Simply contact the hotel of your choice from the list to book your preferred suite, subject to availability and with a minimum of 48 hours notice before your move (for transport arrangements).

In need of a balcony and a better view than your current SHN allocation provides? It is possible to ‘upgrade’ part way through, subject to availability. (Photo: Accor)

Assuming you are able to secure the availability you want, you’ll have to pay an additional one-time fee of S$345 (S$300 for specialised cleaning costs for the vacated room, plus S$45 per vehicle for transport from your current hotel to the new hotel).

You’ll then be charged the pro-rated cost of the suite based on the number of days SHN you have remaining to serve.

Here’s how it works:

Contact the hotels listed to directly enquire and book your preferred suite. No payment is taken at this stage.

Submit your booking details and confirmation at go.gov.sg/sdfsuite, at least 48 hours before your intended move, for transport to be arranged

Your existing hotel will contact you about the transport arrangements to the new hotel and will collect payment for the additional S$345 at check-out

The pro-rated cost of the new suite will be paid directly to the new hotel during check-in

While this might sound like a good strategy to have a ‘two centre’ SHN and save some money along the way (vs. a full 14-day ‘Suite SHN’), be careful – there may be limited or no suite availability after you’ve started your first SHN block!

We spoke to the Swissotel today, for example, and their earliest SHN suite availability is more than two weeks from now, so you may be disappointed if you’re aiming to move hotels part-way through your SHN period, since there might simply be no availability by then.

Summary

Singapore’s desire to open borders to overseas visitors later this year, especially those vaccinated and arriving from low-risk countries, will probably require a quarantine hotel booking system (e.g. for a 3, 5 or 10-day stay) like those seen in other countries, for individuals to make their own reservations prior to arrival.

Convincing tourists to come to Singapore with quarantine in the first place will be difficult. Telling them they’ll only find out which hotel they’ve been allocated when the bus rocks up at the door will make it impossible!

Hopefully this ‘Book an SDF Suite’ policy is the first step towards Singapore opening up its entire SHN hotel arrangement for arriving travellers to a choice-based booking system.

Such a setup would be good for travellers, who can potentially choose from cheaper options if they are budget-constrained right through to suites for those who desire space and amenities, while worrying little about the price!

It would also be good for SHN hotels, who can maximise takings by picking up more optimised revenue based on room type (pre-COVID, after all, this was supposed to be their specialty!).

Fairmont Signature Salon Suite. (Photo: Accor)

This new ability to lock in a specific suite at a specific hotel may be the first step towards a system that will ultimately work better for tourists, potentially ending the ‘hotel lottery’ and leading to a more suitable and certain quarantine arrangement even for residents returning here.

In the meantime those still travelling, like the reader who contacted us soon heading to the USA, now have the option to pay extra for that certainty, a little more space and a little more luxury on return to Singapore with this new ‘Book an SDF Suite’ programme.

(Cover Photo: Accor)

1 comment

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: