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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 or 21-day SHN in Singapore at a hotel of your choice, in a suite!

A few weeks ago we first wrote about the new option to spend your mandatory hotel Stay-Home Notice period in Singapore after arrival from most countries in a suite at a specific property of your choice from a list of options, rather than rely on the arrival room allocation ‘lottery’.

Recently there have been a number of changes to the SHN requirements, with the biggest one being an increase in the duration of the hotel quarantine period from 14 days to 21 days for arrivals from a raft of countries.

That change alone will require the government to secure 50% more SHN hotel room space in the coming weeks and months, but it will also mean a change in costs for both the basic hotel room service and the specific suite option.

We’ve therefore updated this article today with the latest costs and process, for those of your based in Singapore still travelling for a variety of reasons over the next few months.


 

 

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, previously for 14 days and now more commonly for 21 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, but more about the exact process later in the article.

Which countries now require 21-day SHN?

The exact requirements for SHN based on your travel history in the last 21 days prior to arrival in Singapore is continually updated given the ever-changing COVID-19 situation globally, so you should always refer to the latest official requirements provided here.

At the time of writing, no hotel SHN is required for those with 21-day travel history exclusively to:

No SHN after negative arrival test result

  • Australia
  • Brunei
  • China
  • New Zealand
  • Taiwan

7-day self-sourced SHN

  • Hong Kong
  • Macau

14-day hotel SHN is required for those with 21-day travel history exclusively to:

  • Fiji
  • Vietnam

21-day SHN is now imposed for arrivals with travel history to any other country not listed above in the 21 consecutive days prior to arrival in Singapore (e.g. USA, UK, South Africa, UAE, etc…)

How much does it cost?

Regardless of which hotel you choose, the pricing is streamlined across the properties based on suite category, though it varies based on the SHN duration required (14 or 21 days), as shown in the following tables.

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

Singapore 21-day SHN costs

Room Type Size
(sq m)
Cost
(inc. GST)
1 pax Per extra pax*
Standard SDF Room
(normal SHN)
~25 S$3,000 +S$900
Junior Suite <80 S$7,500 +S$900
Standard Suite 80-100 S$11,250 +S$900
Large Suite 100-200 S$19,500 +S$900
Extra Large Suite >200 S$30,000 +S$900

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

As you can see, the suite option wasn’t cheap before for 14 days and certainly isn’t at the 21-day duration either, with prices hiked by 50% to account for the longer stay.

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 a two-week stay, if you’re arriving from Vietnam for example, or S$7,500 for a 21-day stay (e.g. arriving from the USA).

At the top end, 14 nights in the Presidential Suite at The Regent costs S$20,000 for two weeks or S$30,000 for three weeks.

While that might sound ridiculous, the same suite would set you back S$65,000 for a two-week stay or S$97,500 for a three-week stay in January 2022 as a regular guest.

For those with deep pockets, S$1,400 a night (S$30,000 ÷ 21) 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 still 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 21 days.

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

Except travel history to:
Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka

Hotel(s) Suite Types
Junior Standard Large Extra Large
Swissotel The Stamford
Except travel history to:
Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, 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:
Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, South Africa, UK, Indonesia, Philippines
Hotel(s) Suite Types
Junior Standard Large Extra Large
Fairmont Singapore
Grand Hyatt
Only available with travel history to:
Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka
Hotel(s) Suite Types
Junior Standard Large Extra Large
Holiday Inn Singapore Atrium
Park Avenue Rochester

As you can see, travel history restrictions vary by hotel. The Swissotel is the most relaxed, allowing anyone to serve their SHN in a suite there (except those with travel history to the latest high-risk countries). 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, including the UK and Indonesia.

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.

The recently increased SHN period means we’re likely to see more hotels return to SHN duties in the coming weeks and months, hopefully opening up more suite options too in the process. We’ve heard the Conrad, JW Marriott, Pan Pacific and Sheraton Towers are all shifting back to full SHN by July.

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 / S$7,500): 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 arrival, for transport to be arranged

You’ll pay for the full cost of the suite directly to the hotel during check-in. If you have already paid the default SDF cost when applying for entry approval, you will only pay the difference in cost for the suite to the hotel during check-in.

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

For example, if you’ve already spent 14 days of your 21-day SHN in a hotel room assigned on arrival at the regular S$3,000 cost (for 21 days, already paid), but then move to a Junior Suite for the remaining 7 days of your SHN period, you’ll be charged:

  • an additional S$345 on check-out from the first hotel; and
  • an additional S$1,500 on check-in at the new hotel.

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 or 21-day ‘Suite SHN’), be careful – there may be limited or no suite availability after you’ve started your first SHN block!

When we spoke to the Swissotel in late April, for example, and their earliest SHN suite availability was more than two weeks away, 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

With mandatory SHN periods for those arriving in Singapore from a raft of countries now increased to 21 days, not only has the standard hotel room cost increased by 50% but so have the new suite options.

It’s certainly an expensive decision, but it does bring with it significantly improved certainty, a little (or a lot) more space and more luxury on return to Singapore.

A Crest Suite at Swissotel The Stamford falls under the ICA’s ‘Standard Suite’ category. (Photo: Accor)

The country’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, potentially spelling the end of the current ‘hotel lottery’.

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!).

(Cover Photo: Accor)

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